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Whether you haven’t been to the dentist in a while due to the coronavirus pandemic, or for different reasons altogether, returning after a hiatus can be a little scary. Many people feel embarrassed about the state of their oral health, afraid that they won’t be able to afford the work they need, or just plain have a fear of going to the dentist. The truth is that all of these feelings are completely normal. Here is some expert advice for a stress free return to the dentist that will get your oral health back on track.

Why Are Regular Dental Visits Important?

The American Dental Association recommends that patients see their dentist for a cleaning and exam every six months to maintain healthy teeth and gums. When you visit your dentist regularly, problems can be prevented before they arise or detected early on, making treatment less invasive and more affordable. Regular dental exams are also important to detect certain medical conditions with symptoms that appear in the mouth. 

If you have skipped going to the dentist for a while, don’t worry. Initially, cleaning times may take longer and you may need some additional work, but once you establish a treatment plan with your dentist, the health of your teeth and gums will improve. With regular maintenance, you will feel better about your oral health and about visiting the dentist.   

Overcome Dental Anxiety

If anxiety is keeping you from seeing your dentist, you certainly are not alone. In fact, fear of going to the dentist is one of the top reasons that Americans avoid their regular visits. With the following coping strategies, you have nothing to fear:

  • When you schedule your appointment, tell the receptionist about your anxiety. Mention it again on your arrival so that your dentist can help put your fears at ease. 
  • Ask questions about exactly what will happen during the exam. Knowing what to expect can alleviate a lot of fears. 
  • Make a plan for how to alert your dentist during the exam if you need a break or are feeling any pain.
  • Distract yourself during the procedure. Some offices offer entertainment options, or you can bring your own device with headphones. Breathing slowly and calmly or picturing yourself in a happy place can also help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • If money is your concern, discuss payment up front. Many dentists offer payment plans to make dental work more affordable.
  • Remember that a good dentist is used to seeing patients who haven’t had a dental exam in a while. Your dentist is never there to judge you. His or her job is to help you achieve healthy teeth and gums, and make you feel comfortable and informed in the process.

Visiting The Dentist During Coronavirus 

In these unprecedented times, many people are wondering what dentists are doing to prevent the spread of coronavirus to their patients, and what to expect at their next visit. Dentists are making safety a priority for patients and staff by taking a number of precautions such as:

  • Asking a series of health screening questions a few days before appointments, and upon arrival at your exam. 
  • Having patients wait outside of the office until it is time for their appointment, to minimize exposure. 
  • Wearing more protective equipment than usual, such as gowns, face shields and goggles.
  • Thoroughly cleaning the office and equipment with disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19 after each appointment.

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, no matter what the reason, remember that the sooner you get back there, the better. If you do have an untreated condition such as cavities or gum disease, treating it now is the best way to prevent things from worsening. Your oral health is an important part of your well being and the caring professionals at Simi Valley Elite Dentistry are here to make you feel safe and comfortable every step of the way.