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What to Expect at the Dentist?


A visit to the dentist doesn’t have to be greatly feared. Dentists and hygienists will give their best and they’ll usually try to make your office visit as easy as possible.

You can often watch movies or TV and read books available at your clinic. You just need to be mentally prepared in the waiting room itself before entering the operatory. It will surely calm your mind and also calm your anxious body language which some patients  feel before the starting of the treatment.

 They may schedule the appointments into many visits so it won’t be too much for you in one sitting. And there are even options available for pain relief or sedation during the procedures.

Making it to the dental chair puts you closer to better health and smiling with more confidence.

Before the Appointment

Plan enough time off from work or school to feel less rushed or anxious about getting back. When you make your appointment, ask how long the treatment will last, then add extra time to that. You’ll be in the dentist’s chair longer if it’s been a while since your last visit. An end-of-day appointment is a good option so you can go home right away. On the day of the procedure, get there early so you can fill out the paperwork and give the staff some time to set you up.

A Routine Visit

The dental hygienist will cover your upper body with a hygienic patient apron and you will be provided with eye-protection shield to wear, too. Then, you will be asked to gargle with a mouthwash. You’ll see a tray of metal and perhaps ultrasonic tools. The dentist uses these, working one tooth at a time to scrape off any hard build-up of plaque and tartar on the surfaces and along your gum-line. They may also floss between your teeth.

If your jaw hurts or you have  mouth pain while the treatment is being processed, let the dentist know about it. You can have rest breaks whenever you need them.

After the treatment is completed, you should rinse well. Using a tool with a spinning head, the dentist polishes your teeth. You might even get to choose the flavor of buffing paste. And you can rinse again.

Typically, your dentist will ask you to  get X-rays every year to help find problems that are just starting or are hard to see.

Then the hygienist brings the dentist in to do a thorough examination, checking each tooth and looking for pockets or gaps between your teeth and gums.

A tool called a periodontal probe, which could be metal or ultrasonic, helps the dentist find the  problematic spots. It can also measure the depth of any gum pockets. The hygienist often stays to record notes in your record form.

After the full mouth check-up, the dentist will talk to you about how things are looking and also consult you about maintaining your oral hygiene and discuss your treatment plan.

A First or Non-Routine Visit

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the dentist, you can expect the same care as a routine visit, as well as some extras.

New patient appointments and visits after more than a couple of years, usually require X-rays. The dentist wants a complete look at what’s going on inside your teeth, gums, and supporting bone structures.

Plan to hang in there for a deep cleaning session with the hygienist. The longer you wait between visits, the more hard the tartar builds up on teeth and around the gum-line. (If your teeth are sensitive, talk to your hygienist or dentist about numbing options to lessen pain before the work starts.) Having tartar removed, can be uncomfortable, but the clean, smooth feel of your teeth after teeth cleaning, is well worth it. You’ll have fresher breath, too.

When the dentist probes your teeth and checks the gums for pockets, they may hurt and bleed a bit. The pain shouldn’t last long.

Don’t be overwhelmed if the dentist finds problems. By getting this appointment done, you’re already on the way to fixing them with your dentist’s help. And if you have good dental habits after this, routine follow-up visits will be easier.

After the Visit

If your mouth is sore, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers.

Call the office between routine visits if you have any kind of questions or if  your teeth hurts, or your jaw swells. Issues like broken teeth are an emergency, and you should let your dentist know right away.

Follow-up Care

When your mouth is healthy, you should probably get a cleaning and examination every 6 months. Depending on what the dentist finds during your check-up, they’ll recommend a treatment plan, dealing with the most needed care first.

To take care of problems, you’ll likely need to come back sooner than you would for another routine visit.

You may need fillings to close up cavities in the teeth before they get larger. For more serious decay, crowns surround and cover the core of the damaged tooth, keeping the root in place. This “cap” is cemented in place to look and feel like the real thing.

Cosmetic bonding, veneers, and shaping can improve the appearance of any broken and discolored teeth. Ask your dentist about more options for improving your overall smile.

To start the healing of the gum disorders, scaling and root planning is needed to clean the sides of the teeth below the gum-line, so the gums can tighten up around the roots better. You may need X-rays every 6 months to check your progress.

If the dentist finds an infection or swelling in the roots of a tooth, you might need a root canal. This treatment involves opening the tooth and cleaning the inside of it before closing it back. You may need to see a specialist called an endodontist.

Your dentist might recommend replacing any missing or severely damaged teeth with implants or bridges. Implants are screws made up of titanium metal that go into your jawbone and act as anchors for crowns. Unlike removable dentures, these long-term replacements stay put. They look and work like your natural teeth. Bridges fill or “bridge”,the gap between missing teeth when anchored to healthy teeth on each side or to implants. And this whole procedure is done by specialist:  Periodontist and Implantologist.

Whatever plan of care your dentist recommends, you will also require a plan for paying for the treatments. For more complex procedures, you may be able to set up a payment schedule to cover your part of the cost.

So, dental visits and treatments are always stress free if you have the right guidance and should be able to trust your dentist and have a positive outlook.

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