It is perfectly normal to have anxiety about doing anything for the first time. You don’t know what to expect. And there may be apprehension due to myths you may have heard. But, like in all of our favorite stories where the hero/heroine faces their fears, we too have to confront ours. Thankfully, though, when it comes to your first appointment with your dentist, there is nothing to fear – no dragons, venomous snakes, tigers or anything close. You’ll just be greeted by a group of friendly people who understand your apprehension and will do their best to make you feel comfortable. Learn how the entire process works.
What Happens at Your First Appointment?
- Meet the Receptionist – The first face to greet you on your initial visit will be the receptionist. She will gather all the information needed from you.
- Dental Hygienist – The next person you’ll meet will be the dental hygienist, whom you’ll spend the most time with. She will take care of your routine dental care, such as regular cleanings, and assist the dentist in other procedures.
- Gathering Your Medical History – Before any work is actually done, your hygienist will need to gather your medical history. This is where the dental care team needs to be made aware of any health issues, anxieties or allergies. If you are feeling uncertain or troubled about the process, this is the best time to voice it so that it can be addressed in an understanding manner. It’s important that you feel comfortable.
- Teeth Cleaning – Your hygienist will now begin the initial teeth cleaning process. It begins with scraping off any built-up plaque and tartar that has collected above and below the gum line. Next, she will floss around every tooth to further remove any remaining undesirables.
- Examining the Teeth – The next step is to examine you using a metal probe and mirror, allowing your hygienist to see behind and between your teeth and gums.
- Dental X-rays – There will then be an X-ray taken of your mouth for the dentist to evaluate to determine if there are any issues beneath the mouth’s surface.
- Dental Exam – Now, your dentist will perform a different exam than the one your hygienist did. Along with evaluating the X-rays, he will feel your jaw bones to make sure you have a smooth bite. He will also inspect your teeth for signs of cracking and excess wear. Finally, your dentist will feel behind your jaw and check your neck for any signs of oral cancer.
- Results and Advice – Your visit will conclude with your dentist giving you the results of your examination and making any suggestions needed. This is also a great time to ask any questions that you may have.
What to Do Next
The final step is to make sure that you capitalize on the mighty step that you’ve taken to protect and improve your oral health, by visiting your dentist. Make sure to schedule your next visit before you leave, so you don’t risk forgetting later. Also, be sure to take heed of any suggestions that your dentist has made. Finally, try to brush and floss at least two times a day to evict any bacteria that are hiding out. Therefore, your next visit to your dentist will be just as pleasant as your first.
About the Author
Neil Flenniken, DDS, FAGD, AFAAID graduated with a degree in Nutrition from Ohio State University. He then went on to Howard University to earn his Doctor of Dental Surgery. He practices at Monarch Dentistry and can be reached for more information through his website.