Most people have at least minor anxiety over going to the dentist. This aversion to dental care can sometimes mean that people avoid making a dentist appointment for years at a time. While this may be a short-term solution, in the long run, this will likely only damage your teeth and make your eventual dentist appointment more difficult. Here's what you should expect at your first dental appointment after a several year absence.
1. A dental hygienist will perform a cleaning.
As part of your exam, a dental hygienist will make you comfortable and clean your teeth before the dentist arrives. They will polish your teeth using a special tool and paste. Next, they will scale your teeth, meaning they'll use a metal hook to scrape tartar deposits from your teeth. Finally, they will finish by flossing between each of your teeth.
2. Your x-rays will be taken.
Usually, you don't need to have your teeth x-rayed every time you visit the dentist. Most experts recommend that x-rays are done annually.
However, when you haven't visited the dentist in a while, they will want to do an x-ray to check for decay. Your dental hygienist will take the x-rays, and when your dentist arrives, they will review the results and discuss them with you.
3. Your dentist will formulate a treatment plan.
If your dentist finds any decay in the form of cavities or infection, they'll devise a treatment strategy. Depending on the severity of your tooth problems, you may need fillings, a root canal, or more extensive treatment.
You won't have to make any decisions right away. Typically, you'll schedule appointments for treatment at a later date. However, it's a good idea to have any dental work performed as soon as possible. Left alone, tooth decay can worsen.
4. You will need to return for treatment.
When you return for your treatment appointment, your doctor will address your tooth problems. They will use a dental drill to remove areas of decay before filling in the cavity with amalgam or tooth-colored composite resin.
If your dentist discovers an abscessed tooth, they may be able to save it with root canal therapy. Root canals sound alarming, but thanks to modern technology, you shouldn't experience pain during your treatment.
If your tooth is badly infected, your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. Depending on the type of extraction needed, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon. You can choose to have your tooth extracted under local or general anesthesia. Your comfort and health is your dentist's top priority, so don't be afraid to ask questions before your procedure.
I have never liked my teeth. I had a lot of dental problems, including deep staining and oddly shaped teeth. Every tooth did not have the same shape, and some were rounded while others were more square. Not surprisingly, I never smiled in pictures and not even much in real life. This left people thinking I was mean before they even met me. My dentist told me my best bet to improve the look of my smile was a set of porcelain dental veneers. He said they could make all my teeth white and the same shape. I said I wanted them without any hesitation, and we scheduled my procedures. I love my new teeth, and they really did change my life. I created this blog to help other people living with teeth they don't like realize that they do have options that can improve their smiles and their lives.