Healthy Living

How to Prepare for Your Dental Appointment

How to Prepare for Your Dental Appointment

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), people should visit their dentist or dental hygienist every six months to maintain optimal oral health. Dental problems should never be ignored since they can become serious and contribute to other medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and pancreatic cancer. Recent studies also show a link between gum disease and major diseases. 

Reasons to Visit the Dentist

1. Dental Cleaning

Sometimes, regular tooth brushing is not enough to maintain good oral health. Your dentist or dental hygienist can teach you how to properly clean your teeth, including the correct way to floss and brush your teeth. 

A dental hygienist usually performs teeth cleaning by removing tartar or dental plaque. If your hygienist identifies major dental problems, he or she might inform the dentist first to ensure that it is all right to proceed with teeth cleaning. 

2. Early Detection of Tooth Decay

One of the main concerns of regularly visiting the dentist is to avoid common dental problems, such as cavities and gum problems. If these dental issues are not early detected, they can cause serious health problems in the long run. Having a regular dental appointment can help in the early diagnosis and treatment of common dental problems. 

3. Severe Dental Problems

According to a report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Oral cancer can quickly spread, but early diagnosis and treatment of the condition can help improve people's chance of curative care or treatment.

Regularly visiting your dentist can help in the early detection of severe dental problems. If your healthcare provider or dentist suspects oral cancer, a biopsy after your physical examination may be performed. Oral cancer screenings can also be conducted during your dental appointment. 

4. Gum Disease

When gum inflammation or gingivitis is left untreated, a more serious gum infection called periodontitis can develop. The bones and teeth can get damaged as periodontitis progresses. However, early treatment of periodontitis can help prevent further damage. These gum problems are often caused by a bacterial infection. 

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the main causes of adult tooth loss are gingivitis and periodontitis. Visiting your dentist twice a year can help in the early detection of gum diseases. 

How to Prepare for Your Dental Appointment

When considering a dental appointment, you may not be entirely sure of what to expect, especially if you're a new patient. Below are some important tips to help you prepare for your dental checkup. 

1. Schedule the best time to have your dental appointment. 

It is important to schedule a convenient time for your dental appointment. Everyday life can be very busy--whether you have school, work, household duties, or faced with your children's extracurricular activities. Most dental appointments are canceled due to poor scheduling and availability. 

If you need dental procedures done, know that they may take a longer time than a routine dental exam. You can inform the receptionist the reason for your dental checkup to help figure out how long your appointment would take. 

2. Confirm your appointment.

Although some dental clinics or offices call patients to remind them of their appointment, you can also call them and verify your dental appointment one day in advance. It is always better to confirm your appointment ahead of time to prevent any miscommunication. 

3. Get the details.  

If you need a specific dental procedure done rather than having a routine dental checkup, you can ask the receptionist approximately how long the procedure would take, if there's a need for someone to accompany you after the procedure, and other guidelines for you to follow. 

4. Prepare your dental records.

If you are a new patient or planning to change a dentist, you can contact your previous dental clinic to assist you in transferring your dental records to your new dentist. 

5. Arrive early.

The start of your dental appointment can go well if you arrive early. The earlier you arrive for your dental appointment, the more time you will have to fill out forms and other necessary paperwork, such as details of your insurance. If you are running late, you can call the clinic ahead of time to inform the receptionist. 

6. Prepare your information. 

Be ready to provide your details, comprehensive medical history, current medications, and form of payment when filling out the new patient information sheet. You can also list down in advance the things you want to discuss with your dentist, so you won't forget them during your appointment. 

7. Effectively communicate with your dentist. 

Establish a good doctor-patient relationship by communicating well with your dentist. You can also understand dental procedures better if you discuss dental problems with your dentist. It can also help ease your fear or anxiety during your dental checkup. 

Effective communication with your dentist can also help in finding out the suitable dental treatment for your condition. Be honest with your dental problems and include details, such as:

  • The time when the pain or symptoms started or ended.
  • The level of pain experienced (if you experience constant pain or if the pain comes and goes).
  • The location of mouth discomfort.
  • If you have inflamed or bleeding gums. 

8. Beat dental anxiety. 

Once you have scheduled your dental appointment, make sure not to cancel or postpone it. Remember that the first step to beat your dental anxiety is to make a dental appointment. Putting off your dental checkup can worsen your dental problems. 

Do not hesitate to tell your dentist if you are afraid or anxious about dental procedures. Dentists can effectively treat fearful patients using a variety of methods and techniques. 

9. Schedule your next dental appointment. 

To avoid forgetting your regular dental checkups and teeth cleaning, you can schedule your next dental appointment in advance before leaving the dental clinic.

Since oral health is a vital part of keeping a healthy overall well-being, it is important to regularly see the dentist to help detect potential dental problems or health conditions as well as promote good oral health. 

Key Takeaways

  • According to the American Dental Association (ADA), people should visit their dentist or dental hygienist every six months to maintain optimal oral health.
  • One of the main concerns of regularly visiting the dentist is to avoid common dental problems, such as cavities and gum problems.
  • Dental problems should never be ignored since they can become serious and contribute to other medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and pancreatic cancer.