What Should I Expect From a Dentist Visit?
Visits to the dentist are beneficial to your oral health. When you choose the right dentist, you can feel comfortable about your upcoming visit. Your dentist wants to help you achieve the best oral health possible, so you can even look forward to going to the dentist knowing your mouth will be healthier as a result.
Before you take a seat in the dentist’s chair, you may wonder what you can expect when visiting the dentist. Whether it is your first dental visit in years or you are simply unsure of how your appointment will go, the following information will help you feel more confident and prepared for your dental experience.
Planning Your Appointment
The process of going to the dentist should start with proper planning. You might need to take some time off work or school to fit your appointment into your schedule. Some people prefer going to the dentist toward the end of the work day so they can go home directly after the appointment. Others prefer morning visits — it all depends on your preference and your dentist’s availability.
At 209 NYC Dental, we offer early morning and late afternoon appointments, making it easier for you to fit an appointment into your day. We have appointments available as early as 7:30 a.m. Our final appointment of the day is at 5:30 p.m. We are even open on Saturdays and Sundays for your convenience.
New patient appointments last one hour. If you are a new patient, you should plan to arrive at the office 10 to 15 minutes before your appointment to have X-rays taken. For existing patients, most appointments will last about 45 minutes.
Have your dental insurance information ready when booking your appointment. Your dentist will verify eligibility at the time of booking. Arrive at your appointment with a valid form of identification. Get to the dentist’s office several minutes before your appointment so you have time to fill out any required paperwork.
What Happens During a New Patient Hygiene Visit?
Knowing what to expect at your dentist appointment can help you mentally prepare for the entire experience. Most new patient hygiene visits follow the same procedures, including X-rays, cleaning, polishing, and an examination. Here is a closer look at these four steps and what you can expect to happen during each one.
One of the main priorities of your dental visit will be to clean your teeth. Even if you brush and floss your teeth daily, a dental professional will provide a more thorough cleaning using special tools and cleaning products. They will scrape plaque off your teeth and remove any tartar buildup.
Your dentist may also floss between your teeth to clean in those hard-to-reach places. They will also have you rinse out your mouth. While there could be some minor discomfort during the cleaning process, your teeth and gums will feel amazing afterward.
Polishing is another part of the cleaning procedure and helps your teeth look even cleaner so you can feel even more confident in your smile. Polishing also removes soft buildup and minor stains that were not removed during cleaning.
During your dental visit, your dentist may want to take X-rays of your teeth. X-rays allow the dentist to get a clearer picture of what is going on with your teeth and bone. X-rays reveal small cavities that are sometimes invisible to the eye, especially if the teeth have tight contact and the cavities are located between the teeth. Your dentist will also use the X-rays to see if you’re experiencing any bone loss or infection under the gums.
X-rays are usually taken once per year. If it has been a while since your last visit, you should expect to get X-rays. If you visit the dentist regularly, you’ll get X-rays at your dentist’s discretion.
The final step of your dental visit is the exam — a comprehensive exam for new patients and a periodic exam for returning patients. You will have a conversation with your dentist about what you should do for your oral health in the meantime. Your dentist will also let you know about any pathologies — dental problems — you may have and follow-up care if necessary. Then you will schedule your next visit and be on your way!
Your First Visit After a Long Break
When you regularly go back for your semi-annual visits, your dental providers are aware of your dental health & you are likely to address any issues as they come. If you have not seen a dentist in three or more years, you will be treated as a new patient, whether returning to your regular dentist or visiting a new one. Since many things could have changed in the last three years regarding your dental health, the dentist will have to conduct a comprehensive exam and a dental history review to identify any dental issues you may have developed.
You should also expect to get X-rays and dental cleaning with polishing.
Common Dental Problems
Your dentist will be looking for a few specific dental problems during your visit, including the following:
- Cavities: Cavities are a sign of tooth decay. If you have a cavity, your dentist will determine the right solution, depending on its size. Possible solutions include receiving a filling, onlay, crown, root canal, or in some cases, even extraction.
- Teeth grinding: Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition where someone clenches, gnashes, or grinds their teeth together when awake or asleep. During your visit, your dentist will look for signs of teeth grinding. If they find any signs, they will provide you with steps and solutions to avoid grinding in the future. A common solution involves providing a mouthguard to wear at night.
- Gum problems: Your dentist will check for gum problems like gingivitis or periodontitis. Some signs of gingivitis include bleeding and pain in the gums. Some signs of gingivitis include bleeding and sore gums. Depending on the severity of periodontal issues, we may recommend a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing.
- Damaged teeth: Your dentist will look for chipped or cracked teeth during your visit. These can cause tooth pain and even put your teeth at a greater risk of cavities. Your dentist will propose the best treatment option, depending on the amount of tooth structure missing.
How Often Should You See a Dentist?
Visiting the dentist is something you should do regularly. We recommend that healthy patients visit the dentist every six months for the best results. If you are experiencing periodontal problems, we recommend scheduling an appointment every three to four months.
It is good to get into a routine with your dentist so you can keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.
Overdue for a Dental Visit?
If it has been a while since your last dental visit, 209 NYC Dental is ready to help. We treat patients in the New York City area wherever they are on their dental journey — whether they visit us every six months or it has been years since their last visit. We want to use our dental expertise to help your smile be the best it can be.