Has it been awhile since your last dental visit? Perhaps, even several years? Is the apprehension about what to expect after such a long lapse between visits making you reluctant to schedule one at all? If so, you’re not alone. And first things first, take a deep breath—it’s going to be fine!
There are many reasons that cause people to put off their regular appointments—lapses in insurance, having your regular dentist retire or go out of business, obligations, extensive travel, or long-term medical care are just a few. We know it can feel a bit embarrassing to admit to a dental team that it’s been years since your last visit, and we know that the anxiety about what to expect can make it difficult to make an appointment, but we assure you, you’re not the first person to put off a dental appointment for a long period of time, and it’s likely not even close to as big a deal as you’re making it out to be in your mind. However, it is important to get in to see a dentist for a cleaning and an exam as soon as possible. Sometimes just knowing what to expect after a long break between visits can help ease worry and make it easier to take action, so let’s break down what will likely happen when you come in.
Make sure to arrive early to your appointment, because you’ll probably need to update your paperwork. The last thing you want to deal with when you’re already feeling anxious is to arrive stressed because you are running late. You’ll want plenty of time to thoroughly complete your paperwork so that the dentist will understand your dental history. Be sure to bring important information along with you—insurance information, lists of medications you are on, allergies, etc. And if you have any pressing questions or concerns for the dentist, be prepared to share them at the appropriate time.
Schedule plenty of cushion in the time after your appointment. Because it’s been awhile, your appointment may take longer than a typical visit, and you don’t want to feel stressed because you have to cut the appointment short or rush back to work.
Long lapses between cleanings typically lead to excessive build-up of plaque that will need to be addressed during the cleaning, which may contribute to the longer appointment time. But it’s definitely worth it—your teeth will feel much better and your gums will be much happier once it’s gone! Expect some slight discomfort during the cleaning, and possibly some bleeding of the gums, especially if you haven’t been diligent with flossing.
Be prepared to be told you may have acquired a cavity or two since your last visit. In this day and age, it’s difficult to avoid if you’re not keeping those regular appointments. Decay is an opportunist and is quick to get into action when given the chance. You may need to have fillings done, either at the same appointment or shortly thereafter. This is absolutely nothing to stress about. Other than a little discomfort, there isn’t much to it. Getting a filling is often a much bigger deal in your imagination than it is in real life. Be sure to tell your dentist if you are feeling particularly worried about it—they can talk you through the process and help to quell your fears.
Once you’re finished with your appointment, you’ll want to schedule a follow-up within six months. Now that you’ve taken the first step and gotten back in the dentist’s chair, you won’t want another lapse to pass. Keeping regular appointments is the easiest way to ensure ongoing oral health, catch problems while they are still very small and easily managed, and ensure a healthy, confident smile.
To learn more about, visit https://kyedentistry.com/. Dr. Keith A. Kye helps patients in Huntersville, North Carolina every day to keep happy, healthy smiles!