It’s finally time: you set up an appointment with a new dentist and the day is fast approaching. Maybe you’re new to town and you’re starting totally fresh. Maybe you’ve decided to move from one practice to a new one. Maybe… you just haven’t been in the office for a while, so it’s a different dentist than usual and you need a refresher. Whatever you’re walking into, we’ve got some tips for what to expect during this first visit with your new dentist.

Make the Time, Take the Time

We live in a world where everything is lightning-fast. We seem to have little patience for the stuff that takes the time it takes. But you really do need to pack your patience for your first dental appointment at a new practice. Remember, you’re establishing a new relationship, and that’s not a quick process. It’s important that you’re on time, if not early, because there will be paperwork to fill out. It’s important that you’ve given yourself the time to communicate your needs and concerns with your doctor while you’re with them. If complications arise, your appointment might take longer than expected. Even afterwards, you’ll need time to schedule follow-up appointments. So, make sure that you plan accordingly. Get your directions, plan ahead, make the time when you schedule your appointment and take the time you need while you’re at the office. Not giving yourself enough time will make you feel stressed, force you to rush through this important experience, and may prevent your new dentist from giving you the care you need and deserve.

Be Prepared

Believe it or not, your medical history is very important for your dentist. If you have specific medical concerns, having your history at the ready and a list of your medications available for your new practice is essential. Some patients might need to have medical clearance from their primary care physician before they can receive dental treatment. If you think you might need a note from your doctor, be sure to get that before your dental appointment.

If you are visiting with a specialist for the first time, a referral may be necessary. Radiographs and X-rays may also be needed to give you your best care. Be sure to obtain these before your appointment.

Ask and Answer

Before the examination, your new dentist will have questions for you. Expect to be asked about your regular dental routine, when your last professional cleaning was, and questions about your habits (like smoking or drinking). If you have a complaint, pain, or other concern, now is the time to be honest. This is also a good time to be honest about any anxiety you may have about dental procedures: your new dental professional will be able to work with you and assure that you get a thorough examination that is comfortable for you.

A Thorough Check

Your dental professional will be performing a full evaluation of your teeth, periodontal and soft tissues during your visit. X-rays or other pictures may be taken. Your new dentist will perform a cancer screening, as well as a check for other abnormalities. They will look for cavities and sign of fractures or loose teeth, and will look for signs of bleeding or plague buildup. Generally speaking, this should not be a painful experience, but there may be slight discomfort as probing goes on. Clear communication between patient and doctor is key in order to manage such discomfort.

A first appointment might make you feel anxious, but we hope that this list will help you anticipate and relax. It’s exciting to start a new relationship, especially one that will keep you healthy! If you haven’t visited a dental practice in a while, you’ll be pleasantly surprised: they are staffed by friendly, compassionate, professionals and offices are clean, hygienic and relaxing! Enjoy your first visit!

Have a great general dental practice, but looking for a specialist for your periodontal or endodontic needs? We are a friendly, compassionate, professional staff here to support you on your journey to total oral health. Give us a call today!

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