In the Chair: What Happens at Your Dental Checkups

woman who is afraid of dental visit

Going to the dentist is not a pleasant experience for a lot of people. The idea of having someone poking around in your mouth isn’t fun. Plus, the anticipation of possibly experiencing some pain can make you nervous. Many people find that knowing what will happen can ease their anxiety. They might not feel entirely comfortable, but they will experience a little less dread. In fact, if it helps you, you can ask your dentist to tell you exactly how the appointment will go before they start. Here’s a rough guide to what your dentist and their staff will do at your appointment.

Clean Your Teeth

Caring for your teeth with brushing and flossing helps to keep them in top shape. When you visit the dentist, a more thorough clean will make it easier for you to keep them healthy. Think of it as taking your car into the shop for a tune-up, even though you look after it at home. Your dentist or dental hygienist will perform a cleaning, removing hardened plaque that can build up. They will use different mental instruments or possibly ultrasonic scalers. You can ask them to explain what each instrument does if you’re unsure.

Polish Your Teeth

After a good clean, your dentist or dental hygienist can polish your teeth too. Doing this helps to restore their appearance by removing plaque and stains on the surface. They will use an abrasive solution with fluoride in it to give your teeth a good buffing. Don’t worry; it won’t damage your teeth.

Perform an Exam

Your dentist will also want to take a thorough look at your teeth, gums, and mouth. This is the part when it can feel like they are poking around in your mouth for no reason. However, they use this exam to check the health of your teeth and mouth. If it’s your first appointment, they will want to map out your teeth. They will look for signs of any diseases or damage to your teeth and gums.

Speak to the Dental Hygienist or Dentist

After an exam and cleaning, your dentist or dental hygienist will talk to you. They can recommend anything you can do at home to make your teeth healthier. They might suggest a particular product you can use or something to add to your oral hygiene routine. If you have questions, now is the time to ask them.

Have X-Rays

Sometimes, you might require an X-ray. X-rays will help to pick up on issues that your exam might not be able to identify fully. For example, it will help your dentist to get pictures of things like abscesses, cysts, or impacted teeth. Although modern X-ray machines don’t emit a lot of radiation, you should still wear a lead apron when you have an X-ray, just to make sure.

Knowing what will happen at your routine dental exams can ease your mind. If you need extra reassurance, you can speak to your dentist or dental hygienist before you begin.

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