Prepare for your dental visit: 8 tips for your dental checkup

Hopefully anyone who is reading this article often goes to the dentist.
How to best prepare for your dental visit may not apply to you so feel free to browse other articles.

I do know that for a series of reasons you may not have made it to the dentist for a year or more. It’s never too late to go.

It is never too late to go to the dentist.

Dentists are here to help so don’t ever feel ashamed that too much time has passed and further delay a checkup or treatment.

If you’re still reading this article, it means you think this information can help you or someone else. These tips also help us as dentists offer you the best possible care even during your first appointment.

Write down things of importance

All of us trust our memory. In circumstances of anxiety or stress however we tend to forget. By keeping a written record by using your phone or tablet or a piece of paper, you can ensure you don’t forget to ask important questions.

Make a list of any medications you are currently on

Know the medications you're on
Know your meds

A vital question in recording patient history is if you’re on any medications. Numerous times I’ve see patients completely forget the names or simply respond no. Later on it’s discovered that they are taking certain medications which are important for us to know. If you’re taking certain medications, our treatment protocol may change. Write down any and all. A good idea is to also keep a record of any medications you may have stopped taking within the last two months.

Tip: You can take a photo with your phone of the drug labels and store to show your dentist.

Indicate your health condition

Unfortunately many people still see oral care as distinct and separate to general health. There are some medical conditions which can have an impact on your oral health. It is important that you let us know if you have ever undergone any operations and your general state of health. This means if you’ve ever been hospitalized and the reason why. Any medical conditions you currently have – hypertension, diabetes, cancers, etc.

Let us know any allergies you may have. Allergies also include those to any medicines e.g antibiotics. Please remember to include any allergic reactions to dental anaesthetics you may have had in the past.

Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth at least an hour before coming

If you do not usually floss it makes no sense trying to make up for it an hour before coming. While I do appreciate not finding bits of lettuce and meat between your teeth, violently flossing will not suddenly change your condition. If you don’t usually floss we can tell.  Trust Me!. Brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth before your dental visit is greatly appreciated.

Don’t come to the dentist extremely hungry

Your procedure could take longer than expected and you may begin to get anxious and uncooperative because you’re feeling hungry.

Don't come extremely hungry
Don’t come extremely hungry

Having said that please don’t come to the dentist on an overly-full stomach especially if  dental impressions will be taken.
I saw a patient who having been given a 2 pm appointment, thought it a wonderful idea to have a first and second course for lunch. Polishing everything off with dessert. Needless to say when the first tray, filled with impression material was put in, we could confirm what he had eaten. Clean up on aisle 5!

Some people have strong gag reflexes. There are some little techniques we use to help them overcome the reflex for brief periods. However don’t test fate!

Remember there are some procedures like surgeries which may require you to be in a fasted state. Your dentist or health care professional will advise you.

Try to note your dental history

You may have changed offices for whatever reason. Try to have your records transferred from the old office. Our physical examination and x-rays will allow us to understand the situation in your mouth along with previous treatments you received.

What is important, is that you the patient are aware of the dental procedures you received before visiting a new dentist. You should also know the general timeline in which these procedures occurred. If we don’t have your old dental records, we will confirm with you your current oral health situation, usually through x-rays taken.

Double check the time and date of your appointment

I’ve seen patients show up an hour early or late or completely forget about their appointment. Dental offices which employ best practices will usually give you a confirmation call, e-mail or text message, re-confirming the time and date of your appointment. If you are in doubt please contact the office for confirmation.

Let the dentist know about your anxiety.

If you suffer from dental anxiety or fears please let your dentist and the team know. Most offices will put certain measures in place to make sure you are as comfortable as possible during procedures. Oral sedation may be an option in some cases. Making sure there is easy and efficient communication between you and your dentist is paramount. So talk to us!

What do you usually do to prepare for your dental appointment?

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