A dentist appointment is often not an enjoyable experience and most of us actively avoid them year after year. Not all necessary things are pleasant, however, they don’t have to be such a problem. A dentist appointment can save you a lot of pain and future health problems. So, making each appointment as efficient and productive as possible is a great way to keep things in check and not having to worry about very frequent appointments due to some preventable dental problem.
In the past we’ve given advice on how to deal with some consequences of poor dental health like pain, however, now we’ll discuss prevention via quality appointments.
From a patient’s point of view, one of the best things to do is being prepared. The following tips will help you with just that.
You should be treated by someone you can trust
This general advice is as valid for dentists as for any kind of practitioner. It is very easy to just set an appointment with any random professional, but that is really not the way to get the best service possible. You want someone with experience, skills and great patient care.
You’ll need to ask your friends and family and read online reviews to find the best dentist for you. That information will guide you and eventually help you to find a trustworthy professional.
Price, proximity and availability are also important factors that should influence your choice.
Brushing and flossing before the appointment is important but one common mistake is to aggressively clean your mouth. This can cause lesions or irritation; also it may not have the desire effect (making the dentist think you have better oral hygiene than you actually do) because it may damage the enamel.
Don’t make big changes to your teeth cleaning routine just before the appointment.
Make a list of your symptoms
A big part of first appointments is just informing your doctor about your more recent symptoms and concerns. Time is money and to make this process as fast as possible is much recommended to make a list the day before so you can give information accurately and quickly.
If you are seeing a new doctor, then have your medical history prepared. Also, during the first appointment you´ll have to choose a particular payment plan, so make sure to ask which are available and know which are right for your current financial situation. Have your insurance information at hand.
Find ways to face your anxiety
A lot of people feel uncomfortable with the idea of going to the dentist, this is absolutely normal, but this advice is more for those with bad past experiences that have to deal with anxiety.
Some doctors practice sedation dentistry to help patients keep calm during procedures. This is not the most common thing but we highly recommended in these cases.
An alternative to sedation is simply being clever about distracting yourself from the fear. Music, audio-books, etc will do the trick. Just remember that this part will often be on you to manage, most doctors don’t have the tools or training to deal with severe dental anxiety.
In previous articles we’ve talked about being communicative with your doctors. Be honest, and direct about your habits and doubts. Leaving your first appointment with questions about treatment or your condition is really not ideal.
This also includes questions about new “scary” equipment or technologies the doctor may have to use with you.
Clear your schedule before the day of the date, make sure that you can get there on time without any hurry. Some practices will make you wait for a while before the actual appointment, bring a book, a game or music to entertain yourself.
As long as you clean you teeth properly after, having a snack is also recommended.