Even though most experts recommend seeing the dentist for a checkup about every 6 months, there are many adults who go several years without seeing the dentist. Whether you skipped appointments for financial reasons or due to fear of the dentist, the best thing you can now do is schedule a checkup and get back on a regular schedule. But returning to the dentist after a few years is not always easy. Here are a few tips to help you through.
Look for a friendly, welcoming dental office.
Your first appointment back may take a little while since there will be more tartar on your teeth due to the extended time between cleanings. So, it's important that the dental office is a place you feel comfortable and welcome -- especially if dental fear has contributed to your missed appointments. Visit the dental offices you're considering in person, and make sure the staff and the environment make you feel at-ease.
Be honest with the dentist.
When you make your appointment for a cleaning, be honest with the dentist about how long it has been since your last appointment. You may be embarrassed and therefore tempted to lie, but your dental hygienist will be able to tell if you say it's only been two years since your last cleaning when it's really been eight. Being honest allows your dentist to allow the right amount of time for the appointment. The longer it has been, the longer your cleaning will take.
Brush and floss well beforehand.
When you wait a while between dental cleanings, tartar tends to build up on the teeth, making gum disease a lot more likely. When your gums are in poor shape, they're more likely to bleed and be painful when you have your teeth cleaned. You can minimize this discomfort if you really bone up on your brushing and flossing in the weeks before your dental cleaning appointment. Also use an antiseptic mouthwash to kill oral bacteria.
Be prepared for additional treatments.
There's a good chance your dentist will ask you to return for a more extensive cleaning procedure, known as a scaling procedure, to remove the tartar that has built up beneath your gum line. You may also have a few cavities that need to be filled. Prepare yourself mentally for the possibility of these treatments so you're not taken by surprise when your dentist suggests them.
Contact a center like Apollo Dental Center to learn more.