As an Adult, What If I Haven’t Been to the Dentist in Years?

A dentist frequently sees new patients who have not had a dental cleaning or exam for several years. While we certainly don’t want patients to feel judged for having waiting too long, we want them to know what to expect during their first appointment after all that time. Regardless of how long it has been since you’ve seen a dentist, it is better to come in than be too ashamed to step into an office.

Don’t be afraid to let us know it’s been years when calling to book your appointment. We want to know so we can be as helpful to you as possible! Here are some things you may want to expect during your exam and cleaning:

Taking X-Rays of Your Teeth and Mouth

A dentist may suggest getting x-ray images of your teeth and mouth, to ensure there are no underlying issues developing in areas that are not visible below the gumline. Based on these x-rays, your dentist can assess your entire oral health and address issues through providing treatment recommendations. 

Bleeding Gums During Cleaning

During the cleaning, a dental hygienist is going to floss your teeth. If you haven’t flossed in some time, then mild bleeding is likely to occur. Your gums may not be used to floss removing buildup from between the teeth. You can help minimize bleeding by flossing every day prior to the appointment. 

The Appointment May Take Longer

Because you haven’t had your teeth cleaned by a professional for years, there is probably going to be a substantial amount of plaque buildup along the teeth surface. A dentist may let you know that the appointment will be a little longer than normal and to give you a break if you need one. Or, you could have the cleaning done in a two-step process and split up the session into two separate appointments.

Check for Cavities

Once your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned by a dental hygienist, a dentist can look through your mouth for signs of cavities, gum disease, and other potential problems that need to be fixed. If you haven’t been to the dentist in many years, then chances are you may have a cavity or two that needs to be filled. 

Once your appointment is complete, your attorney can talk with you about what the next steps look like for taking care of your oral health. You may need a follow-up appointment as a recheck for gum inflammation or to have a cavity procedure done. 

Resource: Dental Care

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