If you have avoided dental check ups for some time, and you’ve now decided you’d like to resume having your teeth checked, you may naturally have some fears about what to expect. It’s quite true that many people fear visiting the dentist, so you’re certainly not alone in having concerns.
Fear of dentistry goes back a long way, and part of the reason for it is that until quite recently anyone could become a dentist. There were no special skills or training required, just the ability to acquire a sturdy pair of pliers.
Fortunately in the modern world it is very different. Now dentists are required to undertake years of training, including a degree in medical science followed by specialist training in dentistry.
Over time, dentistry has also evolved. Not only have there been breakthroughs in technology that help dentists to take better care of you and to minimise your discomfort, but also the “bad” dentists have been put out of business. This means that modern dentists are capable professionals who care about the well-being of their patients.
Making up your mind to visit the dentist is actually the hardest step in the whole process. It’s all very simple from there on. Normally you will need to make an appointment to see a dentist, so you should organise this well in advance of the day you actually intend to go in for your check up.
Try to arrive a little early for your appointment, at least 10 to 15 minutes, so you will have plenty of time to fill in forms, as your dentist will need to know a bit about you and your medical history before they can work with you. This way they know if you have any allergies or other conditions that they need to be aware of.
When you meet your dentist for the first time, they’ll probably spend a bit of time having a chat with you to find out what you need and what your expectations are. He or she will explain the process to you and try to help you relax.
The dentist will then examine your teeth. The most difficult part of all this is keeping your mouth open while the examination is performed. The dentist will count how many teeth you have, look for evidence of previous dental work, and usually an assistant will take some notes.
A more detailed inspection usually follows, where the dentist checks each tooth for signs of decay. This is the only part where you may experience some discomfort, but the dentist will try to minimise it. Keep in mind that any discomfort you feel is intended to help you and spare you much greater pain later.
The detailed inspection often begins by spraying some compressed air around your teeth. The dentist may also use a simple hand tool to gently probe each tooth to identify if you have any abnormal sensitivity. If problems are found, the dentist will advise you and you’ll usually need to make a new appointment to have these problems treated.
Most dentists will also offer to clean your teeth for you and this involves removing tartar from the enamel surface, removing plaque from your teeth, flushing the interdental spaces, and finally polishing your teeth to a healthy shine.
The whole process is virtually painless, usually takes less than 30 minutes, and will spare you a great deal of future discomfort that you would get if you don’t do it.