Ask Dr. Parker: I Haven’t Visited the Dentist in a While: What Procedure Should I Start With?

Published March 23rd, 2016   

In an ideal world, everyone would visit the dentist for their regular checkups twice a year. But dentists understand sometimes life gets in the way. Things get busy, and you skip an appointment — and then suddenly it’s been a few years since your last dental visit.

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may be wondering what dental procedures to prioritize. We often hear from patients who have gone years or even decades between cleanings, and they’re a bit nervous about coming in.

We completely understand your worries. Here’s a guide to what to expect at your first dental appointment in years and how to get your dental care up to speed.

What Procedure Do I Need at My First Dental Visit in a While?

Your first appointment after a long break from the dentist should be an initial exam. This will include:

  • Taking X-rays of your teeth.
  • Checking for cavities.
  • Discussing any discomfort or pain in your mouth.
  • Examining gums for signs of disease.

The hygienist and dentist will confer to discuss what further procedures you may need after this initial checkup. You may need to schedule fillings for cavities, crown replacements, or root canals, depending what shape your teeth are in. We will also schedule your cleaning appointment at the time.

Realize There May Be Some Discomfort

When you’ve had a long layoff from dental cleanings, you will accumulate a lot of plaque and tartar that will need to be cleaned away. This involves a combination of scraping and using other dental instruments to clean your teeth. In the event that you need a deep cleaning, often referred to as SRP, we will schedule two appointments.

Ask your hygienist or dentist to explain everything first, which will help put you at ease. However, also realize there may be some discomfort. You may want to ask about bringing music or a podcast to listen to and keep you distracted while the work is done.

Make Your First Dental Visit in a While at AZ Family Dental

At AZ Family Dental, we know it can be scary to visit the dentist after a long layoff. We’ll work with you to make you as comfortable as possible and explain everything we do during your visit. Contact us to make an appointment today.