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What To Expect When You Haven’t Visited the Dentist In a Long Time

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article by Raha Sepehrara

Whether the chaos of the pandemic years has meant you’ve fallen out of sync with your regular dental checkups or you’ve been putting off making an appointment for longer, it’s sometimes difficult to find the motivation to come and see us. 

The longer the gap since your last appointment, the more embarrassed or anxious you may feel. You may have noticed tartar build-ups or worry about us finding problems you’re not expecting. Or, you may already have a toothache you’re trying your best to ignore. 

Whatever is holding you back from booking your appointment, we understand. We’re here to help you get back into the swing of coming for regular checkups, and we’ll support you through whatever feelings you have around your first visit in a long time. 

This article discusses what to expect when you’ve not been to the dentist in a long time and some ways to manage your anxiety about your checkup to help you make those first steps. 

A Thorough Dental Examination

If it’s been a while since you saw a dentist, we’ll begin with a thorough examination of your teeth, gums, and jaws. This will include a physical examination where we examine each tooth for signs of damage, decay, or enamel wear. 

Next, we’ll take X-rays to get a better view of what’s happening below the surface of your smile. X-rays will not only reveal more about the condition of your teeth, but they’ll also provide information about your jaw health. This helps us spot issues like periodontal disease.   

Routine checkups are also an opportunity to screen for oral cancer. Many of the symptoms of cancer can seem like everyday oral health problems, so our thorough examination will indicate whether we need to investigate further. 

During this appointment, we’ll talk to you about your oral health and general well-being. If there are concerns raised in your checkup, we’ll create a treatment plan and discuss your care options. 

A Deep Professional Hygiene Treatment

If it’s been a while since you last saw us, tartar may have built up around the edges of your teeth. Not only does this put your teeth at risk of developing cavities, but it can also cause gum disease. 

Deep dental cleaning removes this tartar, leaving your mouth looking and feeling fresh. 

An appointment with our hygienist is also a great opportunity to review how you care for your teeth and discover lifestyle tips that could benefit your smile. 

How To Manage Your Anxiety Over Visiting Us

We know it’s not easy coming to see us after a long break. Embarrassment and anxiety make the whole experience even more uncomfortable. Here are some of the ways you can combat difficult feelings and take control of your dental health again: 

  • Let us know: We want to know if you’re worried about seeing us. The more we know how you feel, the better we can care for you. There may be adjustments we can make to help you relax. 
  • Bring a friend: Having a friend, partner, or family member with you at your appointment can help you feel more at ease. 
  • Bring a distraction. Listening to music through headphones, reading books, or doing puzzles are all ways to distract yourself from anxious thoughts. 
  • Breathe deep: Practice calming breathing techniques before your appointment and use them if you feel anxious. Deep breathing helps bring your nervous system back out of fight or flight mode.
  • Using grounding techniques: Mindfulness and grounding techniques help refocus your mind while preventing intrusive and uncomfortable thoughts. 
  • Speak to your GP: Anxiety is a natural part of life, but if it’s preventing you from doing things, your GP can suggest ways to tackle this. 

Compassionate Dental Care in Nottingham

No matter how long it’s been since you last saw a dentist, we can help. Our caring and supportive team will help you get into better oral health routines, and it all starts when you get in touch to make an appointment. Contact us today.

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