Often the dentist you had as a young adult continues to treat you as you age, but occasionally a move or retirement can force you to abandon the familiar and try a new dentist. There are many dentists who do good work and are friendly, but what will happen at your first appointment?
What to Expect
First, a dentist will need to know your medical and dental history and will ask about your medications. This will help them understand your overall health.
The dental assistant will take x-rays of your teeth to look for signs of decay, bone loss, abscesses, impacted teeth or tooth alignment problems.
Your dentist also may monitor your blood pressure to test for hypertension.
The dentist will examine your mouth, of course. During the exam, the dentist will probably:
o Probe gums to check for signs of gum disease
o Screen for oral cancer
o Evaluate soft tissue and perform a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) exam
o Inspect your existing fillings and crowns to look for leakage or cracks that could result in tooth decay
o Examine you for potential bite problems and conduct an orthodontic screening
Radiographic images taken may include bite wings that are used to find tooth decay, bone level, calculus (tartar) accumulation, and periodontal pockets. Your dentist also may order a full mouth series consisting of 16-18 pictures or a panoramic x-ray that would show both the top and bottom teeth.
Your first visit to a new dentist may not exactly be like a first date, but the idea is the same – you want a good relationship that will last a long time.