Finding a new dentist can be a complicated process. After researching dentists near you, making sure that they accept your insurance, getting estimates for your exam, and reading all their reviews, we often forget about the entire point of that initial appointment. Your first appointment helps to establish you as a patient for that office and gets you familiar with a new staff and their general procedures. Your new dentist will likely want to complete an initial screening, review your medical history, and conduct an exam, which generally includes cleaning and x-rays.
Routine cleanings are typically done every 6 months for patients who have little to no bone loss. During this cleaning, your hygienist will remove a combination of stain, plaque, tartar (or calculus) and record other data regarding your oral health. The hygienist will offer suggestions for continued oral hygiene at home as well as determine how frequently you may need to visit the dentist for cleanings. In some cases, patients may need 3 or 4 cleanings a year instead of the typical 2 times a year. Your hygienist will be happy to educate you on your oral health and any recommendations to help you improve. In some instances, your condition may require more than just a routine cleaning and may benefit from a deep cleaning instead. Talk to your dentist and hygienist to discuss what treatment is the best for you.
The second part of your initial dental appointment will often include X-rays. X-rays use a low level of radiation that helps to capture images of the inside of your teeth.
These images are helpful in determining any problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye. X-rays can aid your dentist in diagnosing cavities, tooth decay or impacted teeth.
X-rays are typically performed at your first appointment and again when your dentist feels that you need them. Some factors that influence the frequency of imaging include:
Current oral health
History of gum disease
Symptoms of oral disease
Children often receive more x-rays than adults due to their rapid growth and to make sure that their permanent teeth are developing appropriately.
Regular dental appointments are a critical component in your dental health. The health of your mouth also has impacts on other aspects of your body as well, so it’s important to make sure that you correct any issues as soon as possible. If you are considering a checkup, contact your dentist today to schedule an appointment.