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“It’s Been Years Since My Last Dental Appointment” What To Expect When You Come Back

Visiting the dentist is often one of those items on the to-do list that gets pushed back. We get it. You know you need to see us every six months, but you need to fit that around work, family commitments, other self-care tasks, holidays, hobbies, and keeping up with life. 

Dental appointments can sometimes take a backseat. This has been particularly true for many throughout and since the pandemic. The lockdowns and restrictions made it challenging for many people to attend appointments, and it’s almost equally as difficult to get back into the swing. 

You might feel mixed emotions if it’s been several years since your last dental appointment. It’s normal to feel anxious about what to expect, and you may feel embarrassed or worried if you think your dental health isn’t good. 

We want you to come back, and we’ll do everything possible to make you feel at ease. This guide discusses returning for a checkup after several years and what you can do to manage dental anxiety.

What Happens During a Dental Checkup

You may be hazy about what to expect if you haven’t seen a dentist in a while. When you’re unclear about what might happen during an appointment, it’s natural for you to feel anxious. 

Dental checkups are a chance for us to examine the health of your teeth, gums, and jaws. During your appointment, we’ll screen for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, infection, and oral cancer. 

Much of your checkup will involve a physical examination. We’ll use a mirror to look at every part of your mouth. 

Because you haven’t had a checkup for some time, we will also take X-rays of your teeth and jaws. This will show us what’s happening inside your teeth and give us a better picture of your jaw health. 

If you need care, we’ll explain everything you need to know, answer any questions, and create a full treatment plan.

What Happens During a Hygiene Appointment

Tartar is a hard yellow or brown substance that can develop on your teeth. It cannot be removed through brushing and contributes to tooth decay and gum disease. Our hygienist can remove any tartar buildups. 

If it’s been a while since you last visited the dentist, it’s helpful to make an appointment with our hygienist. 

During your appointment, we’ll use advanced, minimally invasive treatments to remove tartar and refresh your smile. A hygiene appointment is also a good opportunity to discuss your at-home dental hygiene routine, get advice on products, and learn how changes in your diet and lifestyle could benefit your smile. 

How To Manage Anxiety Around Your Dental Appointments

Uncertainty and embarrassment are two difficult feelings that often prevent people from booking appointments. Although we provide supportive and non-judgmental care, we know it’s not easy to take the first step to visit us. Here are some tips to help manage dental anxieties. 

Talk to us

If we know you’re feeling uncomfortable about visiting, we will always do more to help you feel at ease. Talk through your fears with us, and we will make adjustments to help.

Bring a friend

You don’t have to come alone. A friend, family member, or partner could help reduce some anxiety and provide you with additional support and reassurance. 

Use distractions

When you’re worried about something, it’s all you can think about. Listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts, reading a book, or doing puzzles can help take your mind off your appointment, 

Consider mindfulness

Mindfulness helps you stay present and lets you take control of your thoughts. There are many mindful activities you can learn ahead of time; search online for one that works for you. 

Practice deep breathing

When you’re anxious, your body can enter fight or flight mode. To bring yourself back out of this, take slow, deep breaths. Soon, your heart rate will slow and your anxiety levels will drop. 

Seek further support

Anxiety is a natural part of life, but if it’s preventing you from living fully, consider seeking help. You can find support from your GP or a trained counsellor. 

Book Your Appointment Today

It’s easy to put dental care on the back burner. If it’s been a long time since you last saw a dentist, make an appointment today.

Our friendly team is here to help. Get in touch now and schedule your checkup.

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