Visiting The Dentist After A Long Time Without Care

You know you're supposed to visit the dentist for a checkup once or twice a year. But for whatever reason, over the past few years, maybe that just hasn't happened. Whether it has been two years or 20 years, the most important thing is that right now, you are making plans to see the dentist again. Here are a few tips that will help you out as you prepare for — and go through with — the appointment.

Tell the dentist how long it has been since you've had an appointment

When you call to make the appointment, be honest with the receptionist who answers. You are not the first patient they have had who has not seen the dentist as often as they should, and you won't be the last. What's important is that they do know how long it has been so that they can schedule you accordingly. If it has been more than a couple of years, the dentist may want to make two appointments — one to clean half of your mouth, and a second one to clean the second half of your mouth. They may do this because to clean your whole mouth would require you to hold it open for far longer than is comfortable for most patients. 

Take a dose of pain relievers beforehand

As long as you don't have any medical conditions that make it unsafe for you to take ibuprofen, take a dose about an hour before your dental appointment. It will keep you from becoming so sore after holding your mouth open for a long cleaning session. It may also decrease the inflammation in your gums — which is probably present due to gingivitis — so your gums do not bleed or become as irritated as the dentist works on them.

Be prepared to say "yes" to numbing gels

As mentioned above, it is likely you have gingivitis as a result of not having your teeth professionally cleaned in a while. This can make it painful for the dentist or hygienist to scrape tartar away from your teeth. The dentist or hygienist may offer you a numbing gel that can decrease the sensation you feel during this process. Say "yes" to this. It will feel weird, but that's better than dealing with the pain.

With the tips above, you can have an easier time enduring a dental cleaning after a long break. Do not be surprised if after examining your teeth or taking x-rays, your dentist informs you that you have a few cavities that need to be filled. This is typical, and again, it is nothing to be ashamed of. What's important is that you take care of it sooner rather than later.

For more information, reach out to a local dental office.