A general dentist does more than routine dental treatments like teeth cleanings during checkups. They also screen their patients for issues like oral cancer. Cancer is an out-of-control growth of cells that invade and damage healthy tissues around them. Oral cancer typically manifests as a sore or growth that develops in the mouth that does…
What to Expect at Your First Appointment with a General Dentist
For some people, going to the general dentist can be intimidating or scary. If you are seeing your dentist for the first time, you should understand what to expect from this appointment. These visits are to improve your oral health and help you have strong teeth. This dental professional has your interests in mind.
The importance of visiting the general dentist
Going to the dentist’s office is not something a person should do just a few times in life. Appointments are not just for emergencies or rare situations. Patients of all ages should stop and see the dentist at least every six months. These appointments will help people keep on track with their oral needs. During these visits, the dentist can identify oral health issues before they get too severe. The dentist will also advise the patient on how to properly care for teeth and gums.
A review of the patient’s health and dental history
The first time a patient stops into the general dentist’s office, staff members will have the person fill out a questionnaire. This includes a summary of current medications, allergies and health conditions the person may have. The patient will also indicate any recent surgeries they have had. The dentist may take a look at the person’s dental records and review procedures the patient has had.
Once the patient is comfortable in the dental chair, the hygienist will take X-rays of the person’s mouth and teeth. The dentist then looks at these pictures for signs of tooth decay, infections, tooth damage or conditions with the jaw or gums. Patients usually receive X-rays at most routine wellness checkups. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should not have X-rays.
The hygienist will then thoroughly clean the patient’s teeth. The hygienist will do this to all sides of both the upper and lower teeth using a supersonic tooth. This staff member may also floss the patient’s teeth. While doing this, the hygienist will pay attention to whether the gums are bleeding and whether there are obvious issues with the teeth. The hygienist may also use a tool to scrape plaque and other buildup from the teeth.
Once the teeth are clean, the hygienist will use a tool to polish them. This process only takes a few minutes and occurs on both sides of every tooth. The general dentist may even recommend that the patient has a fluoride treatment at this time.
Examination from the general dentist
The appointment ends with a dental exam. The dentist reports on findings from the X-rays. Also, the dentist will take a look inside the patient’s mouth and may look for signs of mouth cancer or gum disease. The dentist also gives tips on proper dental care.
A positive experience
There is no reason to feel nervous about an appointment with the general dentist. After a trip to the office, you can feel good knowing that your oral health is in good hands. If you follow the dentist’s recommendations for dental hygiene, you can enjoy healthy, strong teeth for years to come.
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