How to Prepare for a Dentist Appointment in 7 Easy Steps

A little preparation for your dentist appointments can go a long way. This guide explains how to prepare for a dentist appointment in 7 easy steps.

Less than 65% of American adults went to the dentist in 2019.

Are you guilty of not going to the dentist as often as you should? It's ok to admit it!

The good news is that even if you haven't been in a while, you can get back on track by scheduling a dentist appointment. And what's even better is that there are a few key things you can do to help prepare for your appointment to make it go smoothly. 

Keep reading to learn about the 7 things you should do prior to your next dental appointment. 

1. Understand What Your Insurance Covers

If you have dental insurance, most of the time, preventative care is covered under your plan. That means you shouldn't have to pay for cleanings and x-rays out of pocket. 

However, it's a good idea to double-check your coverage, just to make sure.

If your appointment is for other types of treatment, like getting a cavity filled, a root canal, etc., then you should try to find out what your insurance covers and what you'll be responsible for paying yourself.  This helps eliminate a surprise bill at the end of your appointment.

If you don't have insurance, look into our membership plan, which helps cover out-of-pocket expenses.

2. Make Sure Your Dental Records Are on File

If you're going to a new dentist for the first time, you'll want to make sure that they have your dental records from your previous dentist. 

Most of the time, the new office will coordinate with the old office, but they may need some information from you in order to do so. Well before your appointment, make sure they have access to your files, x-rays, and any other important information. 

This helps ensure they have an accurate view of your dental history. Then, they can give you a proper treatment plan accordingly.

If you're visiting the same dentist, but's it's been a while since your last appointment, they should have everything they need on file already.

3. Communicate About Dental Anxiety

Up to 20% of Americans put off visiting the dentist because they experience some type of dental anxiety. One of the best things you can do to help reduce dental anxiety is to talk about it with your dentist. 

Before your appointment, be upfront with your dentist about your fears or concerns. When they know how you feel, they can help make you feel more comfortable once you're in the office. 

Remember, dental offices understand how to help people cope with dental anxiety. But if they don't know how you're feeling, they won't be able to offer you the support you need. 

4. Confirm Your Appointment

Usually, about 24 hours before your appointment, your dentist will reach out, asking you to confirm your appointment. Don't forget to do so!

If you have a schedule change, make sure to communicate that with the office as soon as possible. And if you do have to cancel your appointment, don't put off rescheduling it. 

Get it back on the calendar as soon as possible so you don't go too long between appointments. In general, you should schedule cleanings every six months. 

5. Write Down Questions

Is there something in particular you want to discuss with your dentist? If so, make sure you jot it down prior to your appointment. 

Once you get in the chair, it can be easy to forget about any questions or concerns you may have. So if you put them in a note, it'll be easier for you to discuss everything with your dentist when the time comes. 

And don't forget to make note of concerns throughout the year, not just in the weeks leading up to your appointment.

For example, if you noticed some pain while eating that eventually went away on its own, it's still not a bad idea to bring that up with your dentist. But without a written reminder at the time, you might forget about it by the time your appointment comes around.

Instead of relying on remembering to bring a piece of paper with you, you could start a dental notes list on your phone, so you can add questions or concerns when they arise. Then, everything will be in one place for your appointment.

6. Practice Good Dental Hygiene Habits

Of course, it's a good idea to brush and floss your teeth right before your appointment. However, you should be practicing good oral health habits in the weeks and months leading up to your appointment as well. 

Yes, that's our way of saying you should never skip a day of taking care of your teeth!

You already know the importance of brushing and flossing, but there are a few other healthy habits to remember as well. When you brush, try setting a timer to make sure you're brushing for at least 2 minutes. 

And don't forget to replace your toothbrush every 3 months. If you can't always brush your teeth between meals, consider chewing sugar-free gum, which can help remove bacteria from your mouth that stays between teeth after meals.

7. Bring Dental Gear With You

If you have special dental gear like retainers, mouth guards, or a sleep apnea mouth device, it's a good idea to bring them with you to your appointment.

Your dentist can take a look at them to make sure they're still in good condition.

They can also help you keep the devices clean by running them through an ultrasonic cleaner. This will help your gear last longer and help keep your teeth healthy, by making sure the gear doesn't contain harmful bacteria. 

Now You're Ready for Your Next Dentist Appointment

After reading through this guide, you know all the most important things to do to help you prepare for your next dentist appointment. 

If you're looking for a new dentist, look no further than the Axiom Dentistry team! With 8 convenient locations around the greater Raleigh area, we're here to help you have a healthy smile for life. 

Take the first step by downloading our new patient form today.

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