If you do not work, then the local dentist is your best option, however if you work far from home, then the best thing to do is look for a dentist in the area that you work in. A lot of people have every intention of visiting their dentist every 6 months, but by the time they finish work and rush home, the local surgery is usually closed. Another option would be to visit the dentist on weekends, which is only convenient if your local practice is open on Saturdays.
Once you have chosen your location, go onto the practice website, this will give you a good indication of the practice ethos and way of working.
On your first visit to the practice, your dentist will ask about your medical history and conduct a thorough examination.
Checking your lips, cheeks, tongue, roof and floor of your mouth. Early detection of cancer is a must and this alone is a good reason to visit your dentist regularly.
Checking on gum recession, bleeding gums, and presence of plaque and the measurement of your gums. If this is overlooked, you risk losing your teeth at an early age. With people becoming more aware of their health, and with better information and technology available, this shouldn’t be happening. This screening plays a very important role so be sure to check with your dentist if you don’t feel you have been checked thoroughly.
Checking for decay, fracture lines, broken teeth, tooth wear, fit of existing crowns and fillings. All of this is needed to check the health of your teeth and to determine whether or not you require treatment. Aesthetics are also important and the dentist should mention if she thinks there might be an issue, or if your smile can be improved in any way.
X-rays should be taken on your first visit, to check for: bone levels, decay between your teeth, the fit of existing fillings and dental crowns, buried teeth and any other abnormalities. If there are no major issues with your teeth and gums, your X-rays should be repeated every 18 months to 2 years.
Your dentist should give you a detailed explanation of the findings. If you need any treatment you should be told why, and which teeth need to be treated. She should also inform you of all the treatment options and materials they recommend, as well as the time frames in which the treatment should be carried out.
At this point feel free to ask any questions you may have, it is very important that you feel comfortable with the dentist’s explanation of your oral health and that you understand everything she says. To gain a clearer understanding about what’s going on, you should always ask your dentist to explain treatment details to you.
A good dentist will always have time to talk to you and should be happy to answer any questions about your treatment. The practice should provide you with a detailed estimate of the cost of your treatment.
If for any reason you don’t feel happy or comfortable with the dentist or the practice, do not hesitate to seek a second opinion elsewhere; and don’t forget to take your x-rays with you.