Haven't Been To The Dentist In Several Years? What You Can Expect

Posted on: 25 March 2017

If you have not be to the dentist in several years, you may find yourself in a position where you feel that you need to go back to a dentist again. Whether you are going because of a specific issue like a toothache or you simply feel as if you need a cleaning and a checkup with a general dentist again, you could be wondering what you might expect from the appointment when you arrive. Get to know some of the dentistry changes that have occurred in recent years as well as what you can expect when you go into your first appointment in several years so you can be prepared.

Expect Changes In The X-Ray Process

Dental x-rays have changed a great deal in recent years. All of these changes are for the better, both for dentists and for dental patients. Digital x-rays have now widely replaced standard film x-rays. This allows dentists to get the images more quickly and be able to read them more easily.

These digital x-rays also use lower levels of radiation to render higher quality images of the jaw and teeth. The lower levels of radiation make the x-ray process much safer for patients, and they can receive better care thanks to the higher quality images.

Many dentists also offer panoramic dental x-rays today. To get panoramic dental x-rays, a patient sits or stands with their chin resting on a platform and they bit down gently on a plastic guard. Then the x-ray machine rotates around their head, taking multiple images to create a single panoramic view of the entire mouth and jaw. Such a scan can give a dentist a good idea of the unique structure of the individual's face and mouth and better gauge their dental needs.

Be Prepared to Need a Dental Scaling and Root Planing Appointment

If you have gone several years without seeking dental care, it is very likely that you will be in need of a deep cleaning of your teeth. Over those years, no matter how diligently you may have brushed and flossed your teeth, plaque developed on your teeth. Without professional dental cleanings that plaque hardens and calcifies, making it very difficult to remove.

While this calcification happens, the gum tissue may become inflamed and begin to erode as well (due to the plaque and bacteria in the mouth). All of this will need to be dealt with by your dentist to give you a fresh start on your dental care.

The deep cleaning process is known as dental scaling and root planing. Essentially, your dentist will use a water tool or other dental instrument to chip away that calcified plaque. They will also clean in the pockets of the gums around your teeth where plaque and bacteria may have pushed the gums outward causing root exposure. Usually, dentists opt to do dental scaling and root planing in two appointments -- one for each side of the mouth to make the process easier on the patient and to reduce any minor discomfort.

Keeping these facts in mind, you can feel better prepared when you are returning to the dentist's chair for the first time in several years.