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I Haven’t Been to the Dentist in Years. What Should I Expect?
Sep 5, 2018

dentist examining a girl's teeth Dental Care Center

Have you let time slip by you when it comes to dental visits? Have financial burdens restricted you from being able to take care of your dental hygiene? Or perhaps, has a fear of the dentist caused you to keep pushing back your yearly check-up? Whatever your reasoning may be, you’re not alone! In fact, many Americans are in the same boat as you. Dental phobia is common in about 9% to 15% of Americans, causing them to avoid seeing the dentist regularly. If you haven’t been to the dentist in years, here are some things you can expect during your next visit.  


First, feel free to let us know if you’re nervous. Many people dislike dental visits, and we can work with you to make it as comfortable as possible.

Your dental hygienist will perform a comprehensive oral exam that starts with looking at your teeth for any signs of cavities or other oral issues. Next, he or she will do a thorough cleaning and floss your teeth. If it has been many years since your visit, the cleaning may take more time than usual. Next, your dentist will check your teeth to make sure everything looks good.


Your dentist will probably suggest X-rays so he/she can get a better look at your oral health. In most dental offices, you’ll remain seated in your chair. Your hygienist will place on your chest a heavy, lead vest to protect you from radiation. (Ladies, please tell the dentist if you are pregnant.) Then the hygienist or dental assistant will ask you to open your mouth and insert tiny plastic plates in certain positions so that they can X-ray different angles. The plastic pieces aren’t large, but they can feel uncomfortable, especially the ones used to take images of your back teeth. Breathe through your nose and remain calm.

What should I do after my visit?

Depending on the state of your teeth, you may need to come back within a week or two to fill cavities or manage your oral health in other ways. Meanwhile, be sure to continue your healthy hygiene habits at home. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy smile, and we’ll give you samples of toothpaste and floss to get you started. Then, schedule your next dental check-up in six months to maintain a healthy smile!

If finances are the reason you’ve stayed away, ask us about options.