We all know that going in for a visit at a Fort Worth dental office is not something most people enjoy.
In fact, The Washington Post reported just a few years ago that up to 10 percent of the population suffers from dental phobia, and up to 75 percent suffer from some level of fear or anxiety related to seeing the dentist.
As dental professionals, don’t worry; we’re not offended.
We know you may be afraid about what could happen during your visit: will the dentist find an issue you didn’t know about? Will your teeth or gums hurt during the procedures? Tooth pain is especially painful for many, so it’s a fear we understand.
Knowing that this fear exists, we think that preparing to go to your next dental appointment can be just as crucial as actually showing up. By following the simple steps listed below, you can be sure that each time you visit your dentist, you’ll get the most out of the visit — and feel even better when it’s all said and done.
Confirm Your Appointment
Most Fort Worth dental offices (like ours!) will give you a call or email a day or two before your scheduled appointment. Be sure to confirm it when they do — or give them a ring if you missed their call. Try to get to your appointment 10-15 minutes early, especially if this is your first visit. That should give you enough time to find where to park, check in with the front desk, and fill out any paperwork.
Come Prepared with the Necessary Information
Especially if your next dental appointment is the first one with a new dentist, you should come prepared with information on how your dentist can access your previous dental records.
- Make sure to have the following information:
It will be worthwhile to contact your previous dentist and determine how your dental records can be transferred to your new dentist to smooth the transition. Ask them to digitally send records (if they can) or request paper records a few weeks in advance, so you can bring them with you to your appointment.
- You’ll also want to be able to provide your new dentist with a list of any medications and their dosages that you’re currently taking. Write them down, along with dosages, so that you don’t make any mistakes.
- Lastly, make sure that you have information with you about your dental insurance coverage — bringing your insurance card is best. This should include precisely who your carrier is, as well as what kind of coverage you have with them. This could significantly impact your responsibility regarding any payments or copayments you may have to provide, so don’t forget.
Try to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
When you are well-rested, you are generally much less anxious and better prepared for whatever might happen at your visit to a Fort Worth dental office.
Conversely, if you have a poor night’s sleep, it can affect your judgment and your mood, which could negatively impact your experience at the dental office. Having a long and restful sleep will cause your body to be invigorated, and it will put you in a good mood, ready to face whatever the day brings.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth Before
At Smile Fort Worth, we recommend you brush and floss right before your appointment. If you’re short on time, or coming from work, stash a toothbrush and toothpaste in your bag and arrive a little early to brush up in our restroom.
A clean mouth lets our dentists or dental hygienists have a clear view of your teeth and gums. It also helps you feel more comfortable about “opening wide” in the dentist’s chair.
Write Down Any Issues
If anything regarding your oral health has happened since your last dental appointment, jot it down before you arrive. You can review these issues with your dentist at your regularly scheduled appointment so that you can get professional advice on how to handle these issues.
For instance, if you’ve been experiencing increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages, this should be mentioned to your dentist. It could be a sign of some issue like a developing cavity, or it could be a sign that a problem is developing with your gum line. Or, if you’ve been experiencing sore jaw muscles in the morning, you may be grinding your teeth at night. If that’s the case, we can fit you with a custom-made guard that protects your teeth while you sleep.
These issues are worth mentioning because they can prevent more costly and painful issues down the road, like a cracked or infected tooth. Safe yourself the pain and expense and let us know right away.
Bring Any Oral Appliances Along With You
Many dental patients are provided with some type of oral appliance to treat a condition they might have. If you have one of these appliances, you should bring it with you to the dental office so it can receive a thorough cleaning.
For example, you may be using equipment that treats sleep apnea; if this isn’t kept clean, it won’t be nearly as effective as it should be. Some dental patients are using Invisalign trays to straighten their teeth without the use of traditional braces, while other patients wear mouthguards to prevent grinding or clenching.
All these devices can be professionally cleaned and examined at the dental office, to make sure they’re performing as they should. (Keep in mind that any oral appliances you may use could potentially develop tartar, just as it might form on your teeth.)
Consult About Upcoming Procedures
When it happens that your next dental appointment is not a regular cleaning or routine checkup, you should be sure and consult with your dentist beforehand about whatever procedure you will be undergoing. Find out:
- how long the procedure is expected to take
- whether there are any preparatory steps you need to take
- and what you should be doing after the procedure for maintenance or recovery
It might also be worth checking to see if you need someone along with you on the day of the procedure, in case an anesthetic is administered that will impair your ability to drive.
Make Your Visit to a Fort Worth Dental Office a Success
We know: going to the dentist can be a cause for anxiety for many. But, it doesn’t have to be. By preparing for your next dental appointment with these simple steps, you can feel more at ease about your next visit.
And if you’re looking for a Fort Worth dental office that offers comprehensive dental care, we hope you’ll consider Smile Fort Worth. Our team is experienced in helping patients overcome dental anxiety, and we can help you, too. For help scheduling your first visit, give us a call at 817-732-6622.