Dental patient prepared for her visit.

A dental exam can cause a hint of anxiety for anyone. Despite the nerves, these regular check-ups are crucial in maintaining oral health and early detection of potential issues.

Understanding how to prepare for your dental exam can go a long way in alleviating your concerns. Here’s a quick and handy guide to make your next dental visit as smooth and beneficial as possible.

Your Dental Exam is Important

Just like seeing your medical doctor regularly, dental check-ups are incredibly important. At a regular exam, you will get your teeth cleaned and your mouth examined. The American Dental Association recommends exams and cleanings twice per year.

Getting Ready for a Dental Check-up

Whether you are diligent about getting your twice-annual dental exams or you have not been to your dentist as recently as you should have, prepping for your exam is the same.

Brush and Floss

You don’t need to go overboard before you visit. In fact, being too vigorous with brushing and flossing to make up for lost time can be harmful. But you should clean your teeth as you normally do.

Brushing and flossing before your visit ensures that your dentist has a clean workspace. Brush for at least two minutes using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush. Floss thoroughly, focusing on each tooth and the hard-to-reach areas. The aim here isn’t to impress your dentist but to create a good starting place for them, allowing for a more accurate examination.

Confirm Your Date and Time

Nothing adds to pre-exam stress more than the frantic rush of a forgotten appointment. Make sure you confirm your date and time ahead of when your appointment is scheduled. And don’t rely solely on your memory—use digital tools at your disposal. Setting a reminder on your smartphone or digital calendar can be incredibly helpful in ensuring you don’t forget the day.

Arrive a bit early, if possible, especially if you are visiting a new dentist, so you can fill out any necessary paperwork without feeling rushed. This will also give you a few minutes to calm your nerves and familiarize yourself with the environment.

Write Down Questions, Concerns, and Symptoms

Your dentist is there to help, so don’t hesitate to express any concerns, ask questions or discuss symptoms you’ve been experiencing. Writing these down ahead of time ensures you don’t forget anything important once you’re in the chair.

Whether it’s a nagging toothache, increased sensitivity, or simply a question about a dental product, jot it down. A note-taking app on your phone is a good place. Your dental exam is the perfect opportunity to get professional advice and get those questions answered.

Be Prepared to Provide Your Medical and Dental History

Your overall health plays a significant role in your dental health. Diseases like diabetes or medications like blood thinners can impact your oral hygiene. Hence, it’s vital to provide an accurate and up-to-date medical and dental history.

Take a few minutes before your appointment to refresh your memory on the names and dosages of any medication you’re taking, as well as any recent health changes. This information will help your dentist understand your current health status and adjust their examination or treatment strategy accordingly.

Try to Relax

This may be easier for some than for others, especially if you experience dental anxiety. But relaxation is key to a successful dental exam. Fear or anxiety can cause muscle tension, which can make the examination more difficult. If this is an issue for you, try employing some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualization. Your comfort is our priority. So if you’re feeling nervous, let us know.

Time to Get Ready

Remember, the objective of any dental exam is to maintain your oral health and prevent any small issues from becoming major problems. You don’t have to do much to prepare, but your active participation can make a significant difference in maintaining your healthy smile.

If you haven’t already, go ahead and book your dental exam now!