Your First Dental Visit: A Comprehensive Guide for New Patients
We understand that visiting a new dentist for the first time or after several years can be an uncomfortable experience. If you, or someone you know, is unsure of what to expect during their first appointment, this guide can help alleviate concerns. From what to say during your initial phone call, to when to plan your follow up visit, our team is here every step of the way.
Schedule Your Appointment
For your convenience, we offer online scheduling, but if you have any hesitancy about seeing us for the first time, it's best to call our office directly rather than book an appointment online. Our front desk team can help you understand what makes our doctors and practice unique, ensure the day and time of your appointment works with your schedule, and answer many of your questions and concerns before your appointment. Plus, by speaking with our admin specialists, you’ll know the name of who to ask for, should you need assistance updating the details of your visit.
Important things to mention during your first phone call with a dental practice include:
The estimated date of your last cleaning and exam
Any pain or discomfort
Any dental-related fears or anxieties
Any family members who may also be in need of a dental visit
If you’d like to use dental insurance benefits, it’s also a good idea to have your dental insurance card handy. By providing the necessary details in advance, our team will be able to verify your insurance and offer an estimated cost for your first visit once you arrive.
Our team is proud to accept new patients even if you don’t have dental insurance. However, if you’re looking for an affordable and reliable solution to dental care, consider enrolling in our in-house wellness program, which allows you and your family to save on treatment from a team you can trust.
We are focused on delivering high-quality dental services and building long-term relationships with our patients, regardless of cost. Other practices may offer new patient discounts or promotions intended to get you in the door. However, we prefer to price our services fairly for all patients, ensuring that everyone receives the best possible care without compromising on the quality of our services.
Before Your Appointment
Preparing for your visit in advance can often help lower anxiety. Here are a few things you can do before your first visit:
Complete your new patient forms. Your new patient forms are valuable because they offer insight to your overall health (like allergies and current medications), dental history, and contact preferences. All of this information is necessary for your dentist to gain a complete understanding of your oral health and wellness so you can have a safe and positive experience.
Confirm your appointment via text or phone. One to two weeks prior to your appointment, you’ll begin receiving text messages, emails, and phone calls from the practice to remind you that a special time has been reserved for you. These messages allow you to conveniently and easily confirm the details of your visit. If these messages feel overwhelming, speak to our administrative team about lessening the frequency.
Make a list of questions. Some people can get nervous and distracted once they arrive at the dentist, causing them to forget important questions. Before your first appointment, make a list of your smile goals so you can speak with your dentist about the best way to achieve those goals.
When it's time for your appointment, your dental assistant or dental hygienist will greet you at the lobby and escort you to your room. Here, we’ll review your paperwork, verify the reason for your visit, and discuss any concerns you may have about your smile. Our goal is to make you feel comfortable so we can understand your needs and help you achieve and maintain great oral health. To do that, your dental team will also take dental x-rays which will allow your dentist the insight they need to make sure your teeth and jawbones are healthy.
If you meet with one of our hygienists during your first visit, you will receive a hygiene assessment which focuses on gum health and preventative care. Your hygienist is the best resource for personalized recommendations for at-home oral care products and brushing and flossing techniques. They can also give preventative treatments like dental sealants and professional fluoride varnish which help to protect your teeth from decay.
Once your dentist arrives, they will review your x-rays and perform a comprehensive examination of your teeth, gums, oral tissues, bite, and jaw alignment. An oral cancer screening may also be done to detect any early signs of oral cancer. After this assessment, if your dentist identifies any concerns, they will recommend a treatment plan that may include solutions for existing tooth decay, periodontal maintenance, or possible cosmetic care.
Your Next Appointment
Before leaving the dentist, it’s crucial to schedule your follow up visits for recommended treatment and routine hygiene cleanings. Your dental assistant, hygienist, or front office team are all skilled in finding available time-slots that will work best with your schedule.
Remember, no question is too small! Do not hesitate to ask questions regarding the process or timeline of your treatment plan so you feel confident to move forward with your smile goals.
How Often Should You Visit the Dentist?
It's recommended that most people visit the dentist at least once every six months, even if you brush twice a day and floss daily. Some dental issues such as cavities or gum disease may not be noticed until they become painful and more advanced. By maintaining routine visits, your dental team can help you detect and treat oral health concerns before they become severe.
Follow this guide to prepare yourself and those you love for a positive first dental visit. Take the first step towards a healthier smile by booking your next appointment with us today!