4 Things to Know If You Haven't Been to the Dentist for a Long, Long Time

If you haven't been to the dentist in 10 years or more, you may be wondering what to expect during your first appointment back in the chair. Ultimately, the experience will be different for everyone, but there are a few things you may want to know before you go. Here's what to keep in mind.

1. You Are Not Alone

The wisdom of the day indicates that people should go to the dentist once a year, and some people even recommend going more frequently for cleaning. In that environment, it's easy to feel like you've failed if you haven't gone to the dentist for a long time, but you shouldn't feel like that.

Sometimes life and finances get in the way. A quick internet search of what to expect if you haven't gone to the dentist in a long time yields all sorts of conversations and posts from people in the same situation. It helps to know that you are not alone.

2. No Pain Doesn't Mean No Cavities

If you are having a lot of dental pain, that probably indicates that you have a cavity or an issue with your gums. However, the reverse is not true. If you don't have oral pain, that doesn't mean that you don't have cavities.

Cavities start small, and they often aren't painful right away. However, if you go in to the dentist, you can get them repaired before the decay spreads and gets worse.

3. Bedside Manner Is Important

Ideally, when you are looking at dentists and trying to decide which one to choose, you should look for reviews regarding their bedside manner. Sometimes you can even just talk to the receptionist and get a sense of the vibe in that dental clinic.

Most dentists will treat you and give you advice about oral health as needed without lecturing or shaming you. If that's important to you or if you have had issues with shaming in the past, you may want to keep that in mind when looking for a dental professional.

4. Some Techniques May Have Changed

The overall science of dentistry has not changed a lot in recent decades, but in spite of that, you may notice some small changes when you go back to the dentist. For instance, if your teeth were last cleaned with metal scrapers, you may now encounter laser cleaning. Most of the changes are designed to make you, the patient more comfortable.