Family Dentist: What to Expect During Your Visit

Unfortunately, fear of the dentist is an incredibly common phenomenon even among adults. Dentophobia can be caused by past bad experiences, but it can also come from an innate fear that’s much harder to pin down. No matter the cause, you don’t have to be afraid of visiting the family dentist.

Of course, overcoming anxiety is much easier said than done. One of the easiest ways to overcome fear is to understand the thing you’re afraid of. That’s where this article comes in.

Below, you’ll learn precisely what to expect from a trip to the dentist’s office.

First Visit

If it’s your first visit to a new office, there are a few things to expect. For one, treat this first trip as an opportunity to get to know the staff. Being comfortable with the team will help ease any anxieties you might have.

Use this as an opportunity to ask any questions you may have or express any concerns. Any good office will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Your first visit will also be a chance for your dentist to get any bits of medical information they may need from you. Expect to be asked about medical history, dental history, allergies, etc. Depending on your dentist’s practices, they may even run x-ray’s along with your oral exam, just to get a comprehensive idea of what your dental hygiene and overall oral situation looks like.

Overall, you should treat the first visit as a trial run. If something seems off, you can try going with a new dentist. But more than likely, you’ll find any fears you had were unfounded.

Routine Visit


Obviously, step one is making an appointment. Try to plan so that it interferes with your schedule as little as possible. This will help make it a low-stress affair.

Make sure to build in extra time since wait times can vary. There are often unforeseen circumstances, so having that extra padding will make sure your daily schedule isn’t thrown out of whack.

This is also when you can find out what your insurance will cover. Depending on your policy and whether your new dentist is in-network, you might have a co-pay. Find out what exactly to expect so you know how to prepare for your visit.

Plan on arriving 15 minutes early for your appointment. Even for routine appointments, it’s best to build in some extra time to fill out any necessary paperwork. 

At the Appointment

Now that you’ve got all the paperwork and preparation out of the way, it’s time to look at what happens during your actual appointment. There are a number of answers to this question.

First things first, you’ll be led to the extremely comfortable chair you’ll spend the rest of your appointment in. Next, they’ll typically cover your chest with a protective cloth so your clothes don’t get dirty. They might also provide eye shields to keep your eyes protected from the overhead light.

Before getting into the actual procedure, the hygienist will do a thorough examination of your whole mouth. This is just to make sure everything is as it should be and to find out what areas they might need to spend extra time on.

As you’re lying there waiting for your cleaning, you’ll probably notice the wide array of metal tools the hygienist has laid out. While they might look scary, they’re just simple instruments they’ll use to make sure your teeth are sparkling clean.

The hygienist will clean your teeth one by one. They’ll then use a spinning brush to polish your teeth. The good part about this is that you usually get to pick out your favorite flavor of buffing paste.

After that, you’ll get the chance for a thorough rinse. This will leave you feeling nice and refreshed after all the work that’s just been done.

Finally, the dentist will come in. Their job is to do a final exam and make sure everything is in order.

On top of checking to make sure the hygienist did a good job, they’ll also check for any abnormalities. This includes cavities, gingivitis, and other common oral issues.

This final check might include a bit of poking and prodding, but there shouldn’t be much pain. Don’t be concerned if your gums bleed a bit. This is normal and should be expected after a thorough cleaning. 

Something to keep in mind if you’re still experiencing anxiety after reading this is that you are the one in control. It’s easy to feel helpless when you’re laid back in an examination chair, but you have the power to call the shots. After all, the dentist is just there to provide a service for you.

If at any point during the cleaning or exam you experience intolerable pain, discomfort, or anxiety, a good dentist will be more than happy to let you take a break. Don’t be embarrassed or hesitant to ask for a little breather if you need one.

Ultimately, the procedures you’ll experience during a routine visit are simple, quick, and virtually painless. Don’t concern yourself too much with specifics. You’ll be in good hands.

Don’t Fear the Family Dentist

Now that you know exactly what to expect from a visit to your family dentist, your anxiety about the whole thing should diminish. As you can see, there’s really nothing to be nervous about at all! 

But if you’re still feeling a little fear, don’t feel bad. Sometimes hearing it from someone else is the best course of action. If you’re ready to see the dentist but still need some more convincing, check out these patient testimonials and then make an appointment to get those teeth back in tip-top shape!


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