There are many reasons as to why some people stop going to the dentist. Many stop going when they lose their dental insurance because they can't afford the out-of-pocket costs. Others may stop going once they reach adulthood and no longer have their parents scheduling appointments for them. Regardless of the reasoning, the fact remains that if you haven't been to the dentist in awhile, the prospect of returning for even a routine cleaning and exam can be daunting. Still, it's important that you go sooner rather than later so as to avoid potentially serious issues down the road.
Find a Gentle, Non-Judgmental Dentist
Start by finding a dentist's office that advertises itself as being gentle and/or non-judgmental. The last thing you need is a dentist who will lecture you and talk down to you about your hiatus between appointments. Instead, you should find a dentist who will work with you to make you feel comfortable and ensure that your cleaning and exam go as smoothly as possible--particularly if dental anxiety has been keeping you from visiting the dentist in recent years.
Ask About Insurance or Discounts
If you have dental insurance coverage, make sure the office you choose accepts your coverage by checking directly with their front desk or your insurance company. If you don't have insurance, don't assume you can't afford coverage. Many dentists these days offer free new patient exams, discount dental plans, and even substantial discounts on treatment for those who plan on paying in cash. Many dental offices also offer zero-percent financing for more expensive procedures as well.
Be Open and Honest When Scheduling
When you're scheduling your appointment, it's a good idea to let the staff know that this will be your first exam in X number of years. This can be useful information for the staff because they will probably want to allow for additional time during your cleaning. After all, there is a good chance that you'll need a deeper cleaning (also known as prophylaxis) and thus a longer appointment time.
Follow Through With Your Appointment
As tempting as it may be to back out of your appointment, the best thing you can do for your oral health is to stick with your commitment and have your exam/cleaning done. Remember that your dentist and hygienist likely work with patients just like you every day, so there's nothing they haven't seen before. The sooner you get back into a regular routine of cleanings and exams, the sooner you can improve your oral health. Contact dental experts for more info.