How to Prepare for a Dentist Appointment

How to Prepare for a Dentist Appointment

Going to the dentist regularly is an important part of staying healthy and proactively avoiding cavities, gum disease, enamel wear, and more. When preparing for a dentist appointment, there are some details you should review ahead of time. You’ll get the most benefit out of your visit when you take a few minutes to prepare for your dentist appointment.

Understand Your Insurance

If you have dental insurance, check with your insurer to find an in-network dentist whenever possible. When a dentist is part of your insurance provider’s network, they’ve agreed to an approved fee for services. While your insurance plan may extend some benefits to out-of-network dentists, it’s usually less of a hassle and less costly to use an in-network dentist. 

You can also prepare for a dentist appointment by understanding your insurance benefits for specific procedures. Typically dental plans cover preventative appointments such as bi-annual cleanings. But if you’re planning to get a more in-depth procedure like a cavity filling or crown, be sure to fully read your benefits ahead of time. Knowing your dental deductible and the amount your insurance will  cover for specific procedures can help you plan and potentially save on costs. 

Before a dentist appointment, you can also get a procedure pre-approved by your insurance provider. Oftentimes the front staff at a dentist’s office can help you by submitting the procedure to your insurance provider to check what amount would be covered – the more you know the better prepared you’ll feel going into your visit. 

Transfer Your Dental Records

If this will be your first appointment with a new dentist, you’ll want to transfer your dental records. These records contain the full history of your teeth, including notes and x-rays. This is valuable information to have for a new dentist appointment. Having these records helps a dentist understand your dental background and quickly identify any potential issues.  

Typically your previous dentist’s office can scan or fax the records to your new dentist. Pro tip – be sure to give them a few days notice so the records arrive in time for your appointment. 

Think About Any Concerns

Prepare for your dentist appointment by listing out any concerns. Grinding your teeth lately? Or looking to get your teeth whitened? Whatever the concern, come with a list ready to discuss with your dentist. Even if the concern will be handled in the future – such as keeping an eye on tooth sensitivity – get it added as a note to your file. This will remind the dentist to check up on it during future appointments.

One of the most important parts of going to the dentist is preventative care. This means identifying any issues ahead of time or before they get too advanced. As the patient, you’re often the first to notice tooth, mouth, or gum issues. Bringing these concerns to a dentist appointment is an important part of getting ahead of  more advanced issues before they develop.

Plan for Follow-up Care

Be ready for the follow-up care needed after a dentist appointment. Routine care will include steps like remembering to brush and floss regularly. But more advanced procedures like a root canal or tooth extraction can come with a detailed follow-up plan. In some cases you may not be permitted to eat or drink for a certain period, or if you’re put under anesthesia for a procedure, you may need a friend or family member to pick you up from the appointment.

A dentist’s office will be able to help answer your questions about follow-up care. You can get the details from them prior to an appointment so you can plan accordingly. 

Last but not least, be prepared to schedule your next dental appointment. Keeping your mouth healthy and clean requires regular check-ups. Getting a dentist appointment scheduled ahead of time ensures you’ll be seen and checks an item off your to-do list.

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