When Did You Last See A Dentist?

Returning to the dentist after a long gap can be a concern, but please don’t worry.

A dentist explainsMost people, most of the time, will see a dentist for a check up every six months or so. This is an excellent way of keeping  teeth healthy and restoring any tooth damaged by decay or breakage that has occurred in its early stage. There are some people though who may leave much longer gaps in between visits. There may be many reasons for this. For some people it is anxiety, whilst others might feel that there is nothing wrong with their teeth so why ‘waste’ money.

Inevitably, if we leave a gap that is too long, a dental problem will eventually occur. Even those who claim to have good ‘dental genes’ can still chip or break a tooth by accident. Generally though, it is toothache or perhaps encouragement from others that sees them return to the Confidental Clinic after a long absence.

Feeling guilty or anxious?

Dental phobia is one of the more common obstacles that makes patients avoid even a straightforward check up. This anxiety is only likely to increase when they realise that there is no escaping the need for treatment when they have a bad toothache. The first thing to consider here is that any invasive treatment needed will be performed using a local anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort. If your toothache is particularly bad, then the anaesthetic will provide some immediate relief and, however much you fear having work done on your teeth, take a deep breath and remember that once it is all over, you will be free of the pain that your toothache has been causing.

Hopefully for this category of patient, once the immediate problem has been resolved, they will keep up regular check ups in the realisation that this is the best way to avoid another toothache in the future.

It is surprising how many patients seem to feel guilty for not having been to our Streatham practice for some time. Whilst we do encourage people to have a check up every six months, we are not about to ‘tut’ at you or give you a lecture when you finally do return. Our dental team is not here to moralise but to help you have healthy teeth and gums. When you come to see us after an absence, our only interest is to treat any problems that are present and to help you back on the road to having a healthy mouth once again.

What to expect

When you return to our Streatham dental clinic after a lengthy absence, it is advisable to arrive a few minutes before your appointment to allow time for any paperwork to be completed. Our receptionists will advise on this. You will then be invited to relax in our waiting room until your appointment slot is ready. Where there is an urgent problem, such as a very painful toothache, the priority will be to treat that and allow you to feel comfortable again. In the case of decay, this may mean a filling but if it has been a long time and the decay has become too bad to save the tooth, we may need to extract it.

Once any immediate treatment is completed, we will usually recommend that you see our hygienist at another appointment. If you are unfamiliar with this, their role is simply to help you keep your teeth and gums nice and healthy. This is done through a combination of education; offering advice and answering any questions you might have and also a procedure known as a scale and polish.

This is not a procedure to be feared and is non invasive. It involves the removal of built up bacteria and mineral deposits from the teeth and the gum line. This is done by gently scraping away the excess before removing the rest using a sonic tool. Finally, your teeth and gums will be given a clean using a high speed brush. If you have not experienced this before, we think that you will be surprised at the difference just one appointment can make.

Finally, although you may feel relieved after your treatment is over and your toothache has gone, please don’t slip back into the habit of not seeing a dentist regularly. Just because one tooth has been saved or extracted doesn’t mean that others won’t follow. Any lengthy period of time without seeing a dentist makes it very likely that you will suffer dental problems again at an unknown time. To avoid this, please make sure to make, and keep, an appointment for six months time. If you do have to cancel for any legitimate reason, please make sure to book a new date at the same time as your cancellation. This will help to avoid it from slipping from your mind and will keep you on the right track with your oral health.

If you need to make an appointment at the Confidental Clinic please call our friendly reception team on 020 86742052.