It can be nerve wracking sitting in a dentist’s reception waiting to meet the toothbrush-wielding expert who will assess the health of your teeth. As you flip through a magazine in the waiting room, there may be all sorts of thoughts jostling for space in your mind. “Did I brush well enough this morning?” you might wonder. “Will I be reprimanded for my failure to floss?” or even, “Will there be pain involved?”. It’s time to take a breath of relief. At Pacific Smiles, we pride ourselves on the friendly, skilled, non-judgemental and caring dentists practicing in our centres and if we can eliminate the mystery we can reduce the fear. Here’s what you can expect when you check in for your check-up – so you can arrive – and leave, with a smile.
Tell us about yourself
At Pacific Smiles, we like to be prepared, which is why filling out a Medical History Questionnaire prior to your first visit is essential. This gives your dentist the necessary details on your health background, so they can tailor your appointment for you and your needs. You can download the questionnaire, fill it out and bring it with you – or arrive ten minutes early and complete the form while waiting for your appointment.
Meet your dentist
Your appointment begins with a consultation with your dentist. It’s the perfect opportunity to chat about your pearly whites along with any concerns, issues or goals you may have regarding your teeth, gums and the appearance of your smile. Your dentist will take a look at your teeth, gums and other areas of your mouth such as your tongue, palate and cheeks and assess their overall health. They may even recommend x-rays for a closer look at what’s going on inside your mouth, especially on a first visit, where the dentist is seeing you for the first time.
Having an x-ray
There’s nothing like an x-ray to reveal what’s really going on in and around your teeth. Even if everything is gleaming on the surface, an x-ray can reveal things often hidden from the naked eye, from cavities to gum disease and the overall health of the bone and supporting tissues that keep your teeth in place. X-rays will show any underlying teeth that may not yet have erupted, or any underlying pathology like boney cysts, which may not be seen by simply examining the inside of your mouth. During your visit, you may be introduced to one (or more) of the three types of x-rays we use. The small dental x-ray (called an intraoral x-ray) shows the inside of individual teeth and the immediate surrounding bone and is often used to look for cavities between teeth or when looking at the health of an individual tooth. The 3D x-ray shows the structure of the jaw and teeth in a series of very thin slices and shows much finer detail. It can be used for a variety of reasons but is commonly used to investigate the jaws and associated bone. The OPG x-ray (which is short for Orthopantomogram) reveals a panoramic view of the jaw providing a great overview of your teeth, jaws and surrounding boney structures. Your dentist will determine the most effective x-rays for you based on your individual needs.
Shine bright like a diamond
That dentist-clean feeling is unrivalled when it comes to your mouth feeling fresh. Your dentist will likely suggest a clean and scale to remove tartar buildups (which is a build up of hardened plaque), and a polish which will leave your teeth feeling exceptionally smooth. Finish up with an application of fluoride if required, which can help reduce dental decay while also minimising sensitivity.
Your dental assistant will take you back to reception where you can pay, make health fund claims (if you have insurance) and book any necessary additional appointments. Feel free to book in for your next six-monthly checkup – or request a reminder closer to the time. Then walk out the door, with your squeaky-clean teeth, confident in the knowledge than you’ve been in excellent hands.