What Do I Do If I Haven’t Been To The Dentist Since The Pandemic?

One common issue for many dental patients, is skipping the dentist for months or years at a time. Dentists recommend two visits per year because that limits that amount of time decay can progress unchecked. This means catching decay before it becomes cavities or catching cavities before they spread or go deeper into the tooth and lead to infection. But what should you do if you had skip the dentist for over a year or two during the pandemic. Many people cancelled appointments when things got shut down, and while many have returned, we are seeing a lot of patients that are saying they were nervous to come back because they were worried about what to expect at a dental visit after years of not going. In this article, we will discuss making a new appointment with your dentist, finding a new dentist, and handling any potential anxiety you might have about a return visit. If you are in the southern Maine area and are looking for a judgement-free dental experience, please contact us. 

Do You Have Specific Dental Concerns?

It is unfortunately easy to fall in the habit of skipping dental exams. Often we see young adults post-college not make appointments for years at a time. This is due to a variety of reasons. Living in a new area, having changes in health insurance, and no longer having their parents to remind them of appointments, can make it easy to forget or avoid scheduling appointments. One of the main reasons people return to the dentist is because of a concern. For example, if you have a filling and it suddenly feels loose or it is leaking. Or if you notice pain or sensitivity towards cold/hot foods. 

If you have a dental issue, consider if it is an emergency or not. Broken/missing fillings, bridges, implants, are all reasons to pickup the phone and call an emergency dentist. The same goes for chipped, broken, or knocked out teeth. If you are noticing signs that make you feel like you might have a cavity or need a root canal, you shouldn’t wait to schedule an appointment. Find a dentist who can see you today or at the very least, this week. Any dental concern is better handled quickly than waiting for it to get worse. 

What If I Need To Find A New Dentist?

There are many reasons you might need to find a new dentist. If you switched jobs during the last few years and have a different insurance plan, if you moved for work or post-college, or if you simply had issues with your previous dentist, you should look for a new one. There are few things you want to make sure your new dentist provides. 

  • Payment Options: Before making an appointment, you will want to find a dentist that takes your insurance, provides financing, or has payment options that work for you. Even if you don’t have insurance, you can and should still see a dentist. If you are worried about how you will pay, try and find dentists that offer payment options like financing
  • Services: Most dentists provide the same core services, but it is important to make sure that your dental office can help with any specific problems. For example, some dentists don’t work with children, so if you are looking for an office that can see your entire family, you should check to see if they provide children’s dental services. 
  • Positive Experience: The last thing you want when going to a dentist’s office is to feel guilt, shame, or disrespected. One thing that many patients from kids to adults have said is an issue with going to the dentist is feeling like they are being judged or treated poorly because of their oral health. While a dentist cannot make a cavity or other dental issue disappear magically, the way they communicate with you is extremely important. A good dentist is understanding and encouraging to all of their patients.
When looking for a new dentist, some good advice is to ask coworkers who are on the same plan as you where they go, to read online reviews, and to be open and honest with the dentist. If you are anxious, you should be able to tell them. If you are worried about coming back to a dentist after years of not visiting, they should be able to help you feel more confident and relaxed during your treatment. 

Are There Differences Between a Routine Checkup & Your First Checkup in Years

There might be some differences. For example, if it is your first time with a new office, they might ask when you last visited. If they hear that it has been a while they might recommend X-rays, dental sealants, and other treatments that don’t always happen every time. A new dentist is going to take time to learn more about your teeth and gums, whereas on subsequent visits they will already have some information and be able to reference it and track/monitor your health. Additionally, you will likely need to do more paperwork if it is your first visit with a new dental office. 

Family Dental Services in Lewiston Maine

Skipping the dentist happens. But you should never let fear/anxiety about returning to the dentist prolong the time you aren’t seeing a dentist. Here at Aspire Family Dentistry we care about all of our patients and want to make sure that issues are caught early and addressed quickly. If you need to see a dentist, please give us a call or contact us. 

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