What to Expect When You Go to the Dentist

If you’re booking in with your dentist soon, we’ve outlined what you can expect during your visit. We’ve also included common questions you may want to ask your dentist to get a better understanding of your oral health and how to help achieve the smile you want.

Going to the dentist should be a routine experience, but if you have never been, haven’t been in a while or are changing to a new dentist, then keep reading for a run down of what to expect.

After choosing your regular or holistic dentist, it’s important to ensure they have access to your oral and medical history so they can fully understand your previous and current health. You will also be able to schedule routine appointments to maintain your mouth’s health and book in any other needed services, like dental fillings or x-rays.

From routine teeth cleaning and examinations to dental fillings, here’s three common experiences when going to the dentist, in addition to questions to ask your dentist.

Photo by Caroline LM on Unsplash.

3 Things to Expect When You Go to the Dentist

1. If you’re a new patient.

If you are a new patient to a dental practice, your first visit to the dentist will be more thorough to help ensure your teeth are healthy and clean. The dentist and their team will try their best to ensure you feel safe and comfortable in the new environment.

During your visit, the dentist will look over your medical history to assess your oral health before beginning your oral examination. Your dentist will examine your mouth, teeth and gums and ask you questions relating to your oral health. The dentist will check for any issues, sensitivity or pain and may clean your teeth.

After your initial examination, your dentist will make a treatment plan for you to use to keep your teeth healthy and clean at home. The plan will likely tell you how often to brush and floss your teeth in addition to any recommended dietary or lifestyle changes.

Lastly, you will schedule your check-up appointment, which typically occurs every six months to maintain your oral health.


2. Teeth cleaning.

When going to the dentist, it is typically for a teeth cleaning, where a hygienist or dentist will clean your teeth and can assess if there are any problems which may need further attention.

After checking in at the front desk, you’ll be asked to take a seat and wait for your name to be called. The dentist or assistant will show you to your dental chair, where you’ll sit for the duration of your cleaning. They will place a cloth over your chest to keep you clean and you may be given eye shields for the bright lights they use to see into your mouth.

Next to the chair, you may see a range of dental tools, which they will use to clean your teeth. A dental hygienist will use these tools to scrape off any plaque from your teeth, remove any stuck food and polish your teeth after.

If you experience any pain in your mouth while getting your teeth cleaned, it’s important to let your dentist know. Most times, they’ll tell you before your teeth cleaning to raise your hand to let them know if you’d like them to stop, as it can be difficult or unsafe to move your mouth to tell them while they have tools in your mouth. They may provide you with a numbing agent if your teeth or gums are particularly sensitive.

Once your teeth have been cleaned, you’ll be provided with a cup or water to rinse your mouth with and spit down the sink. If your dentist didn’t perform your cleaning, then the hygienist will bring them in after your cleaning to examine your teeth to ensure they look healthy and give advice or instructions for future cleaning.


3. Dental fillings.

Your dentist may recommend you to get dental fillings, which help prevent tooth decay, strengthen your teeth and fill any holes in your teeth. Especially if you have tooth pain or sensitivity, dark spots or holes or visible cracks on any of your teeth, you may need a filling to fix cavities.

Dental fillings help deter damage from your teeth and prevent tooth decay and cracks. By getting a dental filling, food won’t be able to get stuck in hard-to-get places on your tooth, which may cause irritation and other issues.


Five Questions to Ask Your Dentist

1. How should I care for my teeth at home?

It’s likely your dentist will have already answered this question before the end of your appointment, but it’s a great idea to ask how to care for your teeth at home if they haven’t. Ensuring you’re caring for your teeth properly at home is vital to having health teeth and gums and can potentially lead to problems if you’re not caring for them properly.


2. How can I make my teeth whiter?

If you’d like to know how to make your teeth whiter, your dentist is a professional who can offer you their advice. Ask your dentist what they recommend for whiter teeth and if they say to avoid certain at-home products. They may suggest coming in for professional teeth whitening or suggest certain at-home products.


3. Do I have any dental conditions I should be aware of?

Asking your dentist if you have any dental conditions you should be aware of opens up the conversation about the current health of your mouth and how you can either improve or maintain your oral health.


4. Am I grinding my teeth?

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common issue, which can flatten teeth and cause headaches, a locked or sore jaw and discomfort. If you do grind your teeth, your dentist may recommend a splint (mouthguard) to help reduce the impact of grinding on your teeth while you sleep. A common cause of teeth grinding is anxiety, so meditating may also help reduce teeth grinding.


5. Should I change my diet in any way?

Food has a big impact on your oral health, so asking if your dentist recommends changing your diet in any way allows them to give their tips for better general and oral health. 


Looking to book your next dental appointment? You can find your local dentist on Localsearch.com.au!

Find the best Dentists in your area

I'm located in


      Chloe Thistle

      Junior Marketing Administrator

      Chloe Thistle is a Junior Marketing Administrator at Localsearch, bringing her talents and background in digital and social media marketing to her role. She has sharpened her marketing skills across many different industries, including entertainment, fashion and in the B2B field. In her spare time, Chloe can be found either lounging at the beach or five coffees deep at one of her favourite local cafés. No stranger to adventures, she’s trekked to Mt. Everest Base Camp — fueled by coffee of course — has completed the Kokoda Challenge and is always looking for the next mountain to climb! Chloe loves looking for ways to combine her passions for adventure, sustainability and marketing, always chasing the latest trends in both marketing and fashion. Now, she’s utilising her vast life and digital marketing experience to blog and assist in the content with the Localsearch Marketing Team.