Haven’t Been To The Dentist in Years: What To Expect?

Haven’t been to the dentist in a while? Wondering what to expect? 

Maybe it’s been 6 months.. A year… 10 years… that is OKAY! It’s never too late to start going to the dentist. 

Things may be a little different since the last time you went. So we want you to know exactly what to expect.


This is a critical part of preventative health care. X-rays are very important because they allow your dentist to look past the gums into deeper areas of jaw bone and teeth. It allows your dentist to diagnose other oral health issues that may be invisible during a normal oral evaluation. 




Whether you are going to the dentist for an emergency, or for a cleaning – the doctor will do an exam to determine the health of your mouth. They will check for cavities, signs of gum disease, cancer screening, and any possible problems that could have occurred since your last visit. It may be likely to have a cavity or two if it’s been over 10 years since your last visit. They might also recommend taking action against gum disease. 



Gum Measurements 

Measuring the space between your teeth and gum tissues is called periodontal charting. Your dental hygienist will use a probing tool which gently inserts into that space. This tool has little markings like a tape measure which shows how deep your gum pockets are. 






Plaque Build-up

If it has been some time since your last appointment – you can expect significant plaque buildup on the surface of your teeth. This may require you to do a full mouth debridement or scaling and root planing first before you can do a normal cleaning or perio maintenance.

What is full mouth debridement? This is a procedure which removes thick or dense deposits on your teeth. This type of cleaning is needed when the tooth is deeply so covered with calculus and plaque that the dentist and staff cannot regularly check for infections, decay, and gum disease. Debridement is not the same as a regular cleaning. 

What is scaling and root planing? According to the ADA – Scaling is when your dentist removes all the plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) above and below the gumline, making sure to clean all the way down to the bottom of the pocket. Your dentist will then begin root planing, smoothing out your teeth roots to help your gums reattach to your teeth. Scaling and root planing may take more than one visit to complete and may require a local anesthetic (Scaling And Root Planing, 2020).

Bleeding Gums

When the hygienist begins to floss your teeth, you gums will most likely start bleeding. While this may be a bit unnerving, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a problem. Many times, gums bleed when they are not used to the pressure of floss, as it moves between teeth. You can reduce the chances of bleeding by regularly flossing your own teeth at home.

Make an Appointment

If you haven’t seen a Dentist in at least 6 months, you should think about making an appointment with one. When making a new appointment, you will most likely have to fill out new patient paperwork, and provide your insurance information (if you are using insurance). Many dentist’s offer new patient specials to make it more affordable. We have a new patient special for our patients – it’s only $42 which includes exam & x-ray. You can call us to make an appointment at 407-282-2101 or submit a request through our website.



More from East Orlando Dental 

Six Tips for Choosing Your Next Dental Plan

At-Home VS. Professional Teeth Whitening

COVID-19: Going to The Dentist

Works Cited

Scaling and Root Planing. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2020, from https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/scaling-and-root-planing 

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