Scheduling Your Dental Treatments for the Most Effective Results

Scheduling Your Dental Treatments for the Most Effective Results

Jan 29, 2014

You already know not to have tooth surgery right before your wedding, but when is the best time to have it done? Getting your teeth whitened before photos are taken is a great idea, but how far in advance should you make an appointment?

Now that you have your dental plan for the New Year, you have to decide how to schedule your procedures in the most effective way. Fortunately you don’t have to schedule your dental plan all at once. You can space treatments around obligations and holidays, while also setting aside the necessary finances for when you will need them.

Scheduling Exams and Cleanings

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visiting your dentist twice a year for a routine cleaning and thorough examination. Because there are six months between appointments, you can schedule your visits far in advance and still ensure you will be available. If something comes up, you also have plenty of time to reschedule. Some patients need scaling and planing in order to eliminate tartar build-up completely. If that is your situation, then you may need to see the dentist every 3-4 months instead of only twice a year. You also don’t want to schedule a cleaning the day before an important event, as your gums may be a little sore for a few days.

Scheduling a Root Canal

The actual root canal should not cause any significant discomfort, as the dentist will numb the area thoroughly. However, it is normal to have some sensitivity and inflammation for a few days after the procedure. Although over-the-counter medication can usually take care of any discomfort, you won’t want to schedule a root canal right before a holiday or special event, just in case you aren’t feeling up to par. Also keep in mind that it may take more than one visit to complete the root canal, depending on the severity of the infection.

Scheduling Oral Surgery

There are several types of oral surgeries performed on a regular basis, but the most common procedures are extractions and wisdom teeth removal.

  • Tooth extractions – Your dentist may recommend an extraction because of an abscess or to make room for other teeth. First you will be given an anesthetic so that you are comfortable during the surgery. Some patients require stitches, which may dissolve on their own or need to be removed by the dentist later. The dentist will prescribe pain medication and give you a list of instructions to aid the healing process. Don’t schedule extractions before important events or holidays because you will probably not feel up to it. Build time in your schedule so that you can rest for one or two days after the surgery before returning to your routine. You may need more time to recuperate if you have general anesthesia.
  • Wisdom teeth removal – When wisdom teeth become impacted or cause overcrowding, they need to be removed. You will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area or general anesthesia so that you can “sleep” through the surgery. Your dentist will stitch up the area after surgery and pack your mouth with gauze to control the bleeding. You will need a few days to heal after surgery, during which you will be given pain medication to control discomfort. Do not make any plans for several days after surgery to give yourself a chance to heal.

Scheduling Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening can be scheduled at your convenience. You will need to make two appointments – one to be fitted for the trays, and the other to check the fit once they are ready. Be prepared to wear the trays twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for several weeks. If you are whitening your teeth for a special event, give yourself a few weeks lead time to ensure the best results.

No matter which treatments you think you may need, it is best to first schedule an appointment with your dentist. He or she can prioritize your procedures and the office manager can help you to determine which treatments are covered by insurance. Then you can space out your procedures accordingly.

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