Every time you see a new dentist, you are considered a new patient. However, you clearly are not new to dental care, and it can get to be somewhat annoying to go through the new-patient exam every time. Here are some tips on how to transition from your previous dentist to the new one.
Bring Your Old Dental Records with You
Prior to your appointment, ask your previous dentist for copies of your dental records. You do not need a reason to get these records since every patient is entitled to view and receive their own records whenever he or she wants. If you have to sign a release form, that is perfectly acceptable too, since this may be a prerequisite to receiving your records in your state. Then take the records with you to your initial appointment with your new dentist. Better yet, take the records there or mail or fax them over before your first appointment. It will save the new dentist a lot of time and technology to see your records without having to create new ones.
Have Excellent Oral-Hygiene Habits
If you do not already have excellent oral-hygiene habits, it is never too late to start. If you have an appointment with the new dentist in about a month, begin a very strict dental-hygiene routine now. You could actually make your appointment time shorter by removing surface stains and some plaque now. You can work to increase the overall health of your gums so that the dentist and hygienist do not have to stop every time you twinge in pain. If you already have excellent oral hygiene and very healthy teeth and gums, continue with your routine so that there is very little for the dentist to see and examine once you are in the dental chair.
Keep Dental Visits Current
One of the biggest headaches with switching dentists is a lack of dental history from at least two or more prior years. Since there are no records and no dental care was performed during those years, your new dentist would have to treat you as a completely new dental patient and perform a thorough dental exam before addressing any dental or oral problems you are experiencing. With that in mind, you may want to check to see when you saw a dentist last so you know what to expect at your first appointment with the new one.