What To Expect At Your First Dentist Appointment

If you’ve moved to the Portland area recently, you’re likely in the market for a new dentist. But visiting a new dentist for the first time can seem daunting or uncomfortable for many. Perhaps you have some negative memories associated with a less-than-stellar dentist from your childhood, or maybe you’re in the roughly 60% of people who suffer from dental anxiety.

Whatever the reason, understanding what to expect at your first dentist appointment goes a long way to help smooth the process.

Plan Your Schedule

It’s important to plan your schedule correctly. Unless you’re visiting a dentist because of serious pain that needs to be dealt with right away, your initial visit will consist of only a cleaning and evaluation. Most dental cleaning appointments take less than an hour.

Expect to arrive 15 minutes or so before your appointment time to take care of any outstanding paperwork. Once your first dentist appointment is complete, you can return to normal activities right away, although (depending on cleaning products used) your dentist may advise staying away from certain foods or hot beverages for a few hours.

Don’t Fear – No Numbing Here

Your initial visit and cleaning won’t involve any invasive procedures or anything that requires numbing. As far as your senses are concerned, this visit will simply feel like a high-powered brushing and flossing session.

If any cavities or other deeper issues are discovered during the initial visit, you’ll typically schedule a follow-up appointment to take care of these kinds of things. That later appointment would be where numbing comes into play, but not for this initial visit.

A Typical Visit

For a typical cleaning, your dentist and hygienist will use a handful of metal tools. Don’t worry— these tools aren’t for anything sinister or painful. They are used to scrape away tartar and plaque that’s built up on your teeth. Your dentist may gently poke your gums to look for signs of periodontal disease, and they will floss your teeth. The last step is a high-powered tooth cleaning or buffing. It will feel a lot like brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush, and your teeth will feel especially clean when this is finished.

Your dentist may offer a fluoride wash afterwards. Also, toward the beginning of the cleaning, your dentist will also take X-ray images of your teeth to look for issues not visible from the outside.


You can return to normal activities right after your dental exam. Very mild soreness may occur (especially if you haven’t been brushing and flossing well). This should fade away by the next morning. You’ll want to schedule a follow-up cleaning in six months. If any deeper issues are discovered during your visit, you’ll schedule appointments for those as well.

Wrapping Up

If you’re ready to schedule a visit with a new dentist, Tendercare Dental makes it easy. You can make an appointment online for any of our Portland area offices. Whether you’re in Banks, Hillsboro, Beaverton, North Plains, Northwest Portland, or a half dozen other locations, Tendercare Dental has an office that’s convenient for you.

Tendercare will send you convenient text message reminders about your appointment. Did something come up with your initial appointment time? No problem. We take the hassle out of rescheduling.

Now that you know what to expect azDon’t wait any longer to address your dental concerns. Make an appointment with Tendercare today.