What To Expect When You Haven’t Been To The Dentist In A Long Time

Posted on:

March 17, 2022

Due to the pandemic, many of us have let our oral health fall from our priorities. So it may have been a while since you last saw a dentist and now you're nervous. 

When you don't go to the dentist, it can lead to several problems. Tooth decay and cavities are one of the most common dental issues. If you let a cavity go untreated, it can eventually lead to a tooth infection. In some cases, a tooth may need to be extracted if the infection is bad enough.

Gum disease is another common issue. This happens when plaque and tartar build-up on your teeth. If it's not removed, it can cause your gums to become inflamed and eventually bleed. In severe cases, gum disease can even lead to loss of teeth.

You may be thinking about getting your dental health back on course, but feel afraid, nervous, or embarrassed about how long it's been since your last visit to the dentist. Your fears can easily overwhelm your desire to take control of your dental health, leading to more years passing by without seeing a dentist.

Knowing what to expect during this initial visit back can help alleviate any worries you might have. So, when you finally make that long-awaited dental appointment, here are a few things you can expect:

What To Expect When You Haven’t Been To The Dentist In A Long Time

What Is The Procedure Of Dental Exam At Fisher & Orfaly Dental?

Trusted family dentist, Dr. George Orfaly details the procedure of a dental examination at Fisher & Orfaly Dental Clinic, Salem, Massachusetts, here.

Extended Dental Cleaning:

If you haven't been to the dentist for quite some time now, you're going to need professional dental cleaning. Since you haven't been to the dentist for several years, you will likely have plaque buildup around your teeth. This is perfectly normal and is not something to be embarrassed about.

Plaque removal is generally painless, but if you're getting it done after a long time, you may experience some discomfort. It may also take longer than normal. However, you will notice how clean your mouth feels after the cleaning. Some bleeding may occur when the dental hygienist goes to floss your teeth. This happens because your gums are no longer used to the pressure of flossing between your teeth and gum line. You can prevent some bleeding by flossing regularly.

John Dudley
John Dudley
January 20, 2022
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I could not be any more fortunate and grateful for Dr. George Orfaly accepting me recently as a new patient! I switched over from my previous provider in a nearby community after receiving subpar care and at risk of losing two teeth. He and the entire team at Fisher & Orfaly Dental have made my transition a smooth and comfortable one, setting me at ease and swiftly on the path to a promising prognosis! I also know that both Dr. Orfaly and Dr. Fisher care a great deal about the community beyond the walls of their practice, too, both quite supportive of local nonprofit and charitable efforts. This all makes me feel wonderful about being a patient, one of the best decisions I've ever made. You and your family should consider switching to Fisher & Orfaly!

William Stewart
William Stewart
January 20, 2022
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Needed a new dentist in Salem, picked Dr. Orfaly by location. I met him before agreeing to my first appointment, and so far, have been very happy. I'm a curious sob, and credit Dr Orfaly for being patient with my atmospheric river of questions. He knows how to relate to patients, and seems to be on top of his game. Highly recommend.

Carol Gray
Carol Gray
October 21, 2020
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Everything about my dental experience is professional and considerate.

Peter Gaudreault
Peter Gaudreault
August 5, 2020
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Made you feel comfortable, right from the start. Definitely five stars found my new dentist!

Ed Schutte
Ed Schutte
January 10, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

I have been a patient of Fisher & Orfaly for many years now. But recently, my whole family moved to the practice. Their approach has always been kind, caring and practical.

John Dudley
John Dudley
January 20, 2022
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

I could not be any more fortunate and grateful for Dr. George Orfaly accepting me recently as a new patient! I switched over from my previous provider in a nearby community after receiving subpar care and at risk of losing two teeth. He and the entire team at Fisher & Orfaly Dental have made my transition a smooth and comfortable one, setting me at ease and swiftly on the path to a promising prognosis! I also know that both Dr. Orfaly and Dr. Fisher care a great deal about the community beyond the walls of their practice, too, both quite supportive of local nonprofit and charitable efforts. This all makes me feel wonderful about being a patient, one of the best decisions I've ever made. You and your family should consider switching to Fisher & Orfaly!

William Stewart
William Stewart
January 20, 2022
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Needed a new dentist in Salem, picked Dr. Orfaly by location. I met him before agreeing to my first appointment, and so far, have been very happy. I'm a curious sob, and credit Dr Orfaly for being patient with my atmospheric river of questions. He knows how to relate to patients, and seems to be on top of his game. Highly recommend.

Carol Gray
Carol Gray
October 21, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Everything about my dental experience is professional and considerate.

Peter Gaudreault
Peter Gaudreault
August 5, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Made you feel comfortable, right from the start. Definitely five stars found my new dentist!

Ed Schutte
Ed Schutte
January 10, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

I have been a patient of Fisher & Orfaly for many years now. But recently, my whole family moved to the practice. Their approach has always been kind, caring and practical.

Thorough Dental Examination:

Once your teeth have been cleaned, the dentist will carefully examine them for any signs of cavities, gum disease, and potential problems that may have occurred. The dentist will likely ask about any general health concerns you may be having, as well as any current dental issues you’ve been experiencing.

The dentist will need to take a series of X-rays to ensure there aren't any underlying issues hiding out of sight. X-rays are the only ways to detect very small cavities or cracks in the teeth. They can catch problems long before patients realize they’re there, so they’re an important tool for dental health. At Fisher & Orfaly Dental Clinic in Salem, Massachusetts, we use digital X-rays which offer many benefits when compared to conventional X-rays.

Besides checking your X-rays, the dentist will also examine whether your teeth are aligned properly, check for loose fillings, and look at the condition of your gums. The dentist will also look for any signs of mouth cancer.

Detailed Discussion:

After examining your teeth and gums thoroughly, the dentist will discuss the next steps of your dental care with you. Sometimes, this conversation will only be recommendations for maintaining good dental hygiene. On the one hand, the dentist may recommend that you schedule a follow-up appointment if they need to perform a dental filling or more complex dental treatment.

Before leaving the dental practice, you should schedule an appointment for a checkup in six months, even though you don't have any current dental issues. Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help prevent tooth loss and oral health issues that can seriously affect your life.

At Fisher & Orfaly Dental Clinic, Salem, Massachusetts, our goal is to ensure that you understand everything that’s going on during your dental appointment and feel comfortable asking questions throughout the appointment. We’ll provide you with enough time to ask questions, voice any concerns, and discuss your treatments.

What Can You Do Before The Dental Appointment?

It’s not uncommon for people to experience anxiety when they visit the dentist for the first time after a long time. To reduce your anxiety, take these few proactive steps before your appointment:

  • Brush and floss your teeth before the dental appointment.
  • Avoid eating or drinking anything except water for at least a few hours before the appointment.
  • Avoid smoking for a few hours before the appointment.
  • Be prepared for an extended appointment.

Regular dental visits keep teeth healthy and prevent tooth loss. Good oral hygiene even helps overall physical health. And having nice clean teeth gives you a beautiful and healthy smile.

At Fisher & Orfaly Dental Clinic, Salem, Massachusetts, we understand that life happens and it can be difficult to keep up with your regular dental appointments. If you're visiting us after not seeing a dental professional for a long time, we will not judge you. We will do our utmost to ensure that the appointment runs smoothly and without any worries. Now that you’ve taken the leap and made the appointment when you haven’t been to the dentist in a long while, we highly recommend that you keep it up.

Maura Murphy
Maura Murphy
January 24, 2022
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I was not a fan of going to the dentist! One might say afraid… but thanks to the amazing team at Fisher & Orfaly I am back on track with my 6 month cleanings. The team did an amazing job calming my fears and I can actually say I may even enjoy going to the dentist now! The team is professional, accommodating, and they do a fabulous job cleaning my teeth! I am so grateful that they have me back on track with great dental habits. They certainly have given me something to smile about.

Corbin Bettencourt
Corbin Bettencourt
January 24, 2022
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Who likes to go to the dentist? Fear no more. Dr. Orfaly and his staff provide an environment of ease and professionalism that relieve the jitters that so many feel during visits to the dentist. Whether a routine check up or more complex procedure, our experiences have been most positive.

Jacqueline Traynor
Jacqueline Traynor
May 19, 2021
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I am someone who has been terrified of the Dentist from a very young age, but after seeing Dr. Orfaly and his team over the past couple of months I have 100% gotten over my fears. I have never felt more comfortable and taken care of by the staff. Everyone is so nice and down to earth they make you feel welcome! Dr. Orfaly even came in on a day they were closed because I was having extreme tooth pain, and he totally fixed the problem, I will never forget that. I’m so happy I decided to go to Fischer & Orfaly, best decision I’ve ever made!

Ashley Spencer
Ashley Spencer
April 1, 2021
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Dr Orfaly is the best dentist around! I have alot of anxiety around going to the dentist & Dr Orfaly always makes sure to check in to see how I'm doing & is so nice. If a referral is needed to a specialist, he makes the call for you & gets you an appt quickly (mine was even the same day) I love how they book you with the same dental hygienist for all cleanings.. Adds another level of comfort... Shoutout to mine, Kathy!! 😊

Martina Pena-Martes
Martina Pena-Martes
February 7, 2020
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Before coming to Fisher & Orflay my daughter hated coming to the dentist, she now looks forward to her appointments fully knowing and understanding every procedure being done. They make her visits pleasant each and every time, providing excellent service with the help of their friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Sam Smullin
Sam Smullin
January 22, 2020
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After many years of neglecting my my teeth due to fear of the dentist my dental issues got bad enough that I had no choice but to adress them. I randomly selected Fisher & Orfaly and am very glad that I did. Dr Orfaly did a great job while making sure I was as comfortable as possible.After completing the initial, extensive repairs my mouth looks and feels great. In the 10 years since I first visited I had had no new major work needed. Even better, I can walk into the office without that sense of dread that is familiar to so many people.

Dr. George Orfaly
Dr. George Orfaly, D.M.D.

About the author

Dr. George Orfaly is a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry and has been practicing as a dentist in Salem, MA since 2005. He has consistently improved the lives of his patients by providing them relief, confidence, and healthy smiles. He believes that oral health is directly related to overall health and well-being. Dr. Orfaly has also been an active member of the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society, and North Shore District Dental Society.

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