Whether you’re seeing the dentist for the first time, or it’s time for your routine cleaning, you
want to make the most of it. Too often, patients leave the office only to have forgotten
important questions. We welcome calls at Rivas Dental Care, but we don’t want our patients to
be stressed during visits. Here is our checklist so that you can get the most out of every visit.
Medical History and Medication List
Just like your primary care physician, you should provide your dentist with a current and
complete list of medical history and medications (including names and dosages). Certain
medical conditions in your personal or family history may affect how your dentist treats a
certain condition. Certain medications such as blood thinners can cause excessive bleeding
after dental work, and many medications can cause dry mouth. It’s impossible for patients to
know how specific medications or conditions may affect their teeth—that’s why it’s something
that should go to the dentist with you. Add it to the list!
Questions to Ask Your Dentist
When you made your appointment, you might have asked general questions to find out if your
insurance is accepted, and what kind of co-pay to expect. When you come in for your
appointment, you have a dentist and dental hygienist at your disposal. Bring your questions so
that you don’t forget anything, and ask questions about your evaluation before you leave.
1. What are you doing right/wrong with oral hygiene?
2. What kind of dental work do you need?
3. What options are available (metal-free, etc.)?
4. What is covered by your insurance plan?
5. How many visits will the repairs require?
6. How much will it cost?
7. Once work is completed, how often will you need routine care?
8. Should you pass on concerns to my family doctor?
Preparing for Your Appointment
Besides your lists of medications, medical history, and questions for the dentist, you can also
ease your stress by preparing for your dental visit ahead of time. If transferring from another
dentist’s office, have your records sent to the new office before your appointment. If your X-
rays are less than a year old, your new dentist shouldn’t need more. Most patients who take
care of their teeth and visit the dentist regularly, don’t need frequent X-rays. If your new
dentist wants new X-rays, ask them to do the exam first, then discuss it. Your insurance may not
cover another set of imaging, and you don’t want to be stuck with an expensive bill if
One tip that seems obvious (but patients rarely heed) is to be honest and upfront with your
dentist. If you have anxiety over an exam or procedure, tell your dentist. If you’re asked about
tobacco or how often you drink soda or alcoholic drinks, answer honestly. Your dentist doesn’t ask these questions to judge you or penalize you. This information helps your dentist determine
how often you need dental care, and what type of care you may need. You may lie to your
dentist, but the truth is in your teeth. Get the most out of every visit by being honest with your
dentist, being prepared for the appointment, and leaving with all the information you need.