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Your First Visit
Richmond, VA

Woman smiling at desk with laptop after making her first visit to Riverwind Dental in Richmond, VA When you visit a dentist for the first time, various emotions are rolling in your head. From apprehension to confusion, the stages of what will happen now and how the experience will feel can keep you from taking care of your oral hygiene.

It's not uncommon for people to have such thoughts. Don't hesitate to express your fears to your dentist if you feel nervous about a dental exam. They are trained to work with patients having doubts and can provide reassurance and support throughout the appointment.
Techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization can help calm nerves and promote relaxation before and during the dental visit. Find a dental office that prioritizes patient comfort and offers amenities such as soothing music, comfortable seating, or distractions like TVs or magazines in the waiting area.

For individuals with severe dental anxiety, sedation dentistry may be an option. This involves using medication to help patients relax during dental procedures, ensuring a more comfortable experience.

What Happens During My First Dental Visit?

Understanding what happens during a dental appointment can alleviate fears and uncertainties. Here's an overview of what typically occurs:

Reception and Paperwork

Upon arriving at the dental office, you will be greeted by the receptionist. They will ask you to fill out some paperwork if you are a new patient or update your existing information if you have been there before. This paperwork includes your medical history, dental history, insurance information, and any concerns about your oral health.

Medical and Dental History Review

Once you have completed the paperwork, a dental assistant or hygienist will escort you to the examination room. They will review your medical and dental history with you, asking about any medications you are currently taking, allergies you may have, and any past dental procedures you have undergone.
Various medications can have side effects that affect oral health. For example, some medications can cause dry mouth (xerostomia), which increases the risk of dental decay and gum disease. Others may affect blood clotting or interact with drugs used during dental procedures. Dentists must be aware of any medications their patients are taking to ensure safe and effective treatment.


The dentist will then thoroughly examine your mouth, teeth, and gums. They will look for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, and other oral health issues. This examination may involve the use of dental tools like mirrors, probes, and X-rays to get a comprehensive view of your oral health. It also helps the dentist identify areas that may require further examination or treatment.
As part of the examination, the dentist will also conduct an oral cancer screening by inspecting the tissues inside your mouth, including the tongue, cheeks, palate, and throat. They will look for any abnormal lumps, sores, or discolorations that could indicate the presence of oral cancer. Early detection of oral cancer is essential for successful treatment outcomes.


In many cases, the dentist will take X-rays of your mouth to get a more detailed look at your teeth, jaw, and surrounding structures. X-rays can help identify issues like cavities, impacted teeth, and bone loss that may not be visible during a visual examination.


After the examination and x-rays, a dental hygienist will professionally clean your teeth and gums. They will use special tools to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and floss between them to ensure there's nothing left behind.
Dental cleaning also helps improve your teeth's appearance. Once the plaque and tartar have been removed, the teeth are polished to remove surface stains and make them smooth and shiny. A gritty toothpaste-like substance is applied to the teeth and then polished using a rotating rubber cup or brush. This helps to remove any remaining plaque and stains, leaving your teeth feeling clean and polished.

Oral Health Education

Throughout your visit, the dentist will provide you with valuable information about maintaining good oral hygiene at home. They will demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques, discuss the importance of a healthy diet for your teeth, and address any concerns or questions you may have about your oral health.

Treatment Plan

If the dentist identifies any issues during your examination, they'll discuss their findings with you and develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. This may involve scheduling additional appointments for procedures like fillings, root canals, or extractions, depending on the severity of the issue.


Before you leave, the receptionist will help you schedule your next appointment for a regular check-up and cleaning. It's essential to attend these follow-up appointments regularly to maintain optimal oral health and address any new issues that may arise.

Additional Considerations

•  Patient Comfort: Throughout your first dental visit, the dental team will prioritize your comfort and well-being. They will explain each step of the process and answer any questions you may have to ensure you feel relaxed and confident in the care you are receiving.
•  Child-Friendly Approach: The dental team often takes extra measures to create a positive and welcoming experience for children's first dental visits. This may include showing them around the office, letting them sit in the dental chair, and using child-friendly language to explain procedures.
•  Anxiety Management: If you experience dental anxiety or fear, don't hesitate to communicate this to the dental team. They can offer techniques and accommodations to help you feel more comfortable, such as sedation options or the use of relaxation techniques.

Overall, your first dental visit sets the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health. By establishing a relationship with a trusted dentist and understanding the importance of preventive care, you can maintain a healthy smile for years to come.

Your dental health is our top priority, and Riverwind Dental is committed to providing you with personalized care that exceeds your expectations. With years of experience and ongoing training in the latest dental techniques, we deliver top-notch care. From preventive care to cosmetic enhancements and restorative treatments, we offer various dental services under one roof. Book your appointment online today by calling (804) 280-0853.

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