What to Expect During your First Appointment with a New Dentist

Explained in 6 simple steps:

  1. Pre-appointment planning
  2. Front desk + intake forms
  3. Dentist consultation and exam
  4. Treatments
  5. Billing + payments
  6. Aftercare and follow up

There are many reasons someone sees a new dentist for the first time. Maybe you have moved cities, had a bad experience with a dentist, or haven’t been to a dentist in years. We have listed six steps to help you plan and prepare for your first visit to a new dentist.

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#1. Pre-appointment Planning

Before your first visit, there are a few things you will need to do:

  • Transfer dental records to the new clinic – Have your current dental records transferred to your new dental office. You can do this by calling your previous dentist and giving them your new dental office’s name, phone number, and fax number.
  • Look into your dental insurance or cost of appointment – If you have dental insurance, you should look at your policy beforehand to see what coverage you have. You will also want to call the new office to find out if they direct-bill to your insurance provider or if you will need to pay upfront and submit your claim.


If you do not have insurance, the receptionist will provide you with an estimate of what your visit will cost. Understanding the costs will help you prepare financially and avoid surprises at the end of your appointment.

  • How long will your appointment take – The receptionist will provide you with an approximate time frame for how long your appointment will take. Knowing this before your appointment can help you schedule your day.


#2. Front Desk + Intake Forms

Some dental offices offer online intake forms to fill out before your appointment. If this option is not available, plan to arrive at your appointment at least 15 minutes early to fill out an intake form. You will usually be asked for your medical and dental history, what medications you take, and your Alberta Health Care number. You will also need to provide your medical insurance information, such as your provider’s name and policy number.

#3. Dentist Consultation and Exam

The dentist will want to sit down with you and have an initial meeting to get to know you, your medical history, and your dental goals and concerns. During this conversation, it is helpful to let the dentist know of any fears, anxieties, pain, or insecurities regarding your teeth and mouth. The more that the dentist knows about you, the better they will be able to accommodate and make you feel comfortable and at ease.

The dentist will also want to examine your mouth and teeth to see any obvious issues and check for inflammation and pain.


#4. Treatments

Here are some common treatments that you can expect from a first appointment:

  • X-rays – Appointments for new patients typically require x-rays for the dentist to have a better look at your teeth, roots, gums, and jawbone structure. It is essential to let your dentist know if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant before having an x-ray.
  • Deep cleaning – A dental hygienist will examine your teeth and gums and do a deep cleaning. The cleaning can involve removing plaque, fluoride treatment, and flossing. If it has been a long time since having a deep cleaning, you may experience a little pain, discomfort, or bleeding. Let your hygienist know of any pain or discomfort.


#5. Billing + Payments

After your appointment, the dentist or hygienist will advise you when they want to see you next. The receptionist will book a follow-up appointment and finalize the insurance claim details or payment.


#6. Aftercare + Follow-up

If you experience any pain or discomfort after your deep cleaning, your dentist may suggest taking an over-the-counter pain relief medicine.

Depending on your needs, you might require additional appointments for treatments such as fillings, bridges, root canals, tooth extractions, etc. Your dentist will recommend how often to come back for regular cleaning to maintain good oral health.


We hope this guide to knowing what to expect at your first appointment with a new dentist is helpful! Seeing a new dentist can cause anxiety, and the more prepared you are, the less stress you will feel.

If you need a new dentist, you can trust Northgate Dental to provide friendly, professional dental services. We look forward to hearing from you!


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