If you haven't been to the dentist for some time, you likely have a considerable amount of plaque on the surface of your teeth. This means that it may take a while for the hygienist to professionally clean each tooth, especially if you've never had your teeth cleaned by a professional before. There are various reasons why people don't go to the dentist, such as anxiety or fear, cost concerns, lack of convenience, and difficulty coordinating with a busy schedule. Moving and not finding a new dental office right away is another factor that can disrupt regular visits. Even if you return to the dentist you used to see regularly, you'll need x-rays if it's been more than a year since your last visit.
It was a similar incident that triggered my dental phobia: an incompetent dentist told me I didn't need an injection to fill a wisdom tooth. I eventually went because my tooth broke one day and I had to go to the dentist for work that afternoon. It's possible to get sedation on the NHS (you can ask your dentist to refer you to a dental hospital, but there will be a waiting list). If you're in pain now, it's best to invest some money if you can. The hygienist or dentist will then check your mouth for tooth decay and signs of oral cancer and gum recession.
The dentist will also ask about your general health since your last visit, as well as any dental problems you have. If there are cavities to fill, your dentist will schedule a separate appointment for this work. After the hygienist has cleaned your teeth, your dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth for cavities, signs of gum disease, and any other issues that may have arisen. It's often not possible to go back to the same dentist due to changes in location, insurance coverage, or the office itself. Dentists are also trained to inspect the inside of the cheeks, lips, and underside of the tongue for signs of oral cancer.
If it's been years since your last visit, you may need additional dental procedures such as fillings or periodontal treatments. This dental exam doesn't take long but provides your dentist with valuable information about the health of your mouth. The dentist I went to wasn't very supportive, but they did some treatment and after a couple of years without going I found a very friendly and supportive office on the recommendation of a friend. I didn't go to the dentist for 10 years in my late teens and twenties after painful treatment in my early teens. While this may seem like a lot of time in the dentist's office, it will actually pay off in the long run by preventing larger and more costly problems from developing.
I use Arm and Hammer toothpaste but ever since my LO was born I've been building up the courage to go to the dentist, thinking that if I could give birth then I could go to the dentist.