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  • Writer's pictureDr Donna Hill

The ultimate dentist 'how-to' guide

With more and more people turning to Google to discover 'how to', we thought it would be a good idea to create the ultimate dentist how to guide, answering some of those common questions that people ask every day.

The information written here is provided by our Devon dentist and should be used as guidance only, only by visiting your dentist can you get a tailored treatment plan designed for you and your teeth.

How to find an out of hours dentist

Most dental practices will offer some form of out of hours service. You may find that private practices offer this only to practice members, usually by way of a direct contact mobile phone with their dentist. NHS dentists will often work to provide emergency cover for each other's patients. More information about NHS out of hours services are here.

The best way to find and out of hours dentist is to search for a dentist near you, then call that dentist and listen to the answerphone message, this will give information about how to reach the emergency dental health service in your local area.

How to register with the dentist

Registration with a dentist is actually very simple, a quick phone call or completion of an online form will begin the process. Registration involves attending for an initial consultation where your dental health will be assessed plus a completion of a medical history questionnaire. Following the initial consultation any necessary treatment plan will be created, or you will be booked in for your next dental health check in approximately 6 months.

Most modern dental practices will also offer some form of recall system, they will remind you in adequate time that you have your appointment, this makes the reminder system simple and easy.

How to get rid of a tooth abscess without going to the dentist

Unfortunately, if you have an abscess you will not be able to get rid of this without a dentist. An abscess is where an infection has caused puss to build up in the gum or bone around the tooth. The pressure this puss causes can cause extreme pain and the only way to relieve the pain is to have this puss removed. Any damage to the tooth, bone or gum  will then need to be repaired and the infection treated.

If you think you have a tooth abscess you should visit your dentist immediately as this would be classed as a dental emergency. You cannot get rid of a tooth abscess without going to the dentist.

More information about tooth abscesses can be found here.

How often should you go to the dentist

Ideally you should visit the dentist and hygienist every six months. The dentist will perform a dental health check including a muscle, gland, joint, tooth, gum and oral cancer assessment. The hygienist will look at your oral hygiene, give you advice on what you could do better to prevent problems occurring and clean your teeth professionally.

Attending the dentist frequently will help you to keep your teeth and gums in good condition which ultimately will save time, pain and money in the long run.

How to complain about a dentist

If you feel you need to complain about a dentist the first port of call is to talk to the dentist directly. Dentists should have a formal complaints procedure which is freely available upon request.  Local resolution to any complaint is always the best way forwards as your local dentist  is best placed to resolve any issues you have. The General Dental Council (GDC) is the governing body which regulates the dental profession in the UK on the half of patients, any complaints which cannot be resolved locally can be escalated to the GDC.

How to cure gum disease without a dentist

The best way to cure gum disease without a dentist is to prevent the gum diseases from happening in the first place. Regular attendance to have your dental health assessed and any minor problems treated at an early stage will help prevent gum disease from happening in the first place. Minor gum disease will normally sort itself out without a dentist if you manage to clean your teeth properly.

The problem arises however if the bacteria have been allowed to build up to such an extent that they cannot be removed at home. To this extent it is always advisable to see a dentist if you think you have gum disease, only a dentist will have the equipment to be able to clean deep enough under your gum margin to clean these areas adequately.

How long does dentist numbing last

Most local anaesthetic injections will begin to wear off after approximately 2-3 hours. The surrounding area in your lips and tongue may have some numbness for up to 5 hours. It takes some time for the blood to carry away the local anaesthetic and begin to metabolise and break it down.

How to remove tartar from teeth without a dentist

You can remove small deposits of tartar each day by ensuring you have a good dental health care routine. Tarter is an accumulation of bacteria, these bacteria form a biofilm layer over your teeth daily, this is a normal occurrence. Cleaning your teeth twice per day for 2 minutes each time, using dental floss and mouthwash in between brushing will ensure that this biofilm layer does not build up into a hard tartar (plaque) layer. Once the biofilm has built to this hard tartar it is much more difficult to remove it at home and you stand more chance of damaging the soft tissue if you try to pick at it with an implement.

How long do you stay registered with the dentist

A dentist will consider you are registered at the practice so long as you continue to attend your regular appointments. If you do not attend the practice for a period of 2 years then most dental practices will consider that your registration has lapsed. A good dental practice will contact you regularly to ensure you attend appointments.

How to treat dry sockets without going to the dentist

A dry sockets occurs when a clot fails to form after a tooth has been extracted. The best way to treat a dry sockets without a dentist is to think about what you can do to help the clot to form, things such as:

  • Not smoking.

  • Not drinking carbonated drinks.

  • Using a straw to drink to prevent the water washing over the socket.

Taking over-the-counter pain medication and using a cold compress in the form of a soft icepack on the side of your face for approximately 15 min at a time can also help. Gentle mouth washing with salt water to remove food debris can also help, but be careful not to rinse so vigourously that you dislodge any clot that has formed.

What other 'how to' questions do you have about visiting the dentist? We love to hear them in the comments



After qualifying in 1992 in Birmingham, Donna moved to Cornwall then helped to set up Trinity Dental Centre in 2000, with the aim of providing kind and gentle dental care. Donna's interest is in the cosmetic field and she frequently updates her knowledge in this area. Outside of work she likes to read and to cook. She is married to Rodney and they have two sons. View all posts by Dr Donna Hill .


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