Like any relationship in life, having good communication with your dentist is the key to success. The five tips listed below are intended to help you improve your oral health by communicating better with your dentist & /or dental hygienist.
- If your dental hygienist or dentist says something you don’t quite understand, don’t just nod or pretend you do understand, ask for clarification! Sometimes we have trouble translating from the clinical language our dental colleagues understand to words that patients understand. So if you hear us saying unfamiliar words, ask us what they mean, even if you’re afraid it’s something super basic that most people already know. There are no stupid questions. The more you understand about your oral health, the better it will be!
- Tell us the real reason you’re hesitating to commit to recommended treatment. It’s a lot better for us to know what you’re thinking than trying to guess. If your concern is the cost of treatment, tell us & we might be able to offer your payment options or treatment alternatives that you weren’t aware of. If you’re hesitating because you have a fear of dental procedures, let us know so we can offer distractions like headphones or movies, or even sedation to ease your nerves. If you don’t understand the purpose or process of the treatment, please ask us for clarification & we’ll find a better way to explain it.
- Don’t say yes to an appointment you already know you probably can’t keep just because you want to be polite or feel pressured. If you know that Tuesdays at 4pm are a bad time for you, don’t let us schedule your appointment then. Be honest about when you can get time off or when you get out of work, & we’ll be happy to accommodate you. Finding the right place for you in our schedule is much better for your oral health than if you have to cancel or skip your appointment in the future!
- Don’t lie about how often you brush or floss. For one thing, you dental hygienist will be able to tell by looking at your mouth how well you’re taking care of your teeth. What’s more, signs or symptoms we may detect in your mouth may mean something completely different depending on what you tell us. In order to care for you properly, we should have the most accurate information you can give us!
- Don’t be dishonest about your lifestyle & dietary choices that are bad for the health of your teeth. If you’re a smoker, please try to quit! The affects on your mouth go way beyond yellow/brown teeth. No one will be a more enthusiastic cheerleader for your effort to quit than your dentist & dental hygienist! Consuming excessive amounts of sugary drinks, sugar-free soda pop & energy drinks, sports drinks or highly acidic drinks like citrus juices can put you at high risk for tooth decay or rot your teeth directly by breaking down your tooth enamel. If we have a realistic understanding of your habits we can help guide you to change them for the better.
As dental professionals, our favorite thing is a happy & healthy smile. We see your dental health as a team effort & if you follow the tips above, you’re sure to be a team player!