Most folks fit their routine dental visit into an already busy day. Between commuting, dropping the kids off, heading to work, running errands or running into traffic…some of us get to the dental office in a rush and almost feel like a recline in the chair is a mini vacation.
But don’t let your dental appointment come and go without taking advantage of it! How often is it that you get to be face-to-face with a dental expert (or dental insurance guru!) and ask any question your heart desires?
In order to keep your mouth in tip-top shape, it’s important to consider yourself a partner with your dental team. Sadly, we can’t take them home to brush and floss for us. But we can arm ourselves with the tools and knowledge to keep our mouths healthy for a lifetime.
Ask these questions at every visit and you’ll be off to a great start…
“How does my dental hygiene look?”
It’s important to know! You may be inadvertently missing a whole section of your teeth by simply brushing according to muscle memory. Or, you may need a little push to get that flossing back on track. It’s also okay to ask for a brief lesson on proper brushing and flossing technique. Don’t be shy!
“I’ve recently been diagnosed with _____ or have started on _____ medication. Does that affect my oral health at all?”
Our mouths don’t work in isolation from the rest of our bodies. Medications and supplements we take, conditions we’ve been diagnosed with, and even just the new ways our bodies adapt to aging can all affect our oral health. It’s important that your dentist know the whole picture to properly recommend treatment and make suggestions that will help you care for your mouth at home.
“[Insert question you’ve been wanting to ask but have been too embarrassed].”
We’ve all got lingering questions we might feel dumb asking out loud. But ask away! Otherwise you might just continually wonder…what does fluoride do exactly? Can I whiten my teeth with charcoal? What is it you’re doing when you poke my teeth with that metal thing? Your dentist will be happy to equip you with more dental knowledge – that’s what they’re all about!
“Where can I go to find out more information about my treatment plan?”
Some patients really do not want to know any details about their proposed treatment. It’s okay to be squeamish! It’s also okay to want more information before scheduling treatment if it would help ease any concerns you have.
Let’s say your dentist recommends a crown, but you don’t know what that is or what that involves. Seek out the information that will help you feel comfortable with the idea and know what to expect. Your dentist may have some information on their website, refer you to an online library of information, or schedule a phone call or consultation with you to answer all your questions.
Take Charge of Your Oral Health
You are the one ultimately responsible for your oral health. Don’t be afraid to ask the important questions, because there is very little harm and much benefit from getting the answers! Oh – and also ask your dental staff about how their day is going to show you are thankful for their care. That’s always good too ;)