Your relationship with your dentist is just like any other working relationship with a medical professional. It should be founded on respect and sincere care for your well-being, and it should be built on trust and honesty. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to expect from your dental professional, or what your dental professional expects from you. These are some important tenets to think about when considering the quality of relationship you currently have with your dentist.
Questions to ask during your visits
Depending on the kind of visit you are having with your dentist, the questions that you ask can make all the difference in your care. Even for the routine cleaning and check-up, asking the right questions helps assure you know how best to maintain your teeth between visits, and it also signals to your dentist that you are fully invested in your oral maintenance and care.
For situations where treatment for a concern may arise, or for conversations with a dental specialist, your questions will give you the insight you need on what’s wrong, what’s needed, and any potential future treatments. Be sure to ask questions about the consequences of any treatment proposed, inquire about potential alternative treatment plans, and an assessment of pros and cons for the treatment your dentist is proposing. Questions about expectations for duration of treatment are also important, as timing may adversely impact your ability to maintain a treatment once it gets started.
Finally, money matters. Especially when significant treatment is proposed, being fully educated on your dental insurance plan’s coverage rates is crucial for assuring treatment that is economically possible for you. Asking questions of your office staff should get you the information you need about how much a treatment plan will cost, how much insurance will cover, and how payments can be made.
Questions you should expect to answer
As a patient, you have a responsibility to be clear in your communication as well. During every visit, your doctor will ask you questions about how you are feeling, why you are visiting, about your dental history and your overall medical history. It’s essential that you give full, honest answers about your health conditions, not just about your oral health, but about your over-all health as well.
Believe it or not, there are some medical conditions that can significantly impact dental therapies. Medications, surgeries, chronic conditions and other health information is essential for your dentist so they can craft a treatment plan that is right for your teeth and harmonious with the rest of your health.
Take note of your energy
As patients, we like to focus on the vibe of the office: is it clean and tidy? Is it well-lit and decorated in welcoming décor? Are the people at the front desk warm and welcoming? These are great things to take note of when you’re visiting a dental office, especially the first time. But don’t forget to examine the energy you bring with you to your visits.
One really great way to assure that your personal vibe is to assure that you’re at your appointment on time. No one likes to feel rushed. Being on time means that you get the opportunity to be with your dentist for the full time allotted for your visit and your dentist can perform your cleaning or treatment in a calm, accurate way. Being on time shows respect for your dentist and also for the rest of the patients in the practice.
If you notice that you’ve given yourself plenty of time, but you still feel anxious or stressed about dental treatment, please inform your dentist. They can help by explaining the treatment to you and being assuring during the process. Having a friend or family member to be a supportive presence is sometimes helpful. Talk to your professional about this if that’s something you think you might need.
Maintaining good oral health requires daily maintenance and a good working relationship with your dental professional. Be it your regular dentist or a specialist you’ve been referred to, approaching this working relationship with an open mind and an honest foundation will facilitate the best outcomes for your oral health.
We’re a staff of dental professionals in Boston here to provide the specialty care you need to bring you back to excellent oral health. If your regular dentist has told you to seek specialty care, give us a call today.
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