5 Tips for Being a Better Dental Patient

5 tips better dental patientLike 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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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!
  5. 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!

 

Great Reasons to Get Braces

Young woman with bracesMany people think of braces as a right of passage that we subject pre-teens & teens to in the midst of their most awkward years just to ensure they have a nice straight smile by the time they reach adulthood. But the truth is that braces can benefit people of all ages & not all of the reasons to get braces are aesthetic.

While most of us think of getting braces in order to have straight teeth, braces have a purpose beyond cosmetics. Braces can be used to treat misaligned bites (the technical term is malocclusion), which left untreated can contribute to difficulty chewing, jaw pain, & uneven wear on your teeth. Once your braces treatment is finished, you’ll get the benefit of a beautiful smile that is also functional.

In addition to this, braces have other benefits for your oral health: straight, properly spaced teeth are also easier to clean. When you teeth are properly aligned there are fewer places where your toothbrush can’t reach that might accumulate bacteria & plaque that could lead to tooth decay. The same goes for properly spaced teeth: it is much easier to floss teeth that are not too crowded.

Another side benefit of braces treatment is an improvement to your facial aesthetics. If the purpose of your braces is to fix an underbite, overbite or otherwise misaligned bite, the result may also result in a more proportional & attractive relationship between your jaw & the rest of your face. It should be noted that more severe jaw alignment problems cannot be fixed by braces alone & may also require jaw surgery. While facial aesthetics alone are not necessarily a reason to get braces, improvements in this area are often seen once treatment is finished.

Your options for orthodontic treatment may vary when it comes to braces that are for primarily for cosmetic versus structural purposes. Many of the clear or quick options, such as clear aligners, may not be able to fix more complex orthodontic problems the way that traditional braces can. But while traditional braces may not be as attractive or fast as other braces or aligners, you will still end up with a beautiful, straight smile at the end of your treatment. No two sets of teeth are quite the same, so start a discussion with your doctor or orthodontist about which braces options might be right for you.

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