No matter whether you look forward to your dental visits or dread them, there are a few things you can do to help your dentist. These are all easy steps that you can take at home between appointments or right before your appointment.
Why Do You Want to Help Your Dentist?
You may wonder why you want to help your dentist in the first place. The answer is that doing so also helps you. By making your dentist’s job easier, you increase the chances that they will be able to spot any potential issues and give you a thorough cleaning. After all, it’s much easier to miss something if you have a long list of issues in your mouth than it is if your mouth is otherwise healthy.
Simply put, helping your dentist helps ensure that they take care of your oral health as much as possible. They are more likely to catch any potential issues early. You will also notice that a lot of the things you can do to help your dentist also improve your oral health. Yes, Dr. Sharma can fill your cavities or give you a crown, but it’s even better if you never need these procedures in the first place.
There’s also the fact that helping your dentist will typically make your dental visit less painful and stressful. If your oral health is in good shape and you already know the answers to questions your dentist is likely to ask, the appointment will breeze by. You may even find yourself saving time at the dentist’s office.
With that in mind, here are a few things you can do at home to help Dr. Sharma and make the most of your dental appointment.
Make a List of Concerns and Questions
Dr. Sharma will always ask about your symptoms during your dental checkup. This is just as true as an appointment for something like a crown or root canal as it is for just a regular cleaning and checkup.
The information that you give him is crucial for his diagnosis and overall evaluation of your mouth. After all, your dentist can’t tell whether you are in pain just by looking at you. He can’t tell if eating certain foods make your teeth hurt. In addition to things that are subjective, like pain and sensitivity, there are things he simply isn’t there to see. For example, you don’t sleep in the dental office, so your dentist can’t always tell if you grind your teeth.
While many of these things, like teeth grinding, produce other symptoms your dentist is likely to notice, they will need your input for their diagnosis.
So, make a list of everything you’ve noticed related to your oral health. Include any bleeding when you brush or floss, tooth sensitivity or pain, gum pain or sensitivity, sores inside your mouth, issues while you brush or floss, grinding of your teeth or clenching of your jaw.
Make a List of Your Updated Medical History, Medicines, and Supplements
This step is something you can start at home and continue in the office. Your dentist will always ask about medical conditions as well as medicines, supplements, and vitamins that you take. That is because all of these things may have an impact on oral health. For example, certain medicines may cause dry mouth.
Other conditions or medicines may pose a risk during treatment. For example, if you are on blood thinners, you have a higher risk of bleeding during dental work.
That’s why the receptionist always asks about updates to your medicines and medical history. To ensure you don’t miss adding anything to your file, make a list before you even leave the house. You are more likely to remember to include everything when you aren’t feeling rushed, which you may feel in the dental office.
Know What to Do to Reduce Pain During the Visit
You don’t want to deal with pain during your dental visit, as this is uncomfortable and can make you dread appointments. You may not realize it, but it’s also harder for your dentist to do a thorough job when you are in pain. Maybe you won’t be able to open your mouth all the way, so they can’t see your rear teeth. Or maybe they just try to get through everything as fast as possible to minimize your pain.
The good news is that you can do some things to reduce pain during your dental visit. Start with good oral hygiene. Gum recession and gum disease can both cause pain, as can overbrushing. You may even want to switch to toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Another important step is to consider taking ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, or something similar. Taking this about an hour before your visit should relieve the pain.
Try to Reduce Your Dental Anxiety
Treating a patient with anxiety related to dental visits poses many of the same issues as treating one who deals with pain. Your dentist may not be able to check your mouth as thoroughly or provide as thorough of treatment because of your anxiety. They may also feel pressured to rush through it. Of course, dental anxiety is also bad news for you, as it makes your dental visit unnecessarily stressful.
Overcoming dental anxiety is a process, and you shouldn’t expect to overcome it overnight. Even so, any reduction can make your appointment easier for you and help your dentist.
The most important thing is to be honest with your dentist. Let them know you are anxious and tell them what they can do to reduce your anxiety. For example, some people find they are less anxious if their dentist explains everything ahead of time so that they can mentally prepare. Others find an explanation during procedures to be enough. Others may need to wear headphones during the cleaning or even require mild sedation.
The important thing here is to work with your dentist. They can help you if they know you are anxious, and that will make the process easier for both of you.
Ask Your Dentist What You Can Improve On
Before you leave your dentist, ask them what you can do to improve your oral health and to make their job easier next time. If they offer suggested changes to your oral hygiene routine or give you general tips about brushing or flossing, take them to heart. You can find an affordable dentist in River West, Chicago by contacting our office today!