No one gets excited about going to the dentist, but there are some ways for you to lessen the anxiety and get the most out of the experience.

Write Down A Checklist of Concerns and Questions

This is something most people should do, but don’t. Physically write down all of your questions and concerns on a piece of paper and take them in with you to your appointment. Your dentist should know about any of these conditions:

  • Your gums bleed when you brush.
  • There is any pain or sensitivity in your teeth to hot, cold, or when biting down.
  • There are sores in your mouth that don’t heal properly.
  • You have problems flossing or brushing.
  • You clench your jaw or grind your teeth.

If you have any other questions about things happening in the bathroom in the morning, make sure you don’t stay silent. Or, if you don’t understand how your insurance works or you need a recommendation for a good dental PPO, ask.

Dentists are interested in making sure you’re healthy and that you can afford to pay for their services. But, they’re not mind-readers.

Update Your Medical History When Yo Go

Make sure you update your medical history with your dentist while you’re there for your appointment. A lot of patients don’t bother doing this because they don’t look at their dentist the same way they look at their primary care physician.

But, dentists are doctors too, and they need to know if you have a medical condition which may interfere with any treatment they’re about to give you. For example, if you have a condition which makes it unsafe for you to receive NO2 or Novocain, then your dentist needs to know this before working on your teeth.

They also need to know if you’re on any blood thinners if they are performing any oral surgery on you as this can cause excessive bleeding in the mouth which would not be clotted by the usual clotting factors present in most people.

Let Your Dentist Know About Medicines, Vitamins, and Supplements You Take

If you take medicines, vitamins, or any other supplements, your dentist needs to know. Again, this is more for your safety than anything else. When dentists use drugs in the office, they may interfere with some medications, or they could be enhanced by vitamins or herbs you might be taking.

As a result, the dentist could be giving you the wrong dosage.

Ask About Discounts and Low-Cost Options

When it comes time to check out, and your dentist wants to sell you a fluoride treatment, special floss, a toothbrush, or some other specialized oral care, like tooth whitening procedures, ask whether it’s necessary or whether there are low-cost options or discounts.

Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts on your bill for paying cash, either. Many dentists have started doing this as an incentive for patients to bypass expensive dental insurance claims processing.

If your dentist believes that you need dental hardware, like braces, crowns, or bridges, ask about your options, financing, or the priority of the procedure.

Sometimes, dentists can be conservative in their approach to treatment, so they will suggest procedures that, while necessary, can wait a bit or that don’t require top-of-the-line hardware.

This is a personal call you’ll have to make and trust the judgment of your dentist. If he or she says that something is necessary, it probably is. But, that doesn’t mean that you need to pay full or retail price for it, or that there is no financial assistance to help you lower the bill.

Ask Your Hygienist and Dentist About What You Can Do Better

Finally, and this is a big one, always ask what you could be doing better. Dentists will always think of something you can improve on. Whether that’s flossing and brushing more, improving your diet, or coming in more often for cleaning, most of us can find room for improvement in our dental health.

Maybe what you need to do is spend more time flossing your chompers, stop eating so many sugary foods, and really make a concerted effort to change your lifestyle.

Reducing your soda intake by at least 50 percent, for example, is a dramatic lifestyle change, especially if you’re not used to thinking about what you eat or drink. Many people live their lives on “autopilot,” so making changes to ingrained habits is hard.

And, remember, whatever your dentist tells you isn’t meant to be negative criticism. He (or she) is there to help you stay healthy.

Kristen grew up learning about dental health from her father, the Dentist. Over the last year, she’s gotten a lot of practice teaching her two young kids about good oral health and now shares her tips through blogging. In her spare time, Kristen also teaches Yoga and dance classes

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