Dentists know that there are plenty of things you’d rather do than have your teeth cleaned. But regular biannual checkups are a crucial part of not only your oral health but your overall wellbeing. In extreme situations, an unhealthy mouth can lead to serious health risks including heart problems, strokes, and diabetes. Staying on top of what may be a dreaded task is an important part of your wellness plan, so make the most of it. Hopefully, you’ll come to dislike it less and less.
In advance of your next appointment, we’ve put together some suggestions on how to get the most out of your visit and lessen future anxiety.
BRUSH AND FLOSS
If brushing and flossing already is part of your routine, kudos! There’s no need to change up good habits before your appointment.
On the other hand, if brushing and flossing isn’t part of the daily gameplan, be careful about overdoing it before you see your hygienist. Aggressively brushing and flossing pre-appointment can lead to soft tissue inflammation and gum recession. And if you’re trying to fool your hygenist, don’t bother. They’ll know if they only time you’ve flossed since your last appointment is the night before your next appointment. Those puffy gums will give you away.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to the office a little early. There will be paperwork to fill out and you’ll want to be thorough. Having a moment to catch your breath once you’ve arrived is a helpful way to eliminate any anxiety.
KNOW YOUR MEDICAL HISTORY
Knowing your family history is just as important at the dentist’s office as it is when you see your general practitioner. They will want to know if anyone suffers from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and/or dementia, among other illnesses.
Be sure you bring a list of your current medications and dosages, as well as pertinent information regarding changes in your health since your last dental appointment. There are medical issues and concerns that your dentist can help diagnose if given the right information.
Make a list of any worries you may have and go over them during your visit. Having them written in advance means you’re less likely to forget.
FACE YOUR FEARS
Going to the dentist can cause such severe anxiety for some people that they avoid going to the dentist altogether. If you or a loved one suffers from dentophobia, sedation dentistry may be the answer. Call your dentist’s office in advance to see if they offer this service.
AFTER YOUR CLEANING
Ask questions once your cleaning is complete. Information is the key to your overall health:
1) Do you notice any gum recession?
2) Am I over-brushing?
3) Am I grinding my teeth?
4) May I have a demo of how I should floss and brush my teeth?
When it’s time to leave, be sure to schedule your next appointment while you’re still in the office. You’ll have six months before it’s time to get your teeth polished again. Until then, show off that bright smile and share it with everyone you see!