Dentist, I’m sure that word brings negative images into your mind of a person with a mask on, holding a drill over you. Maybe you remind of the old “yanking the tooth with the door and string” story (was that Three Stooges?). Rest assure, I’m here to allay your fears about your next dental visit. This article is mainly for those of you sitting in front of your computer to take action and schedule a dental visit! Without further ado let’s begin the list starting with number 1.
15 years ago I would have laughed at the fact that people are trying to figure out dentistry on their own. It’s not a laughing matter anymore!! Thousands of sites as well as products are available claiming to help you with your problems. Although the internet is the information super highway, there is a lot of misinformation spreading online. It’s hard to trust everything that you read because any person with a computer and a couple bucks can create their own website. As far as books and products that you buy online, it’s all predatory!!
At the end of the day those guys want to make sales and they will make any tall claims and exaggerations to get you to buy their products. In some cases, the products are dangerous as they will not FDA approved or sell you the wrong concentration of a solution. I’ll admit, I’ve tried ordering some of these things and they just don’t live up to expectations.
A lot more than the type of toothpaste you use is going to help you. Toothpaste is mostly made up of filler material and agents that give it the taste and consistency that you come to expect from toothpastes. A very small percentage of the ingredients are “active.” Using an electric toothbrush is just as important as flossing and using fluoride toothpastes.
A lot of celebrities that you see on TV have great looking teeth. But almost all have gotten some form of cosmetic dentistry done, some more than others. Whether its veneers, bleaching, orthodontic treatment, crowns, tooth/gum recontouring or snap on dentures. You can find all those services at your local dentist (you’ll pay less than those celebs did, I’ll guarantee you that!)
Most employers provide their employees with basic HMO plans. The employee has the option of upgrading these plans to PPO. It’s definitely worth it!! With PPO you can get coverage at any dentist and the coverage is also much better than HMO. HMO dental offices are always packed with patients and you won’t get the same quality of care because the doctor can’t afford to spend more time with you. Each insurance company has an open enrollment period every year where you can upgrade from HMO to PPO. Ask your company HR Department or Employer for more information. Make the change, it’s worth it!!
False! Quality vs. quantity, that’s what it boils down to. The number of times you brush is less important than how you brush. The proper brushing techniques if learned can be more effective than any number of times you brush in a day. Think of your dentist as your ally in your fight against cavities. The truth is, no matter how well you maintain your teeth; there will have a certain amount of plaque that needs to be cleaned up by the dentist.
With advancements in technology, as well as research in the health field, the average life expectancy is going to keep creeping towards the century mark. The burden then falls on you to take care of your teeth. If your tooth falls out at 50 do you want to go through the hassles of dentures for the next 50 or so years? I didn’t think so! Every tooth that you can potentially save (with root canal, crown, deep fillings), you want to. You want to save. There is no perfect substitute to a natural tooth (yet). So it’s important to not be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to spending a little more money to save your tooth.
According to newer American Dental Association Guidelines, a parent should bring their child in for the first dental visit at the age of 1 year and then every 6 months hence forth. You may be thinking that they barely have any teeth, what’s the point! I’ll give you two good reasons! Firstly, any developmental abnormality or potential oral problems that may occur will possibly be diagnose and early action will be taken to treat them.
The more important reason is that a child needs to develop a trust of his dentist which will make sure that he isn’t afraid of the dentist as an adult and is regular with his check-ups. If the child sees that his/her siblings are getting treated, parents are getting treated and no harm has been done to them, they will be more comfortable getting the procedures done themselves. The child should feel that the dentist is a fun and safe environment and that will create a positive mindset they will carry into the future.
Many people dismiss their oral health and maybe put more emphasis on their overall health. While maintaining overall health is priority, I cannot stress enough that all the systems in our body are inter related to each other. Neglecting one can cause you problems in other parts of your body. The oral cavity is the gateway to the body. Bacteria that enter through the oral cavity can spread infection to other parts of your body. Periodontal disease (gum disease) has been linked to higher risk of stroke. Trust me; I am not trying to use a scare tactic to get you over to the dentist’s office. I would just like you to consider how neglecting your oral health can impact your overall health.
The big question on everyone’s mind. I did mention above about how you can upgrade your insurance and get coverage. Now let’s say that your insurance does not cover certain advanced procedures like orthodontics, dental implants or cosmetic dentistry and you and your doctor agree that you need them. How do you proceed? The answer is simple, financing! When you need a car or house how you pay for those, you get a loan or you finance it! Before you start crying foul, how does interest-free financing sound!!
Yes, many dentists offer Care Credit (TM) or Chase Health Advance (TM) (there may be others) that offers 12 and 18-month interest-free plans. You can also go for a low-interest long term plan. Most dental offices provide discounts to private patients (non-insurance patients) who can pay for the treatment in lump sum or pre-payment. It’s always good to discuss your financial options because in more cases than not, the dentist will be willing to work with you.
Now the number one Myth that people have about visiting the Dentist’s office, drumroll please…
I’m sure you anticipated this one would be No. 1!! Dentistry has made huge strides in technology since the last 25 years. Let me share some of them with you. Of course you know about the dental anesthetic shot. If that needle is your biggest fear, you just need to relax and loosen your body. Most dentists have little tricks so you hardly realize its being done,they use during administrating the anesthetic . Next we move to the dreaded drill! There is a new technology in which a blast of air with an abrasive powder just cuts your tooth structure called air abrasion. There’s less noise, no pressure and absolutely no pain. When you see those dentists’ ads that say no drills, it’s this technology. What about extractions? Getting teeth pulled is not a pleasant experience, I’ll admit that, but there definitely should not be pain!!
With dental implants being so popular nowadays, dentists realize that the best way to preserve bone is to remove the teeth atraumatically (which translates to less pain and swelling for you). Most of the problems that you have don’t occur in the dental chair but there is swelling and some pain associated with the healing process. But that’s natural. The dentist will obviously prescribe pain medication and antibiotics. Most of our perception of pain during an extraction is because of the pressure we feel but pressure is not pain, it’s just an uncomfortable sensation but it does not hurt. Pain is brought by a state of mind. When you are less anxious and go to the dentist, then you will have a better experience and the slight discomforts of procedures
As for those of you that would like to be put to sleep when your procedures are getting done, I would advise against. Let’s take an extraction as an example. As I’ve mentioned before, pain and swelling occur when a tooth is pulled, it’s a natural process. Whether you are put to sleep and get your work done or just do it the normal way, that pain and swelling will still occur.
So you avoided facing your fears by being put to sleep, you will still feel the same after effects. When a dentist puts you to sleep, there are certain risk factors associated with that. as well as you are spending more money to get the same procedure done. So at the end of the day, it’s not really worth it. I personally do not do conscious sedation. So, I convince my patients to face their fears and they always come out on top saying, “That wasn’t bad at all.”
I hope I have cleared any misconceptions and doubts you had about a dental visit. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.
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