You’ve found a way to fit a dental appointment into your busy schedule, confirmed your transportation, and figured out how to pay for it all. With all of that, you want to make sure you get the best dental health care possible, and we are here to help you do just that. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your dental appointment. And by the way, these tips work well for appointments with you physician and other health care providers, too.

Be a Little Bit Pushy

Many people grew up learning to just accept what the doctor says, and not question it. Studies have shown, though, that people are more likely to follow the treatment plan for their condition when they understand their care and have had a say in planning it. You’re most likely to get these benefits if you

  • Do some research
  • Fully inform us about your medications and medical history
  • Come prepared with questions
  • Make sure you understand the answers
  • Follow up

Do a Bit of Research

Consider using the Internet to research your symptom or condition. There are some sources that you can rely on for accuracy. If you find something that seems to fit your situation particularly well, bring it in and show it to us. Not everything you read, especially on the Internet or in popular magazines, will fit your situation or even be completely accurate, but the information can go a long way to letting us know what your concerns are and helping us work out the best treatment plan together.

Inform Us About Medications, Supplements, and Medical History

Make sure to tell us what medications or supplements you’re taking. Sometimes medications cause side effects that can affect your treatment. For example, some antihistamines, diuretics, decongestants, and pain killers can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth can cause serious dental problems, so we may need to alter our treatment plan to accommodate it. Over-the-counter remedies and supplements can also have an effect on your dental treatment. One example is gingko, a supplement that many people take to improve memory. According researches, gingko has properties that can result in excessive bleeding during or after a surgical procedure.

Some medical conditions and their treatments can also affect your dental care. Patients with certain heart conditions, diabetes, or weakened immune systems may be at greater risk of infection and require antibiotics or other medications before dental treatment, for example. Other people may have allergies to certain medications, latex, or other materials. Pregnancy can often lead to changed eating habits and increased plaque and tartar; gingivitis is especially common during the second to eighth months of pregnancy. There are many additional examples, so be sure to keep us informed.

Come Prepared With Questions

Sometimes your dental appointment seems to go by so fast that you’re out the door before you realize you didn’t get all your questions answered. One of the best ways to make sure this doesn’t happen is to write your questions down and bring them with you. Prioritize your questions before you come in to make sure that your most pressing concerns are addressed first. You may want to read your questions aloud, just refer to them as notes, or perhaps give them to one of us to read. Just the act of writing your questions down will help you keep them in mind, so you may not even need to refer to your list at all.
If during your dental appointment we find any conditions that need treatment, we’ll offer what we consider to be the best plan for treating it.

Often, though, there are several possible treatment options. For example, if we find that a filling needs replacing, we may recommend a crown, but other options, like an onlay or another filling might be possibilities. We will tell you why we think the crown is best, but you should also feel free to ask what other options are available. Many times, various treatment options might last longer or look better. If we recommend several treatments, make sure to ask us which are urgent and which are not.

Ask about the cost, and how and when you are expected to pay. We will be happy to tell you whether we participate in your health plan, what methods of payment we expect, when payment is due, and answer any other money questions you may have.

In our experience, it’s better to get these questions out in the open early. We’ll be able to maintain a healthy working relationship, and you’ll be more likely to get the answers you need to make good decisions.

Make Sure You Understand the Answers

If you don’t fully understand the treatment choices we present to you, ask us to explain it in different words or use other methods of explaining…

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