Visiting the dentist can be an anxiety-inducing experience for many of us, especially if you’re undergoing an intrusive surgical procedure like dental implants or a root canal. One way to reduce feelings of anxiety can be to ask your dentist questions to understand more about the treatment they provide. You can ask any questions, whether you want to inquire about their surgical practice, the surgeon’s previous work, patient experiences, etc.
At Swedish Dental, we take pride in providing our patients with open communication between themselves and our highly skilled dentists. Dentists are supposed to make patients feel comfortable and acknowledged on the road to dental health.
What’s important to remember is that, as a patient, you have rights. You have the right to know and understand your dental history and what led to any diagnosis. You have a right to ask any question before agreeing to a recommended dental procedure.
5 questions to ask your dentist before dental surgery
1. Can you describe what my dental problem is so that I can get a second opinion?
This question may seem rude to ask your dentist – primarily if you’ve worked with him/her many years before. It’s an essential question for you as a patient to ensure that any tests and procedures that will follow your surgery are necessary and not just a way for the dentist to make you pay more. If you’re not comfortable with the diagnosis or treatment plan, a second opinion can confirm a problem or propose alternative ways to address an issue.
Some red flags to look out for would be a dentist’s refusal to explain the need for X-rays or scheduling multiple procedures within a concise time frame (when it’s not necessary), such as for numerous dental fillings. Yet, there’s no sensitivity, or you were previously unaware of any problems.
2. Is this the least invasive treatment for my problem?
As with every industry, some dentists will instead recommend the most straightforward treatment for them, which may be a treatment that requires replacement or additional work sooner, rather than offering the most appropriate, long-term solution for your case.
During your consultation, ask your dentist to give you all the options to address the problem, regardless of whether or not he/she provides them. This will help you make an informed decision before agreeing to the only procedure that the dentist offers.
3. What type of fillings do you use?
Dental fillings are arguably the most common tooth repair procedures, its very likely that you’ve had a filling in the past to repair broken or chipped teeth to restore their shape, size, and aesthetic. There are different materials available, but you probably want to choose a tooth-coloured material such as porcelain or composite resin instead of amalgam silver fillings. Although amalgam fillings have been used for over a century, there are newer, safer, more attractive, and equally strong dental materials that can be used. More importantly, recent studies show that amalgam fillings contain mercury, which can harm your body.
4. Do you provide lifestyle and nutritional counselling in your treatment plans?
Your dentist must be willing to recommend appropriate lifestyle changes, like wearing a mouthguard when participating in sports or choosing a diet that focuses on high-quality meats, organic vegetables, and healthy fats while minimizing sugars, grains, and processed carbs. Such a holistic approach will help to ensure that your natural teeth stay healthy for longer.
Avoidable things, such as cavities, cause most dental problems due to the consumption of too many sugary items, teeth discolouration due to consumption of coloured foods and drinks without cleaning your teeth afterwards, bad breath due to smoking and gum disease, and tooth cracks and fractures due to biting on hard items (like ice) or playing sports without a mouthguard.
Beyond recommending a treatment plan for your case, your dentist must inform you about taking better care of your teeth to avoid other causes of infection or injury. This includes maintaining a proper diet. Brushing and flossing regularly is essential, but it’s not the only preventive measure. Good nutrition can help to reduce the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth responsible for cavities, gum disease, and bad breath; reduce the risk of teeth discolouration; promote tooth remineralization, and so on.
5. What are the risks and benefits of this procedure?
Every dental procedure involves some degree of risk. Even if it’s a procedure that you’re familiar with, perhaps because you have heard of various success stories from a friend or colleague, you must discuss with your dentist what to expect, including the risks and benefits. It would be best to have realistic expectations about a procedure before it starts or risks wasting money on additional functions to achieve the desired look.
Everyone hopes to retain their natural teeth for as long as possible; visiting the dentist once or twice a year can ensure that preventive procedures such as professional cleaning and check-ups ensure the long-term health of your teeth and mouth.
It’s essential to initiate an open and honest conversation with your dentist, that way, and you’ll feel more comfortable asking questions. You’ll develop a greater understanding of your oral health which will also help you realize risks and problems sooner to take the appropriate action.