5 Things Your Dentist Wishes You Took More Seriously

5 things your dentist

While you may only think about dental health every six months at your cleaning, your dentist thinks about dental health all day long! Here are 5 things we wish our patients took more seriously.

1. INVEST TIME IN LEARNING ABOUT YOUR DENTAL COVERAGE

INVEST TIME IN LEARNING ABOUT YOUR DENTAL COVERAGEWe get it — researching your dental insurance plan isn’t at the top of the list when it comes to free time, but a little homework can go a long way. Every dental plan is different, which means you truly do have to read the fine print, get on the phone and ask questions to understand what services your plan covers and at what percentages.

Plus, dental insurance has some random stipulations. Ever heard of a “missing tooth clause?” Some insurance companies have a clause stating that if your tooth has been lost before you begin coverage, they have no responsibility to cover the cost of replacing it via bridge or crown.

If you find yourself in one of these situations, ask your dental insurance provider about setting up a predetermination. The American Dental Association defines a predetermination as an estimate about who pays for what on a particular service. Even if you are paying more than you would like, a predetermination can help you know what to expect.

While it might be annoying to get something pre-approved, it is much easier than getting a procedure done and trying to get your insurance to foot the bill after the fact.

While plans vary, most cover preventative care like checkups and cleanings. Take advantage of these services! Above all else, politeness and persistence are key to getting what you want! And arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Peruse the American Dental Association’s glossary of terms so you can speak with confidence.

2. PREVENTION IS KEY TO LONG TERM DENTAL HEALTH

PREVENTION IS KEY TO LONG TERM DENTAL HEALTHScheduling and keeping preventative dental check-ups is extremely important. These visits are not to pad your dentist’s pocket, they are crucial to prevent costly, painful and time consuming dental issues.

For example, if you have the beginnings of a cavity and go to your bi-annual appointment, I can identify the decay and give you a filling ASAP. On the other hand, if you develop a cavity and keep missing appointments, the decay will soon get out of control and you could end up with an extremely painful abscess. According to MedlinePlus, untreated abscesses can lead to tooth loss, blood infection, spread of infection and other life-threatening complications.

 

3. CHOOSE DENTAL PRODUCTS CAREFULLY

CHOOSE DENTAL PRODUCTS CAREFULLYSelect your toothpaste, toothbrush and mouthwash carefully! One of the most common mistakes people make is buying products with a high acidity level. Enamel demineralizes at a pH level of 5.5 and some toothpastes are very acidic. Through continuing education and seminars I have learned about which products to avoid and which products to recommend. I love sharing this information with patients.

When purchasing toothpaste, always look for fluoride in the ingredient label. As far as toothbrushes go, soft bristle are recommended at an electric toothbrush is even better. WebMD reports that studies have found using a powered toothbrush can cut down on plaque that leads to periodontal disease.

 

4. STRIVE TO SAVE EACH & EVERY TOOTH

STRIVE TO SAVE EACH & EVERY TOOTHIf a tooth can be saved, it should be saved! Nothing makes me cringe more than a tooth being pulled needlessly. These days there are so many options for saving your smile with crowns, bridges and dental implants. Teeth are not just aesthetic, they are functional and missing teeth can affect your ability to eat and speak. Those with missing teeth can be restricted to soft foods and can even develop a speech impediment. Plus, when one tooth is removed it can cause the remaining teeth to shift.

Many times people make the decision to pull a tooth instead of save it in order to save money. While it may be cheaper in the moment, its effects are long lasting. Do everything you can to repair your tooth even if it means setting up a payment plan or comparison shopping. Most dental offices have a billing specialist that is more than willing to work something out with you.

5. PICK YOUR DENTIST CAREFULLY . . . AND THEN LISTEN!

PICK YOUR DENTIST CAREFULLYMany people have been conditioned to think that dentists are strictly self-interested individuals looking to make a buck. If you have evidence to support this theory, get a new dentist!

But when you trust and respect your dentist, you will believe that he or she has your best interest at heart. I can honestly say that my focus is to care for my patients, and the financial side of things falls into place after I have done that. Take our recommendations seriously, ask questions, educate yourself and then make the best decision.

It is our job as dentists to suggest the best treatment plan available. If that treatment plan is not in your budget, let us know! We can let you know what treatments can wait and what procedures need to be done immediately. A good dentist will always explain the problem and why the procedure is necessary to fix a problem. Plus, we regularly spend time and money learning about new technology and techniques to better serve our patients.

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