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7 Things You Wish You Could Ask Your Local Dentist

7 Things You Wish You Could Ask Your Local Dentist

Regular dental appointments are just part of life — unless you want your teeth to rot and fall out of your mouth. Just kidding, actually, no we are not — we are serious.

Anyway, whether you love or hate your time in the chair, there are certain questions all patients wish they could ask their dentist, but they are too embarrassed or scared of what we might think. Well guess what? We’ve heard it all before! And if you do present a weird topic we haven’t already addressed daily for the last 10 years, it will spice up our day and we will probably forget about it by tomorrow. Here are the top 7 things people wish they could ask their dentist.

1. Do I have nice teeth?

I know this sounds a little vain, a little, “Tell me I’m pretty”, but it is pretty common. Most humans want to get a gold star on whatever endeavor they are pursuing, whether it is at work, at home, or even at the dentist’s office. We want validation that we are doing a good job and that our good oral hygiene habits are paying off. You might be nervous to put yourself out there by asking this question, but there are ways to say it that feel less desperate. For example, try “How are my teeth looking?” or “Is there anything I need work on with my dental care?”.

2. Does my breath smell?

Bad breath is no joke. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, an estimated 80 million Americans suffer from halitosis. But how do you know if your breath smells bad? Ask a trusted friend or your spouse. Or you can try the lick your hand and smell trick. You can also try a special tongue scraper like the Orabrush. Studies have shown that the combination of brushing your teeth and using a tongue scraper has been found to reduce sulfurous compounds that can cause bad breath. Another reason to brush and floss!

3. Can you tell what I am saying?

It’s hard to carry on a conversation when your mouth is cranked open — but that doesn’t mean we won’t try! For the most part, yes, we can decipher your speech. But even if we can’t, small talk is pretty easy to follow even with a few missing words.

4. Do I really have to floss everyday? Is brushing my teeth just in the morning good enough?

Human nature dictates that we want to excel at everything (see Question 1), but human nature also dictates that we want to do the least amount of work possible to get the desired result. And when we are too scared to ask a question out loud, what do we do? Google it, of course. “Do I have to brush my teeth twice a day” yields over 12 million responses! The short answer: yes, only if you want beautiful, healthy teeth! If you want average teeth with occasional cavities, once a day is fine.

5. Where should I look?

Reclining in the dental chair while your teeth are being worked on is always a little awkward. Many patients are not sure if they should look at the ceiling or the dentist. There is no right answer to this question — just fix your gaze on whatever makes you feel most comfortable. Or if your dentist has a TV mounted on the ceiling you won’t have to worry! Some people even close their eyes, which is totally acceptable and normal. Who doesn’t like a little mid-day shut-eye?

6. How much is this going to cost me?

Many people feel embarrassed to ask too many questions about the cost of their dental work. They don’t want to come off as cheap. But it’s your prerogative! When you buy something at the store, you check the price and decide if you want it. Bringing that type of thinking to the dentist’s office can be helpful. While there are some dental procedures that you NEED to have to no matter what the cost, a good dentist will explain several treatment options to fix a problem. While you may end up choosing the most expensive option because it is the best solution, at least you are informed. Trust us, we don’t think you are a weirdo for asking how much it costs. We are offering services and you are entitled to understand and research the details of that service.

7. Do I really have to come back in six months?

Even if you don’t mind going to the dentist, it’s hard to take time out of your busy schedule to stop in for an appointment. You may wonder if once a year is good enough. According to the Wall Street Journal, even if you are healthy, young, non-smoking and have good oral hygiene habits, you still accumulate enough tartar on your teeth to necessitate a trip to the dentist. In other words, even if you don’t have cavities, you need to get into the dentist twice a year just to get a deep cleaning at the dentist’s office. And when you invest in preventative care, your chances of need an expensive or painful dental procedure are reduced.

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