As discussed in an earlier blog post, sometimes the anxiety of not knowing what to expect can prolong us from scheduling something like a dental appointment. One way to help overcome anxiety is by taking some time to ask questions before and during your first appointment.
Two things can happen when you do this. First, you will feel like you have more answers and are more involved in your dental health, which is always a good thing! Second, we will most likely learn more about you and your past dental experiences, which will help us better in knowing how to best serve you. Individualized customer service is what we strive for and the more we know about you - the individual - the better job we can do! So, what might be some things you would ask about?
- Ask about the overall health of your teeth. While your dentist should go over this information at your first visit, feel free to ask if anything wasn’t covered. Things that should be discussed include: Are you having any pain or discomfort? How are your current dental restorations are looking and holding up? Are you happy with the look of your smile? Do you have any additional concerns? If you do have additional questions about anything related to past or possible dental work, it’s a good idea to write them down. Sometimes we forget when we are there what it is we wanted to ask, but if you go in with your questions on paper, then you’ll get the answers!
- Ask your doctor about the health of your gums. Again, most doctors will discuss this with you but the health of your gums, while related, is not the same as the health of your teeth. We do a periodontal exam at your adult new patient exams to measure the health of your gums around each of your teeth. Your doctor should discuss these results with you and if you don’t understand, you should definitely ask for more information!
- Ask about your Oral Cancer Screening. After your doctor completes this, feel free to ask about how your tissue is looking. Again, if you’ve had any issues with the tissue in and around your mouth, it’s a good time to discuss this with your doctor. This could include any bumps inside your lip or cheeks, pain or discomfort under your jaw, or anything unusual in the area that you are concerned about. Most likely, it’s nothing to worry about, but we’d rather discuss it with you than have you worry.
- Call your insurance company before your visit. This is a tricky one because many times patients expect the dental or medical office to know all the ins and outs of their plans. The reality is that there are so many different insurance plans, each with it’s own unique coverage, that it is impossible for us to know exactly what’s covered for each plan. We do our best to estimate for you what we think will be covered, but we highly recommend calling your insurance company first. We also think it’s a good idea to ask about payment plans and financial arrangements with your dental office, if you do need dental treatment. It’s always best to know what is expected earlier rather than later.
- Ask about what YOU can do to improve your oral health! Many times there are simple things you can do at home that will greatly affect your gums, teeth and overall dental health. From better flossing techniques to using an electric toothbrush or even to slightly altering your diet, there’s usually some way that you can positively impact your dental health!
So, grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down your top dental questions! More information - it’s a good thing!