At the root of many relationship issues is a lack of effective communication. Your relationship with your dentist is not immune to this problem. I’m a firm believer in transparent dentistry. The more honest communication there is between patient and dentist, the stronger their partnership will be, resulting in mutual trust and a lifetime of higher quality care. Let’s look at a few ways you can achieve a more transparent dental experience.
- Be proactive when it comes to your oral health. The best patients are those who take responsibility for the health of their mouth. Of course, your dentist can help you stay healthy, but you are ultimately your greatest caretaker and advocate.
Ways to be a proactive patient:
- Care for your teeth and gums diligently.
- Be honest with your dentist about your habits or any oral health issues you’ve noticed.
- Do your research and ask questions.
- Listen carefully when your dentist educates you.
- Ask follow-up questions if you don’t fully understand.
Dentists aren’t mind readers. We are grateful when patients state their concerns and challenge us to provide better education and care.
- Know the “why” behind every treatment. This point goes along with your responsibility to ask questions. If you’re told that you need a specific treatment, such as a filling, root canal, extraction and implant, etc., make sure you understand the ins and outs of why. Every dental treatment that you get is an investment in the health of your mouth, but don’t you want to know a little about what you’re signing up for before deciding whether or not to invest?
Questions you should ask before getting a dental procedure done:
- How will this fix my current issue?
- Why do you think this is the best treatment method for my situation?
- Will this option result in a short- or long-term solution?
- What does the treatment entail (process, materials, my experience as a patient)?
- If I decide not to go forward with the treatment, what are the consequences?
Many patients don’t feel confident in their decisions regarding dental treatments because they haven’t gotten all the facts. Talk with your dentist beforehand so that you can feel secure in whatever decision you make.
- Ask to see the results. You won’t pay for a medical test without expecting to see the results. The same goes for dental procedures. At this point, you’ve been educated about why this procedure was the best course of action. Now, it’s time to ask for the results of your investment.
Ways your dentist can show you results:
- Before and after photos, if results are visible to the naked eye.
- Radiographs displaying the success of your treatment.
- Positive effects of the procedure on the health of your mouth.
By taking these steps with your dentist, you’re far more likely to have an experience you can feel great about. Are you interested in learning more about how to get the best possible dental care? Pick up a copy of my book, The Big Smile!