I’m sure it’s strange to be sitting reading a blog written by a dentist.
They commonly feel guilty for not having visited a dentist for some years – often five or ten years, and are embarrassed about the state of their teeth.
The important things I try to communicate to my patients are:
- Firstly these fears and anxieties are a normal and natural response to what has happened to them. It’s not their fault. Call it a type of ‘dental post traumatic stress’. But there is no need to fear…
- The second message of this blog is that there is hope. Hope that patients will find a dentist who will listen to their past history and their fears and help them overcome their concerns. Hope that they can find a dentist who will treat them with empathy and without causing any pain during their treatment.
Know the questions to ask before you visit the dentist
There is no-one more vulnerable than a person with a dental problem who doesn’t know what questions to ask to help them make an informed decision.
My blog will help you clarify what information you need, and some of the options available to you before you even step foot in a dental office.
Do you speak ‘dentist’?
I’m like all other dentists in the world: due to our education we tend to think in a certain way and use a specialised vocabulary. It’s not that we don’t want our patients to understand us.
However, after five years of dental school, continuing education and talking to other dentists in scientific language and jargon, ‘dental talk’ becomes the natural way we talk about teeth and dental problems.
Old dental habits die hard
After twenty-five years of speaking in ‘dental talk’ I know how difficult it is to break out of that mould. And because these old habits die so hard, I am going to write this blog, not as an encyclopaedia about teeth, but as a guide for dental patients so:
- They can have some background knowledge and are not overwhelmed by all the information that dentists can dump on our patients;
- They can have time to think about the things that may be affecting them or their age group before their visit. That way they can ask the dentist the most useful questions about their condition.
Even though I try very hard to not speak in ‘dental talk’, I almost always relapse back into it.
Some patients are too polite
Dental patients are often too polite to tell their dentist that he or she didn’t explain things very well. And it is this politeness that keeps them in the dark, resulting in decision making without understanding the full consequences.
Make your own informed dental decisions
Often they have had teeth removed and are now left unable to chew properly, are embarrassed to smile, or are left with chronic pain or some other ‘dental disability’.
As a dentist my whole professional life is dedicated to helping my patients achieve the level of dental health, chewing ability and smile that they want. This blog aims to empower dental patients to make their own decisions by explaining their treatment options in plain English.
I hope you find this blog helpful. To those who have suffered in the past with bad dental experiences, I hope it provides the key to moving past your dental fears, towards good dental health and a beautiful smile.