Do you ever go to the dentist, expecting just an easy breezy cleaning, but instead leaving in pain?
If so, don’t worry too much, because you are definitely not the only one, and what’s best is – there are a few easy steps to prevent this!
New patients vs established patients
If you already have a healthy habit of having regular dentist checkups – this should not be a problem for you. In that case, cleaning is probably something you’re used to – and nothing more than a discomfort you have to do every now and then. More so, regular cleaning appointments can make your life so much easier, not just because cleaning prevents things such as cavities and gingivitis, but also because every next cleaning is so much easier since you won’t have as much tartar built up! Most dentist hygienists recommend cleaning every six months, as there is no proof that cleaning more often than that is really necessary.
But for new patients, this can turn out to be an unpleasant surprise.
All medical professionals agree on one thing – a key to a good treatment and patient satisfaction is the communication.
Why does communication in dental care matter so much, you ask?
Here are 5 very good reasons!
If we look at the bigger picture, your treatment starts the moment you call in to schedule your appointment. You’re most likely going to be asked a lot of questions about why you’re coming in – and for a good reason. Every good staff member will try to acquire as much information about you as humanly possible, even before you physically come in, so they can give you the same thing in return!
Let’s put this into perspective: you want to schedule cleaning, right? They ask you when was the last time you had your teeth cleaned, and you say a year ago.
Now, depending on the person and their level of hygiene, this might be a sign that there is a lot of tartar build up. The person you’re talking to might suggest you split your visit into two appointments, but ultimately, you’ll have to discuss this with the hygienist, since they’ll be the one actually doing the procedure. Also, the amount of treatments needed depends on you and what you’re comfortable with. If you and your dentist both agree that only one is enough, there’s also nothing wrong with that.
Before the hygienist starts the process itself, you will again be asked a lot of questions – including some about the medication you are using at the moment, your pain tolerance and mouth sensitivity, any problems they should know about and so on. And in return – you’ll be told what to expect, so there’s no uncertainties on any sides. This is also the moment you can talk about your possible anxieties and anything else that you feel like you should share with them (at least I do this – I used to jump out of the chair and leave mid process, really).
Finally, the fun part. You’ll be asked to tell the hygienist if you feel any discomfort, and you’ll probably be reminded about that throughout the process – which is an annoying thing when you’re not really feeling like chatting, but very necessary.
This is because sensitivity varies between patients, and although the hygienist has the best intentions – they won’t know you’re hurting unless you tell them.
Some people are sensitive to the water and air pump, so much that they might need an anesthetic in order to feel comfortable during the process, and it’s up to them to share that information.
If there’s not a lot of buildup, cleaning can really be just another thing on your to do list, but if there is a lot of it – the process might not be what you expect, unless you share your expectations and concerns with the staff or hygienist at any of these three stages.
There should be no surprises at this point if you are well informed. Most people feel no discomfort after the cleaning – they actually feel way better. If the process was a little bit harder on your mouth (a lot of buildup), they might recommend a pain reliever to get you through the day. If you feel in any way, shape or form, bad after your visit – feel free to call them in and ask for more information. Better late than never, right?
Even though you hear this all the time – it’s a very necessary reminder. It’s kind of hard to remove all the tartar buildup, even if you pay very close attention to your dental hygiene.
You’ll notice when you’re flossing – you remove food particles and some sticky liquid like thing. That is called plaque, and when we don’t remove it often enough – our saliva deposits minerals in it – transforming it into a calculus, commonly known as tartar.
Tip: switch from regular dental floss to interdental brushes – they are so much easier to use, especially for teeth further away from the middle!
Tartar also builds up under our gums – and once removed from there, it leaves an empty space, making the root of our teeth available to hot and cold sensations that can cause, well, not a very pleasant feeling as you probably already know. Unfortunately, that process is pretty silent and goes without any symptoms and most people aren’t even aware of it – until the dentist gives them the bad news. Which is exactly why prevention and home care are the best way to go.
Communication is the key
Circling back to communication, it’s very important to share everything you consider important with your health care provider, so they would know what to expect, as well for you to receive the attention and the best possible care you deserve. Dentistry is no different than surgery, for example. You should expect a healing process after your treatment, and if you follow the recommendations given to you – you should feel good in no time, and ready for that next regular cleaning!