Chances are that you don’t usually get into long conversations with your dentist, considering that for much of any given appointment, their hands are in your mouth. But while your dentist is always happy to talk to you about the benefits of flossing or the lovely weather, there are a few things your dentist probably wants you to know, but won’t actually tell you.
We Know You Aren’t Flossing
Dentists don’t just advise regular flossing for kicks! Flossing is the only way to remove plaque from the areas in between your teeth, which can become hotbeds for bacteria, and as a result, cavities, if they aren’t kept tidy. Flossing also helps keep your gums healthy, so you can avoid gum disease. This means that we don’t actually need you to tell us whether or not you’re flossing — we can tell when you aren’t
You shouldn’t feel embarrassed to admit it, either. After all, more than 30% of Americans don’t floss at all, and another approximate third don’t floss every day. Your dentist isn’t trying to shame you, they’re trying to improve your oral health and protect you from disease, decay, and tooth loss. Asking if you’re flossing is an opening to talk to you about the importance of flossing, and maybe even give you some tips on how to form the habit. You can be honest with your dentist; they’re only trying to help!
You Don’t Have to Reply
Everyone knows the awkward feeling when it seems like your dentist or hygienist is trying to engage you in conversation, but you can’t respond because their hands are in your mouth. Time to stop stressing: We don’t actually expect you to reply. In general, your dentist is talking to try and make you feel at ease, and to prevent an awkward silence. It’s not often that you have a relative stranger’s hands in your mouth, and considering that somewhere between 30 and 40 million people are afraid of the dentist, we know that you’re probably feeling less than relaxed when you’re in the chair. If you have something you really want to say, feel free to put the cleaning of exam on pause for a moment to say it, but don’t feel pressured to engage in a conversation during your appointment
You Can Ask Us Questions
It can be easy to see a regular dentist appointment as a rigidly structured thing: You arrive, you check in, you have a cleaning, you have an exam, and you book your next check-up on the way out. But this can leave some patients feeling unsure of when the best time is to ask questions or bring up concerns, which can result in many people never doing so
The most important thing to remember is that your dentist is on your side. We want you to have a healthy mouth, and we’re happy to answer your questions about how to make that happen. Any time is a fine time to ask your dentist questions, express concern over any dental symptoms you may be experiencing, or just ask for clarification. We’re here to help!