It’s no secret that people don’t enjoy going to the dentist. This is especially true for those who’ve let their oral care slip. But even if your patient takes really good care of their teeth, there are definitely some things they do inside the dental practice that drive you crazy.
While some things are just tiny quirks you might find annoying, others are more serious and could potentially be really damaging to your patients’ oral health. To help you put on your best professional face and ensure your patients are properly taking care of their teeth and gums, here are the ten things patients do that drive most dental professionals crazy and how you can deal with them effectively and competently.
1. Not brushing before an appointment
One of the best things a patient can do before an appointment is to brush their teeth. Not only does this create a more pleasant working environment for dentists and dental hygienists (especially if the appointment is just after lunch!) but it makes it so much quicker and easier to do common procedures like teeth cleaning and x-rays.
As a dental professional, ask your patient if they’ve brushed their teeth before they sit in the dentist chair. For those who haven’t, it’s worth providing them with toothbrushes and toothpaste so they can have a quick clean before treatment begins.
2. Not replacing toothbrushes often enough
Everyone should replace their toothbrush every three or four months, or anytime after they get sick. Using the same toothbrush for too long means you’re eventually cleaning your teeth with bristles covered in bacteria, which can lead to all kinds of dental complications and illnesses.
It’s the job of dental hygienists and dental assistants to educate patients on how best to take care of their teeth and gums when they return home. This includes how often they should be replacing their toothbrush.
If your current team is too busy to take on this role, it’s definitely worth considering creating an account with Cloud Dentistry and hiring dental staff to teach patients the importance of at-home dental hygiene. This small investment will ensure you provide your patients with better care. In turn, this will make them more likely to recommend your practice to friends and family in need of treatment.
3. Brushing teeth incorrectly
People should brush their teeth ideally after every meal, but at least once in the morning and once at night. But even those who brush their teeth multiple times per day rarely do it properly. And if someone isn’t brushing their teeth properly, they might as well not be brushing them at all.
4. Not flossing
No matter how often patients hear about the importance of flossing, it seems to be something they instantly forget as soon as they walk out the dental practice. Flossing removes plaque buildup and the bacteria it houses, which can cause gum inflammation and gingivitis. Not only can flossing prevent all kinds of horrible diseases, but it can also save patients money they’d have to spend fixing problems caused by lack of flossing in the future.
5. Drinking sugary drinks every day
Some drinks, like coffee, tea and red wine, stain teeth. But these temporary stains are merely artificial and can be removed with teeth whitening treatments. Drinks which contain a lot of sugar, like sodas and energy drinks, do a lot more serious damage, such as tooth decay. While tooth decay can be treated at a dentist, it requires a lot more time and money than a simple whitening procedure. The best way to avoid harming your teeth is to limit how many sugary drinks you consume.
If you work as a dental hygienist or assistant, it’s your job to make sure your patients know the harm seemingly ordinary things such as soda can do to their teeth. If this is a part of your job you really enjoy and get satisfaction from, it’s worth considering finding a job with a platform like Cloud Dentistry and offering your services on a freelance basis.
When you work this way, you’re able to decide which practices you work for, meaning you can choose those which prioritize educating patients on oral care, meaning you can focus more on the part of the job you love.
6. Complaining about how much you hate going to the dentist
We know no one likes going to the dentist. But if you’ve done everything we’ve asked you to, brush regularly, floss often and attend all your appointments, your regular check-up really won’t be that bad at all.
It’s only when you exaggerate about how well you look after your teeth, put off visiting us even when you know there’s something wrong and argue with the dental staff that you’ll have an unpleasant visit.
7. Expecting your appointment to be free
Even if you’ve got a good dental care plan, rarely is your treatment 100% free. There’s always a good chance you’ll have to pay at least a percentage of the price of the care you receive. Even if you’re only having a basic teeth clean. Always come prepared to provide your insurance details for any treatment or pay for it out of your pocket.
Dental work isn’t cheap. When you sit in the dentist chair, not only are you paying for the tools and materials required to complete the procedure, but you’re also paying for several professional staff members who have spent years at school and in dental practices developing their skills to properly treat you. As with anything in life, you get what you pay for at the dentist.
8. Refusing x-rays
While some patients are hesitant to have x-rays done because they’re not covered by their insurance provider, others refuse to have them because they’re worried about being exposed to radiation. The amount of radiation present during an x-ray is so minute, and you’re exposed to it so rarely in life, that the benefits far outway the negatives.
X-rays are essential to help dentists identify underlying problems not visible by just looking in your mouth. It’s only when dentists can see the full picture that they can properly diagnose and treat you, as well as help prevent problems which may arise in the future.
9. Waiting to have a cavity filled
Just like any bacterial infection, a cavity will get much worse over time if you don’t treat it. Going to the dentist and having a cavity filled as soon as possible after you notice it will prevent many expensive, time-consuming and painful procedures down the line. It’s a little uncomfortable, but when you compare it to a root canal, filling a cavity is really no big deal at all.
10. Not knowing which medications you’re taking
Some medications can meddle with various dental procedures, which is why it’s very important to let your doctor know which ones you’re taking. Some drugs can cause symptoms such as dry mouth. But if your dentist isn’t aware you’re taking something which could cause this, it’s likely they’ll assume something else is the cause and possibly give you unnecessary treatment as a result.
If you’ve got a terrible memory, make a paper or digital list of all the medications you take, including how often and how much you take, and be prepared to share it with the dentist.