9 out of 10 dentists agree: there’s a lot you don’t know about dentists
How many television commercials have we seen that make the claim “9 out of 10 dentists agree” about the effectiveness of a toothpaste or toothbrush?
Far be it from us to burst the bubble of illusion created by the advertising industry, but the truth is that that sort of consensus is all in their imagination!
Every dentist is different. It’s not like we have big arguments about how to treat patients, it’s more that our personalities come through in our treatment plans. Some of us are, by nature, more conservative in our approach to treating a dental issue.
So, at the risk of making dentistry a bit less mysterious, here are a few other things you probably don’t know about dentists.
There’s a good reason we ask you questions when you can’t really respond
You may have wondered: “Why do they ask me questions when they’re probing around in my mouth and I can’t answer?”.
It’s partly because we do want to gauge how you’re doing there in the chair – and you’d be surprised how good we are to decipher your muffled words – but it’s partly because we’re trying to keep you relaxed.
We know a lot of patients find a visit to the dentist stressful, and almost everyone we see tenses up when we’re working in their mouth, so we don’t want you to be lying there in silence focusing on every poke and prod.
We’re really happy when you ask us questions
Probably best you ask questions either before or after we do your examination or treatment, but when you do have questions it lets us know that you’re thinking about your oral care and hygiene.
We might not give you a detailed report after a check-up, particularly if there are no issues to address, but that shouldn’t stop you asking: “How are my gums?”.
And don’t be embarrassed if you feel you need some advice or instruction on how to brush or floss better. All we care about is that you end up with the best oral care technique and routine.
Dental offices and clinics are designed to be relaxing
There’s been a lot of research done on the sorts of colours, fixtures and fittings, even artwork that helps put people at ease, and we put all of that into the mix when we set up our rooms.
We are well aware that most people consider a visit to the dentist as a not-very-fun thing, so we do whatever we can to make the environment not just relaxing, but soothing – especially for children.
That dental office smell has a source
We don’t really notice it, because we’re so used to it, but just about everyone else who comes into any dental office once in a while notices a distinctive smell.
It’s not really that strong, but you notice it because you’re probably not that used to smelling a combination of latex gloves and fluoride gel!
You may be harder to numb than the next person
The amount of local anaesthetic it takes to numb your mouth varies from patient to patient – often quite considerably.
There are a number of reasons for this, ranging from dietary – fatty tissue can soak up the injected solution before it has the chance to take full effect – to genetic – redheads have a gene mutation that makes them more susceptible to pain.
And would you believe that having an empty stomach can heighten your senses?
If we have to extract a tooth, we’re helping dental students
Yes, the tooth fairy claims her fair share of kids’ teeth that fall out, but we’re not really competing with her!
Some people ask if they can take home a tooth we have to extract, but the rest are very valuable in training the next generation of dentists.
When we’re studying dentistry, we start off working with plastic teeth, but as we get better and closer to finishing our courses, the opportunity to use real teeth to practice fillings and crowns is very helpful.
There’s a chance we like your teeth more than you do!
We see a lot of teeth. We also see quite a few people who aren’t happy with their teeth; people who would like them to be straighter, more even, less pointy, whiter, and so on.
In most cases, we’re more than happy to help you shape your smile into one you like better. After all, the happier you are with your teeth, the more likely you are to spend time caring for them, which is ultimately our goal.
But we do sometimes think a patient has pretty good teeth only to hear that they’re less satisfied. In the end, your oral health is our number one concern, while you might be more focused on your appearance. And that’s fine with us, too.
We’re the only profession trying to put itself out of business!
If we do our job well, and you do your part with a good oral care routine, we end up with less work!
From a patient’s perspective, prevention is way better than cure, so regular check-ups (with a scale and clean), regular and thorough brushing and flossing, and healthy eating habits all go a long way to reducing your need for potentially expensive, time-consuming, and/or invasive treatments.
We’ll always be ready to treat any issues that arise, but we’re also happy not seeing you more often!
Having said all that …
Hopefully peeling back the curtain a little to expose some ‘trade secrets’ hasn’t put you off coming to see us. Our point is that there’s nothing that scary about visiting the dentist and the most important thing is that we’re dedicated to caring for your oral health.
If you’ve got any pain or issues, make an appointment now. The sooner we take a look, the easier it will be to remedy.
If you haven’t had a check-up for a while, make an appointment now. Then we can schedule you to come in every six months.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
By the way, congratulations to the winner of our Mother’s Day May competition, Sarah Yang, who is now the proud owner of a rose gold electric toothbrush kit.