One of the most difficult decisions we make is managing our dental health. The truth of the matter is that each person is ultimately responsible for the final results of his or her dental care. You select your dentist and consent to treatment. As we have often heard, “Let the buyer beware.”
You have more control over your dental fate than you think. By asking the right questions, you can manage your dental needs and expectations.
The following are questions you may consider asking. Having these questions answered will help you decide what is in your best interests in terms of dental care.
How do you select a dentist that meets your needs?
As simple as it sounds, first ask whether or not your dentist listens to you. Does your dentist give you his or her undivided attention? Does your dentist constantly leave the room? Is your dentist interested in your concerns and expectations? Is s/he judgmental? Does your dentist provide a thorough dental examination and discuss the results with you? Does the treatment plan address your needs and concerns? Were several options presented to you? Does s/he make you feel comfortable asking questions?
Make sure the dentist is properly trained to do the procedures they propose. You can check the state education commission for ethical or professional violations.
Dentistry is so expensive. What can I do on a limited budget?
These are challenging economic times. Describe your priorities. Ask your dentist what will happen if the work is not done. What are the risks and benefits? Your dentist may say the situation is urgent and should be addressed immediately. Much dental work can be done in stages. You can also inform your dentist of your budget, and ask what can be accommodated. Your treatment plan, fees, and payment arrangements should be in writing.
What is one thing that I should know that could possibly save my teeth?
Some people are prone to loose teeth as a result of decay. Bacteria break down sugars, producing acids and demineralizing teeth. Your saliva remineralizes what was lost from demineralization. The effectiveness of saliva is lost with age, taking certain medications, and systemic conditions. A high fluoride paste like Prevident 5000 is an effective deterrent of dental demineralization.
What role does the dental implant play?
Dental implants provide the opportunity to replace missing teeth without involving your remaining natural teeth.
How has dentistry gotten better?
There are are a number of restorative materials that are both esthetic and strong. E-max is a material used for crowns and other restorations. It has amazing esthetic properties and durability, along with strength never available with past esthetic associated restorations.
If you take these 5 questions to heart, you will keep you teeth for a life time.
A smile was meant for a lifetime.
Dr. George Shelby White, D.D.S, F.A.C.P. is the Director of the Division of Prosthodontics at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. He maintains a private practice limited to esthetics, implants, and restorative dentistry. 45 West 132 Street, New York, NY 10037, 212- 862-9600, www.gswhitedds.com, email@example.com.
The information and views in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Harlem Times.