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7 Steps to a Happier Visit with Your Dentist

Jun 08, 2015

7 Steps to a Happier Visit with Your Dentist

Posted by George Williams, DDS on Mon, Jun 8, 2015 - 1:03 PM in Dental , Preventive Care

         

I know most people don't look forward to their dental appointments. Yet, there are many things you can do to make your visit to the dentist as pleasant as possible. Try these seven steps. They'll make you and your dentist happy.

7 steps to a more positive dental appointment | how to be a good dental patient

Airport security lines amaze me. Two words: SENSORY OVERLOAD. 

As you are being corralled like cattle, your senses are bombarded by workers barking orders, instructional videos on flat screens, posters, billboards, lights, alarms, that awkward check-in with the TSA agent, and someone always rambling on the PA system. Who needs coffee when you have airport security lines?!

It’s very easy to tell who travels frequently and who doesn’t by traveler etiquette. Truth be told, the security line is meant to be a pragmatic litany of dogmas that, if followed correctly, will ensure an efficient experience to ensure traveler safety. Meanwhile, reality has struck, and Mr. Myrtle forgot to take off his shoes while you have five minutes to get to your gate because of an accident on the way to the airport. Consequently, getting through airport security can be very stressful. The key to a successful visit is to be prepared and have proper etiquette. 

It is the same with your trip to the dentist. Proper patient etiquette helps create a better patient experience.

Here are seven ways you increase the likelihood of a productive and positive visit for you and your dental office. 

#1 — Arrive early for your appointment, so you have adequate time to find parking and check-in.

The biggest reason our schedules run late is because of patient tardiness. It is very difficult to make a scheduled 60 minute appointment into a 45 minute appointment because you are fifteen minutes late. This causes run over into the next patient’s appointment and undo stress on the dental team.  I think we can all agree, we don’t want dentists rushing with a handpiece that spins at 400,000 revolutions per minute!

#2 — Brush, floss and use mouth wash before your appointment.

If you are unable to, ask the front office staff for a toothbrush upon your arrival. We want to see the teeth we will be working on, not what you had for lunch.

#3 — Confirm your appointments. If conflicts arise, notify the staff more than 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment.

Also, if an issue arises different than your scheduled appointment notify the office ahead of time. For example, you were scheduled for a filling, but you broke a tooth on the opposite side chewing ice last week. We set up our rooms at the beginning of each day and may need different instruments. It also allows for your dentist to mentally switch gears and prepare for your appointment. We like to be prepared and prefer not to have patient surprises.

#4 — Avoid putting on lipstick.

It may look nice, it but gets everywhere and can greatly increase room turn-around time.

#5 — Use the restroom before your appointment, especially for very short appointments.

(However, if nature calls, we’ll understand.)

#6 — Try to find a babysitter, if possible.

We love to see our patient’s families. However, if you have young children, your appointment will go more smoothly if you can find a babysitter in advance or bring a friend to watch the kid(s). We can't let children sit unattended in the waiting room, and it can be very distracting to have a young child in the operatory. We work in a detail-oriented profession that requires a great deal of focus. Fewer distractions will mean a more positive experience and a shorter appointment for you. 

#7 — Tell us if you are not comfortable.

I often tell patients I have one rule: “I want you comfortable.” If you’re comfortable, I’m comfortable!

Let your dental team know before your appointment if you have extra needs, such as the need for more anesthesia, more frequent breaks, or a certain reclining position to accommodate neck or back issues. We may need to schedule you for a longer time slot to attend to your needs and keep you comfortable.

We work very hard to create a positive experience every time you come into the office. Proper patient etiquette and working together can help us achieve a complete, productive and timely visit!

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Looking for a dentist in the Canton, Ohio area? Mercy Dental Services can help. We accept medicaid and most insurance plans. We also offer dental care for special needs. Learn more >>

Dental, Preventive Care

About George Williams, DDS

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George Williams, DDS, is currently part of the Mercy General Practice Dental Residency Program.

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Dr. Williams was a recipient of The Ohio State University Board of Trustees Student Recognition Award, the Ohio Dental Foundation Scholarship and the Dental Alumni Society Leadership Scholarship. He provides dental care for both adults and children in Mercy Dental Services.

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