Advocating for ourselves to our dentist can seem like a daunting challenge, and even brings anxiety for some. “Has anything been bothering you lately?” the dental hygienist asks while you are lying down, light shining on your face. All of the sudden, the laundry list of questions you’ve created suddenly flees from your mind. Throughout the visit, you remember the toothache that has been a pain but can’t seem to find a good time to bring it up to the dentist. This is a common scenario for so many, and we're here to help you get through it.
Learning to be an advocate for yourself is a crucial step to building a great relationship with your dentist and making sure you are on the road to success for your oral care journey. But how? We’ve compiled tips and tactics to help you overcome the fear of a dentist appointment and help you advocate for yourself.
Break It Down, please!
It’s no secret that dentist use a whole different language. Often, we might skip over some important questions because we don't want to sound dumb. So next time you don’t understand what your dentist is saying, they will appreciate you speaking up. It’s as simple as saying, “You know, I don’t think I’m fully understanding. Could you explain it a little more?” They want you to understand what is happening with your oral care!
Why yes, I do have a list
Imagine leaving the dentist’s office, feeling proud because you got all of your questions answered. Crazy, right? Bringing a list can be a simple way achieve this feeling! Whether it’s a running list that you have kept on your phone, or a piece of scrap paper that you wrote notes on 15 minutes before, a list can keep you accountable to asking all of your questions.
Let the keyboard do the talking
Life happens, and we may forget our list...or what if we think of a question afterwards? What on earth do we do then?! Insert the gift of technology, as most dental offices are easy to reach by email. It’s never a bad idea to send your dental office a quick email for your dentist, just to clarify a question you had or follow up on a decision you had made earlier. Sending an email before your appointment can even be a simple way to give your dentist a heads up if you want to discuss something more serious.
Do I have medical history? Why, yes I do!
You know those forms we are asked to fill out about our medical history? While it might not be the most riveting part of our dental visit, it can be an important way for us to express any concerns we might have, especially regarding family history. This information is also crucial for your dentist to understand the full picture of your medical history. Filling these out in detail and honestly is a great step towards advocating for your health.
Believe in yourself!
Out of all the tips and tactics, this is by far the most important! Just know that you are not alone. If you are feeling overwhelmed at all before your dental visit, take a moment to remind yourself that you are capable! Refer back to your questions and take a deep breath. Believing in yourself is the power you need to approach your dentist with confidence and be able to be the best advocate for your oral health. You’ve got this!
We get it: advocating for yourself can be difficult. Especially when it's at a place that we don't see more than twice a year. But with tactics such as bringing a list or bringing up your medical history, you can rock this next dental visit! But just in case, here's a quick reference list for on the go:
- Get the break down of all the details your heart desires, and don't be afraid to ask for more information if you're still confused.
- Create a list of questions! Send an email ahead of time or as a follow up.
- Be honest about your medical history, it's more important than you think.
- Be confident, you got this!