Today I am sharing some things you should know that are not meant to be kept a secret or that some dentists may not want you to know or may not even know themselves. Dentists are like snowflakes; they are not all the same and have the same background or knowledge. 

It is really hard to find providers with a whole-body approach. And especially when it comes to the mouth and breathing. Most practitioners are doing what they learned and what they know from their scope of practice. But a lot of us, which is weird to me, is not actually that educated about tongue ties, mouth breathing, and its effects on the body. How it is related to overall health, digestive concerns, bedwetting, ADHA, sleep issues, and so much more.

You, as the patient or parent of the patient, need to have an idea of what your goals are before choosing a dentist or any healthcare provider, for that matter.

From a very early age, you’re encouraged to ask questions – to your parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, and financial advisors, especially regarding your health. 

When in medical environments, asking questions is an important part of your long-term healthcare. You need to be your own healthcare advocate. No one knows about or cares about your body more than you. 

If something does not feel right, it more than likely is not. We have an intuition for a reason, yet most of us ignore it, explain it away, or worse, give our power away because we don’t trust ourselves or we think someone else knows more than we do.  We only get one body no matter how much education, knowledge, or experience someone has, as they do not live in your body. 

No one knows more about your body and how you feel than you do. I learned from my cancer journey that healthcare is a set of protocols based on the majority of signs, symptoms, treatments, and outcomes of the people that were treated before you.

If you don’t believe me, just listen to a drug commercial. Prescription drug ads on television can be fearfully amusing. It helps ABC may cause a series of side effects that may be worse than the thing you are taking the pill to prevent. Good luck; we warned you of all the side effects someone has reported from taking this drug. You are now an informed consumer! Don’t say we did not tell you. I laugh every time I see a commercial like that.

Before you pick someone to help you on your journey to health, you must ask yourself some tough questions to which you may or may not know the answers.

Know who you are as a patient:

Is your health a priority?

What’s your comfort zone?

Do you feel there is no pain, there is no problem?

Do you have anxiety?

Do you have trust issues?

Do you do what is recommended? 

Do you ask a lot of questions? 

Are you flexible in scheduling?

Do you need to get in and get out? Are you ok with waiting?

Are you going to get to the appointment 15 minutes late that says you need to be out in 45 minutes?

Do you want the latest and greatest in care? 

Do you want a provider that recommends new, state-of-the-art care or one that provides minimum care to maintain your health? Old school?

Do you feel you don’t have the money to invest in your health?

Do you want just the problem looked at and treated, or would you like to find the cause?

What made you decide to seek treatment?

What symptoms are you experiencing if any?

What are your hopes or goals for treatment?

Are you looking to just get out of pain quickly?

Are you looking to solve an ongoing problem?

Do you only want the treatment that is covered by your insurance?

Do you know if your insurance covers the provider you chose?

Do you prefer to ask friends and relatives for recommendations

Do you want a list from your insurance company you can pick from?

Would you like to see someone a friend or family member recommends?

Are you ok with paying out of pocket for someone you trust?

Do you want a provider that offers times that fits into your schedule, or are you flexible for appointments? What hours do you require? Do you need an office that is flexible in their schedule?

It is up to you to Know your dental and health insurance benefits:  What does your insurance pay?

Some Offices with help answer question

Question to ask a provider you see:

How long does it take to get an appointment?

Is there a fee for missed or canceled appointments?

 Is the office convenient for your work or home?

 Are the office hours compatible with your schedule?

What kind of emergency after-hours care does the office have?

Does the office offer any kind of payment plans?

Do you need family schedules at the same time?

Question’s specifically for a dentist:

Know what you require in dental health professionals?

What type of dentist? General, Airway, orthodontist, Oral Surgeon?

Do you prefer a  dental hygienist for cleaning or a dentist?

What do you require of the atmosphere, and culture of the dental office

Know how they handle dental emergencies?

Are you going for preventive care, checking for cavities and gum health?

Are you looking to straighten your teeth?

Are you looking for a  dentist or orthodontist that specializes in the airway, Children?

Is the dentist accepting new patients?

How long has the dentist been in practice?

How long has the dentist been at their current location?

Does the dentist treat patients with special conditions, i.e., physical handicaps, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, autism, special needs children, etc.?

Does the dentist use relaxation, nitroxide, or sedation techniques to ease dental phobia?

Does the dentist see children as well as adults?

What kind of dental technology does the dentist use? Digital

Does the dentist take continuing education courses and stay up to date with the latest techniques?

Does the dentist collaborate with other professionals, speech pathologists, body workers, and lactation consultants?

Dental care is now more comfortable, natural, and pain-free than ever. When most people think of going to the dentist, they think of pain, being uncomfortable, and are most likely afraid. However, with new technology and advancements in dentistry, you can be more comfortable with treatment methods offering less pain or anxiety. 

The reason people have anxiety with going to the dentist was that they always thought you only go when you are in pain; now it is more common to go to the dentist to prevent cavities and root canals, as well as make your teeth whiter, more attractive, straighter, stronger, and even to eliminate headaches and neck pain that you may be experiencing. 

If you are feeling mouth or facial pain, headaches, neck aches, dry mouth, missing teeth, or just want a beautiful, healthy smile for you or your family…. make sure to find a dentist that is right for you. 

Not Any Dentist Can Help You depending on your and your family’s needs.

Be Aware That Not All Dentists Are the Same, And Choosing the Wrong Dentist Could Be A Big Mistake! 

Let’s review what most dentists do so that you know why dentistry is important and effective for basic care, like filling cavities,  cosmetics, implants, dentures, orthodontics, TMJ, and so much more! 

Dentists have a wide range of treatments, from relieving pain and pulling teeth to assisting patients in achieving the whiter, brighter, more beautiful smile they’ve always wanted. Some dentists help people with getting healthier and provide more reliable care by looking at more than just their teeth. Some dentists specialize in assisting people in getting straighter teeth quickly and easily with a number of different treatment options. Some general dentists do more, and some do less and refer to others for specialties. 

There are some that can even relieve headache pain and solve or prevent so many dental problems that will not likely get better using traditional methods. If you have any headaches, facial pain, clenching, grinding, snoring, or suffer from chronic migraines, get up and pee in the middle of the night, for example… you probably know that taking drugs only masks the symptoms temporarily and does nothing to actually correct the cause of the pain. 

There are literally countless examples of patients who could not get better with traditional methods…yet found quick and long-lasting relief from dental interventions that required no drugs and no surgery! 

So what should you ask a dentist BEFORE agreeing to care? 

Prior to care, a dentist should ask detailed questions about your past and present dental and medical health and take x-rays or other tests when necessary, like a saliva test. 

Whether you go to see the dentist for basic dental care or for cosmetic improvements, he or she should be looking at function and for potential problems, such as cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, TMJ syndrome, which causes severe headaches, facial pain, and migraines, as well as ways to improve the strength, health, and appearance of your teeth and smile. 

You will receive a diagnosis and a recommended Action Plan. 

Do NOT agree to care from any provider that does not first provide you with a very clear explanation of treatment outcome and options:

  1. What is causing or contributing to your problem? 
  2. What is the estimate of the costs involved? 
  3. A Recommended Action Plan details what specific care is needed…..and why. 

Unfortunately, a few doctors, including Dentists, treat every patient pretty much the same, regardless of their condition. I have experienced this firsthand. As you would expect, there’s a lot of information you must know before you can decide what care is best for you in your specific situation. 

Your chosen provider wants to know if the problem is caused or aggravated by anything such as a broken tooth, missing tooth, or something structural. Is it a simple problem that can be resolved within a reasonable period of time or in stages? 

What areas do They specialize in, if anything?  Some dentists are only proficient in treating certain conditions or doing certain treatments. Some doctors may specialize in implants, orthodontics, TMJ, cosmetics, family dentistry, and so on.

The problem is that some dentists have only done 1 or 2 cases for a certain condition, and this may not be to your benefit if you want someone more experienced. However, some dentists have extensive training in many different areas.

Be sure to seek a dentist who takes x-rays to rule out fractures or pathology. Caring for a patient without x-rays is like flying in the dark. Unfortunately, there are some serious conditions that can first express themselves without any pain. 

There are some quick ways a dentist can know what exactly is wrong and what the best treatment option would be. Not only have we been able to reduce radiation by about 90%, but the software enhancements now help us spot problems much earlier than old film. Some dentists also use an Intra-oral Camera that shows your teeth up close on a computer or TV. It allows them to see with their own eyes the problems that exist and show you what’s possible for the teeth. 

If the doctor you’re consulting doesn’t take x-rays before recommending treatment, you should consider talking to another dentist. On the flip side, if you refuse, x rays don’t expect the doctor to give you an accurate assessment of what is going on in your mouth

Refusing x-rays and asking the dentist if you have cavities is like asking a cancer doctor to look at you and tell you if you have cancer. You might as well opt to see a fortune teller.  

Will your provider give you their recommendations in writing?  This is very important. This allows you to go home and think about it before making a decision. Most people want you to make a decision right there. Having gone through cancer, I needed to take some quiet time and weigh all the options. I was given three: Cut it out, burn it out, or poison it and me. 

Plus, if something is written, it gives you an explanation of what the care will consist of, how long it will last, and how much it will cost, and you can make an informed decision.

You can never learn too much information about your needs. Take some time to process what you need and the options that are right for you. It will be worth it! So you are not second-guessing yourself.

Do they have a payment plan available? Successful practices usually allow patients to make payments.  Or have an option for financing.

Is there a guarantee of my satisfaction? It is very hard for a dentist to guarantee results. There are many variables.  But, for example, an office that offers every patient knows that if they feel rushed or don’t get the attention they think they deserve or aren’t satisfied with how they are treated that day . . . they can make another visit to discuss their concerns.  I’m proud to say we haven’t had one patient express dissatisfaction. Make sure the doctor you choose is willing to stand behind their care.

 Do you have a waiting policy?

 A recent patient survey revealed that what irritates patients the most is when the doctor and the staff do not respect their time and make them wait excessively in the waiting room. 

Now, most doctors claim their patients don’t have to wait excessively. But, in our office, our policy is that no patient waits longer than thirty minutes in our reception room . . . or we give you Starbucks cards, Fannie May chocolate, or a free fluoride treatment. 

It goes both ways if you don’t come to your scheduled appointment on time and they take you the patient after having to wait; being respectful of time goes both ways. 

There are ways of preventing needing to be treated in the first place. Most people don’t want to hear about preventing disease. They wait until there is pain, then seek treatment. 

Dental disease is silent by the time there is pain, you are in trouble, and it is going to be expensive to treat. If you stay on top of it, get regular check-ups, or take preventive measures, your appointment will be easier, covered by insurance, and you will be healthier overall.

Your mouth is a window into your body. It is like the check engine light of your body, but only if you pay attention.

 If a light is on in your car, how long do you drive before you get it checked out? We have several cars over your lifetime.

How long do you put it off if you have warning signs in your mouth or body?

We only get one body; if we are not healthy, it affects everything in our lives, especially our finances. Why do you wait until we can’t put it off any longer when it comes to our health?

Health is wealth.  If we are not healthy, we cannot work, be there to provide for our family, or live the life we want. 

When we ask better questions, we get better answers and outcomes. When we know better, we do better.

What is the biggest question you need to answer?

What is your health worth to you? 

If you have any questions and would like my help, book a 15-minute free call  with me at:

Next week we are going to talk about breathing, how it affects everything in our body, and a self-assessment you can do at home.

 A healthy mouth is a healthy body and a happy, healthy life