Dos and donts when visiting the dentist
Many dread a trip to the dentist, but there are important things you need to do, and not do, beforehand to have a successful visit. Communicating with your dentist before the visit is often critical.
“If you have experienced a serious health condition such as a surgery or been diagnosed with a chronic condition, you need to tell your dentist before you come for your appointment,” said Martin Hogan, DDS, division director of the Oral Health Center at Loyola University Medical Center. “Depending on the illness, you may need to be premedicated with antibiotics to prevent infection.”
Hogan said many patients wait until they are in the dentist chair to inform dental staff of major medical developments.
Commonly, patients aggressively step up dental hygiene when a dentist appointment nears. “Sometimes we will see the gum tissue slightly irritated and when asking patients about this, they mention that they have been flossing ‘extra hard’ the past few days in anticipation of their dental visit,” Hogan said. “Other times we may see the gum tissue slightly dried out, which often is caused by excessive use of alcohol-containing mouth rinses.”
Hogan said gum tissue can also recede due to overaggressive tooth brushing.
“Breakdown of gum tissue can occur from months and years of rigorous tooth brushing,” Hogan said. “Hard brushing a few days before a visit to the dentist should not cause permanent damage.”
Before a visit to the dentist, just maintaining your normal routine is recommended.