What did your parents tell you about going to the dentist? Did they talk about how your dentists could help you take care of your teeth, gums and even your smile? Instead, they probably emphasized the negative: “It won’t hurt much,” or “Your toothache will be gone.”
For most of us, the stories we heard about visiting dentists described how the person in the white jacket helped relieve tooth pain. We didn’t hear about the dentists creating opportunities for good dental health and an attractive bright smile.
Comparing the dentistry your parents knew with the new dentistry that has emerged over the past ten to fifteen years is like comparing the computers of the 1950’s with today’s powerful desktop machines. The differences are vast. Yet, as dental care consumers, most of us have not updated our old stories. You haven’t added new chapters about the great possibilities for dental care and dental well-being that the new dentistry offers.
You can experience these new possibilities for oral and dental health by creating partnerships with your dentists and their dental teams. You can take advantage of innovations and advances in:
- Treatment technologies and equipment
- New materials
- Preventive techniques
- Scientific knowledge
- Cosmetic enhancements like invisible fillings
- Integrated multi-specialty treatment teams
Today’s dental care teams have the knowledge, skills and information to help create a positive dental health future. A partnership is based on communication and mutual responsibility, and you can actively foster that first communication.
You can begin to partner with your dentists and their dental care teams by:
- Asking about advancements in treatment technologies and materials.
- Finding out what steps you can take to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
- Creating a positive dental future through the recommended steps of flossing and brushing.
- Taking an active role in contacting your dentists and dental care team at the first sign of any concern about teeth or gums.
- Using your curiosity to make sure you understand the reasons for a referral to a specialist such as a periodontist or endodontist and the outcomes your dentists are seeking.
Your parents didn’t have the choices or the opportunities that you have today for optimal dental health. The new dentistry can create more than a warm bright smile; it can improve your overall health.
The future of your dental health is in your hands just as the future of your bodily health is. Taking steps to increase your knowledge about the new dentistry will provide great benefits for you today and tomorrow.
By Brian DesRoches, PhD