Your dentist should be an integral part of your health care team. In treating problems and providing general maintenance of your oral health, your dentist should base decisions upon a full dental and medical history. He or she should also be willing to answer any questions you may have regarding your oral health, medications and prevention.

YOUR DENTIST

In addition to providing care and maintenance of your mouth, teeth, and gums, your dentist is also an essential member of your overall health care team, since your oral health and general health often affect one another.

In providing dental treatment, your dentist should base his or her decisions upon an extensive knowledge of your current condition and past medical and dental history.

Because the dentist is a prescriber of medications, it is very important that he or she is aware of your full medical and dental history. Even if you do not consider this information important, you should inform your dentist as fully as possible.

In the treatment of any dental/oral problem your dentist should make every effort to inform you as fully as possible about the nature of the problem. He or she should explain why this problem has occurred, the advantages and disadvantages of available treatments (including no treatment), and what types of preventive measures can be employed to avoid future problems.

These measures may include periodic visits to the dentist, and a general awareness of the manner in which dental and overall health may affect one another. In any type of treatment, your dentist should always allow you to ask questions, and should be willing to answer them to your satisfaction.

In selecting a dentist, it is important to keep in mind the role of the dentist as a member of the health care team, and the extent of the information that he or she should be asking for and providing. There are also several practical issues that you should consider, such as:

  • Is the dentist a specialist or general practitioner?
  • What are the office hours?
  • Is the dentist or his/her associates available after office hours by phone? In emergencies, will you be able to contact a dentist?
  • What is the office policy on cancellations?
  • What types of payment are accepted at the office?
  • What is the office policy on x-ray procedures?
  • Is the dentist willing to work with other medical and/or dental specialists that you may be seeing?

Your dentist should be an integral part of your health care team. In treating problems and providing general maintenance of your oral health, your dentist should base decisions upon a full dental and medical history.

He or she should also be willing to answer any questions that you have regarding your oral health, any medications prescribed, and preventive measures to avoid future problems.

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