Dentist appointment "do's and don'ts" for best results

by Anne Dillon

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 such as a surgery or been diagnosed with a chronic condition, you need to tell your 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 wait until they are in the dentist chair to inform dental staff of major medical developments.

"Pretreatment one hour before the appointment with an antibiotic is recommended for patients with certain health conditions," he said. "The appointment must be rescheduled if that hasn't happened, resulting in a wasted trip."

Taking prescribed antibiotics one hour before the dental appointment helps reduce the amount of bacteria entering the bloodstream during specific dental procedures, such as cleaning and drilling.

"Board-certified dentists are in constant communication with our physician colleagues regarding patients and their needs," said Hogan, who treats many cancer, diabetic and at the academic . "Dentists are constantly working with the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to fine-tune these guidelines for best patient safety practices."

More commonly, patients aggressively step up dental hygiene when a dentist appointment nears. "Sometimes we will see the 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.

"Just stick with good oral hygiene and home care on a regular basis and your teeth should be fine," said Hogan, who has been practicing dentistry for five years. Good oral hygiene means brushing two to three times per day and flossing once a day.

"Mouth rinses and mouthwash help reduce plaque and can aid in keeping gum tissue healthy," said Hogan, who sees patients of all ages at his Loyola practice. "Using mouthwash is a good habit, together with brushing and flossing."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Seniors face barriers to critical dental care

Aug 27, 2014

Research has shown that poor oral health can have a negative impact on seniors' overall health and well-being, but for many, there are significant barriers to visiting a dentist, finds a new report in the ...

Pediatricians offer new dental recommendations

Aug 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—All children should start using toothpaste with fluoride when their teeth appear, regardless of their risk level for cavities, according to new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics ...

Dental woes of an aging population

Aug 13, 2014

Public health dentist Mark Nehring remembers attending a lecture on geriatric treatment 20 years ago. The speaker offered up slides of a patient with ample evidence of previous dental care: "crowns in place, very good fillings," ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

4johnny
not rated yet May 20, 2014
Also, consider regular use of mints made of xylitol.