Here at Forestwood, we commonly reference the journey that we can each take towards our own optimal oral health.
In order for each of us to successfully navigate this journey to optimal oral health, we have to have a good map and educate ourselves. For more information on how to do this, we invite you to check out our article, “The first step of dental self-empowerment“.
Given that you’re here reading this, you’ve probably already begun your own journey.
In your quest for optimal oral health, you likely recognize the importance of continuing education, of learning more about the various pieces to the puzzle so you can better navigate your path.
Today, we’ll touch on a news event that highlights how critically important it is that each of us accepts the responsibility of being the MVP (most valuable person) on our oral health team. We’ll explain why we each need to be the captain on our journey to optimal oral health as well as the potential risks if we don’t educate ourselves.
At the end of this article, we will share five simple, helpful actions you can take to increase your dental self empowerment and reduce your bill at the dental office.
While these strategies can be applied in many areas of our lives, for the sake of this discussion, let’s keep it focused around our oral health journey.
Why increasing our knowledge base could save us more than money…
What happens when we don’t accept the responsibility of being the MVP of our own oral health team?
- Do we feel out of control?
- Do we feel like we’re left in the dark?
- Is it possible that we might even wind up having unnecessary dental procedures done in our mouths?
Dentistry is not an exact science.
One dentist might determine that an area needs a filling, while another dentist would label that same area as a ‘wait and see’ or ‘watch spot’.
Unfortunately, a third dentist might suggest doing even more work (like installing an artificial crown or doing a root canal) to fix the very same area of concern.
Who is ‘right’?
How are we to know who to trust?
Dentist whistleblowers expose unnecessary procedures…
In the CBS news article, ““Whistleblower”: Former employees take on pediatric dental chain when they suspect the company of wrongdoing“, dentists outed the alleged wrongdoings of a corporate children’s dental group. They claimed that they were instructed to perform dental procedures that, in their professional opinions, weren’t necessary.
The lesson here is that it behooves us to increase our knowledge base so we can make more informed decisions regarding our oral (and whole body) health.
While we may still need to rely on our dental team to provide an accurate assessment of their findings in our mouth, we don’t have to blindly accept their suggested course of treatment.
How to find a helpful team…
That’s why it’s so important to do your research on your dental team.
A good dental team is a real gem and in some cases, can even be a lifesaver.
If you need help finding a good dentist, feel free to check out our article, “Helpful resources to find a qualified dentist to assist you“.
Also, you may want to take a critical view of how your dental office ‘does dentistry’.
It always makes me a bit nervous if an office has one dentist on staff and more than 2 rooms operating at a time, as this means that the dentist’s attention is spread thinner than I would appreciate.
If you’d like to take a deeper dive into what we look for in a great dental office, check out our articles, “7 Key Components of a Dream Dentist” and “What’s the difference between biological, functional and holistic dentistry?“.
Actions you can take to increase your dental self empowerment…
Here are 5 simple action steps you can take to raise your awareness and greatly reduce the risk of finding yourself in the role of the victim in a dental office.
Step one: Get to know your mouth
Nothing compares to increasing our own knowledge and awareness of what’s going on in our mouth.
That’s why we have always considered ‘getting to know your mouth’ to be the first step of dental self empowerment.
Step two: Educate yourself on questions to ask your dentist
We don’t know what we don’t know.
This is particularly dangerous when we are going to assess whether a dental office has the training, office structure, safety equipment, and ‘helper’s heart’ required to ensure they are optimally positioned to help us.
We’ve created a guide that contains a list of questions that we like to ask dental offices before we agree to let them work in our mouths.
Feel free to download our FREE eBook, our Guide to Safe Dentistry.
Step three: Get a second opinion
If you receive a diagnosis and/or suggested course of treatment that doesn’t feel right, it’s definitely worth the cost to get a second opinion.
It’s important for this second professional opinion to be as unbiased as possible.
So, it’s best to choose an office that is not affiliated with the office that gave you the original diagnosis.
Explain to this new office that you’d like a routine assessment. Yes, this will most likely require more x-rays, but there are actions you can take to protect yourself against the risks of x-rays.
And given that you are attempting to avoid some potentially unnecessary, permanent dental work, it’s worth the exposure.
Step four: Increase your knowledge base
Our free video tutorial series, “The 5 Steps to a Healthy Mouth“, is a great place to start.
These videos are short and engaging. Many families have chosen to use this series as part of their ‘home school’ education.
We can all benefit from having a better understanding of how to avoid the two most common diseases in humanity: tooth decay and gum disease.
When you’re ready to learn even more about oral health, there’s also plenty of helpful information in our free expert interviews, eBooks, and video tutorials.
Step five: Prevent the need for dental work
To quote Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
How can we apply this to our oral health? We can:
- Learn how the mouth/body relationship works.
- Take steps to balance our oral flora, our oral microbiome.
- Use products that take the whole body into consideration. (The OraWellness HealThy Teeth & Gums Starter Kit is a good place to start.)
- Learn preventive steps to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
There’s nothing quite as awesome as going to your regular dental checkup only to hear, “Whatever you’re doing, just keep it up!” or to hear from your hygienist, “You’re boring to work on. There’s so little for me to do.” (Check out our ‘after the dental visit’ customer testimonials here. ? )
The overall goal here is to understand how to care for our oral health so well that there is no need for dental work.
What do you do to ensure your family has the best dental care possible? Please share your ideas in the comments below so we can continue to learn from one another.