We received this email from a dentist and wanted to share his journey with you. The tips he offers come from the perspective of not only a dentist, but also a patient.
- Ask questions – you are not going to know if the answers are right, or even if you’re asking the right questions, but you have to start somewhere. Sometines you get a “feeling” and anyway; it’s more education for later.
- Keep ALL of your records, most of us have more instructions for our refrigerator than ourselves !?
- Get a second opinion and use what you’ve learned to phrase your questions. It’s OK if the dentist is not right for you, it’s not personal, you need specialized care that’s all.
- You must get a complete exam – and again, you must have copies of the records – keep them in a file.
- Just like the Hippocratic Oath “Do no harm” treatment should at least start as NON-INVASVE and REVERSIBLE. You don’t want to make things worse do you? PLEASE don’t have surgery as a first option.
- Ask about the big picture. “What if? What would I do then? What options would I have when I was pain free?”
- Take counsel with friends too; they rarely have anything sensible or useful to say (unless you’re lucky) but it gets you thinking.
- Don’t get pressured into treatment, obviously you want to get better, just don’t rush into something.
- Check costs, a range is OK as treatment may need to be staged anyway. We’re all different.
- By all means read up on it; here’s a lot of useful and valuable info’ (as well as rubbish) out there in books and the internet but unless you’re going to become a clinician, try not to get too bogged down.
- In my experience, telling patients what’s going on is obvious to them; it’s other dentists that have a problem with it. Who ever treats you must listen to you. It’s about you, NOT them.
- Understand that your doctor (MD) probably doesn’t understand, they tend to treat symptoms not the cause – it’s the nature of the beast.
- Recognize that TMJD is influenced by many things, airway and sleep disordered breathing is a “biggy”
- Don’t give up, accept that your recovery is not going to be linear, it may be slow but it should be going in the right direction. Your dentist will likely use a log (no-one remembers the last 2 weeks – I can’t even remember what I did yesterday half the time)
- Ask your (chosen) dentist questions as you go along, but sometimes treatment takes a while – weeks/months, not years. He may just become your best friend in the whole world.