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Why You Should Never Tell White Lies to Your Dentist

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When it comes to oral health, you definitely want your dentist on your side. Here’s why it’s essential to always tell them the truth

Many argue that there’s a time and a place to tell “little white lies.” For example, when you’re invited over to someone’s home for dinner, it’s probably best to tell your gracious host that everything was absolutely delicious, even if you found the main course to be underseasoned. Or when someone else’s child asks you about Santa Claus, it’s in everyone’s best interest if you just play along.

The common theme with these two examples — and the many others that are out there — is empathy and compassion. And if we’re using compassion as a measuring stick for whether a white lie is warranted, it doesn’t make sense to cover up the truth (or withhold information) from your medical practitioners, including your dentist.

Why Honesty Is the Best Policy With Your Dentist

“Here’s the deal: things happening in your mouth are like footprints in the sand,” says Jon Marashi, DDS, cosmetic dentist in Los Angeles, CA. “Letting us know your habits and what you do or don’t do in your mouth helps us understand why it is happening, and we can then work with you to not just remedy the issue but work with you proactively to keep it from happening again.”

For example, if you’ve been dealing with swollen or bleeding gums for the past several months, it’s important to explain that issue upfront, as well as to stay honest about your brushing habits and your diet. The more discussion there is, the easier it will be for your dentist to determine if your bleeding gums are easily treatable with a few lifestyle changes (like working in parodontax, a toothpaste that is clinically proven to help prevent bleeding gums into your daily routine), or if a different course of action is necessary.

Another reason why those fibs don’t work with a dentist? Even if you don’t speak up, he or she is probably already reading the writing on the wall — or your teeth.

“Physical evidence always shows, even if it’s not apparent to the patient as a visual or in terms of pain and discomfort,” says Dr. Marashi.

Fostering a Good Relationship

While your dentist may be able to figure out your dental issues without you saying a word, having a truthful discussion beforehand not only gives them clues on how to help you with preventative measures but also fosters a positive relationship between doctor and patient. The more positive the relationship, the more eager your dentist will probably be to sit and answer extra questions, and the better they’ll be able to remember you from visit to visit.

And if your current dentist is someone you don’t feel like talking to, it’s time to find a new one! This “good relationship” thing is a two-way street, so if you don’t feel heard or respected, you should consider bringing your business elsewhere.

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