There should be no question too embarrassing to ask your prosthodontist — after all, it’s their job to ensure your mouth is restored to full glory, in both function and appearance. Yet in reality, there are some questions that, for one reason or another, are tough to ask. It’s worth overcoming the discomfort of asking potentially embarrassing questions to take an active role in your treatment. These five cringe-worthy questions are especially worth asking your prosthodontist.
- What’s This Lump/Bump/Sore?
Your dental professionals — from your regular dentist to your prosthodontist to the technicians and hygienists working on staff — are one of your first lines of defense against oral cancer. If you’ve noticed the appearance of a lump, bump or sore, it’s worth overcoming any mortification you feel and asking a pro. Lumps, bumps and sores could be minor canker sores or irritation blisters, or they could be signs of more serious problems like an HPV flare-up or precancerous changes. If it’s new to your mouth and it’s causing you to worry — especially if it’s been there for longer than two weeks — speak up and ask. The minor discomfort of asking about it is nothing compared to the possibility that you’ll wish you’d spoken up sooner.
When you notice your bite — the way your teeth fit together — changing, or even changes to the way your face looks around your mouth, it can be embarrassing to ask why. But there’s a very good reason you should: changes like this can indicate bone loss in your jaws. Osteoporosis, aging, gum disease, infection or bone changes due to missing teeth can all contribute to a change in your bite or facial features. Rather than live with fear of looking in the mirror and writing off the changes as unfixable, speak to your prosthodontist about the whys and how it can be fixed. While bone loss is rarely reversible, your prosthodontist can help you prevent further damage — the sooner you ask, the better!
- Can I Change the Shape of My Teeth?
It can be embarrassing to admit you don’t like the shape of your teeth, especially when it’s often written off as a frivolous or minor concern. Don’t let this dissuade you from asking your prosthodontist about potentially changing the shape of your teeth, especially if they also cause discomfort or annoyance. For example, some people develop self-consciousness over “too sharp” canines, feeling they look like vampires. This same issue can lead to pressure sores on your lips or cheeks. Your prosthodontist can help you address and treat concerns like these.
- What Are the Downsides of This Treatment?
Sometimes it’s such a relief to get dental work done that asking about the potential side effects, drawbacks and downsides of a treatment can feel like you’re looking a gift horse in the mouth. Almost every treatment has the potential for drawbacks or side effects, though thankfully most are rare. Your prosthodontist knows about your overall health and risk factors and is in the best position to inform you of any likely side effects given your unique needs, health and lifestyle. Smokers and women who take oral contraception, for example, are more at risk for a condition called dry socket, while those prone to yeast infections may be at greater risk of developing one when taking antibiotics before or after a treatment.
If discussing finances at the dentist’s office makes you nervous, you’re not alone. Although it would be nice to think that it’s worth any amount to get your mouth looking and feeling its best, the reality is that many people have a budget to work with. Before agreeing to a treatment with your prosthodontist, it pays to ask about the cost and any possible ways to offset the financial burden if you can’t afford it. Financing options exist for some, and your prosthodontist can also outline lower-cost treatment options.
Asking Embarrassing Questions
Your prosthodontist is a health care provider. As such, no question should be off limits. Bite the bullet and speak up about your questions and concerns rather than allowing yourself to continue worrying out of fear of seeming silly. The only embarrassing question is the one you fail to ask. Whether you inquire about your options, bring up changes to your mouth and teeth, or ask for clarification because you don’t understand something that was said, speaking up and taking an active role in your treatment can help you in the long run.
If you’re ready to get started and have some questions about how a prosthodontist can help you improve your oral health, give Maple Leaf Dental a call today at (281) 497-5558. Because we know it can be hard to ask the right questions on the phone, you can also get in touch with the office via email by clicking here. No question is too embarrassing when it comes to making sure your mouth looks and feels its very best.