Dental Guides

5 Ways to Stop a Mistake from Happening at the Dentist's Office

When you head to a dentist appointment and are expecting to have your teeth cleaned or a cavity filled, it’s unlikely you’re thinking about the things that could go wrong. In some instances, however, mistakes are made at the dentist’s office and patients are injured as a result. While the dentist and their assistants are ultimately responsible for ensuring an appointment goes as planned, there are things patients can do to stop mistakes from happening.   

  1. Provide your dentist with accurate medical history.

Make sure the dentist has a complete and accurate record of your medical history. This should be updated every time you attend an appointment. Conditions, disorders, diseases, medications, and surgical history should all be recorded. Certain conditions can affect the health of your gums and teeth, so it’s crucial for your dentist to be aware of your unique situation. The more your dentist knows about your health, the better they will be able to personalize your care.

  1. Communicate effectively with the dentist and dental assistants.

From when you enter the dentist office to the time you leave, you’ll come in contact with a number of people including the person who checks you in, the dental hygienist, your dentist, and the person who handles your insurance or accepts payments. With every interaction, make sure to provide clear information. For example, if you are having a procedure done and experience pain, let your dentist know. Your comfort is key during your appointment and pain could indicate you need a numbing medication, or that the dentist is incorrectly hitting a nerve.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

If dentist appointments make you anxious, you may shy away from asking questions during your session. Remember that your dentist is there to help you improve and maintain the health of your mouth.

Prior to attending your appointment, make a list of questions. You may want to ask about things like pain or sensitivity, problems with flossing or brushing, or issues with sores in your mouth that are not healing. Once you’ve arrived, bring up your questions and anything else that comes to mind. You’ll receive the best care only when your dentist can address all your concerns.

  1. Speak up if you see something concerning.

Just like with any medical profession, mistakes can happen. If you see anything during your appointment that you find to be unsettling, bring it up with your dentist or the office manager. Whether it’s in regard to hygiene or how procedures are conducted, the staff should be aware of any issues so they can address them quickly and appropriately.  

  1. Understand the dentist’s recommendations before leaving.

Prior to leaving the office, your dentist may give you instructions and recommendations depending on the results of your exam, cleaning, or dental procedure. If you are uncertain about any of the steps or the products you should look for, ask for clarification. Your dentist’s recommendations are for the benefit of your mouth’s health. Ignoring them could result in a poor examination the next time you go or a worsening in your condition.

Unfortunately, dentists and other dental assistants make mistakes sometimes. As a result, patients could be harmed. If you believe you’ve been the victim of a dental error that resulted in injury or harm, you may benefit from help from a medical malpractice lawyer. An experienced attorney can evaluate what you’ve been through and help you determine how to proceed.

While a dental mistake is never the patient’s fault, the steps above can help you stop an error from occurring. In the end, remember that you are in charge of your health and wellbeing, and have the right to question any medical professional when it comes to the care you are receiving.

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