What Your Dentist Wants You to Know

Secrets and tips from dentists around the country.

By Chris Woolston from Reader's Digest
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    1. A lot of patients are worried that dental X-rays can cause cancer, but if you’re outside for an hour, you’re exposed to more radiation than you’d get from a full set of dental X-rays. What I worry about is that if I don’t take an X-ray, I might miss something serious.
    – Bryan Tervo, DDS

    2. When someone meets you for the first time, the first thing they notice is eyes. Second is teeth, and third is hair. But people spend way more money on their hair than their teeth.
    – Damian Dachowski, DMD, general dentist, Horsham, Pennsylvania

    3. If your breath is bad, we won’t tell you unless you ask.
    – Gary Herskovits, DDS

    4. Patients come in with pictures of celebrities and say, “I want to look just like her.” I’m sitting there thinking, You can’t have a smile that looks like Angelina Jolie’s, because you don’t have a face that fits those teeth. It’s like when you get your hair color done—you can’t just put the same highlights or lowlights in everybody’s hair.
    – Jay Grossman, DDS

    5. For the past 20 years, we’ve been telling parents about baby bottle tooth decay and not to let a child go to sleep with a bottle. But I haven’t seen much of a change.
    – Winifred J. Booker, DDS, pediatric dentist, Owings Mills, Maryland

    6. If you want to reduce the bad bacteria in your mouth, you should be all over xylitol (a sugar substitute found in chewing gum). It changes the chemistry of your mouth. Six or seven pieces of xylitol gum every day will help keep cavities away.
    – Chris Kammer, DDS

    7. With any kind of mouth piercing, there’s a huge risk of infection if it’s not done in a really sterile environment. I’ve seen cases where we’ve had to cut out pieces of the tongue because the infection was so rampant. Even when things go well, virtually everyone I see with a tongue piercing has chipped front teeth. Don’t pierce your tongue.
    – Jay Grossman, DDS, cosmetic dentist, Brentwood, California

    8. People say something difficult is like pulling teeth. But pulling teeth is really fast and easy.
    – Mark Mutschler, DDS, pediatric dentist, Oregon City, Oregon

    9. When choosing a dentist, Check if the magazines in the waiting room are current. That shows attention to detail.
    – Michael Alkon, DMD

    10. People come in for an appointment without knowing what their insurance covers. They think we have a crystal ball that tells us everyone’s insurance information. We don’t. And we need to find out what’s covered before we can do anything.
    – Damian Dachowski, DMD

    11. Don’t eat a heavy garlic lunch before coming to see us—we’d appreciate that.
    – Jennifer Jablow, DDS

    12. If your hands bled when you washed them, you’d run to the doctor. But in the public’s mind, bleeding gums are okay. Unless you’re really whaling away with your brush, if your gums bleed even a little, that’s periodontal disease, period.
    – Ron Schefdore, DMD, general dentist, Chicago, Illinois

    13. People come to me with a mouthful of tooth decay and say, “I got my grandfather’s soft teeth.” I don’t even know what soft teeth are.
    – Bryan Tervo, DDS, expert at JustAnswer.com


    Your Comments

    • maceokus :)

      Dunno man I dunno

    • Howard

      I like to eat a whole box of Oreo cookies and then go to the dentist without brushing. Sometimes I even eat a box of Oreos while I am in the waiting room……….the look on my dentist’s face is priceless!

    • yuli

      wow i m still afraid of dentists its been six years

    • kellyrae

      My dentist-after the lady cleaned my teeth and noted anything suspect-passed info on to dentist. Then he checked my throat, the back of mouth and looked at and touched w/instrument every tooth. Cannot find a dentist who looks at my teeth-its always the xray at every visit-same w/my grandkids. I guess its book, book, book patients and get them in and out-gotta make that money. They seem to leave the real dentist work to the person who cleans the teeth and the xrays. To bad-I miss good dentist-they are hard to find at least in my area.

    • Hope_river@ymail.com

      Can a celint that you get at the dentist come out

    • room-excuser

      I’d like to chew more sugar free gum with the xylitol but it makes me very flatulus and I get painful stomach cramps :( If there something else with xylitol in it that doesn’t have those side effects?

    • Anonymous

      This article is a joke.  The real things dentists won’t tell you is how dangerous amalgam fillings are.  They use them because they are cheap compared to the alternatives.  There is much proof out there how amalgams are making people ill.  Fluoridated water is another hoax perpetrated on us.  The fluoride they put in municipal water is NOT clinical grade fluoride.  It is a manufacturing by product (aluminum industry is one)  that would be illegal to dump in a landfill, yet they put it in our drinking water.  How dangerous is that?  There is no way to regulate a proper dose.  A small kid that drinks a lot of water will get way too much fluoride in their system.


      I like how the dentist who said pulling teeth is easy is a PEDIATRIC dentist.  Sure, pulling a baby tooth that’s flapping in the wind is easy, but I’d like to see him/her surgically extract an impacted third molar hugging the inferior alveolar nerve.

    • Allen

      Comments per item:  (1) Well the hygienist does leave the room to do the x-ray :-)  (2) They probably do–but lately, my teeth have been getting most of the money…:-(  (3) Yes, please be considerate–after all, you don’t want your dental professional to have that problem!  (5) Traditions ARE hard to break–and in addition, conventional wisdom is “that’s just their baby teeth” (6) That’s a lot of chewing!  (7) Yet another reason not to do that! (8) That depends on what side of the tooth that you’re on! (9) It always seems–in ANY professional office–the length of time to wait on the dentist/doctor/lawyer/mechanic is inversely proportional to the “interest” or number of magazines!  (10) Insurance companies don’t have a clue what the current going rate is for services, and who needs them, and how often.  Dental professionals will tell you that you need to visit AT LEAST every 6 months–some more often–but insurance companies pay no more than once every 6 months TO THE DAY!  Also, they don’t pay for fluoride treatments for over age of 14–some people [including myself, in my 40s] still need it!  And finally, when choosing a dental plan, if you can’t choose a “general payment type” (choose anyone, and they pay same percentages), choose a “PPO”, and stay with whoever you choose–even if “out of network”.  They still pay, and you may get better care, which could be “more for your money” than if you choose an “in-network”, who may not be as experienced!  (11) Duh!  (4 & 12) No comment.  (13) Type of teeth can be “genetic”, and how to take care of them–START EARLY!  (My elders didn’t know that–I wish they did–or else my teeth would be “harder”, or maybe it’s “hardier”!)