Dentists Reveal Things Patients Do That Drive Them Crazy

A lot of us don’t particularly enjoy going to the dentist — especially those of us who don’t take the best care of our teeth. Even if you have perfect dental hygiene practices, some things you do during your appointment still drive your dentist crazy.

These are the things that annoy dentists the most — and why you should really listen to their instructions next time you go to an appointment.

1. Talking too much

stylish young woman

There is such a thing as being too friendly. | jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images

It’s not that your dentist or dental hygienist isn’t interested in hearing your life story in a span of 30 minutes or less. It’s just hard for them to do their jobs when you can’t stop talking long enough for them to do a full, in-depth examination of your mouth.

Next: This next point also applies to doctor visits.

2. Not knowing (or admitting) which medications you’re on

Prescription bottles at Publix

Transparency is key | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Certain medications can interfere with a number of dental procedures, so it’s just as important to tell your dentist which ones you’re taking as it is to inform your doctor. Some medications can cause symptoms like dry mouth, and it helps your dentist to know the underlying causes of things like this.

Next: Always do this one thing before you show up for your appointment.

3. Not brushing before your appointment

Woman brushing teeth

Always show up with a clean mouth. | gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images

One of the most important things you can do before heading to your next dentist appointment is to clean your teeth before you get there. This makes it much easier (and faster) to get your teeth cleaned, X-rayed, and checked out.

Next: Tell the truth — you’ll be better off.

4. Lying about when you last saw a dentist

Dentist in examination room

There’s no reason to deceive your dentist. | Sam Edwards/Getty Images

A dentist can tell when you haven’t gotten your teeth checked in awhile, so don’t bother lying about how long you’ve been avoiding an appointment. You could get away with going up to two years without seeing a dentist as an adult unless you’re instructed otherwise, but try not to wait too much longer than that.

Next: Do you buy new toothbrushes as often as you should? Probably not.

5. Waiting to replace your toothbrush

Toothbrushes

Keep a spare brush on hand. | Nik_Merkulov/iStock/Getty Images

Don’t wait until you go to the dentist to replace your toothbrush. Dentists recommend replacing them every three to four months, or anytime after you get sick. The last thing you want to do is brush your teeth with bacteria.

Next: You’re probably doing this wrong.

6. Not brushing correctly

Woman with healthy teeth

There is a method to proper mouth care. | iStock/Getty Images

Many people “brush their teeth” multiple times per day without actually brushing every possible surface of every tooth as they do it. Here’s how you can tell if you’ve been brushing your teeth the wrong way your whole life.

Next: Brushing once a day isn’t nearly enough, apparently.

7. Not brushing as often as you’re told

Electronic toothbrush

You may go through more toothbrush heads, but the impact on your mouth health will be noticeable. | Cylonphoto/Getty Images

If you aren’t brushing your teeth at least twice a day, you’re not doing yourself, or your dentist, any favors. In addition to brushing correctly, twice, you also need to remember to replace your brush every three months, at the very least.

Next: Don’t put this off, no matter how much you dread it.

8. Waiting to get a cavity filled

Dentist sitting in his office

Waiting is a risky game to play. | Sam Edwards/Getty Images

A cavity, like any bacterial infection, will get worse over time if it isn’t treated. Filling a cavity as soon as possible after it’s detected will prevent many painful (and expensive) procedures down the line. Compared to a root canal, getting a filling is really no big deal.

Next: Many dental hygiene problems can be avoided by doing this one thing.

9. Refusing to floss

Woman is using dental floss

Does it really take that much time? | bowie15/Getty Images

Your dentist doesn’t tell you to floss just for the fun of it. It’s quite possibly one of your best defenses against most preventable dental issues. Also make sure you’re flossing your teeth correctly when you do remember to do it.

Next: Don’t be afraid of this part of the appointment.

10. Refusing X-rays

Nurse holding an X ray film

Your dentist has your health in mind when they recommend X-rays. | Thomasandreas/Getty Images

Don’t refuse X-rays because you’re worried about radiation exposure. The amount of radiation is so small, and you’re exposed to it so infrequently, that the benefits far outweigh the costs. X-rays help dentists identify any underlying problems with your teeth before they cause you serious harm.

Next: This chemical isn’t harmful, either.

11. Opting out of fluoride treatments

A toothbrush with toothpaste sits on a sink in Arlington

Small doses in your toothpaste are harmless. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Fluoride helps protect your teeth against damage and decay. Yes, it’s a chemical, but it’s in small amounts in your toothpaste — you (hopefully) come into contact with it multiple times a day. Professional treatments, which you can get at the dentist, offer even more effective protection. They take only minutes.

Next: If your dentists suggests you do this, don’t wait.

12. Keeping your wisdom teeth when you shouldn’t

Surgeons hands holding and passing surgical instrument

You might need to book an extraction. | megaflopp/iStock/Getty Images

When your dentist says you need to get your wisdom teeth removed, get the procedure done sooner rather than later. While it can be an unpleasant experience, the longer you wait, the worse your experience is likely to be.

Next: Please don’t drink too much of this.

13. Drinking energy drinks and soda every day

energy drinks

These beverages literally rot out your teeth. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Some drinks, like coffee, stain your teeth over time. Others, like soda and energy drinks, contain large amounts of sugar that can cause tooth decay (especially if you don’t floss!). Highly acidic drinks, like orange juice, can also help destroy your teeth.

Next: Most things in life aren’t free — including this.

14. Expecting your appointment to be free

american dollar bills

Is anything really free? | halduns/iStock/Getty Images

Unless you have dental insurance coverage, you’re going to have to pay out-of-pocket every time you visit a dentist’s office — even for a routine cleaning. Make sure you come prepared either to share your insurance information or to pay for the service.

Next: Your dentist really doesn’t want to hear this complaint.

15. Complaining about how much you hate going to the dentist

dentist surgery room in medical clinic with chair and equipment

The dentist may not be fun, but it’s necessary. | PaulVinten/Getty Images

Unless you’re trapped in a Little Shop of Horrors nightmare, going to the dentist isn’t that bad. It’s possible that if you show up to the dentist every one to two years having done everything you’re supposed to do — flossing, replacing your toothbrush, and all that — you’d have less of a terrible time.

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