Best Way to Communicate to Your DentistDoctor's visits can often leave you confused and frustrated. Sometimes you may feel like the visit was rushed and you did not get a chance to tell the doctor everything you wanted to say or ask about. You felt like the doctor or dentist was in a hurry and did not have time to talk.
The Communication GapStudies have revealed that there is often a big communication gap between doctors or dentists and their patients. As many as 75 percent of doctors asked about it felt that they believed they had good communication with their patients. Patients, however, felt completely different about it, with only 21 percent feeling that they had good communication with their doctor.
Good communication is crucial to getting the treatment you need, feeling better, and getting better health. In order for this to happen, your doctor needs to know what your complaints are. They cannot treat it if they do not know it is a problem. This makes good communication mandatory, but you will need to express yourself more clearly to the doctor.
Determine Why Communication Is a ProblemYou need to ask yourself what is the reason behind the communication problem. Is it because you forgot to ask the doctor about the problem? Is it because the doctor is not giving you a chance to talk about your problems? Is it because the doctor is so focused on one health problem that there is not time to talk about other issues?
Write Down the Topics to DiscussIf you have more than one concern, it is important to write down a list of topics. This way you are less likely to forget them when you need to talk about them. Write down the various things you want to discuss in advance. This will help you think about all of them.
If you are having particular symptoms that you wonder about, be sure to write them down. Write down when they started, and if you can, write down what you were doing when those symptoms started. Also be sure to record the frequency and severity of the symptoms, and how long they lasted. If there is a pattern or an activity that triggers the symptoms, this will help the doctor to determine the problem better.
Cover the Most Important Problems FirstWhen you talk to the doctor, be sure to mention the most pressing problem first. This way, if you are not able to discuss anything else, the biggest problem will get covered. Think about how you need to say it in a very concise but accurate way.
Bring a List of MedicationsCarry a list of the medications you are taking, as well as any natural supplements. You also should have a list of various illnesses or allergies that you have or have had – such as diabetes, or a heart attack. It is also a good idea to include a list of your family’s history of illnesses.
Use a SpokespersonIf you have trouble speaking clearly for yourself, bring someone else with you who understand the problem. This can be especially valuable for older people, or for someone who has is getting dementia.
Listen to the DoctorWhile you certainly want the doctor to hear your problems, it is just as important that you hear and understand what the doctor is telling you. If you do not understand terms, be sure to ask for an explanation. Or, if you feel you will not remember the details, ask the doctor if you can record the conversation.
Understand the Results You Should ExpectAlthough the doctor may prescribe some medication or recommend treatment or therapy, some of them take time to make an impact on the symptoms involved. Ask the doctor how long it will take to get recovered, and what you need to do to prevent a relapse. Are other treatments going to be necessary or ongoing?
Find Out about Lifestyle HabitsMany times patient recovery and a better quality of life can be gained by changing some lifestyle habits and continuing to practice them. Ask the doctor for a recommendation of habits that you may be able to change or add to your daily routine.
The bottom line is that your doctor or dentist may feel that he or she is communicating well with you. Since you do not believe that to be the case, it really is up to you to let the doctor know about the gap in communication skills that you feel exist. If there is no response in the direction you feel should be made – find another one who will listen and that you can trust more.
Although the dentist can see some of the problems your gums and teeth may have, good communication is necessary for good oral health. Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist, understands the importance of communication between dentist and patients. He seeks to develop effective communication with each visit. If you need quality dental care with a dentist who listens patiently to your needs, he has dental offices in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas. For a consultation or dental checkup, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578.