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What NOT to Do at Your Next Dental Appointment

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:05pm

We all know – or should know – that texting while driving isn’t a smart thing to do. But how about texting while having dental work done?

Four out of five dentists agree, text messaging during treatment’s a bad idea.

That’s according to a survey by the Chicago Dental Society, whose tooth jockeys says patients are all too likely to sit through a cleaning session with thumbs a-blazin’.

“Many times the patient sits up during treatment to answer a call or text,” said one mouth doc.

“One young patient of mine had to interrupt me when his phone was buzzing in his pocket,” said another.
* * *
But surprise – kids are apparently less disruptive texters than adults.

One dentist from Northside said her teen patients are so accomplished at texting, they don’t even look down at their keypads during treatment.

Even if there are signs reminding patients to turn off their phones?

“We have signs up in the waiting room and directly in front of where the patient sits stating that they need to turn off their phones but most simply ignore them,” said one respondent.

We recommend that you don’t ignore them: that you turn off your phone as soon as you enter the office – and not just because it’s the polite thing to do.

For one, it’s harder for the dentist and or hygienist to work in your mouth if you are regularly moving, handling a phone, Blackberry or other device. And this increases the chance of procedures accidentally causing discomfort to you. It’s in your best interest to stay relatively still in the chair.

Second, if you’re distracted by texts or calls, you may not hear important things that the dentist, hygienist or assistant are saying about your dental and oral health and conditions, or you may not remember them. This is especially important when they’re talking with you about problem areas or explaining how to prevent them and avoid needing extensive – and expensive – dental treatment down the line.

So do yourself and your dentist a favor: when you walk in the door, shut off your phone.


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We all know – or should know – that texting while driving isn’t a smart thing to do. But how about texting while having dental work done?

Four out of five dentists agree, text messaging during treatment’s a bad idea.

That’s according to a survey by the Chicago Dental Society, whose tooth jockeys says patients are all too likely to sit through a cleaning session with thumbs a-blazin’.

“Many times the patient sits up during treatment to answer a call or text,” said one mouth doc.

“One young patient of mine had to interrupt me when his phone was buzzing in his pocket,” said another.
* * *
But surprise – kids are apparently less disruptive texters than adults.

One dentist from Northside said her teen patients are so accomplished at texting, they don’t even look down at their keypads during treatment.

Even if there are signs reminding patients to turn off their phones?

“We have signs up in the waiting room and directly in front of where the patient sits stating that they need to turn off their phones but most simply ignore them,” said one respondent.

We recommend that you don’t ignore them: that you turn off your phone as soon as you enter the office – and not just because it’s the polite thing to do.

For one, it’s harder for the dentist and or hygienist to work in your mouth if you are regularly moving, handling a phone, Blackberry or other device. And this increases the chance of procedures accidentally causing discomfort to you. It’s in your best interest to stay relatively still in the chair.

Second, if you’re distracted by texts or calls, you may not hear important things that the dentist, hygienist or assistant are saying about your dental and oral health and conditions, or you may not remember them. This is especially important when they’re talking with you about problem areas or explaining how to prevent them and avoid needing extensive – and expensive – dental treatment down the line.

So do yourself and your dentist a favor: when you walk in the door, shut off your phone.


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