Lies You Tell Your Dentist

Even the most upstanding citizens and honest people in the world tell the occasional white lie. We tell someone we love the gift they gave us even though we hate it or we make up an excuse to get out of attending a friend’s party. Most of the time, it’s because we just want to save face or protect someone’s feelings. But what about when you don’t tell the truth to a medical professional? What’s the motivation there? As a dentist, I’d say the reason is usually simple embarrassment. People feel bad about something they’ve done and are worried about being judged or lectured. While this makes sense, the fact is that giving misinformation to your dentist can prevent them from treating you appropriately. And, you might be surprised to know, one look inside your mouth often gives us the real story anyway.

1. I Floss Every Day

This has got to be the most common lie that patients tell dentists all over the world. Most people don’t have a problem brushing their teeth 2 times a day, but flossing is a whole other story. When asked about their home routines, many are quick to say that they do, indeed, floss regularly. So, why the lie? Well there’s good news & bad news – the good news is that most people know that flossing is critical to the health of their teeth and mouth. But the bad news is that this knowledge doesn’t always translate to practice. So when it comes time to see the dentist, many are even more embarrassed to admit that they don’t floss, despite the fact that they know better. The thing about this particular lie is that it’s pretty darn pointless. If you don’t floss regularly, your teeth will inevitably bleed during a professional cleaning, which is a dead giveaway that you’re not a faithful flosser. This is even true if you’ve decided to floss for a day or two before your appointment.

Instead of lying or having to hang your head in shame when you address the truth, you should just commit to this super important oral hygiene practice. If you can’t stand to floss, you might want to consider getting a water flosser, which many find to be easier and more pleasant to use than traditional floss.


2. I Don’t Smoke

This day in age, no one wants to admit to medical professionals that they smoke. There’s no way to reasonably claim ignorance of the many dangers of tobacco use, so it’s normal to want to cover it up in front of those whose job it is to make sure you’re healthy. Here’s the thing though: if you’re a regular smoker, your dentist will know it. Even if you don’t realize it, you probably smell like smoke, especially to someone whose face is just a few inches from yours. Additionally, smokers have a much higher rate of teeth staining and periodontal disease, which are also quite apparent. It’s best if you’re honest, so that any issues you have that may be caused by smoking can be correctly diagnosed and addressed.


3. I Visit the Dentist Every 6 Months

If it’s been years since you’ve last seen a dentist, chances are you feel an unpleasant combination of fear and embarrassment. So it’s natural that you wouldn’t want to share the awful truth with your new dentist. First of all, you should know that if you’ve been taking good care of your teeth, you may not have much reason to be nervous at all. Second, it’s important to realize that dentists have seen it all, so you have no reason to be embarrassed. The more honest you are about your recent dental care, the better you’ll prepare your dentist to decide what treatments and tests you might need to ensure your health.


4. I Don’t Have Any Medical Conditions You Should Know About

There’s a good reason that dental intake forms ask you about the rest of your physical health. We’re not just being nosy; we want to have a full picture of your health so that we know if there are any special measures that need to be taken in your care. When it comes to the state of your teeth, prescriptions and anesthesia, your dentist needs all the necessary information to make decisions that are safe for you.


5. I’m Not Afraid of the Dentist

If you have even a small phobia about going to the dentist, there’s no reason to act calm and cool when your palms are sweating and your heart is racing. Let them know you’re nervous – a good dentist will consider that in their approach and do everything they can to put you at ease. They may even offer headphones or some other distraction that will help you feel calm.

If you’re constantly worried about being judged or shamed by your dentist, that may very well be an indication that it’s time to find someone new, who makes you comfortable enough to be honest. And when you find the right dentist, you won’t feel the need to lie.


dentistAbout the Author:Dr. Kimberly Dyoco is a Chicago cosmetic dentist and founder of One Mag Smile, a practice that offers a wide range of general and cosmetic services. She is also a passionate health blogger who enjoys educating people on the best ways to maintain oral health. Click here to learn more!