We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what it's like working as a dentist or hygienist. Here are some of the best submissions.
1. Quit telling us how much you hate us.
"Please don't tell us you hate us. Imagine hearing multiple times during your work day how much you are hated. Expressing anxiety is different — part of my job is to alleviate the pain, fear and concerns of my patients. But hate? I know of no other profession in which it is acceptable to tell a doctor how much you hate them.
I'm simply doing my job the best that I can and unfortunately when the appointment begins with an insult, it greatly decreases my ability to perform at the highest level. It's a real downer."
2. Yes, rarely flossing is horrible for your teeth and gums.
"If you don't floss every day, bacteria left between the teeth, plus acid from foods (sugars and carbs), lower the pH in the mouth to the point where demineralization of the enamel occurs. Although it's easier to tie one habit in with another, I tell my patients they don't HAVE to floss right after brushing. Floss in the shower, floss while you're watching TV, or heck, pick up some floss and use it while you're doing pretty much anything. The main goal with flossing is to disturb the bacteria between your teeth so it doesn't have an opportunity to adhere to the surface and cause damage. So go disturb that bacteria!"
3. It's basically the equivalent to this:
"Not flossing is like wiping your butt cheeks and not the crack."
4. Just floss regularly, ok?
"We didn't make you bleed. You not flossing and developing gingivitis from poor home care is what made you bleed. Floss daily and I guarantee your next cleaning will be a lot easier."
5. And know when it's time to get a new toothbrush.
"Change your toothbrush every three months, or after you get sick. Brushes harbor bacteria!"
6. Brush your teeth BEFORE going to your dentist appointment.
"For the love of compassion, please do NOT eat right before you come in for a cleaning without brushing first! We are human beings and do NOT enjoy picking food out of your teeth. It's just gross and this is not a car wash!"
7. Do us a favor and swallow your spit during the cleaning.
"Also, your saliva doesn't become toxic when we are in there. It's ok to swallow your own spit. It's super annoying and takes a lot of time out of your appointment if we have to suction your mouth every two seconds."
8. X-rays are important. And no, they won't kill you.
"People who think that one or two X-rays will instantly cause cancer: a full set of X-rays (18 films) is comparable to the radiation you receive from a 30 minute flight in a plane. You are much worse off if we are unable to detect decay or any other issue because you refuse X-rays."
9. Neither will fluoride.
"Fluoride is not poison. If it was harmful to you, we wouldn't apply it."
10. We see a lot of...interesting things.
"Once we had a man in our clinic with a weird shape of teeth. None of us have seen anything like that before, and after countless consultations with other doctors, he finally admitted that he shaped them with a nail file."
11. A lot of things.
"We had a patient whose crowns on her front teeth had fallen off, so she glued fake white fingernails to her teeth..."
12. Like this method for cleaning dentures.
"I'll never forget a particular patient who had come in for new dentures. While reviewing the best way to properly clean his dentures, he said that his dog cleans his dentures for him. I must have given him a blank stare, because next thing I know, he's telling me about how he takes his dentures out at night, lets the dog lick them clean, and then puts them right back into his mouth. My stomach did a flip after that."
13. Get your wisdom teeth removed sooner rather than later.
"99% of wisdom teeth are just there to cause problems in the future. It is much easier on us AND you to get them out early (18 years old) to prevent a hard recovery as a 50 year old."
14. There are a lot of things that are surprisingly bad for your teeth.
"Energy/sports drinks are worse for your teeth than soda! Soda is still bad as hell, but other drinks are worse because of the acidity."
15. Teach kids how to properly care for their teeth.
"Please, please, please help your children brush their teeth and floss! Even 12-year-olds have a hard time brushing all surfaces of their teeth, i.e. Along the gum lines, in the very back, and on the tongue side. So many parents try to blame their kids for not flossing and brushing right, but you need to teach them and help them from a young age. You'll save them a lot of time and trouble and money in the future by helping them to take care of their teeth as soon as they begin to get teeth!"
16. Be honest about your medical history.
"It really is important to let us know your medical history and medication list. There are some crazy things out there that could harm you due to lack of information."
17. So what did we learn today? Floss regularly, brush regularly, and take care of your teeth.
"We see soo many patients that could have avoided cavities, gingivitis, or periodontal disease if they just would've picked up some floss more than the day before their next dental appointment or come to the dentist regularly.
We're less likely to have to place fillings, major restorative work, or do deep cleanings with gum therapy, if patients would come in as recommended and take proper care of their teeth."
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Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.