Our 4 cornerstones are your Basic Rights as a patient at a dental appointment
These cornerstones are univerally accepted to be true, require no technology or special training on the part of the dentist or hygienist and are here to ensure that the pateint has a safe consultation.
They are taught in all dental school around the world, even in underdeveloped nations, and no dentist can refute or argue them.
They only are not implemented as a global standard due to the fact they take valuable time to execute and by not doing them, the dentist can see more patients.
These are your universal rights as a dental patient at your next visit to the dentist. If they are not a part of slow dentistry make sure they sign up.
What is informed consent? The basis of trust
After your diagnosis your dentist or hygienist will share with you all your treatment options. This will be done in a calm environment and always before your intervention.
You will always be informed of the associated costs and alternative treatment options, if any are available.
They will be open about the possible risks, invasiveness of the procedure as well as costs if things don’t go as planned.
You have the right to ask questions and never feel pressured into accepting treatment if you don’t feel safe or comfortable about the choices made for you by your doctor.
What is a Rubber Dam and when should it be used?
A rubber dam is a latex or nitrate sheath used to totally isolate a tooth or several teeth. It’s purpose is to prevent you swallowing any toxic products potentially being used during treatment as well as any sharp instruments that might slip out of the dentist’s hands.
It also plays a major role in avoiding the contamination of the tooth being treated with germs from your own saliva. This is proven to improve the quality of the treatments that require a rubber dam such as root canals and deep fillings.
You have the right to demand a rubber dam be placed by your dentist prior to all your root canal treatments, no matter the location of the tooth or the difficulty of the case. It should also be applied with children doing similar treatments.
A rubber dam takes some time to set up, depending on the skill of your dentist. This is a major reason why so many don’t offer it. All dentists are trained to use this in dental school and should come at NO extra cost.
Make sure your dentist offers a rubber dam for your restorative dental work and all your necessary root canals.
It takes time for anesthetics to take effect
All people react differently to pain and have different pain thresholds. You have the right to have a pain-free procedure.
You can ask for local dental anesthetic if you fear that pain is an issue.
It can take several minutes in some cases to reach full anesthesia. Not all teeth have the same speed of reaching full numbness.
Make sure your dentist waits the appropriate amount of time and proper amounts of anesthetic, as it isn’t just about volume. It takes time to reach the full effect anesthesia provides.
Make sure you are not asked to leave the room that was prepared for you to wait for anesthesia to take effect. If this does happen in order for your dentist to see another patient, then the room must be properly disinfected for you before you return, no matter how small the previous procedure was, as per proper disinfection protocols.
We all know that germs can be harmful. More than ever hygiene and safety go hand-in-hand.
You have the right to a properly prepared, sanitized and disinfected dental unit.
You have the right to demand sterilized instruments.
You have the right to ensure your dentist and dental staff treating you have taken appropriate measures to wash hands and change gloves and are wearing the correct PPE.
The floor and surfaces of your treatment room should be cleaned and sanitized too.
It is important the room was not just “tidied”, but was actually disinfected. This should take a minimum of 10 minutes as it takes time for disinfecting agents to kill all the germs.
If possible windows should be opened to air the room in between appointments.
If you don’t feel safe, make sure they repeat the disinfection in front of you. A slow dentist won’t mind going the extra mile to make you feel safe.