Dentist Appointments and COPD
A yearly check-up is in order. In fact, I missed my visit last year due to COVID, so it is especially important for me not to miss another dental appointment. It’s not my favorite doctor to visit but it is necessary because what goes into the mouth could affect the lungs and heart. Having good oral hygiene is important for those of us with COPD.
Making the appointment
Let’s face it, nobody enjoys going to the dentist. There are certain doctors that I don’t mind visiting, but the dentist is not one of them. Be brave enough to make that appointment once you have had your vaccine because oral health is important.
Committing to days and times
Be selective before committing to days and times. You tell them what your needs are and let them figure out how to make it happen. I will never make an early appointment because my sleep schedule is iffy at best and certain days are no-gos. So, I schedule my appointments for after lunch and try for Fridays, if possible.
Have a complete list of all medications you have been prescribed and when you take them. Don’t forget to include over-the-counter medications and supplements too. Disclose all your health issues, no matter how insignificant. It may be a good idea to email your dentist with your medications list and the reason for taking the meds. This way he/she can be a little more prepared for your visit.
If you are not sure what a certain medication is or why you take it, it could be time for a review with your family doctor. Too many of us are taking unnecessary medications.
If you have issues with sensitivity or sore gums, give that information freely. Tell your dentist what it feels like to brush and if you get bleeding gums. Indicate how many times a day you brush and floss. Ask for direction on the type of toothbrush you should use and also discuss the types of floss and toothpaste that are best for you. If you have dentures, now is also the time to discuss when you will need new ones and if they need to be replaced or relined.
Let’s not stress the entire time we are waiting to go to our appointment. Search for relaxation videos, pick your favorite, and bookmark it. If you can calm yourself in the afternoon listening to a relaxation video, this is the video you want to listen to, with earbuds, while the dentist is working on your teeth.
Keeping a positive attitude
Don’t sweat about this appointment, instead find ways to make it a success. Wearing your supplemental O2 is a must, so don’t even think of not wearing it. Rehearse, in your mind, what your visit will look and feel like. What things will you do, and what will you need to make the appointment a success?
Before and after
It is a good idea to get ready for your visit in advance. Lay your clothes out the night before and prepare everything you will need including underwear and socks. Take your shower the day before so you can conserve energy for your visit. Have a quick breakfast of hardboiled eggs and hard cheese with a banana. Just grab it the morning of the appointment.
This is a great time to change your toothbrush, improve your flossing techniques, and follow your dentist's orders to the T. Be proud of yourself for going to the dentist and taking this step in self-care.
How often do you visit your dentist? Let us know in the comments below!
Do you have questions about your COPD diagnosis?