(See also Section 5 of this chapter about doctors.)
8.a. In the dentist’s room
Dentists may have little or no training in deafness so may not know how to help you.
1. Some people have found it helpful to remind the dentist of their hearing loss each visit. Some people said it’s best to tell the dentist before s/he wedges your mouth open!
2. Tell the dentist that you need to see their face and give other hints on how to communicate with you clearly.
3. I show them my Communication Card and ask for the the fact that I have a hearing loss to be put on my notes. I then keep the Card handy so I can show it again to remind them if they start to forget.
4. There may be a limited number of things the dentist can say about teeth, try to anticipate them.
5. Ask for any instructions and the treatment to be written down.
6. Ask for the dentist to explain the treatment face to face before drilling starts.
7. If you plan to switch your aid off and remove it explain you will not be able to hear, while s/he is drilling and s/he’ll hopefully understand you cannot hear.
8. Some people like to anticipate and control the situation by asking specific questions before treatment starts.
9. If the dentist is wearing a mask, ask what the dentist expects you to do and arrange some signs that s/he can use to tell you what to do.
10. Always take pen and paper then instructions can be written in case all else fails. Tell the dentist about the pen and paper before they start.
11. I found my phone useful – it has a speech to text app so I can read what it being said. It’s not perfect but a big help.
8.b. General (Dentists)
1. One person said, “If the dentist is unhelpful I find an alternative. After all some dentists may not be helpful as dentistry is a stressful job. (Editor’s note: However, in the present situation where dentists can be difficult to find, you may not feel this is a good option for you.)
8.c. Taking a helper (Dentists)
1. Your helper should be able to repeat things for you (and take notes etc if needed,) however, be careful when choosing your helper.