Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what you can expect from your doctor or dentist.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes, both of which can contribute to dry mouth.
- Make a list of all prescribed medications, vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter medications you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important. For dry mouth, some basic questions to ask your doctor may include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor or dentist is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor or dentist may ask:
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous, or occasional?
- Have you started taking any new medications recently?
- Do you smoke or chew tobacco?
- How much alcohol do you drink?
- Does anything improve your symptoms or stimulate saliva flow?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
Try frequently sipping water or chewing sugar-free gum to increase your saliva. Also, be sure to brush your teeth regularly to help prevent cavities. If you use tobacco, quitting will likely improve your signs and symptoms.
Apr. 07, 2011
- Dry mouth. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/DryMouth/DryMouth.htm. Accessed Dec. 21, 2010.
- Xerostomia. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec08/ch094/ch094f.html?qt=Xerostomia&alt=sh. Accessed Dec. 21, 2010.
- Negrin RS, et al. Oral toxicity associated with chemotherapy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 13, 2010
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- Napenas JJ, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of xerostomia (dry mouth). Odontology. 2009;97:76.
- Blom M, et al. Long-term follow-up of patients treated with acupuncture for xerostomia and the influence of additional treatment. Oral Diseases. 2000;6:15.
- Acupuncture in treating dry mouth caused by radiation therapy in patients with head and neck cancer. National Institutes of Health. http://clinicaltrialsfeeds.org/clinical-trials/show/NCT01141231. Accessed Dec. 21, 2010.