At your next dental appointment, plan to ask your dentist these questions to optimize your oral health and learn more about what is right for you.
Am I brushing correctly?
Your dentist will be able to tell you whether you are brushing correctly if you demonstrate your technique. They may suggest a different angle or motion that can keep your teeth cleaner, or possibly a move to a different brush, such as an electric toothbrush.
Do I really need to floss?
Short answer: yes. Flossing every day helps prevent tooth decay.
That may not seem like a particularly helpful answer, so don’t stop there. Ask what kind of floss is best for your teeth. The right kind of floss may motivate you to floss more often.
Your dentist knows flossing isn’t easy for everybody, and can offer practical encouragement for flossing so that you not only do it, but do it correctly.
Are these signs problems?
Do you have bleeding gums, mouth sores, or tooth sensitivity? These can be signs of larger problems. If you are experiencing any oral health problems, be sure to point those out to your dentist.
Your dentist will already be looking for signs of gingivitis and tooth decay, but it’s helpful if you also point out problems you know about.
What if I’m being treated for a disease?
If you are being treated for diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer, or other diseases, the treatments can interfere with good oral health. Let your dentist know if you have any disease so a customized treatment plan can be created for you.
Does my family history matter?
If your family has a history of gum disease, heart disease, or cancer, it’s important for you to discuss this with your dentist. Your dentist needs to know your family history to detect early signs of disease and understand your risk factors.
Does my diet matter?
You probably already know that sugar isn’t good for your teeth, but did you know that too many carbohydrates can also wreak havoc in your mouth? Asking your dentist about ways to improve your diet can lead to better oral and overall health.
Is whitening right for me?
Your dentist will explain what tooth whitening options are available to you, and which ones will be safest to use. If you aren’t getting the results you want with retail at-home treatments, your dentist can discuss in-office treatments, veneers, and bonding that you may like.
Do I need an x-ray?
You may not need an x-ray every time you visit the dentist, but your dentist may use it on your first visit or if additional information is needed on the health of your teeth. Even the best visual exam may not provide all the necessary data for your dentist to make decisions. That’s why your dentist may recommend an x-ray at your visit.
Additionally, it’s common for adults to have bitewing x-rays every few years, and full x-rays every five years. You may need x-rays more often if you have a higher incident of cavities and problems. Check with your dentist about how often you need x-rays.
How often should I schedule dental checkups?
Most people need to visit the dentist’s office for a cleaning and checkup every six months, but some people may need checkups even more often. Ask your dentist whether six months is right for you.
If it’s been a while since you had a checkup, be sure to schedule one today!