Put your health first by asking these important questions
Your mouth holds the key to your overall health. That’s why it’s so important to make the right dental choices. Here’s a list of questions you should ask at your next dental visit:
- How is my overall dental health?
Your dentist should provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your entire mouth so you can keep track of your dental health and if/how it’s changing from visit to visit. This question may also lead to other discussions about the best way to care for your teeth and can help you anticipate any future treatments you may need.
- Do I have any conditions that could be linked to other health issues in my body?
Your oral health has a direct impact on the health of the rest of your body. Your dentist can do a thorough dental exam to find out if you have any infections that can spread to other parts of your body. If your dentist identifies any warning signs or conditions, you should immediately share this information with your medical doctor so you can get the proper treatment.
- Should I be concerned about gum disease?
Did you know that almost half of Americans have mild, moderate or severe gum disease? Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other health problems. Your dentist can tell you if you’re at risk for gum disease and what you can do to treat it or prevent it from worsening.
- How often do I need to have an oral exam and cleaning?
Most dentists recommend you have a tooth cleaning and exam every six months. However, if you’re in the beginning or moderate stages of gum disease, they may want you to do more frequent cleanings, like every three months. Dental insurance usually covers two regular cleanings per year, but even an out-of-pocket cleaning that costs $100–$200 is more than worth the potential cost of further tooth decay requiring expensive treatments and possibly systemic medical attention.
- Will you conduct an oral cancer screening?
Your dentist should always take the time to conduct a thorough oral cancer screening. They are trained to recognize the warning signs of oral cancer.
- Are my teeth at risk for future problems?
Your dentist should evaluate the state of your teeth and gums during your exam to identify any problem areas like tooth decay or bleeding gums that could indicate that you’re in the beginning stages of gum disease or cavity development.
- What’s the best oral hygiene plan for my mouth?
Your dentist can recommend an at-home cleaning plan tailored to the state of your unique teeth and gums. Some people may benefit from using an electric toothbrush. Some may want to invest in directed water irrigation with a water pick to help clean out bacteria and toxins from in between the teeth. Others may need to alter their diet in order to better care for their oral health.
- What type of toothbrush and toothpaste should I be using?
As mentioned above, some people may benefit more from the use of an electric toothbrush. Others may need a soft toothbrush. If you have sensitive teeth, your dentist can recommend a specific kind of toothpaste.
- Is there anything I can do to improve my smile?
If you want to whiten or straighten your teeth, your dentist can discuss the latest and most effective treatment plans with you.
- What are your payment options/plans?
Most dental practices offer 0% interest payment plans if you pay off your treatment within a certain period of time. It’s always worth asking how you can save money during your visits and through preventative care at home.
Asking the right questions during your dental visit means you’re taking control of your dental health. This will ensure that you have a comprehensive plan to properly clean and care for your teeth and gums, and the rest of your body will reap the benefits.