Routine dental checkups are usually just that – routine. However, they are a great chance to stay up to date with your oral health and for your dentist to catch problems with your teeth and gums before they get worse. There are a few things you should talk to your dentist about at every visit just to stay on top of your oral health. Here are 7 questions should ask your dental hygienist.
1. Are My Medications Up to Date on My Chart?
It’s very easy to forget about telling our doctors when we change medications. Just to be safe, make sure to update your dentist on every medication you have started or stopped taking since your last appointment. If you have a checkup coming up, it never hurts to write down a list of your current and past medications to take with you and give to your dentist. This is important because then you can avoid complications with any procedures or medications your dentist might prescribe.
2. How Can I Improve My Oral Health?
At your appointment, your oral hygienist will use special tools to clean areas of your teeth and gums you can’t reach with brushing or flossing by yourself. When in doubt, you can always ask a dental professional about how to better take care of your mouth. Your dentist will be happy to offer advice to help you get your smile to be healthy and beautiful.
3. Should I Tell My Primary Care Doctor about Anything?
Oral health is directly related to overall health. If there is a major issue in your mouth, such as gum disease, then your family doctor should know about it. If you are pregnant or you have a condition that can compromise your immune system, such as diabetes, you are more susceptible to gum disease and its complications. It’s a good idea to make sure to make sure all of the people monitoring your health are on the same page.
4. Do I Have Any Bleeding, Bumps, or Sores in My Mouth?
If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, you likely have gum disease. Be sure to let your dentist know right away. Gum disease can only be treated in its early stage, and when left untreated, it can cause your teeth to become loose and even fall out. Letting your dentist know early on is the best way to save your teeth. Bumps and sores could be a sign of oral cancer. Again, in this case, early detection is critical in effective treatment.
5. What Does It Mean When My Mouth is Dry or Smells Weird?
A dry mouth could be a complication of medication you’re taking or a sign of diabetes. Bad breath could be the result of an infection, such as gum disease. Even if it isn’t actually an infection, it never hurts to ask your dentist and make sure.
6. What Can I Do About Tooth Sensitivity or Pain?
Tooth sensitivity and pain could mean basically nothing, or they could be a sign of teeth grinding, jaw clenching, a tooth infection that requires a root canal, or many other things. Talk to your dentist about the exact type of pain you’re experiencing so they can get an idea of how to treat you.
7. When Can I Schedule My Next Appointment?
Going to regular dental checkups every six months is vital to having great oral hygiene. Make sure to book your next cleaning appointment before you walk out the door of this one. If not, it can be hard to remember.
Your regular checkups and cleanings are so important. Don’t skip out on them, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
About the Author
Dr. Neil Flenniken earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Howard University in Washington D.C. He has a Fellowship from the Academy of General Dentistry and an Associate Fellowship at the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. He studied at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. To learn more about how team of hygienists, visit his website or call (703)-457-8447.