Is there a reason you suddenly become shy when visiting your dentist for a routine cleaning or checkup? Although it may seem normal to feel this way, your dentist and dental team never want you to feel as if you can’t ask questions. Not only do they want to make sure your teeth and gums are clean and healthy, but they want to answer any and all questions you might have. To break the ice, here are 7 questions you might want to ask at your next appointment.
How Can I Improve My Overall Oral Health?
Even if you don’t ask, your dental hygienist and dentist may tell you a few ways you can practice better oral hygiene habits at home. However, if they don’t, make sure to ask if there are any special tools, products, or just regular tips and tricks that can be used to improve your oral health. They’ll be more than happy to offer any suggestions.
Are There Any Oral Health-Related Issues I Should Share with My Family Doctor?
If your dentist notices any areas of concern that may relate to a larger, overall health-related issue, you may want to ask if it’s something you should alert your family doctor to. Our oral health is closely tied to brain function, heart health, and other conditions/diseases. Make sure everyone is aware of what is going on so they can properly monitor your general health and care for you accordingly.
Is My Chart Up to Date?
Even if you adhere to the six-month checkup rule, there may be some changes to your medications or chart, in general. Each time you visit your dentist, make sure your chart is updated to reflect any changes since your last visit. New insurance? Additional medications? Surgery? All of these are important items to note on your chart, as it will help your dentist have the most current information should you need to be treated for a problem.
Why is My Mouth Dry?
If your mouth is dry, it could be that you have a problem with your salivary glands. Diabetes and various medications can also cause dry mouth. When bacteria is allowed to build on the tongue or in the mouth, it can cause an infection that results in dry mouth and/or bad breath (halitosis).
Why Do My Gums Bleed When I Floss or Brush?
If your gums are bleeding when you brush, flossing, or even bite into something hard, it is probably a sign of gingivitis or advanced periodontitis. When gum disease is in its early stages (gingivitis), a thorough cleaning by your dental hygienist, as well as good oral habits at home can reverse it. However, if it has progressed to periodontitis, you could be facing bone and tooth loss.
In addition to bleeding gums, if you notice bumps or sores in your mouth, it may be an infection or sign of oral cancer, which you should have looked at by your dentist.
I Am Experiencing Sensitivity When I Eat and Drink. What is the Cause?
Feeling a sharp pain when you try to take a sip of ice water? It could be that gingivitis, cavities, worn down teeth due to bruxism, or even clenching your jaw is causing sensitivity. When the enamel of your teeth wears down, it can expose some of the nerve, which can cause those piercing pains when attempting to eat or drink something hot or cold. Your dental hygienist and dentist will need to inspect to determine if there are any signs of decay or damage.
How Can I Book My Next Appointment?
This is certainly a question they’ll love to answer because it means your taking your oral hygiene seriously and are planning ahead. Don’t leave any dental visit without asking this question. Booking your next appointment is the most effective way to ensure you are staying up-to-date with your cleanings.
Remember, every six months is the rule of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. If you have any questions or concerns, never be afraid to ask. Your dentist and hygienist are your friends, and they want to see and know you’re taking a proactive approach to maintain good oral health.
About the Author
Dr. Megan Shelton, DMD, completed her undergraduate degree at Wichita State University before earning her Doctor of Dental Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Not only is she committed to growing and improving within the field of dentistry, but she is also committed to continuing education, completing hours each year. She and her team provide the highest caliber of dental care possible, and you can expect a fun and supportive dental team to help you achieve desired results. To learn more about Dr. Shelton or for questions about our services, visit our website or call (760) 434-9800.