Dental visits are about more than teeth cleaning and cavity prevention and/or treatments. Yes, that’s part of it, but during a regular dental visit, both the dentist and the hygienist will evaluate the overall health of your gums and the entire mouth. Consequently, this regular visit is vital in creating optimal oral health. In fact, Leslie Seldin, spokesperson for the American Dental Association, says the following about the importance of regular dental visits:
“A dentist check-up is an essential part of preventative care.”
So how do you get the most out of each of those visits?
Make a Checklist of Your Concerns or Questions
While you might think you will remember every question or concern you have, it’s a good idea to actually make a check list to reference during your visit. This list should include anything and everything you might have a question about for either your hygienist or dentist to address. Some of the most common issues that come up on a regular and are frequently addressed during check-ups include the following:
- Issues With Teeth Grinding or Jaw Clenching: Many people have a problem with grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw, especially when they are asleep at night. Over time, if this condition isn’t adequately addressed and corrected, it can damage the enamel of the teeth, which can make decay more likely.
- Issues With Sores Inside the Mouth: Another common problem brought to the attention of dental professionals
during a visit include sores located within the mouth that isn’t healing properly. Since sores that won’t go away are an early sign of oral cancer, this issue is especially important to bring up to a dental professional during a regular visit.
- Tooth Sensitivity and/or Pain: If you are experiencing any sensitivity or pain in a tooth, it’s important to address this issue during your regular dental check-up. Experiencing sensitivity either when eating something hot or cold or when biting down can be a sign of cavities, broken fillings, or a cracked tooth. Consequently, it is not something that should go unaddressed.
- Issues With Bleeding During Brushing: Bleeding when brushing is a common symptom of gum disease. Thankfully, the earlier you can catch gum disease, the easier it is to treat and correct.
- Address Any Other Issues or Questions: This includes anything concerning your regular dental visits and/or recommended procedures. Procedures like teeth whitening, root canals, fillings, and more should be addressed and outlined. Now is the time to get all your questions answered and educate yourself on keeping your teeth as healthy as possible for as long as possible. If you think you need to try sedation or other methods of relaxation during dental procedures, now is the time to communicate this and express your fears and concerns. Your dentist and the entire dental team are on your side. They want to create a relaxing, healing environment that promotes wellness, not fear.
Make a List of Medications Including Supplements and Vitamins
Another important way to prepare for your next dental visit is listing your current medications. This list should be comprehensive in nature, including not only medications that have been prescribed to you by a doctor but should also include any and all vitamins and supplements you take regularly. This list is important because some prescription drugs for depression, high blood pressure, allergies and more can cause dry mouth. This in turn can lead to an increased risk of gum problems and tooth decay. In addition, supplements can sometimes cause your blood to thin, which can increase your risk of excessive bleeding during dental procedures. Therefore, because many meds can cause other issues that can alter the way you respond to dental treatment or affect your overall oral health, it’s vitally important that your dentist knows about every drug and supplement you take.
Update Your Entire Medical History
Another important step you need to take to get the most out of each dental visit is to share any and all of your medical conditions. Diseases like diabetes can negatively impact your oral health in several ways, which makes it imperative that your dentist is aware you have them. Be sure to let your dentist know any time your medical conditions change between visits. So many conditions can cause symptoms that affect your oral health that it’s imperative they are kept up-to-date on your medical history and current treatments.
Go Regularly, Schedule Visits Based on Your Dentist Recommendation
While some people mistakenly assume they only need to visit the dentist when something is wrong, that is looking at things the wrong way entirely. Your oral health is closely tied to your overall health. Therefore, regular visits should be a priority and preventative in nature in most cases, instead of reactive. This means you should schedule regular dental visits at a frequency determined by your dentist as recommended by the American Dental Association. These visits give you the opportunity to bring up all the points outlined above. Then, your dentist can address each and every issue and advise you on how to deal with them. In most cases, dentists recommend a cleaning every six months, but that could vary based on your dental needs.
Ask Your Dentist or Hygienist What You Can do Better
Finally, the last step to take when seeing your dentist in order to get the most out of your visit is to ask what you can do better. Let’s face it, we can all do better when it comes to focusing on our oral health. Ask your dentist and hygienist what you can do personally to improve your oral health. Could you floss more often? Do you need to invest in an automatic toothbrush? What could you do to promote better overall oral health?
Follow the suggestions listed above to get the most out of your dental visit each and every time. We look forward to seeing you soon at Stiles Dental Care. Contact us today to schedule your next checkup!