Questions You Should Ask Your Dentist

Dentists love it when their patients ask questions—they really do! You likely ask your family doctor many questions about your health, so why not ask your dentist about your oral health? The dentist-patient relationship is very important, and it is advantageous for you and your dentist to establish a two-way conversation to keep your pearly whites as healthy as they can be. Here are some of the most common questions that people ask their dentists.

“How is my overall dental health? What’s the status?”

This is probably the number one question dentists are asked. Your dentist not only examines your teeth, he or she also checks your gums for periodontal disease and determines if there are any issues with the bone density of your jaw. If you’re older, or a menopausal woman, osteoporosis may be a concern. Dental exams also include an extensive exam of the inside of your mouth for any bumps, lumps or lesions, and an extensive exam using a lighted instrument to look for any sign of oral cancer. Your dentist will also check for evidence of teeth grinding, called bruxism. Most people do this at night and therefore are unaware that they’re doing it. Over time, the grinding can wear down your enamel. If you are grinding, the dentist will likely recommend a mouthguard for you to wear at night. If you still have wisdom teeth, the dentist will do x-rays to check their placement and may recommend surgery if they’re becoming disruptive.

“I heard about this new product. What do you think?”

Dentists want you to discuss new dental products you’ve heard about. They’ll give you a professional opinion about whether it’s worth a try or a waste of money. The best part is that your dentist might just have a free sample you can take home to try.

“Is there anything my family doctor needs to know?”

It is a very good idea to have communication between doctor and dentist for certain conditions. Any sign of osteoporosis should be communicated, or dentist evidence for vitamin deficiencies. Swollen gums are often an early sign of diabetes, too. Most dentists are perfectly willing to write a letter for you to take to your family doc, or to talk with the doc directly.

The one question that is music to any dentist’s ears is this one: “What can I do better so that I improve my dental health?” In fact, your dentist might be so happy that he or she sheds a few tears. All dentists want their patients to be this engaged. Most likely, the dentist will tell you to floss more often and possibly to brush more often, especially after meals. They might recommend that you switch to a different toothbrush. They might also recommend a night guard for grinding, or make recommendations for improving bad breath (halitosis).

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