From a very early age, you're encouraged to ask questions – to parents, to teachers, and even to coaches. That same curiosity should be encouraged at the dentist's office. Asking questions to your dental professional is an important part of your long-term healthcare. Here are 10 common dental questions everyone should ask at their next appointment.
10 Common Questions To Ask Your Dentist
Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications
1. How Often Should I Get a Dental Checkup?
Dental health varies from person to person; a general rule for adult patients is to visit a dentist once or twice a year, even if your mouth is in excellent condition. This way, you can get your teeth professionally cleaned regularly and maintain excellent oral health.
2. What Are the Best Ways to Practice Good Oral Hygiene at Home?
In addition to daily brushing and flossing, take your oral hygiene to the next level by following a few steps to good dental health. These include:
- Using products that contain fluoride.
- Limiting snacks that are high in sugar.
- Eating a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables.
- Avoiding tobacco in any form.
3. How Can I Improve the Whiteness of My Teeth?
A beautiful smile with clean, white teeth is a huge confidence booster. Most people experience some discoloration of teeth over the years, either from surface stains or internal ones. Treat stains caused by coffee, wine, tobacco, and pigmented foods with at-home whitening or have professional, in-office whitening done regularly. For internal discoloration, consider composite bonding or the application of veneers to the affected teeth, which provides a more permanent solution.
4. How Do I Prevent Tooth Decay, Gingivitis, and Other Problems?
The best way to ensure a healthy mouth is to follow a balanced diet and regularly visit the dentist while maintaining your oral care routine with twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing. Protect yourself against problems that can advance quickly by discussing these questions with your dental professional.
5. Why Should I Have Dental X-Rays Taken?
Your dentist should take a full set of dental X-rays early into the doctor-patient relationship. X-rays help your doctor monitor any changes that could be happening in your teeth between appointments. Most adult patients have bitewing X-rays every year and a full mouth series every four to five years. But those with a higher risk for dental caries problems may need them every six to 18 months.
6. What Is Tooth Sensitivity and Why Do I Have It?
Patients with tooth sensitivity feel pain when they consume foods or drinks that are hot or cold, sweet, or acidic. Sensitivity happens when tooth enamel, which usually protects the tooth's pulp and dentin, is thinned from repeated exposure to acidity and extreme temperatures. Sensitivity can also occur as a result of:
- Receding gums
- Tooth grinding during sleep
- Chipped or fractured teeth
- Tooth whitening
- Orthodontics and fillings
Talk to your dental professional, and they will examine the affected teeth and recommend treatment to reduce your sensitivity.
7. When Should I Consider Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the ideal way to replace missing or weakened teeth. Implants are permanent and serve as an excellent alternative to dentures for anyone with an otherwise healthy mouth and jaw. Most adult patients are good candidates for dental implants because they can help prevent the remaining teeth from moving or loosening.
8. Should I Use Mouthwash Regularly?
It depends - there are different kinds of mouthwash. Cosmetic mouthwashes aim to freshen breath and to maintain a healthy teeth color, but they contain fluoride to help fight cavities as well. Therapeutic rinses work to help treat conditions such as gingivitis, tooth sensitivity, and inflammation. For more advanced conditions, prescription mouthwashes often contain chlorhexidine gluconate to kill bacteria that cause bleeding, inflammation, and plaque or biofilm formation.
9. At What Age Should My Child First See a Dentist?
Studies show children can develop their first cavities by two years old, so the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends booking the first visit once their first tooth appears – or, at the latest, their first birthday. This helps your dentist catch potential problems that can affect your child's overall health and well-being as more teeth grow in overtime.
10. When Do Baby Teeth Typically Fall Out?
Most children begin losing their baby teeth between the ages of six and eight. They typically fall out in roughly the same order in which they grew. Keep in mind that all patients are different. Children and adult oral conditions depend on how long they've gone without an appointment, how long a child's baby teeth last, and what kinds of things you are naturally more sensitive to.
Next time you're at the dentist, don't be afraid to ask any questions you might have; They are there to help! With these questions queued up, you'll never be in doubt about the state of your oral health.
Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider.