Getting the Most for Your Grin: What to Ask Your Dentist at a Dental Checkup

Although you don’t need to do much at your dental checkups, having thoughtful questions can help you get the most out of your appointment.

True, dentists do most of the work during a dental checkup. They’re the ones who assess your mouth, clean your teeth, and offer diagnoses. As a patient, though, you still have a role to play in the visit. In particular, you should ask relevant questions about your oral health. Doing so ensures you’ll benefit from your appointment. Luckily, your local practice knows a few queries you could mention. Here are four good questions to ask your dentist at a dental checkup.

What Does This Pain or Sensation Mean?
Even if your grin has aches or pains, it’s easy to hold your tongue at a dental visit. You may fear the issue is trivial and a waste of the dentist’s time. However, you should ask about such things at a checkup.

Remember: Dentists aren’t perfect. In some cases, they can overlook or misinterpret things. Therefore, bring up any sensitivity or odd sensations your teeth feel. Telling your dentist will help them grasp how your grin is doing. From there, they can outline a proper treatment plan.

Why Should I Have Dental X-Rays Taken?
At a dental checkup, you may think an oral exam is detailed enough. Surely there’s no need for something like dental X-rays? Well, you ought to ask that question if it weighs on you.

You see, a dentist will take full dental X-rays early into the doctor-patient relationship. These images let them monitor your teeth for changes between visits. In particular, the X-rays can show whether your pearly whites suffer any issues below their surface. (Such problems might include cavities, infections, etc.) So, most adult patients need bitewing X-rays every year and a full mouth series every 4-5 years.

How Do I Prevent Tooth Decay, Gum Disease, etc.?
Of course, a dentist’s work can help you avoid many oral issues. Still, you may wonder what you can do to prevent dental problems. In that case, feel free to ask.

Usually, the best way to ensure a healthy mouth is to follow good oral habits. Key examples of these are twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing. With these practices, you’ll reduce plaque buildup on your smile. The result would be a lower risk of cavities, gum disease, and worse. This risk can be further lessened with a nutritionally balanced diet.

How Often Should I Get Dental Checkups?
Even if you attend dental checkups, you may not know how often to do so. When you’re in that situation, mention the question to your dentist.

Generally, the rule for adult patients is to visit a dentist twice a year. This number is enough to keep most peoples’ grins healthy. That said, every patient has their own unique smile needs. Depending on your oral health, you may need to visit more or less frequently. You should thus ask your dentist when you should attend your next visit.

Rather than stay silent, ask the above questions at your next dental checkup. You and your mouth will get better care that way!

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