Have you ever left a visit with a dentist and kicked yourself because you forgot to ask the questions you had in mind? If so, you’re not alone! It’s easy to forget about the questions you have because you’re busy focusing on what’s happening during your appointment. But, since you only see a dentist in Valparaiso periodically, it’s helpful to have a short guide of 4 important questions to ask so you can stay well informed about your oral health. After all, the more you know about keeping your smile healthy, the more likely it is to BE healthy!
“What Are the Best Ways to Practice Good Oral Hygiene at Home?”
It’s no surprise that brushing twice a day and flossing once is the foundation of good oral health. The cleaner that you can keep your teeth and gums, the less dental work you’ll need in the long-term. With that said, there are some additional things you can do to take your hygiene routine to the next level:
- Use extra fluoride – Fluoride strengthens your enamel to prevent cavities. Most toothpaste already has fluoride in them, but it’s helpful to add a fluoride mouthwash for an extra “coating.” Also, if you’re particularly cavity-prone, you can ask your dentist for a prescription-strength fluoride paste that will significantly reduce your risk of cavities.
- Minimize sugar – You certainly don’t have to give up sugar entirely, but simply cutting back will go a long way towards keeping your teeth healthier. Reduce your consumption of soda, juice, candy, and other sweets for fewer cavities.
“Why Should I Have Dental X-Rays Taken?”
Your dentist can only see what’s happening on the surface of your teeth and gums when they’re doing a visual exam. Dental X-rays allow them to see what’s happening in the inner layers of your teeth and jaws, as well as under your gums. This allows them to catch potential problems as early as possible, including cavities, cysts and tumors, TMJ issues, and abscesses.
Also, you’ll be glad to know that modern digital X-rays only use a very small fraction of the radiation that traditional X-rays did!
“Are My Gums Healthy?”
Many people don’t realize it, but your gums are just as important to your oral health as your teeth. In fact, your gums are what support your teeth and keep them in place, which is why gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.
Fortunately, your checkups are a great opportunity to have your gum health evaluated. You’ll also get a professional cleaning at these visits to remove the tartar under the gumline that you can’t remove at home. This alone goes a long way towards having healthy gums.
Also, if your dentist finds that you have gum disease, they can recommend gum therapy treatments to manage this condition and reduce the risk of tooth loss.
“What Is Tooth Sensitivity and Why Do I Have It?”
Sensitivity occurs when people feel pain or discomfort after eating foods that are hot, cold, sweet or acidic, and can really impact their quality of life by preventing them from eating their favorite foods.
There are multiple potential causes of sensitivity:
- Clenching and grinding
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Receding gums
- Teeth whitening
The best way to determine the cause of sensitivity is to schedule a dental exam, during which a dentist can recommend the best treatment.
By asking these 4 questions at your next checkup, you’ll be well on your way to having a healthier, happier smile for life!