10 Pertinent Questions All Dental Patients Need to Ask Their Dentist


You're probably used to your medical practitioner asking you a multitude of important questions when conducting a health checkup or devising a treatment plan. Your dentist is no exception to this.

What if we told you that this works both ways? In fact, it can work extremely well!
While most dentists are sincere in their work and want the best for you, you may still want to ask yours the following questions to ensure you're getting the best treatment. Answers to these questions will also help you understand how you can look after your oral health better.
1) What Steps Can I Take to Improve My Oral Health?
Every person's oral conditions and care needs are different. Some patients may need to follow the usual brushing-and-flossing-after-meals routine, while others might need a more intensive dental care regimen. The best way to find out about your situation and what you can do to improve it is by asking your dentist. Only a professional dental care expert will be able to guide you according to your personal needs. This can mean recommendations to change to another toothbrush/toothpaste or determining if you've been flossing in the correct manner. Your dentist will also be able to tell you how often you need to see them for a dental checkup.
2) How Can You Help Me Enhance My Oral Health?
Asking your doctor this question is helpful, particularly when you're in the process of picking the right dentist. Even if you're past that stage, don't hesitate to ask because your dentist can keep your mouth in the best shape possible. It is best to engage a local dentist so that you can receive quick treatment. So if you're a resident of San Francisco in need of a cosmetic dentist, for example, a San Francisco cosmetic dentist may be your best bet.
Do make it a point to bring up the most minor dental issues with him/her rather than waiting for him/her to ask about or guess your troubles. Let your dentist know about any pain or abnormalities so that he/she can work to improve your oral health before the situation gets out of hand.
3) What Should I Know about Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is real, but few ask their dentists about it. Dealing with oral cancer is tricky because it is difficult to detect in the early stages. Make it a point to talk to your dentist about the early signs of oral cancer and ways to screen it, even if you don't have it. Treatment can be quick and successful if it is detected in the early stages. Your doctor may advise you to get your mouth, throat and/or tongue screened at least once a year to check for any abnormalities. Take his/her advice seriously.
4) How Do You Sterilize Your Equipment?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask your dentist or his/her staff. Any clinic that doesn't heat sterilize all tools and instruments that the dentist uses on patients should be avoided at all costs. You want to hear the word "autoclave" or "chemiclave" in the answer. These are the two most commonly used heat sterilization methods.  
5) Should I Follow a Particular Diet for Healthier Teeth?
Most dentists are able to tell what the patient has been putting in his/her body just by examining their mouth. Your dental health practitioner will be able to decipher if you're eating too much sugar, salts or acids, but not enough vitamins. Consequently, he/she may advise you on minimizing your sugar intake for a healthier set of choppers.   
6) How Do I Maintain My Teeth Best?
As mentioned earlier, everyone's oral care needs are different. If your dentist feels your mouth is healthy, he/she may ask you to come in less frequently than someone who has a relatively unhealthy mouth. He/she may ask you to change your at-home dental care routine depending on your current oral health. Ideally, your dentist will give you a personalized care plan which will include clear instructions for at-home care and a schedule for upcoming appointments.
7) How Do You Stay Abreast of the Latest Procedures in Dental Healthcare?
Because the fields of medicine, science, and technology evolve rapidly, it is important for dentists to be in the know of the latest breakthroughs and treatments available. Your dentist can stay on top of industry news and affairs by attending seminars and trade shows or taking refresher courses that acquaint dental professionals with dentistry-related advancements. Being aware of these aspects is crucial because the new treatments may be cheaper, quicker and less painful than the current ones. 
8) How Is My Overall Oral Health?
Your dentist can gauge this by giving your mouth a general examination, looking for anomalous lumps or bumps, measuring your bone density, or checking for involuntary teeth grinding. By doing so, he/she can determine whether or not your mouth is functioning as it should or if you need treatment for better overall oral health.
9) Do You Need to Know Anything from My Family Doctor?
If you've introduced any recent change in your lifestyle or are taking certain medication, make sure you inform your dentist about this. Sometimes, certain strong medicines don't mix well and give rise to unexpected health complications or other undesired changes. It is, therefore, best to keep your dentist updated on your overall health status.
10) Is There Anything I Need to Inform My Family Doctor about?
Several health problems have their roots in the mouth. The condition of your mouth can point to certain health problems such as deficiency of vitamins or cardiovascular diseases. Inflamed gums could mean the onset of diabetes. Once your dentist apprises you of these conditions, you can bring them to your general practitioner's notice.
While asking some of the above questions may make you feel silly, do not hesitate. You never know, some of the answers might surprise you. It's always good to ask questions, especially where your health is concerned. The best thing about this is that you will be getting your answers from an expert. So, keep these questions in mind and don't forget to bring them up the next time you visit your dentist.

Article last time updated on 27.08.2018.

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