Questions to Ask at Your Next Dental Appointment

Questions to Ask at Your Next Dental Appointment

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

When it comes to your oral health and hygiene, your dentist will tell you there’s no such thing as a silly question. And yes, your dentist has heard it all! As important as it is to have regular dental checkups, it is equally important to ask the dentist any questions you may have. Before visiting the dentist, write down a few questions you have been meaning to ask. Having trouble crafting a list? Here are a few of the more common questions we’ve been asked here at 360 Dental.

1. Which would you suggest, a manual or electric toothbrush?

Brushing (and flossing) regularly are the two single most important oral hygiene habits that you can do every day for a lifetime of good health. That’s because brushing and flossing will prevent cavities from forming by eliminating the plaque that adheres to your teeth. A manual toothbrush, used at least twice a day for two minutes at a time has proven to be effective. However, an electric toothbrush that is programmed to run at two-minute intervals may be your best long-term bet. In fact, recent studies show that electric toothbrushes reduce plaque more than that of a manual toothbrush by up to 21 percent. An electric toothbrush affects gingivitis, too, helping to considerably reduce inflammation in the gums. With this in mind, an electric toothbrush may be the better choice, especially if the conditions are right for gingivitis. No matter which toothbrush you decide to use, however, be sure it has soft bristles, not firm, which can tear up your gums and scratch enamel.

2. Is there anything about my oral health that indicates I may have a more serious medical condition?

You may not realize it, but your dentist is looking for a lot more than cavities during your six-month check-up. That’s because oral health can indicate when the patient is at greater risk of developing or may currently have other health problems. For instance, chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke or diabetes can worsen as a result of the bacteria that are found in the mouth. Heart disease and clogged arteries have been connected to infections that are rooted in oral bacteria, that’s because the bacteria from periodontal disease can enter the blood stream, causing changes and inflammation of the blood vessels. By examining at your gums (as well as tongue, lips and jaws) your dentist may refer you for testing for any number of conditions – from anemia to Crohn’s disease.

3. Is it safe to whiten my teeth?

Teeth can become discolored or stained from consuming tea, coffee, and wine; or from taking certain medications. The good news is, these stains can be removed.  Over-the-counter bleaching kits are an easy way to get your teeth whiter. However, it is safer and more effective to have your teeth professionally whitened by your dentist. Your dentist will discuss your options for whitening and will devise a treatment plan that is right for you. One more thing – while charcoal toothpastes are all the rage, use them sparingly and be light with your brushing. That’s because charcoal toothpastes are extremely abrasive and continued and/or aggressive use can actually damage your teeth.

4. There seems to be some controversy surrounding fluoride. Is it safe for my family?

Fluoride is a chemical that is added to toothpaste and is probably also found in the water you drink. Many municipalities add fluoride to public water supplies to improve oral health, and fluoride has been proven to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride occurs naturally in the body, as it’s stored in the bones and teeth and is involved in the hardening and strengthening of your bones and teeth. It is also naturally found in nature and in some food. It is harmless to your health, and is helpful in the fight against tooth decay. Talk to your dentist about fluoride treatments if your water doesn’t contain fluoride or if you or a family member are cavity prone.

5. How safe are dental X-rays?

X-rays reveal damage or disease that can’t be detected from a visual exam. With regard to radiation, with X-rays the level of exposure is extremely small and the process is safe. However, if you’re uncomfortable undergoing dental X-rays, it’s fine to refuse, but understand that the dentist may be unable to completely and accurately diagnose your oral condition. (Note: Be sure to advise your dentist or dental technician if you are pregnant or think you could be. Depending on your dental procedure, you dentist may defer the X-ray for another time.)

Are you looking for the best, most family-friendly dental care in Eugene? Then look no further than 360 Dental. At 360 Dental, Dr. Ari Binder and his team of friendly experts are standing to answer your questions regarding oral health. Get the gorgeous smile you’ve always wanted today! Call Dr. Binder at (541) 689-1645 or request an appointment online.