A good dentist-patient relationship is founded in part on trust and communication. And while many patients are good at listening to what their dentist tells them, there are many who also don’t feel as empowered to ask questions proactively. In reality, asking questions of your dentist is important in both keeping you informed and in letting them know what’s going on with your oral health and your oral health goals. So what sorts of questions should you be asking your dentist? Let’s take a look at some of the most common and most important ones now.
One of the most important questions you can ask your dentist is “How often should I get a dental check-up?” The answer is based on your personal needs and goals–everyone has a unique situation, and the frequency of your checkups varies accordingly. Generally, most people are fine with one or two exams and cleanings a year, but some folks may need more frequent visits in order to improve or maintain their situation. Your dentist can evaluate your situation and explain how often you should come to see them.
Another important question is also a basic one: “What are the best ways for me to practice oral hygiene?” In asking this, you’ll get more information about your individual oral health and your needs, and some of the best ways to meet them. While the advice will be tailored to you, some of the more common responses might include:
- Using appropriate oral health care products, such as those containing fluoride or made for sensitive gums.
- Limiting snacks that are high in sugar.
- Eating a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables and low on starches and sugars.
- Avoiding tobacco in any form and limiting alcohol use.
“How can I improve my smile’s appearance?” is a common question for dentists, and the response may involve any of a number of recommendations. This may range from cleaning or a series of cleanings to improve the health and appearance of the teeth whitening in order to restore shine and whiteness to the smile. In some cases, dental prostheses or other cosmetic implants may play a role in improving your smile. Your dentist can explain your options and what your best courses of treatment might be, so don’t be afraid to ask. It’s not superficial or vain–your smile is your greeting to the world and having it look its best can improve your self-confidence and quality of life.
The final question is a bit more nebulous and depends heavily on your particular needs, but asking about any recurring oral health issues is an important part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. If your gums seem swollen on occasion, or bleed sometimes when brushing and flossing, or if you get odd tooth pains, it’s important to bring that up during an exam. These are likely nothing serious, but they can be signs of other issues and it’s good to let your dentist know about them so they can ensure that nothing’s going wrong. Open communication is a two-way street, and you need to let your dentist know what’s going on with you.
So hopefully we’ve given you an idea of some ways you can better communicate with your dentist by asking good questions. There are other questions that may arise, so don’t be afraid to ask your dentist anything related to your oral health. It’s their job to help you live your best life via dentistry, and they’re here to help you.