10 Questions You Should Ask Your Dentist At Your Next Check Up

A Patient Speaking with a DentistFor most people, it’s recommended that you visit your dentist twice a year for a bi-annual checkup, cleaning, and x-rays. Your visits are also an excellent time to be more proactive about your oral health by asking questions to learn more about the current state of your dental health, available treatments, and concerns regarding cosmetic procedures.

It may help to make a list of all the questions you have so that you don’t forget to ask anything while you’re there. Keep in mind that you can also call the office if you have additional questions after leaving. Here are 10 questions to consider asking your dentist at your next checkup.

1. What is Causing the Pain in My Teeth?

Oral pain and discomfort can be caused by a range of different factors, from broken or cracked teeth to tooth sensitivity. If there is a problem, it can be detected easily during your routine exam with the help of your bi-annual x-rays in most cases. However, you should always tell your dentist exactly where you feel the pain because it’s not always apparent from an exam or x-ray. Because of this, ask your dentist about any discomfort or pain you’re experiencing so that they can check it out.

2. Should I Consider Teeth Whitening Treatments?

Whitening treatments are a great way to improve the appearance of your teeth and reverse years worth of stains. Dental offices have different types of whitening treatments and asking your dentist about the available options will help you determine which is right for you. For example, most dentists offer in-office whitening treatments that take about an hour.

3. What Procedures Can Improve the Strength of My Teeth?

Fluoride treatments and some dental procedures can help improve the strength and resiliency of your smile. Your dentist will offer a range of these treatments, and you can receive recommendations according to what you’re hoping to achieve. Fluoride treatments are most often done for smaller children, but many adults benefit from them if they have weak teeth that are more susceptible to cavities. You may also benefit from some types of cosmetic dentistry, such as dental crowns, bridges, or implants to improve the strength and appearance of your teeth, depending on the extent of the dental damage.

4. What Options Do You Offer to Correct Dental Misalignments?

If you’ve felt self-conscious about your crooked teeth but never had orthodontic treatments, your next checkup is the perfect time to ask your dentist about possible options. You may be the ideal candidate for Invisalign, clear braces, or other types of braces to help you get that flawlessly straight smile. In some cases, dental veneers are a great cosmetic option to perfect the appearance of crooked or uneven teeth quickly. Your dentist will be able to recommend the best course of treatment for you.

5. Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?

If you have sensitivity issues, it’s important to ask your dentist about the causes and what you can do to control the sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can be caused by a myriad of issues, such as orthodontic work, whitening treatments, certain medications, cracks in your teeth, or dental decay. If your dentist can discover the cause of your sensitivity, it may help to diagnose other issues or prevent it from getting worse.

6. Should I Be Concerned About Gingivitis and Gum Disease?

Your dentist can give you product recommendations as well as oral hygiene techniques that should be utilized at home to prevent gingivitis and other forms of periodontal disease. When gingivitis is left uncontrolled, it can become worse and affect the overall integrity of your oral health. Gum disease can cause swelling, pain, bleeding, bad breath, loose teeth, and even result in your gums receding. Ask your dentist for the best tips on how to lower your risk for gum disease.

7. At What Age Should My Child See a Dentist?

Now is a great time to get answers to questions about your family’s oral health as well. If you have recently had a baby, you may be wondering when they should go in for a visit. Most babies should see a dentist when their first tooth erupts, but many dental professionals will recommend them going to see a pediatric dentist when they are between one and two years old.

8. Am I at Risk for Future Dental Issues?

In some cases, you may be more prone to dental problems than others. This could be due to hereditary factors, poor oral hygiene practices, or harmful habits such as smoking or grinding your teeth. It’s always best to know if you have a higher risk for specific dental issues so you can put more emphasis on avoiding those problems if possible. Ask your dentist about any minor problems to keep an eye on before your next visit and what you can do to prevent the issue from getting worse. Knowing the risks may also help you avoid missing your dental follow-up appointments.

9. What Are Your Tips for Better Oral Hygiene at Home?

Most of us know that we should be brushing our teeth twice a day and flossing regularly, however, some patients have different needs than others. If you have a dental crown or bridgework, you may need to use a different flossing technique. If you or your child has braces, different brushing techniques and products may be required. Ask the dentist about the best ways to keep your teeth looking their absolute best between routine exams and cleanings.

10. Are Payment Plans Available?

It’s not always easy to afford dental care, especially when insurance isn’t available or doesn’t cover certain procedures. Many dental offices offer payment plans of some kind. Others may not offer payment plans but, instead, have medical care credit cards available that you can apply for right in the office. For more extensive procedures, financing may be available. In any case, it doesn’t hurt to ask about payment plans.

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You only visit the dentist twice a year, but you personally take care of your teeth every single day. Being proactive about your dental health is a great start to practicing a more healthy lifestyle. A big part of that is asking the right questions so you can stay informed and updated on the best recommendations from your dentist for your oral health. For more information reach out to your local dentist. Absolute Dental has multiple dental offices in Reno and Las Vegas, NV. 

About the Author

Dr. Scott Futch

Dr. Scott F. Futch, DDS

Dr. Scott Futch has been a clinical director for Absolute Dental since April 2017. Dr. Futch graduated from University of Michigan School of Dentistry and completed his training at the Dawson Academy; a postgraduate multi-disciplinary education clinical research facility dedicated to the advancement of dentistry. Dr. Futch has had over 25 years of experience as a skilled clinician, mentor and coach.

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