As a dentist, we always advise our patients to come in for their routine dental examinations and cleaning every six months. It’s important to take care of your teeth, which is why many people visit a dentist every six months. The poor health-seeking behavior of Nigerians and the constant apathy to dental treatment has taken a new dimension in recent times and the effect has far-reaching implications on the oral health and the general state of health of the individual. The trend of putting off a dental appointment for as long as they can and others think they’re too busy
Regardless of how you feel about dentists, you need to see a dentist on a regular basis. It’s also important to prepare for your visits. You should have conversations with your dentist regarding your oral health.
Here are some important questions to ask your dentist.
How do I prevent tooth cavities?
Dental cleanings remove plaque from teeth and reduce the risk of cavities. Your dentist will check your teeth for cavities after each cleaning. Cavities are tooth decay or holes that form on the surface of your teeth. They don’t typically cause discomfort in the early stages, but pain and sensitivity may develop if you ignore the problem.
Different factors increase the risk for cavities. These include drinking sugary beverages, eating sugary foods, and bacteria in the mouth. Your dentist can recommend a plan to reduce your number of cavities. This can include brushing or flossing more often, avoiding certain types of foods, and chewing sugarless gum throughout the day to increase the amount of saliva in your mouth.
Why is fluoride important to my dental health?
You may hear the term fluoride when watching commercials for toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride is a mineral in many foods and treated water. It strengthens tooth enamel and lowers the risk of tooth decay. After an oral exam, your dentist can determine if you need to increase your fluoride intake. You can use toothpaste and mouthwashes containing fluoride or fluoride supplements in form of tablets and drops.
What can I do to improve my dental health?
Since everyone’s mouth is different, improving your oral health may require a customized dental routine. Your dentist may make specific recommendations based on the present health of your mouth and teeth. If you have more plaque or tartar than the average person, your dentist may suggest flossing more often, or recommend more frequent dental visits and a customized diet plan which includes whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Is my medication affecting my oral health?
Some medications being taking by people increase the risk for tooth decay. Many prescriptions and over the counter drug medications predispose people to xerostomia also known as dry mouth, People who have dry mouth have a lower amount of saliva in their mouth. Saliva helps control bacteria in the mouth and washes away food particles. A lower amount of saliva can raise the risk for cavities.
Do you see warning signs of a serious condition?
Regular dental exams can offer clues about your overall health of an individual. When dentists detect an issue, the dentist often detects acid reflux diseases from erosion of the tooth enamel. Diabetes and hypertension are also conditions that have a strong correlation to oral health and we as dentist liaise with other medical professionals to co-manage such conditions
Why do I need dental X-rays?
Your dentist will take X-rays of your mouth if you’re a new patient, and they may repeat X-rays once a year. An X-ray helps your dentist identify mouth diseases that can’t be detected by oral examination. There’s usually an additional cost for X-rays. But these imaging tests can potentially save you money because your dentist can diagnose and correct teeth issues early. X-rays can detect:
- tooth decay
- bone loss
- changes in the bone
What causes sensitive teeth?
Pain or sensitivity felt after eating or drinking something hot or cold can be a nuisance. Many issues can trigger sensitivity, like:
- brushing too hard
- eating acidic foods
- tooth decay
- grinding your teeth
- using teeth whitening products
Gingivitis (a type of gum disease that causes swollen, irritated gums) and periodontal disease (a more severe gum disease that affects the teeth’s supporting structures) can also cause sensitivity. Your dentist can check your mouth for signs of these diseases and offer suggestions for treating pain. Sometimes, sensitivity develops after dental work, such as a cleaning or a root canal. This type of sensitivity isn’t permanent and usually resolves within a couple of weeks.
Regular dental cleanings are crucial to your oral health. To keep your teeth and mouth healthy, we recommend coming in quarterly to have your teeth cleaned as this prevents tooth cavities, aches, bleeding gum and bad breath.