We view the relationships with our patients as a two-way street. We feel that the best dentists in Guelph should encourage you to ask questions about your dental well-being and play an active role in maintaining a healthy smile. As your dental expert, we are here to help you achieve your optimum oral health. However, sometimes you might feel shy to ask questions or you are uncertain about what to ask. Whether you are at your next cleaning, or just want complete transparency about your dental care, here are 8 essential questions you should always ask your dentist.
1. How often do I need dental checkups?
Most people assume they require a dental checkup once or twice a year. While this is considered the norm, each person has individual needs with their own ideal preventative care schedule. Therefore, never be afraid to ask how many checkups you need to keep your oral health optimized. The best dentists will prepare a schedule suited to your needs.
2. How can I improve my oral hygiene at home?
This is important because not all dental offices will share this information with you. We believe it’s important to take note of your oral health so we can look for opportunities to share some insider hygiene tips. Even if you brush and floss, you might be using a technique that is harmful, or that misses certain areas of your teeth. By asking for tips, you can learn hygiene improvement tips such as:
- You are brushing too aggressively, which is leading to issues like receding gums or sensitivity.
- You are showing more plaque buildup in some areas because you are maybe grazing over them in your brushing routine too quickly.
- Your gums aren’t as healthy, so perhaps you need to floss regularly.
Some other tips might include quitting smoking or having fluoride applied at your dental hygiene appointments.
3. How can I get my teeth whiter?
We get this question often, but not everyone feels comfortable asking about whitening. Many assume it is their lot in life to have less than bright teeth, while others might fear coming across as too vain. However, the best dentists are happy to discuss teeth discolouration because they know many patients worry about their smiles. Because there are several ways to whiten teeth, there are many do’s and don’ts to discuss. We can discuss both at-home products, as well as our own in-office whitening treatments. We can also talk about possible challenges for whitening such as if you suffer from tooth sensitivity, or you have visible restorations. As well, in some cases, if your teeth are stained, whitening might not be enough. In this case, we can use other treatments like bonding or veneers. These are also more permanent solutions that will require less maintenance.
4. How can I prevent dental problems?
Often, patients who suffer from ongoing issues like cavities or gum problems don’t think to ask if there is a way to prevent further issues. While your dentist should be taking every step to help you avoid such problems, it is always best to take a more proactive approach to your own dental care. As mentioned in point #2, it all boils down to oral hygiene in hand with professional preventative care. However, there are other treatments available such as sealants that can be added to your tooth surfaces to help prevent tooth decay from setting in on the bite surfaces of your molars.
5. Do I really need dental X-rays?
It’s not uncommon for patients to worry about exposure to radiation from X-rays. As well, some patients might not like the cost of X-rays if they don’t have a dental plan. You should always feel comfortable asking questions about any recommendation made by your dentist, including X-rays. From a preventative standpoint, we take X-rays only if necessary. This is to make sure we can track any changes that indicate issues. In the case of a diagnosis, X-rays are also used to check the severity of an issue and to confirm the proper treatment. If you aren’t comfortable with the whole X-ray thing, always raise the concern so we can discuss the pros and cons.
6. What can be done about my tooth sensitivity?
Some patients who experience tooth sensitivity suffer in silence. However, feeling any kind of dental pain can really interfere with your enjoyment of life and the ability to eat your favourite foods like ice cream. Any dental discomfort you experience should always be brought up at your dental checkups. In fact, if you experience new pain, you should see us before your next checkup. There are many reasons you might experience sensitivity including:
- Receding gum line
- Tooth grinding
- Chips or fractures
- Orthodontics and fillings
- Cavities may cause sensitivity
As well, if you ever experience sensitivity during cleanings or treatment, then let us know so we can ensure you are more comfortable.
7. Why do I need to replace missing teeth?
If your dentist recommends replacing missing teeth, it is because you need to prevent further damage when your remaining teeth start to shift into the space. This can cause all kinds of harm, including further tooth loss. As teeth shift, they can become loose, but you can also have teeth move closer together as they shift, which can put you at risk of decay. Whether it is a bridge, denture, or implants, missing teeth must be replaced to prevent irreparable damage.
8. Can you help me improve my smile?
As with whitening, sometimes people feel a little shy to ask about the cosmetic treatments available to improve their smiles. Money is also another reason they might not ask. However, this is an important question, as your smile affects your confidence and self-esteem. This, in turn, affects your sense of well-being. Never let money stand in your way of dental treatments. We can assess your smile and find affordable solutions to help you achieve the smile you desire.
If you have any dental questions, contact Guelph Family Dentistry or speak to our team at your next appointment!