Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Four Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Trips To Dentists

Nowadays, a visit to the dentist's office every six months is the norm. But did you realize that your bi-annual check-up isn't just about cleaning your teeth and checking for cavities? Granted, these are the primary reasons for an appointment, but other items should come up also.

1. Ask about Questions and Concerns

Dentists need to know what's been going on with your teeth and gums at home in order to fully treat you for any possible problems. Be sure to bring a list of recent symptoms. For instance,

- Bleeding gums during brushing can be a serious symptom of gum disease.
- Sensitive or painful teeth may indicate cracked enamel, developing cavities, or broken fillings.
- Unhealed sores in your mouth can be an early symptom of oral cancer.
- If arthritis or another condition makes it hard for you to brush and floss, your hygienist will help you determine how you can effectively clean your mouth.
- Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw as you sleep can wear down enamel.

2. Make Updates to Your Medical History

Your oral health is closely tied to your overall physical health. If you've been diagnosed with any new conditions since your last dental check up, be sure to update your medical history at this appointment. Some diseases that cause physical problems can also cause oral issues. For example, if you've been recently diagnosed with diabetes, certain gum diseases can more easily develop. Other medical problems can lead to conditions like dry mouth which leaves your teeth and gums more vulnerable to cavities, gingivitis, or bacterial infections.

How about medications? Are there any new long-term prescriptions that you've begun taking on a regular basis? What about over-the counter supplements? Some medications and even dietary supplements can thin your blood and increase your risk of bleeding while you have your dental work done. Others can cause conditions like dry mouth. Dry mouth can also adversely affect your gums, making them more prone to oral diseases like gingivitis. As you can see, it's very important to let dentists know about any prescriptions or over-the-counter medications that you take on a regular basis - whether you've been taking them for a long time or began taking them since your last visit. You should also let your dental staff know about any supplements you may be taking. Even though they aren't technically considered "medications," they can still affect your oral health.

3. If You Can't Afford the Full Cost of a Visit, Ask About Payment Plans

It's better to opt for a low-cost option or a payment plan than to simply skip regular visits because you can't pay up front. Many dentists' offices will work to help you develop a reasonable payment plan or a low-cost care option.

4. Ask About What You Can Do to Improve Your Oral Care

With so many new products being developed in the arena of oral health, it's not unusual to be overwhelmed by the choices! Ask your hygienist which items are the best for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

As you can see, there can be much more to a dentist's visit than just sitting quietly as you get your teeth cleaned. Ask questions and actively participate to make the most of your visit!

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