Much like with your physical health, your dental health is a team effort. Sure, our dentists play a vital role. But so do our hygienists, dental assistants, and especially you. Without your help, we cannot do our job.
That means you need to be aware of what’s going on with your teeth and gums. Our team takes pride in being able to thoroughly explain these things. That said, sometimes your questions will help us know more about your concerns, goals, and situation. Here are eight questions you should probably ask at every dental appointment.
1. How can I do a better job of preventing cavities?
Tooth decay is the most common problem with teeth. That’s why we always check for them at our Rochester. MN dental office. The sooner we can spot cavities, the easier it will be to repair them. Dentistry is a team effort. That’s why you need to brush and floss regularly at home. One question you could ask is whether you could do more to prevent cavities. The more you do at home, the less needs to be done at our office. That saves you time and money.
2. Do I need to change what I eat and drink at all?
Cavities are caused by harmful bacteria. These live off tiny particles of food and drink left behind in your mouth. Sugary foods like candy and pop leave behind sugar. This high-energy food is perfect for bacteria. The more sugar you eat, the more bacteria will grow. Talk to our team about your diet to see if there is anything you might want to do differently. For example, carbs are very similar to sugar. If you’re avoiding candy but eating a lot of bread and chips, you could still be hurting your teeth.
3. Am I brushing my back molars well enough?
When people ask us about what toothbrush to buy, our answer is always to get one small enough to reach your back teeth. It’s easy to brush and floss the teeth in the front. It’s harder to reach back to your molars (or wisdom teeth if they are there). This means your molars in the back are at a higher risk for cavities. Since it’s hard to know how well you are brushing by looking yourself, be sure to check with our dentist to make sure you’re taking care of those back molars.
4. Will this treatment affect any dental work I already have or will get?
Unless you are very young or very lucky, chances are you have had some dental work done. That means you should ask if your old work will have any impact on current treatments. The same is true if you have any plans for treatment in the future.
For example, dental crowns are great. They repair damaged teeth and make them look healthy and attractive again. But teeth whitening won’t work on crowns. If you had a crown in the past, talk to our dentists about that before discussing whitening systems.
5. Are there any side effects to this treatment?
Most dental treatments are pretty straight-forward. Repairing a cavity with a filling, for example, is as simple as removing the decay and placing the filling. There’s not much in the way of side effects. However, you should always check with our dentists so you know if there are any unexpected changes.
6. Will any of my prescriptions affect my dental treatment?
Today’s prescriptions are wonderful. There’s so much that can be treated. However, that means more and more people are taking prescriptions. Most of the time, drugs do not interact negatively in your system. But that can happen. Be sure to talk to our team and let us know all of your prescriptions before getting treatments.
For example, many people take a low dose of aspirin daily for heart health. Aspirin tends to thin the blood, making any bleeding worse. If you are getting oral surgery, that could be a problem.
7. Do I need to contact my family physician about anything?
Dr. Post and Dr. Sperling do much more than take care of your teeth. They look out for your overall health. When you come for an exam, they’ll do more than just look for cavities. They will look for any health problems in your mouth. Oral cancer, for example, can often be spotted on the inner cheeks. We’ll thoroughly explain everything discovered during an exam. It can help to ask what needs to be communicated to your physician, if anything.
8. How do my teeth and gums look?
In the end, this is probably the most important question. You need to have a clear understanding of what our dentists discovered during the cleaning and exam. Yes, we always explain our findings and concerns. By asking questions yourself, you are more likely to understand and remember what’s going on. Once your visit is near the end, talk to us and ask any questions you have about your teeth and gums.
If you are ready to schedule your twice-yearly cleaning and exam, call us today at 507-315-2932.