Keeping your smile healthy as you age is easier when you have all the right information. You can read plenty about oral health online — but your dentist is the most valuable source of tips related specifically to your smile. Doing some research ahead of time can help to ensure you know the right questions to ask your dentist before a checkup and cleaning. Questions like best practices, why X-rays matter, and more. Learn what some of the most valuable questions are below!
Ask about Oral Hygiene Best Practices at Home
Your dentist and the hygienists and assistants who see your smile on a regular basis will know even better than you do about what you can do at home to take care of it best. Only they can see into the darkest corners to catch areas where you may not be reaching with the toothbrush and floss, for example. Make sure to ask about best practices — like how well you are cleaning already, whether or not you should be using mouthwash, and if there is anything you can do to improve.
Some patients have concerns about X-rays and the risk of unnecessary radiation exposure. If you, too, are reluctant to have your mouth X-rayed, ask your dentist about the need for this measure and how often you should have yours taken. In general, the amount of radiation generated by dental X-rays is minimal — and the benefits of being able to see beneath the visible surface far outweigh the potential risk of exposure.
Describe Any Issues
Thorough communication is vital between you and your dentist. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, an unusual pain, or anything else that seems out of the norm, make sure that you take the opportunity during a six-month checkup and cleaning to describe the issue. For example, you can ask about possible at-home remedies for tooth sensitivity, or how you can keep it from happening to you.
Learn about Gum Disease
Did you know that over half of adults past the age of 35 have gum disease to some extent? That’s according to the American Academy of Periodontology, and it can have significant implications for your oral and also your overall health — like heart problems, respiratory issues, and more. However, this condition can be prevented. Your dentist can discuss gum disease, including why it occurs and how you can protect your smile as you get older.
To sum it up, your dentist is an invaluable source of information related to your oral health. Education is a big part of their job in keeping your smile complete as you age, so don’t put off visiting your dentist before the year is up — and make a list of questions to ask before you go!
Meet the Dentist
Dr. L. Blaine Kennington is a general dentist offering comprehensive preventive, general, restorative, and cosmetic services for patients of Cowlitz River Dental. To learn more about prevention or to schedule an appointment for excellence in dentistry, do not hesitate to get in touch with the office by phone at 360-274-9100.