From an early age, we have been encouraged to ask questions, in school, at home, even at work, asking questions is second nature, but when it comes to visiting the dentist, there are many questions that go unasked.
Below are 10 questions and the answers for those of us that forget to ask the dentist, but really should:
- How often should I have a dental check-up? Dental visits do vary from person to person, but most dentists would recommend – even if your mouth is healthy, you have a check-up every 6 months – or at the very least once a year. Regular visits to the dentist allow you to get your teeth cleaned professionally and on a regular basis. Check-ups also mean minor issues or problems can be found and identified BEFORE they become a bigger problem.
- How can I get my teeth whiter? When you smile and can show off healthy white teeth, it’s great for your confidence. Most people will experience some form of discoloration of their teeth over the years, stains caused by wine, smoking, tea and coffee, these stains can be treated using over the counter at home whitening products or your dentist can perform a whitening treatment for you.
- What are the best ways to keep my teeth healthy at home? You do need to brush and floss daily but to take caring for your teeth to a new level – * use products that contain fluoride * eat a balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables * stop smoking * limit snacks that are high in sugar.
- Should I have dental x-rays taken? Your dentist will regularly take a full set of dental x-rays to help record and examine your mouth for any hidden areas that may need attention and to see if changes have occurred between visits. Most adults have a full set of x-rays taken every 5 years, but for those at higher risk, your dentist may prefer to take x-rays every 6 to 18 months.
- How can I prevent tooth decay, gingivitis and other problems? The best way to keep a healthy mouth is to visit your dentist regularly, follow a healthy diet and keep up your twice daily oral care routine. Other health conditions such as diabetes and some medications can cause issues, so it’s best to talk over any concerns with your dentist.
- Why are my teeth sensitive? If your teeth are sensitive, you’ll feel pain when you eat foods that are acidic, sweet, cold or hot, this comes from thinned tooth enamel which isn’t protecting the tooth pulp or dentin from exposure to temperatures. Tooth sensitivity may be caused by * tooth grinding during sleep *receding gums * fractured or chipped teeth *fillings and orthodontics *tooth whitening
- Should I consider dental implants? Dental implants are a great way to replace weakened or missing teeth. Adults are usually good candidates for this procedure as it can help stop your remaining teeth from moving. Implants are permanent and are a great alternative to dentures for anyone who has a healthy mouth and jaw.
- Should I use a mouthwash? Cosmetic mouthwashes are aimed at freshening breath and maintaining a healthy colour and they also contain fluoride to help fight cavities as well. Therapeutic rinses can also treat conditions such as tooth sensitivity and gingivitis. For more advanced conditions your dentist can prescribe mouthwashes that can kill the bacteria that causes inflammation, bleeding and the formation of plaque.
- What age should children start seeing a dentist? Sadly, children can develop their first cavities as young as 2 years old. A good time to book a check-up is when the first tooth erupts. Your dentist will be able to catch any potential problems that can affect a child’s health as more teeth erupt.
- When do baby teeth generally fall out? Most children start losing their baby teeth around the ages of 6 and 8 and they will roughly fall out in the order in which they erupted. Keep in mind that everyone is different and a child’s and an adult’s oral condition depends on how long it’s been since they last visited the dentist.