If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know too much about dentistry. And you don’t have to! After all, we trust our oral health care to the professionals who are educated and have worked in that field for many years. So it only makes sense that those of us who are patients and not dental professionals would have some questions. What follows are some of the most common FAQs heard by dentists.
- Q: My teeth feel great, so why do I still need to go to the dentist on a regular basis?
- A: Even though your teeth may feel fine, you could have problems that you would never know about without periodic dental exams. X-rays can detect the early stages of tooth decay that you may not be aware of, and specially designed lights can spot oral cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages. And even if you brush and floss every day, you’ll never be able to remove all the plaque and tartar that forms on teeth without periodic professional cleanings by a dental hygienist.
- Q: How often should I see my dentist?
- A: Most dentists recommend going in for professional cleanings and oral exams twice a year. But for some people – those who might be more prone to developing oral cancer or gum disease, for example – twice a year may not be enough. Your dentist can tell you how often you should visit to ensure good oral health.
- Q: How do I prevent cavities?
- A: Practice good oral hygiene each and every day. Brush at least twice and floss at least once every day. If you want even more protection against tooth decay and gum disease, use a water flosser at least once a day and an anti-microbial mouthwash daily in addition to brushing and flossing.
- Q: How can I tell if I have gum disease?
- A: There are several common signs of periodontal disease, including red and/or bleeding gums; tooth sensitivity; chronic bad breath; and receding gums. The good news is that gum disease is easily treated if caught early on, which is another great reason to visit your dentist on a regular basis for professional cleanings and oral exams.
If you have questions about dentistry or oral health in general, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist and schedule an appointment. And remember, when it comes to healthy teeth and gums, nothing replaces a daily oral hygiene routine at home and regular visits to your dentist!