You have been in charge of your own oral hygiene since you were a child. While you think you have a pretty good handle on things, there may be parts of your routine that you’ve been rushing through. If you’ve been skipping out on flossing, your dentist may ask you to watch a short video on proper habits.
Of course, the easiest way to make sure that you receive the best possible care is to have all the information you need. Here are some of the top questions to ask your dentist during your next visit.
What is Your Experience?
You should not be afraid to ask your dentist about their level of experience. While you may find a brief history on their website, like the one you can find for Dr. Ruyak, a credible Bethlehem dentist, you can still inquire further. For instance, you may have questions about their education and how long they have been practicing. You will also want to know how comfortable they are with any special treatment that you might need.
What are the Best Home Care Tips?
This is one of the most important questions to ask your dentist during your visit. In addition to brushing and flossing, your dentist may have some tips to care for your teeth and gums at home in between office visits. They may also recommend a different style toothbrush, a new mouthwash, or implementing a Waterpik into your routine. These tools may help minimize the risk of cavities and other dental problems.
How Do You Manage Fearful Patients?
If you have a major fear of seeing the dentist, your practitioner may have tools to help you stay calm through your visit. Many dentists offer sedatives to anxious patients to help ease their nervousness. If that is not an option, some dentists have headphones available to their patients, or you can bring your own in. Listening to your favorite music while your treatment is being performed can help reduce anxiety.
If you are a fearful patient who needs to undergo oral surgery, your surgeon may decide to use general anesthesia.
It is difficult to communicate with your dentist while undergoing treatment. For anxiety-ridden patients, this can make a simple checkup even more daunting. Work with your dentist to come up with a hand signal that can be used to indicate if you feel excessive pain or discomfort. This will ensure that you are comfortable, both physically and mentally, throughout your procedure.
Do You Offer Oral Cancer Screenings?
Even if you don’t use tobacco products, you may still be at risk for developing oral cancer.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. In fact, nearly all sexually active people will get HPV at some point in their lives. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. However, in some people, it can lead to health problems like genital warts and forms of cancer.
Traditionally, cancers of the oropharynx (back of the throat) have been thought to be caused by the use of tobacco and alcohol. However, recent studies show that HPV may be a contributing factor in 60-70% of these cancers.
Oral cancer can also affect people of all ages with no obvious cause. A thorough examination done by a dentist can detect the presence of oral cancer. Some dentists also use a special device that emits light into the mouth to detect cancer.
Your dentist wants you to have a positive experience while in their care. After all, patients who are anxious or fearful may put off their appointment and not seek the care they need. By choosing a dentist that makes you feel comfortable and asking the right questions, you can be sure that you are taking charge of your oral health.