Last week we started a discussion of things you should ask your dental hygienist at your next Raleigh dentist appointment. Today we’re going to pick up that discussion and discuss 3 more questions you should ask your dental hygienist if you want to really keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong.
1. Do you notice any changes in my mouth since my last cleaning?
At least once a year, your Raleigh dentist will want fresh x-ray images of your mouth. These dental X-rays are important because they give your Raleigh dentist a more complete picture of what is going on in your mouth beyond the surface, including the condition of your teeth, your roots, jaw placement, and facial bone composition.
Because your dental hygienist is responsible for getting these images, they can immediately tell you if there have been any changes in your mouth since your last cleaning. While these changes could be completely unknown to you, if you’ve been dealing with a tricky dental situation such as a suspicious dark spot on a tooth or one area of your mouth has been giving you problems in the weeks leading up to your semi-annual cleaning, you might want to ask if anything is showing up on your x-ray.
This is also your opportunity to tell your dental hygienist if there have been any changes made to your medical history, including new medications or conditions such as dry mouth. Your hygienist will be able to tell if this new information may make you more susceptible to decay or weakened roots. Whatever the change is, be honest so that we can better help you achieve your oral health goals.
Once your dental hygienist is done cleaning your teeth, your Raleigh dentist will then come in to check your teeth and review those images. Should any problems emerge, she can discuss recommended treatment before the problems become more serious.
2. What is my cavity risk?
Every one of our patients has a different cavity risk, but almost all cavities are preventable. Therefore, it’s important to understand your personal cavity risk so you know how to prevent them relative to what is causing them in your mouth. For example, some of our patients have an increased risk for cavities because of the strong bacteria that circulates in their mouths. Oftentimes, this condition is genetic and the most dangerous factor to consider for these patients is the amount of sugar in their diet. Even a seemingly innocent juice box can wreak havoc on some teeth. Meanwhile, others can drink coffee and soda all day without issue. Another type of patient who may be at higher risk for cavities is anyone who has multiple fillings, crowns, or other dental work.
Whatever the case, your dental hygienist can easily tell you which specific factors predispose you to cavities and give you customized recommendations on minimizing your risk.
3. How often should I have my teeth cleaned?
Most people have their teeth professionally cleaned semi-annually (every six months) or some other interval based on what their dental insurance will cover. While this works for a number of people, some of our patients are more susceptible to gum disease or cavities and should be seen much more often. Therefore, rather than rely on your insurance or some dated idea, ask your dental hygienist.
Depending on your individualized risk assessment, your Raleigh dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to keep your mouth healthy. For example, it is quite common for our patients with a higher risk for gum disease to come in every 3 to 4 months for cleanings. Patients with severe gum disease may come in as often as every 6 weeks. Whatever the case, start with your dental hygienist. If she thinks you should be coming in more often, she can tell you.
Is it time to have your teeth cleaned? Be sure to give Dr. Katherine E. Garrett a call to schedule your appointment. if you’re looking for a new Raleigh dentist. New patients are always welcome, and we are proud to provide dental care for your entire family. Don’t wait until you have a dental emergency, call our office today!