The Top Questions to Ask at Your Next Dental Visit

You have two chances a year to get your dental questions answered in person and by a professional. Even though talking and an exam don't go hand-in-hand, you'll still have plenty of time to discuss dental concerns. If you're not sure what to ask the dentist, take a look at some of the most common questions patients have.

How Many Appointments Do Patients Need Each Year?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the number of office visits a patient needs depends on their specific dental health status/history. While a twice annual appointment schedule is standard for many patients, it's possible your needs require more care. Some dental conditions, such as periodontal disease, may increase the number of yearly visits you need.

Some insurance carriers may limit appointments, either by number per year or by calendar date. Before scheduling multiple appointments, contact your insurance company to verify coverage. If your insurance doesn't cover the number of appointments necessary, talk to your dentist about alternative care or payment options.

Is There a Way to Whiten Stained Teeth?

Whether your teeth have a mild yellowing or are thoroughly stained, your dentist can help to brighten your smile. Talk to the professional about in-office and at-home whitening options before making any decisions. Again, you have individual dental needs. It's possible one whitening process won't work for your teeth or may irritate your mouth.

Along with meeting your oral health needs, different types of whitening offer different levels of strength. An in-office procedure provides a fast, effective way to turn food or beverage-stained teeth into a Hollywood-bright smile.

Even though in-office whitening can have dramatic results for many patients, it's not always enough. Patients with internal staining (from medication use or an injury) may require a physical correction method. Composite bonding and veneers are two common options that cover stains, giving you brilliantly white teeth.

Is There a Way to Prevent Tooth Decay?

Preventing dental decay is possible. If you have cavities, or you have concerns about developing them, talk to the dentist about at-home and in-office prevention strategies. The first step is to maintain a daily dental care routine. At its most basic, this should include brushing twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing twice a day as well. Your dentist may recommend brushing after meals as well.

Avoiding sugary drinks and foods is another step towards preventing dental decay. Sticky sugar-induced plaque buildup on your teeth feeds oral bacteria, resulting in cavity formation. Discuss your diet with the dentist during your next check-up. Ask about ways to change what you eat for maximum dental health.

Do All Cavities Require Immediate Care?

Despite your best efforts, you still have a cavity. Now what? If you're anxious about a drilling or filling procedure, talk to the dentist about what can happen if you ignore decay.

Failure to remove the area can result in the spread of decay. As the decay grows, you run the risk of destroying more of your natural tooth and weakening the enamel. Along with damaging the exterior (visible) part of the tooth, the decay can grow deeper into the root. This can affect the nerve, creating serious pain. Eventually the gradual growth of decay can prove fatal for your tooth, causing it to fall out. These problems also greatly increase the cost of restoring your tooth or replacing it if it is lost to neglect of a decayed area.

Severe untreated dental decay can eventually lead to an abscess. A tooth abscess is an infection that causes serious pain (the pain can radiate from the tooth to the jawbone, neck, or ear), dental sensitivity, facial swelling, swollen lymph nodes, or difficulty swallowing. This type of infection requires an immediate dental visit and prompt professional care.

Do you need a routine dental cleaning or preventative check-up? Contact Airport Road Dental Associates for more information.

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