Q. I keep hearing that I should go to the dentist every six months. Is that really necessary?
A. How often you should visit the dentist depends on your individual oral health. Your dentist will make a personalized recommendation to you based on the health of your mouth. One visit every six months is a good idea for most people. You are encouraged to see the dentist routinely in order to detect small problems before they become big problems. There are many factors that affect your oral health and how often you should see the dentist, including the following:
- Do you brush your teeth at least twice a day?
- Do you floss your teeth every day?
- Do you eat a nutritious diet that is low in sugary, sticky foods?
- Do you smoke cigarettes or use chewing tobacco?
- Have you had cavities or gum disease in the past?
- Are you in good health overall?
Q. Should I have x-rays taken every time I see the dentist?
A. Again, it depends on your oral health. If you are in good oral health and haven’t had any cavities or other problems recently, then you may not need to have x-rays taken at every visit. If you have had some problems, your dentist may want to keep a closer eye on things by taking x-rays more frequently.
Q. How can I go about finding a new dentist?
A. First, assess your own needs and preferences, including the location of the dentist’s office, the hours that the office is open, the languages spoken by the dentist and staff, and whether the dentist specializing in any particular area. Asking friends or family members for a recommendation is often helpful. Check to see whether the office is currently accepting new patients. The best way to find out if the dentist is right for you is to go in for an appointment.
Q. How do I know that my dentist is using proper hygiene precautions?
A. Your dentist and dental hygienist follow standard precautions for hygiene. This includes wearing gloves and a mask, washing their hands frequently, sterilizing equipment, and cleaning furniture. For reassurance, you can ask the dentist or staff to show you how the equipment is cleaned.
Q. At what age should my child go to the dentist for the first time?
A. It is a good idea for every child to see the dentist by their first birthday. At home, you can clean your child’s gums with a soft, wet washcloth before they develop teeth. After their teeth begin to come in, you can brush them using a toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste.
Q. My dentist is recommending a course of treatment, but I don’t understand what that treatment is. What should I do?
A. Ask! Your dentist is there to answer all of your questions and make you feel as comfortable as possible. If you don’t know what the procedure being recommended involves, ask the dentist to explain it. If you don’t ask, the dentist may assume that you are already familiar with the procedure. Go ahead and ask what will happen. Ask to see pictures of before and after examples. Ask how many times the dentist has performed this procedure, how long it will take, how much it will cost, and what other options are available to you.
These are some of the most frequently asked questions encountered by dental practices. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact the office of Dr. TJ Bolt. Dr. Bolt provides complete dental health services. Call the office to schedule an appointment today.