Patients ask many questions of their dentists, but not all are medically relevant. Some patients are well informed about the information provided on their x-rays and enjoy a good conversation. Dental patients often have numerous questions when they visit the dentist’s office for a routine cleaning, check-up, or teeth whitening session. Here are the top 5 questions dental patients ask.
- Do I need to floss?
This question often arises from patients who are new to flossing. Those who have never regularly used floss will usually find it difficult to believe it’s beneficial. Flossing is the most effective way for plaque and debris to be removed from the teeth and gums, so it is recommended for people at risk of having dental caries (cavities). If you are not used to flossing, start with a very small piece of floss and work your way up. This question is often asked by patients who are new to flossing. The most common reason people don’t floss is that they are either afraid of the process or don’t have the right tools and motivation to get into a regular pattern.
- Why is fluoride good for my teeth?
Fluoride is naturally present in most water supplies. It is added to the water to reduce tooth decay. Even though there is a lot of fluoride in our water supply, toothpaste is not likely to contain fluoride because they are intended to be used consistently without fail. Furthermore, it is difficult for dental patients to know whether they have been using fluoride or not. In other words, if you were using fluoride-containing toothpaste, there’s no way for you to know how much fluoride was swallowed by your teeth.
- How long does a whitening treatment take?
Whitening treatments take anywhere from 15 minutes to about an hour. It all depends on the severity of the stains on your teeth and how deep they are. Whitening toothpaste contains the same ingredients as teeth whitening trays you would purchase at a store. Dentists use various treatments depending on what type of stain they are working to remove. This is why the service provided by your dentist is usually more effective than an at-home teeth whitening treatment.
- When is it time to get braces?
Often, patients will wonder when they should get braces. Before you can make an appointment with your dentist, you need to understand what they are going to look for when they examine your teeth. Most cases of a bad bite can be solved through orthodontics or orthognathic surgery, which are mainly intended for children and teenagers.
- Is it safe to take fluoride supplements?
Fluoride supplements are a great way to get the fluoride your body needs because you can’t absorb it from drinking water. Fluoride is necessary for healthy teeth and bones, but too much fluoride can be toxic for your body. Large amounts of fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, which results in small white spots or streaks on the teeth, which look like a snowstorm or an ash-like coating. According to the American Dental Association, many bottled water companies add fluoride to their products. Calcium supplements are a great way to get more calcium because they don’t contain fluoride. If you can’t find calcium without fluoride, talk to your dentist.
- How long should I wait before replacing my dental device?
It is always important for patients to follow their dentist’s instructions and ensure they aren’t damaging their teeth when using a nightguard, occlusal splint, or other dental devices. After a cold and flu, patients may experience loose teeth that require the tooth to be grated down. In most cases, it is not advisable for a patient to grind their teeth without first consulting their dentist. As a rule of thumb, you should wait for at least two weeks between grinding and using the same type of dental device again. Dental appliances such as night guards do not last forever, but they should generally last a year or longer. Your dentist can help you determine how long any dental device should last you.
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