Visiting the dentist, whether for a cleaning or for a more daunting appointment like a filling or even a root canal, is not usually on anyone’s priority list of things they want to do. But because it’s necessary, the best thing you can do to prepare for your appointments and ease those nerves is to educate yourself.
A group of dentists in Pocatello compiled this list of things you should know before your next appointment.
If you have a toothache, there could be a number of reasons besides another cavity. Tooth sensitivity, generally due to worn enamel or receding gums, can cause toothaches, but that doesn’t mean you have a cavity. A cracked tooth can also be the cause, and it is possible to have a cracked tooth and not even know it. While tooth sensitivity can be self-diagnosable, if you are not 100 percent sure of the cause of your toothaches, you should see a dentist. They can diagnose the problem and help you decide on the best treatment plan.
Bleeding gums are never a good sign. No matter the cause, if your gums are bleeding every time your brush or floss your teeth, it’s a good idea to bring that up with your dentist. Bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal disease, and your dentist can tell you the best way for you to treat this symptom.
Yes, your dentist and the hygienists can all smell the last thing you ate before coming in. So, do them and yourself a courtesy by avoiding heavy odor-causing foods the day of your appointment. The good thing is, even if you do forget about this, most dentists and their staff are kind enough not to point it out and embarrass you. If you have bad breath for another reason, it might be a good idea to ask your dentist about it because it could be a sign of another dental problem.
Good teeth get noticed. Generally speaking, the first thing that most people notice in another person is their eyes, and second is their smile – or their teeth. If your teeth are one of the first things someone notices when they meet you, don’t you want to make a good impression? Take care of your teeth and make that dentist appointment. If you are interested in teeth whitening or have crooked teeth you want fixed, your dentist is there to ask those questions and give your recommendations.
While having a good-looking smile is great, just remember that your dream teeth might not be possible. You can’t have a smile like Angelina Jolie if your mouth and face aren’t the same shape and size. Remember there are limitations, but your dentist is there to help you along the way.
Chewing gum can be a good thing – so long as it’s a sugar-free option. Chewing gum with xylitol, a low-calorie sweetener, can help protect your teeth from cavities. Not only does the act of chewing the gum produce saliva which helps clear sugars out of your mouth, but the xylitol can actually inhibit the growth of bad, cavity-causing bacteria. Keep a pack of xylitol gum with you when you’re on the go to chew after meals. It’s no replacement for brushing and flossing your teeth, but it certainly helps.
Mouth piercings, especially tongue piercings, can be detrimental to your oral health. The small metal piercing clicking constantly against your teeth can chip them and wear down the enamel, leaving you at a greater risk for tooth decay and other mouth infections. Healthwise, it’s best to keep the piercings elsewhere.
For you and your dentist, it is best if you come into the office knowing what your insurance covers – and knowing whether or not that dentist takes your insurance. This isn’t to say that the staff at the office can’t help you figure this out, but before making an appointment, it’s good to know what kind of financial commitment you are getting yourself into. This isn’t to scare you away from making the appointment altogether, but rather to help you prepare so nothing unexpected comes up at your first appointment.
Another tip regarding finances: many dentist offices will give you a discount if you pay for the appointment in cash on the day of.