Think of all the things your dentist already knows about you: birth date, employment status, flossing habits, which teeth are real and which are fake, maybe even your favorite fluoride treatment flavor. What else could they possibly need to know about you?
Like any healthcare practitioner, the more your dentist knows about your health condition, the more he or she can fine tune your treatment. By taking necessary precautions for specific health conditions and being vigilant for signs of others, your dentist can provide the best care possible. Make sure you share all details from the list below during your next checkup.
- Have you had surgery recently?
Even with the gentlest of dental treatment, tiny abrasions can occur, introducing bacteria from your mouth into your bloodstream. Surgical sites are more susceptible to bacterial infections. Recent surgery may mean you’d need to take an antibiotic prophylaxis to fight any bacteria that makes its way from your mouth into your bloodstream.
- Have there been any changes to your health history?
Maybe you only visit your dentist twice a year for checkups. Your health can change quite a bit in six months. Be sure to provide a thorough initial health overview to your dentist and updates as needed. Let your dentist know if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Additionally, things like changes in breathing patterns, an unusual bump or difficulty swallowing could be signs of an undiagnosed health condition. Armed with knowledge, your dentist may help you determine causes and treatments.
- Do you experience bad breath?
Many dental practices ask patients to swish around a small amount of breath freshener before an exam, so your hygienist or dentist might not notice if you have bad breath. Sometimes your dentist can offer a simple solution to bad breath, but it can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition that should be addressed.
- Do you snore or have trouble sleeping?
Telling your dentist about a snoring problem could improve not only your sleep, but that of everyone in your family as well. Dental or oral devices may be useful in reducing snoring and/or correcting mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Your dentist can explain various options for dental devices to help you find a safe and personalized solution for a more restful night’s sleep.
- Do you experience mouth pain or discomfort?
We see too many patients in our office who have suffered from mouth pain for months before they come in for a dental exam. If you have mouth pain or discomfort, it’s very likely that your dentist can relieve it or help you find a solution. Likewise, if you have any areas of tenderness or sensitivity, your hygienist will need to know to be extra gentle in that area of your mouth. Don’t suffer silently – your dentist is in practice to help you!
The more you share with your healthcare practitioner, including your dentist, the more he or she can ensure you live a long and happy life. Start discussing your overall health with your dentist to ensure that each check up results in the most positive and productive experience possible.
Until next time… Keep on Smiling!