You’ve scheduled your dental hygiene exam, now what? How can you be sure you get the most out of it and benefit your overall health as well? There are different answers to this question, and knowing them ahead of time can help you prepare for a better experience.
Get the Most Out of Your Next Dentist Appointment
Instead of viewing your appointment as just another routine cleaning or exam, it has the potential to be so much more. Here are five proactive ways to get the most out of your next dentist appointment.
1. Assess Your Dental Health Before Arriving at Your Appointment
Before you arrive for your appointment, assess your dental health at the present moment. You don’t need to know all the symptoms or names for dental issues, just identify what you experience daily while eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. Things to look for include:
Are any specific teeth sensitive to hot or cold? While you may not be aware you have a cavity, a tooth may seem overly sensitive to that morning coffee or ice cream dessert after dinner.
Do your gums bleed while flossing? Perhaps you floss, and a certain area of your gums bleeds, indicating gum disease might be present.
Do you have sores in your mouth? If so, consider how long you’ve had them. Normally mouth sores disappear on their own, but those that don’t may be an issue, including an abscessed tooth or a possible indicator of oral cancer.
Is your bad breath not responding to toothpastes and mouthwashes? Chronic bad breath not treatable by brushing and using a mouthwash can be a condition of a more serious oral health issue.
Are any teeth noticeably darker than others? Glance in a mirror and see if there are any tooth discolorations. If so, is this making you self-conscious? Several things can cause tooth discoloration, from staining to health issues.
Is your jaw tired or sore upon waking in the mornings? If so, mention this to your dentist. You might grind your teeth while sleeping or clench your jaw unknowingly.
While your dentist will look for these also, you may forget to mention symptoms if not prepared. A way to smartly get around this is to write down a list of issues you are experiencing as well as any questions you may have.
2. Identify Any Changes to Your Medical History
The condition of your mouth is part of your overall health, and symptoms displayed here can be connected to medical issues elsewhere in your body.
Whether this is your initial appointment with a new dentist or you’ve been with them for years, every appointment is the best time to update any medical information in your file.
Changes in your health can happen between dental visits. You may be diagnosed with a certain condition, prescribed new medications, or choose a new vitamin and supplement routine to follow. All of these can affect your dental health as well, so letting your dentist know can help speed up a diagnosis.
For instance, issues affecting your teeth and gums can be an indicator of diabetes. Any diagnosis for respiratory or gastrointestinal disease can be the cause of your chronic bad breath. If you receive a diagnosis of Sjogren’s syndrome, a common symptom is dry mouth, which can lead to cavities as well.
Are you taking any different medications since your last visit? Bring the bottles with you to the appointment or write them down, including the dosage information. Since many prescriptions can have side effects, some of these can directly affect your oral health.
For example, blood-pressure regulating medication, a prescription to help with depression, or a prescribed allergy medication can lead to dry mouth. If you take blood thinners, your dentist will need to know this before any procedure which may cause you to bleed.
Also, inform your dentist of any vitamins and supplements you’ve added to your diet recently.
By knowing your most updated medical history, your dentist can better determine when a dental issue is isolated to your oral health and when it may be connected to another health issue.
3. Reveal Any Anxiety You Feel at the Appointment
If dental appointments make you anxious, you’re not alone. Even scheduling a dentist appointment can make many patients nervous long before stepping inside the office.
You don’t have to hide your anxiety. When you schedule your appointment, mention it to the staff and ask them to relay it to your dentist. Once you arrive for your appointment, openly discuss any anxiety with your dental hygienist and your dentist directly.
A few ways to reveal your apprehension are to:
Tell them you feel nervous, anxious, or scared. If you have a particular reason, such as a bad past experience with a dentist, let them know.
Express any fears, such as the fear of injections or shots.
If pain is a concern, start off by revealing any current pain or sensitivity you experience, so your dental team will know to take special care in those areas.
Explain you are protective of your personal space, and it’s difficult to let anyone get close to you.
Working together, you can come up with ways to alleviate the anxiety, fear, or apprehension. For example, choose a signal to use to alert your dentist you want to take a break during a procedure. This solution gives you more control during the appointment and can help you avoid feeling panicked at any time.
You may also want to discuss undergoing sedation during a procedure. While you won’t be asleep and completely unaware of what is going on, you will remain calmer throughout. Another option is to bring a trusted companion with you to the appointment.
Essentially, learning to trust your dental team is the key to overcoming many of these fears and apprehensions.
4. Develop a Suitable Treatment Plan
Following your exam, if further procedures are necessary, develop a treatment plan that works for you. Learn what your options are and how much time each one will take. Also, ask about costs and payment options available.
Seek out explanations for anything you don’t understand. Ask for details, or choose to accept an overview of a procedure if the details make you overly anxious.
Schedule appointments before you leave, so you’ll know what to expect going forward.
5. Ask What You Can Do to Continue with Good Oral Health
Even if you already practice good oral hygiene, your dental team may have other suggestions on how to maintain your teeth and gums. Ask for recommendations, such as the best mouthwash to use for your sensitive teeth, occasional bad breath, or congregating bacteria.
Your dental health may differ from others in your household, so knowing unique ways to keep and positively affect your own is essential. Knowing how to continue with good oral health can also lessen the number of appointments you’ll likely need in the future.
Contact Lifetime Dental Health for All Your Dental Needs
Making the most of a dental visit is a valuable way to spend your time and can also benefit your overall health. Let Lifetime Dental Health help you get the most out of your next visit by scheduling an appointment with us today. Our team of compassionate and experienced professionals is here to help with whatever dental needs you have now and in the future.
Most of us do it twice a day. Many of us do it at least once. You guessed it! Brush our teeth. And maybe floss. We all know how to do it, and that’s a good thing. But there’s more to a good oral hygiene regimen, regardless of how often you do it.
What is a Good Oral Hygiene Regimen?
There are four fundamental tasks for basic oral health, and you may already do them. Still, we can all use a refresher course on how to do those tasks as well as we can.
Step #1: Brushing When? Preferably twice a day – when you wake up and when you go to bed. If you can’t do this, brush at least once every 24 hours. If you have breakfast prior to your first-of-the-day brush, wait to brush for 45-60 minutes, particularly if breakfast included orange juice or grapefruit. Acidic foods like these can loosen tooth enamel and brushing may damage your teeth.
Why? The #1 reason is to prevent cavities. Brushing removes plaque (a coating of bacteria) on your teeth which, if left to settle in, causes tooth decay. Just as important is that brushing also stimulates your gums. Gum disease does more than ruin your teeth. It can lead to major health problems, including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
How? Position your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums and brush up and down on the front and back, and back and forth across the top. Brush for a minimum of two minutes. (You can buy electric toothbrushes that beep every 30 seconds, so you can brush each quarter of your teeth for the same length of time.) The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled brush and an ADA-approved toothpaste.
Step #2: Flossing When?Before you brush. And at least once a day. Whatever is in your mouth when you fall asleep has all night to do its damage, so flossing just before bedtime is the optimal time.
Why? Flossing loosens up the bits of food that are too small to see. The ones stuck between your teeth and under your gums. Flossing loosens plaque as well, and that will help your brushing do a better job.
How? You can use dental floss wrapped around your fingers or one of the easy-to-use floss picks (a plastic holder with a piece of floss attached). Slip the floss between your teeth and guide it gently up and down along the side of each tooth and down into the space between tooth and gum. Don’t forget those molars in the back!
Step #3: Rinsing When? Every time you do Steps #1 and #2, also rinse with mouthwash. Pick a flavor you like (brand doesn’t matter) so you’ll be more likely to do it regularly.
Why? For the same reason you usually drink something after eating. Flossing and brushing are most important, but even done well, they can miss some things. Rinsing flushes out the last few bits of toothpaste and food. Not to mention that mouthwash makes your mouth feel – and taste – totally refreshed!
How? It’s simple! Fill the cap of the bottle with mouthwash and move the liquid around in your mouth for 30 seconds, then spit it out. Be sure to keep your lips closed while rinsing, so the mouthwash can do its job.
Step #4: Scraping When? You needn’t do this after every time you floss, brush, and rinse, but it’s a good idea to make scraping your tongue a regular part of your routine. And it only takes a minute!
Why? Food, bacteria, and dead cells collect on your tongue when you eat or drink. And all that debris can dull your taste buds and lead to tooth decay. While it may seem that brushing would be effective for your tongue as well as your teeth, it isn’t. In fact, one study found that using a tongue scraper can significantly reduce the number of bacteria known to cause bad breath and tooth decay.
How? Use a tongue scraper. They’re designed specifically to clean the tongue. After flossing, brushing, and rinsing, look in the mirror and stick out your tongue. Lay the rounded edge of the scraper across the back of your tongue (or start in the middle if the back activates your gag reflex). Pull the scraper gently along your tongue from the back to the tip. Never push the scraper from the tip to the back! One or two scrapes should do the job.
How Can I Tell If my Hygiene Routine Is Working?
The first indication will be almost immediate – your mouth will feel fresh, clean, and healthy. Over time, you’ll notice other conditions – and the lack of some – that demonstrate your success.
Your breath will smell fresh and your teeth will feel clean even when you first wake up
Your gums will look pink and healthy, and they won’t bleed when you floss and brush
Your mouth will flinch less when you eat or drink something hot or cold
What Else Do I Need to Know?
Here are a few extra guidelines for taking the best care of your mouth:
Eat plenty of crunchy vegetables and fruit
Limit food and drinks that are sugary or acidic
Drink plenty of water, and never chew ice
Keep your toothbrush clean and get a new one often
Don’t use tobacco
Of course, some problems and conditions can’t be seen in your bathroom mirror. So, it’s important to see us at least twice a year for a checkup and a thorough cleaning. We encourage you to contact us or make an appointment online. Your mouth will thank you!
It’s no secret that the earlier a child begins regular dental care, the more likely they will maintain those habits into adulthood. One of the best things that parents can do for their child’s oral health is to start the conversations early and normalize visiting the dentist’s office as soon as possible. We’ve compiled a list of some of our most frequently asked questions related to children’s dentistry to help support parents through the early days of dental care for their children.
Why is children’s dentistry important?
One of the most important reasons that a child should go to the dentist is that it starts the evaluation of their oral health early on. It’s important to ensure that your child’s teeth and gums are healthy and strong so that they speak and chew properly as well as maintain good health. Visiting the dentist early will not only help identify any issues as soon as possible, but it will also get kids comfortable with going to the dentist from a very young age. Taking your child to a dentist that is experienced in children’s dentistry will help them feel more relaxed.
At what age should your child begin dental appointments?
It is recommended that children start going to regular dental appointments by their first birthday or within six months after their first tooth erupts. Usually, children get their first tooth by six months of age. If your child is older than this, please don’t worry. It’s still a good time to get regular dental appointments!
How frequently should your child go to the dentist?
A child should go to the dentist every six months, or at least once per year. Your dentist may ask that your child have more frequent visits if there are any concerning issues.
What should you expect at your child’s first dental appointment?
The first dental appointment is intended to be as non-invasive as possible. If the child is an infant, then most of the visit will be focused on talking with the parent about proper ways to take care of baby teeth. The dentist will likely take a peek at the teeth and gums to ensure that there are no alarming issues. Most of this visit is to familiarize the child with the dentist’s office and to provide the parents with an opportunity to ask questions.
What are some children’s dentistry tips for at-home care?
One of the best things that a parent can do for their child is to create an at-home dental care routine. The age of the child will greatly determine what that looks like. Baby: Dental care for a baby is pretty simple. Parents are encouraged to use a cloth to wipe down gums and teeth after feeding. Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle as the milk can build up on their teeth and cause decay. When your child starts teething, offer a cold washcloth or teething ring to help soothe pain and inflammation. Finally, avoid sharing utensils with your baby, as bacteria is transmissible and could cause tooth decay. Toddler: During the early toddler stages, parents should start using a toothbrush with only water to clean their child’s teeth. Be diligent in checking your child’s teeth for any sign of decay. This is a great time to schedule your first dental exam. Once the child turns two years of age, you can start using a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste to clean their teeth. You may also start showing your child how to brush their own teeth. School-aged and teens: At this point, your child should know how to brush and floss their own teeth without any assistance. Your child should have a clear understanding of good oral hygiene. Younger children may still need some reminding. However, it is also at this age that children may start to experience more serious dental concerns which may warrant fillings, crowns, or braces. It is incredibly important to continue regular dental checkups during these formative years.
How do you make dental appointments pleasant
Parents can certainly help children have a better time at the dentist. You can do this by always being positive about the dentist. Never use going to the dentist as a punishment. You may want to bring a comfort item that will help your child be more at ease during the visit.
Choose Lifetime Dental Health for Children’s Dentistry
At Lifetime Dental Health, we understand the importance of creating an environment where children want to be. It is critical that children have positive experiences in the dentist’s chair so that they are more likely to continue coming back when they are an adult. We are experienced in children’s dentistry, and we take the time to put our smallest patients at ease in order to feel safe and secure when they visit us. If your little one is in need of a dentist that is kind and compassionate, then please reach out to us. We are excited to work with parents to make this an education and good experience for everybody! Schedule your appointment today or give us a call at (614) 333-9442.
Tooth-colored fillings, or white fillings, restore a fractured or decayed tooth and appear very similar to the color and texture of your existing teeth. The most popular material used in tooth-colored fillings is composite resin in which a mixture of materials is used to create the final product. Not only is this a durable option, but it easily concealed so that your smile remains natural-looking.
When You Should Get Tooth-Colored Fillings
There are a variety of reasons that a person may benefit from tooth-colored fillings. The most popular reason is that the person is experiencing tooth decay and needs a filling or order to save the tooth and stop the spread of the decay. However, there are other reasons that a tooth-colored filling may be a great choice. Such reasons include:
Filling in gaps
Repairing chipped teeth
Making teeth straighter and even
No matter the reason, tooth-colored fillings are a quality choice that many dentists offer their patients both for long-lasting results and their aesthetic appeal.
Pros and Cons
Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing tooth-colored fillings. Here, we will examine the pros and cons so that you may make the most informed decision about your smile.
Of course, one of the most apparent advantages of tooth-colored fillings is that it looks just like the rest of your teeth. It won’t be readily obvious that you’ve had any dental work done. You can easily use this type of filling for the front or back teeth without worrying about how it will impact your appearance.
Additionally, the bonding on the filling actually restores the tooth to 85-95% of its original strength. It is also beneficial that the filling hardens in a matter of seconds rather than days like some of the other filling options out there. Plus, if the filling is damaged, it is easily replaced.
While there are undoubtedly many advantages of tooth-colored fillings, there are a few cons that you should keep in mind. For instance, just like your regular teeth, consistent exposure to dark liquids will also stain the filling. This exposure may also degrade the filling over time. Unfortunately, tooth-colored fillings are generally less durable than the metal fillings, and can also be more expensive. Because tooth-colored fillings are typically viewed by insurance companies as a somewhat cosmetic procedure, there may be a surcharge added to your final bill.
Alternatives to Tooth-Colored Fillings
While tooth-colored fillings may be the ideal solution for some patients, they may simply not be an option for some people. The size, location, and severity of the damage on the teeth may play a role in which type of filling is best for you. Some alternatives include:
Gold Inlays: Gold inlays are durable, but typically cost more than white fillings. They also require two visits because of the tedious process of creating the inlays in a laboratory.
Dental Amalgam: Dental amalgams are the least expensive alternative, but are less durable than gold inlays. One of the biggest concerns about this option is that it uses 43-53% elemental mercury, which may pose some safety concerns.
Compomers: The composite of this type of filling is a little different than tooth-colored fillings, but can still offer an aesthetically appealing result. They aren’t as durable but release fluoride which may be ideal for certain areas of the mouth that are more prone to decay.
Silicate and Glass Ionomers: This may be an option for some patients, but should not be used on the back teeth because the material tends to be more brittle than other fillings.
Which Option is Right for You?
There are certainly many options to choose from when it comes to deciding which filling is right for you. However, this is a decision that is best made with your dentist. There are many variables that will come into play, including the type of damage, location of the teeth, as well as the patient’s financial situation. Your dentist will help you narrow down your options and make the right choice for your smile.
Why You Should Choose Lifetime Dental Health
At Lifetime Dental Health, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dentistry. Some patients will benefit from specific procedures or products simply because of the details surrounding their situation. We work diligently to provide each patient with a customized approach to dentistry that suits their financial situation, current needs, and desired goals. It is our privilege to work with you to achieve the best outcome for your dental needs.
Our warm and friendly staff is ready to answer your questions and provide quality information that will help you throughout your dental procedures. Please reach out to us today to learn more about the services that we offer. Schedule your appointment today or give us a call at (614) 333-9442. We look forward to working with you!
Summer is time for frolicking in the sun, a little less work (hopefully), and more time spent with family whenever possible. There are trips to the beach, lazily lounging poolside, and soaking up the sun…carefully, of course. But what about going to the dentist? Everyone does that, right? While a visit to the dentist is not usually on the summer “bucket list,” it ought to be, and here’s why.
My Oral Health Can Wait ‘Til Fall… Can’t I Take The Summer Off?
You may not feel like throwing in the beach towel and booking an appointment with the dentist, but summer gives you no excuse to get lazy about oral care. The entire family needs to fit in the time to be seen for a general check-up, as much as you would rather pack up for a family picnic or a trip to the park. Oral health maintenance is a year-round matter, and taking the summer season off could only make things worse come fall, and for the future. Even if no one in the family is feeling tooth pain or having other oral issues, being proactive means that regular dental visits should not be skipped come summer. After all, your teeth do not know what season it is, so treat them well 365 days per year.
The Kids Are Going Away For The Season To Summer Camp. Should We See The Dentist Before They’re Off?
By all means, bring the kids in for a check-up before they go away to camp. Once they are off for the summer, they may not have access to decent dental care until they are back home. This means a cavity, crack, or other issues will remain unchecked, potentially worsen, and cause the child pain or discomfort. Even if there is a dentist available at their camp or close by, kids may not mention they are having issues because they do not want to miss out on the camp fun with the other kids. As you plan for their summer camp departure, be sure to put “Make an appointment with Lifetime Dental Health” on your to-do list. If they have already left for camp, remind your kids to brush and floss regularly (as always), and if they notice a problem, to alert their camp counselor right away. Once the kids return home, be sure to book a visit with us as soon as possible so we can prevent additional issues from arising and repair anything necessary. And remember, along with your care packages, include a brand new toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, and some dental floss. A little nudge will remind the kids to take care of their teeth while at camp.
My Whole Family Loves Summer Snacking. The Treats Are Too Good To Pass Up. Are There Foods To Avoid Altogether?
“Everything in moderation” is always a good goal to keep in mind when it comes to snacking, but there are some foods specific to summer that are not the best for your teeth. Those ooey gooey campfire roasted marshmallows can stick to the surface of the teeth, so brush them as soon as you can after enjoying those sweet s’mores. The same goes for the tasty treats you will get off the ice cream truck. Sugary frosty cold drinks sure hit the spot when the sun is blazing and you’re drenched in sweat, but they will also wreak havoc on your teeth if you do not practice good oral hygiene after slurping them up. Enjoy your favorite summertime foods, but be sure to care for your teeth with the same level of enthusiasm. It doesn’t take long to make a difference.
Summer is not a time to slack off in terms of dental health; it is just too important to neglect, no matter the season. The whole family can focus on summer fun, but bring the topic of oral care to the table too. The kids will follow in their parents’ footsteps, so be a good role model and book your dental appointment this summer at Lifetime Dental Health. We are a family-friendly practice with patients of all ages. Your family will be in the best of hands at Lifetime Dental Health and Drs. Barry and Love can’t wait to see you, so kick off your summer with a smile that is as healthy as can be.
Book an appointment for a check-up for yourself and the rest of your family as soon as possible by calling 614-333-9106. Our front desk staff will find you a slot ASAP, we’ll fit you in, then you can get back to your summer adventures. ‘Til then, take care of your teeth at home – summertime and anytime — by brushing, flossing, rinsing, and eating right. It is up to you to stay healthy, and we’re your proactive and preventative partner in making a positive impact on your family.