Questions for Your Dentist Checklist

To get the most out of your next checkup, be sure to ask your dentist the following five questions.

  1. Check Am I grinding my teeth?

    Your dentist should examine your teeth to see if they’re worn. You could be grinding them at night and not know it.

  2. Check What should I do to keep my teeth and gums healthy?

    A dental hygienist should demonstrate proper brushing and flossing and point out areas you tend to miss.

  3. Check Did you find anything that I should tell my doctor about?

    Your dentist may be the first to see signs of a systemic disease, like osteoporosis. Dental X-rays may show, for instance, that the triangular spaces at the bottoms of your teeth are getting bigger. “You have to make a clinical judgment on whether it’s osteoporosis or just wear and tear,” says dentist Cindi Sherwood. “Dentists can detect changes because people may see them more regularly than their physicians.”

  4. Check Did you screen me for oral cancer?

    Early detection is key, and initial signs may not be obvious to you. Unfortunately, most oral cancers are discovered when the disease has advanced to the point where it’s difficult to treat.

  5. Check How often should I come in and why?

    There’s no science behind the guideline to see a dentist every six months. Patients with a tendency toward periodontitis may need quarterly cleanings and checkups. Others may need them only annually.