Teeth-Related Questions You are Too Afraid to Ask Your Dentist

Woman at dentist

When it comes to your teeth, it’s vital to care for them with good oral hygiene practices and regular check-ups and cleanings at the dentist. A dental exam allows your dentist to identify oral health issues early and allows you to ask your dentist questions about your oral health. However, many people have teeth-related questions that they are too embarrassed or scared to ask.

Learn the answers to common questions people are often afraid to ask their dentist so you can make informed decisions about your oral health.

What Do the Numbers and Letters Mean During a Dental Exam?

The American Dental Association uses the International Standards Organisation Designation System (ISO System), which assigns each tooth a two-part number that tells the dentist its location (left or right, up or down) and type (incisor, canine, premolar or molar, adult or baby). The first number is the location, and the second number is the type.

Why Are You Poking My Gums?

During a periodontal exam, your dentist uses a periodontal probe to measure the depth of the gingival sulcus, which is the space between the gum and tooth. They will also use the probe to measure the depth of any pockets present in the gum tissue. Pockets that are more than 3 mm deep are considered to be at risk for developing gum disease.

How Often Do I Really Need to Go to the Dentist?

Embarrassment over not visiting the dentist often enough is understandable. However, it's important to remember that by catching problems early, your dentist can usually treat them relatively easily, preventing more invasive and costly treatments.

Most people should visit the dentist at least twice a year. Visiting more often may be necessary if you have a history of dental problems or are at high risk for dental disease.

How Do I Manage Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is common in the USA, with around 51% of people experiencing some dental anxiety. This can prevent people from visiting the dentist for regular check-ups, leading to dental problems that become more difficult and expensive to treat over time. There are several ways to manage dental anxiety, including breathing exercises, distractions with music or videos, and dental sedation.

What is That White Patch on My Gums?

These patches can be a sign of oral cancer. Schedule an oral cancer screening if you have any white lesions on your gums that do not go away after two weeks.

However, white patches can also be harmless. Canker sores are the most common type of white gum patches. They are typically small, with a white or yellow center, and may have a red border around them.

Oral thrush is a yeast infection that causes a white film to form on the inside of the mouth and the tongue. Oral lichen planus and leukoplakia also cause white patches on the gums, inner cheeks, and roof of the mouth.

Have All Your Questions Answered at Valley Dental Care

Understanding your oral health and what dental services are available is critical for protecting your smile. The team at Valley Dental Care is happy to answer any questions you have to ensure you get the care you need.

Contact us today to schedule your exam and cleaning and learn how the dental team at Valley Dental Care can improve your oral health, smile, and self-confidence.