Routine dental care is vital for anyone striving to achieve optimum health. Dentists recommend two preventative dental visits per year, but much can happen between visits; therefore, it is crucial to get the most out of each appointment.Professional cleanings are an essential component of routine dental care and can remove plaque and tartar below the…
Getting Personalized Treatment at Your Routine Dental Care Visits
Every patient’s smile is different, so it makes sense for dentists to treat patients as individuals with specific needs. Personalized treatment at a routine dental care appointment should be an expected part of visiting a dental professional. Patients can expect dentists to tailor treatment in the areas of general maintenance, cancer screenings, and management of disease symptoms that affect oral health.
Areas in which the dentist can personalize treatment
The dentist or hygienist is likely to comment on a patient’s teeth if there seem to be deficits in brushing, flossing, or other areas of oral maintenance. However, many patients are unaware that a dentist is able to provide recommendations for personalized cancer screenings as well as advice on symptom management of a disease that affects oral health.
1. General dental maintenance
If frequent cavities are a concern, consider asking about routine topical fluoride treatments. Many dentists’ practices offer fluoride treatments at cleaning appointments, but some do not offer this service as a part of routine dental care. Interested patients can inquire whether topical fluoride would be a good option at a routine visit.
2. Cancer screenings
Oral cancer may be a concern if the patient has a history of smoking or a family history of cancer. Cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, and any surface in the mouth can be fatal, and it needs to be treated early. Concerned patients, especially those with relevant history, should have a conversation with the dentist about receiving screenings for oral cancer in addition to the ones offered as a part of routine care.
3. Disease management
If a patient has periodontitis or a disease that directly affects oral health, the dentist is likely already managing care in this regard. However, there are many diseases like diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome that indirectly affect the mouth. Ask the dentist if this disease is affecting oral tissues or if it seems well controlled. Often dentists and hygienists identify abnormalities better than patients can due to proximity to the mouth as well as training.
Actions to take for patients who want more personalized treatment
Occasionally, the patient arrives for a routine cleaning at which no problems are found; the teeth are brushed, flossed, polished, and the person is then given the OK to go home. This type of rote care certainly keeps the patient’s teeth healthy, but what about patients who struggle with any of the above issues?
Patients who want more from routine appointments can often start the conversation by asking a few crucial questions. They can ask the dentist if they are brushing correctly, inquire whether a disease like diabetes that affects oral health is showing signs of being uncontrolled, or bring up any other questions that pertain to the health of the teeth and surrounding tissues.
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Personalized treatment is a service that many dentists offer, but patients are often hesitant to express areas of concern if teeth and gums show no signs of decay or disease. When you find a great dentist who listens to patients, feel free to ask questions to further personalize routine dental care. Patients can collaborate with dentists in keeping smiles as healthy as possible.
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