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The questions to ask your dentist during your biannual checkups

We’re assuming that you are among the millions of people who go to the dentist every six months, without fail, for an exam.  (If you’re not, continue reading.  This should convince you to join the ranks of the regularly-examined.)

You take the time and make the effort to get poked and prodded by your dentist twice a year to make sure you do not have a problem with your teeth — and  to make sure you’re not displaying signs of periodontal disease.   Your dentist or the hygienist should probe your gums during your checkup, looking for some basic signs.  We’ve listed them below with the questions you can ask to ensure that your dentist is detecting a periodontal problem as early as possible.  If you do show symptoms, your dentist should recommend that you begin treatment right away.  With a periodontist.
  • Deep space between teeth and gums.  Ask:  Has the level of the tissue and bone around my teeth changed?  Are the pockets (where the gum attaches to the tooth) normal or are they getting larger?
  • Receding gums.  Ask: Are my roots showing? Do I have strong gum around my teeth?
  • Worn edges.  Ask:  Does it look like I’m grinding my teeth?
  • Diseased gums.  Ask:  Are my gums the right color, texture, size and shape?  Have they changed since my last exam?  Did they bleed during the exam?
  • Too much plaque.  If you’re brushing twice and flossing once daily, ask:  what’s causing the plaque?  (If you’re not practicing oral hygiene, that’s probably the reason you have too much plaque.)
  • Loose teeth.  Ask:  could the looseness be caused by periodontal disease? Am I griding or clenching?  If you already have missing teeth, ask:  do my missing teeth contribute to make the remaining teeth loose?
  • Abscesses in the mouth.  Ask:  Do I have an infection?

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This post was written by who has written 12 posts on The Practice SF Blog.

Paola Guglielmoni, DDS, MS, is a periodontist and a partner in The Practice SF. She earned her dental degree in her native Italy and worked as a general dentist in Genova. Dr. Guglielmoni moved to the USA and received her DDS from Loma Linda University where she also completed her Certificate in Periodontics and Masters Degree in Oral Biology. She has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Division of Periodontology at UCSF. Dr. Guglielmoni is a member of several professional organizations including The American Dental Association, The American Academy of Periodontics, The Academy of Osseointegration, and the California Society of Periodontists.

One Response to “The questions to ask your dentist during your biannual checkups”

  1. periodontist November 28, 2012 at 12:36 PM #

    Keep me up great work.Thanks for sharing!

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