9 Changes Between Checkups Your Dentist Should Know About
When you see a new dentist for the first time, you fill out thorough patient forms detailing your medical history and current medications. However, many patients forget to update this information as it progresses while they stay under the care of the same dentist.
In addition to general medical history information, you should let your dentist know about certain other changes that may occur between your regular appointments for a cleaning and checkup. In this blog, we list nine symptoms and situations to notify your dentist of the next time you're in the office.
1. Chance of Pregnancy
If there is a chance that you are pregnant the next time you sit in the dentist's chair, let him or her know. While you may know that x-rays can affect fetal development and may be delayed during pregnancy, many patients do not realize that pregnancy itself can have a significant impact on your oral health.
The hormone fluctuation and blood flow changes that occur during pregnancy can lead to gingivitis, tooth looseness, and other potential issues. Additionally, many dentists and OB GYNs recommend scheduling dental procedures only during specific periods of a pregnancy, so your dentist will need to work around that timetable.
2. Changes in Medication or Dosage
The medication you take is a large factor in your oral health and eligibility for specific dental treatments. Even over-the-counter medication can affect procedures and should be reported to your dentist. For example, aspirin affects blood clotting and cannot be taken before a surgery.
Many patients assume that their headaches or even migraines are a spinal or neurological issue without ever considering that the pain could stem from a dental issue. Bite misalignment, temporomandibular disorders (TMDs), bruxism or tooth clenching, and sleep apnea can all cause headaches.
Your dentist will ask specific questions about when your headaches occur, which symptoms you experience, and if any dental symptoms accompany the issue to determine whether or not dental treatment can reduce your pain.
4. Herbal Supplement Regimen
In addition to reporting the over-the-counter and prescription medication you take, you should also let your dentist know if you have started a new supplement regimen or changed your existing regimen. Even if the supplements you take are herbal or completely natural, those characteristics don't stop them from interacting with other substances.
For example, supplements used to improve sleep and mood, like St. John's Wort, can increase the effects of anesthesia, potentially causing respiratory depression. On the other end of the spectrum, high levels of vitamin C can reduce the efficacy of anesthesia and lead to pain during procedures.
5. High Levels of Stress or Anxiety
Your emotional state can have a large effect on your oral health. Stress and anxiety particularly can cause or contribute to dental conditions like bruxism, TMDs, and even canker sores. While your dentist may not be able to address the emotional issues directly, he or she can help you combat the dental symptoms that come with high-stress situations.
6. Increased Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity can change for a number of reasons, including enamel thinning and gum recession. If you notice that your teeth are more sensitive, let your dentist know. Keep in mind that teeth can be sensitive to a number of environmental conditions including heat, cold, sugar, direct air, and pressure.
7. Issues With Fatigue
Like headaches, chronic fatigue can sometimes indicate a dental condition. Specifically, patients with undiagnosed sleep apnea may experience headaches, fatigue, confusion, and inability to sleep through the night.
8. Oral Discomfort
Any time you feel oral discomfort that lasts for a significant period of time, occurs suddenly, or manifests with high intensity, you should consider scheduling a dentist appointment right away rather than waiting.
These types of discomfort almost always point to an issue that you'll need professional help to address such as a tooth fracture or extensive decay.
9. Significant Lifestyle Changes
Even if you see your dentist every six months without fail, a lot can change in the rest of your life between those appointments. If you pick up or kick any habits that affect your teeth, let your dentist know.
Report any changes in your smoking and drinking habits, as well as in your overall quality of nutrition. Many dentists work with their patients to develop tooth-healthy habits over time by taking into account their current lifestyle and concerns.
Keep your dentist up-to-date on all of your medical and lifestyle information, including the changes and conditions listed above.
Periodically, your dentist may ask you one-on-one questions or have you fill out additional forms about your health and habits. Answer these questions honestly to ensure that your dentist has a complete picture of your whole-body and oral health.
For comprehensive and compassionate dental care, trust the experienced team at All Valley Dental.