Best 7 questions to ask your dentist


Find out the best questions to ask your dentist

Do you ask your dentist any questions? Well you should, because dentists can be a wealth of knowledge and most are more than happy to answer your questions to help you maximize your oral health. Let’s explore some good questions you may want to ask at the dental office.

How’s my oral hygiene?
What type of toothbrush and toothpaste should I use?
Am I at risk for any dental problems?
Will I need any major dental services in the future?
Will you accept my dental plan?
Will you balance bill me for charges?
Can you spread dental services out to maximize my benefits?

How is my oral hygiene? Any changes needed?

Sounds like a simple, logical question, right? Some dentists may give you feedback even if you don’t ask, but it’s better to engage with your dental provider and ask their candid opinion of how you’re doing with your oral hygiene.

Depending on how you’re doing, they may be able to give insightful suggestions about how to better care for your mouth and teeth based on your own physiology and medical history. And it’s always a good idea to follow the doctor’s orders because they usually know what they’re talking about.

What type of toothpaste, toothbrush, and mouth rinse do you recommend?

This is a good question that goes along with the previous one about the state of your oral health. You can always let your dentist or dental hygienist know what type of toothbrush and toothpaste you’re currently using and they can give you feedback as to how well it’s working.

Sometimes just a change in toothpaste or the type of toothbrush that you’re using can make a huge difference in your oral health. By using the right tools for your oral needs, you can get the best results, whether it’s changing from a soft bristle to a firmer bristle toothbrush, or backing off a whitening toothpaste that may be having adverse effects on your gums.

Choosing the right mouth rinse can make a big difference too. Be sure to ask your dental provider and they will usually give you some really good suggestions of what products you may want to try.

Am I at risk for any oral issues or dental problems?

This can be a loaded question. Sure no one’s teeth are perfect, and we can all be susceptible to injury or illness in the future. However, trained dental professionals can spot the early warning signs of potential dental problems and let you know how to begin handling these issues before they become major dental problems.

They may recommend adjusting your diet slightly to avoid too much acidic food and drink. Or you may need better oral care to prevent gingivitis or gum issues. Although most people like to avoid this question, it can be a good idea to know about any potential issues early on.

What potential major dental services may I need in the future?

This is a complementary question to oral risks, but some dental issues can indicate the need for major dental work in the future. Sometimes major dental services like root canals, crowns, or dental implants, can be an emergency situation that requires immediate treatment.

Other times, it can be a situation that develops over time as our bodies age and teeth are worn, that dental treatments become necessary. Again it’s always good to know if your dentist believes that you may need major dental work in the future, because then you can begin to prepare for it.

I have dental insurance, do you accept my plan?

In light of contemplating major dental work, it’s often a good idea to have or get dental insurance to help offset the costs of dental services. This leads to the question of dental networks.

It’s always good to ask if a dental office is “In-Network” with your dental plan. This is a different question than, “Will you accept my dental insurance plan?” Most dental offices will accept most dental plans, but they may not be an “In-Network provider” for the plan.

It’s usually better if your dentist is “In-Network” as you’ll get the most out of your benefits, but it’s still ok if they will accept your dental plan and file claims as a Out of Network provider. Sometimes you just want to keep your dentist whether they’re In or Out of Network.

If you’re an Out of Network provider, will you balance bill me?

If you’re going to an Out of Network dentist, then it’s important to ask how they handle claims, and if they “balance bill” patients. Balance billing is when medical or dental providers charge patients for additional amounts beyond what an insurance plan will allow for and pay.

The best situation is if an Out of Network dentist will accept the insurance payment and “write off” the remaining charges. However some dental offices may balance bill for some charges if they feel the insurance payment does not sufficiently cover their cost of services. It’s always good to ask beforehand, so you’ll be aware.

If I need major dental work, can it be spread out over time to maximize my insurance benefits?

Let’s assume that you may need some major dental work in the future, and you have a dental insurance plan. It can be a good idea to plan for the financial outlay that will be needed because major dental work can be expensive.

Most dental plans pay benefits on a calendar year basis. So some services could be performed at the end of the year, and then additional services could be rendered at the beginning of a new year with a new set of dental benefits. This is not always available depending on the dental treatments needed, but a savvy dentist will usually know how they can schedule services to get the most out of your dental benefits.

Well, we’ve given you a variety of questions you can ask your dentist. It’s always good to become more informed to be aware of your oral condition, and there’s usually no one better to give sound advice than your current dentist. So don’t be afraid to ask a few questions, and hopefully you’ll get some good answers.

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  • Thanks for the tip to ask about our risk for oral issues and dental problems because trained professionals will be able to spot early warning signs. I’ll be moving for my job soon, and I want to make sure I find a general dentist as soon as possible because I need to schedule a checkup in the next couple of months. I’m happy I read your article because keeping your advice in mind will help me get the most out of my dental appointments!

  • I like that you mentioned that you should ask if they accept your dental insurance plan. My husband has not been to a dentist since he was little. We need to figure out what the best options are to fix his toothache.

  • Thank you for assuring me that most trained professionals will be able to see early signs of potential dental problems and may be able to provide services or treatments that can address these problems. I’ve been occasionally experiencing a toothache in one of my molars and since I don’t experience it often, I’m not sure if I should pay extra attention to it or just completely ignore it. I hope I’ll be able to find a nearby dental clinic I could go to any time.

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