Get the Most From Your Dental Visit
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In order to get the maximum benefits from every dental visit, it's important to keep your dentist informed about your overall health as well as your oral health.

Your dentist needs to know about any abnormal symptoms related to oral health, including pain or sensitivity in the teeth and gums, problems with chewing or swallowing, or pain in your mouth or jaw, or if you suspect that you have new cavities or lesions. Don't wait for the dentist to find a sore spot or hope that he or she will miss it. It's important to catch new dental symptoms early so they can be treated before they become more severe.

In addition, be sure to tell your dentist about any medical conditions or issues that have developed since your last visit, such as becoming pregnant or undergoing chemotherapy. And if you're taking any medications, bring a list of them to each dental visit. Your dentist will want to be sure that any medications that he or she might prescribe for an oral health problem won't have a dangerous interaction with any medications you're taking for other conditions.

There are two main types of regular dental visits: the standard checkup and cleaning and the comprehensive exam.

• Comprehensive exam. This type of exam may be done as part of your first visit to a new dentist. The dentist will examine your mouth, teeth, head and neck, and possibly take x-rays. 

• Standard checkup. A standard checkup usually involves a professional brushing and flossing from a dentist or dental hygienist, who also will use special tools to help remove excess tartar if necessary. Most dentists recommend a standard checkup once or twice a year to help promote oral health and catch problems early.