Dental FAQs

Stay informed by seeing our most common questions answered below

What does Dentistry mean?

While most people think dentistry relates only to the teeth, it actually refers to all actions that specialists take to diagnose, treat and prevent several infections and diseases that occur in the mouth, including the gums, teeth, and jaw so as to maintain overall health in the body. In addition, dentistry can also include aesthetic procedures to enhance the appearance of a beautiful smile.

What is a dentist?

Dentists are doctors who specialize in dentistry, which is to say they are medical professionals who have been trained to help people maintain healthy teeth and gums. Dentists are required to complete eight years of higher education in their field. Our dentist has received her Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS), but some dentist may alternatively have a Doctorate of Dental Medicine (DDM). There are several specializations a dentist may have as well:

  • Pediatrics (children)
  • Periodontics (gum disease)
  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Prosthodontics (implants)
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
  • Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)

Is visiting the dentist really that important?

Healthy teeth and gums leads to better overall health. Taking measures to prevent decay and disease will lead to the increased durability and lifespan of your teeth. There are several reasons to make regular dental appointments. In addition to taking precautions to resist decay, good dental hygiene also aids in keeping your breath fresh and your smile bright!

Do I really need to see a dentist if my teeth aren’t bothering me?

As teeth are primarily made of inorganic minerals like calcium, you may not be able to detect problems based on feelings alone. Early detection and prevention is key to maintaining your health. Through x-rays and other technology, your dentist can spot signs of decay before they begin to cause you any real problems. Beyond that, your dentist can provide treatments to preserve or enhance your teeth so you can achieve your ideal smile through teeth whitening, implants or color-matched fillings.

  • Professional teeth whitening
  • Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
  • Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers

How do I know a which dentist is a good fit?

Finding the right dentist for you and your family can be a challenge and it’s important to consider your needs and preferences. Some personal factors may include the location of the office and how easy it is to schedule an appointment. Upon arrival you may also note the atmosphere and the communication style of the staff. Additionally, you may want to note if your medical and dental records are kept on permanent file and if your dentist is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA)? After your first visit it is up to you to decide if the experience was satisfactory and whether you would like to continue care with one clinic over another.

What should I be doing to care for my teeth regularly?

  • Teeth should be brushed twice daily or after every meal if you have braces or sensitives.
  • Floss between your teeth at least once a day, if not twice.
  • Limit your intake of sugar, which leads to cavities and plaque buildup.
  • Avoid using tobacco as it has been linked to oral cancer, as well as teeth stains
  • To strengthen your resistance to cavities, make sure to opt for a toothpaste with fluoride and consider using a fluoride rinse after brushing.
  • Make sure to brush for at least two-minutes and don’t forget to brush your tongue.
  • Most importantly, attend regular dental appointments every six months so you can be sure your dental hygiene routine is effective.

What age should my child begin to attend regular dental visits?

Depending on when the infants baby teeth start coming in, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) states that children as young as six months old can begin regular visits. The AAPD also recommends the visit happens before an infant’s first birthday to ensure the teeth and jaw are developing normally. As with adult patients, it is recommended that your child sees a dentist every six months to maintain good oral health.

Do I need to see a dentist more than once a year?

Most authorities on dentistry recommend that everyone from the age of six months old and onward has a dental check up every sixth months. However, in some cases you may require additional checkups in between to monitor any problems or sensitivities that you may experience. Ultimately, your dentist will make a personal recommendation to you based on your own circumstances and needs, but six months is the maximum amount of time you should wait between regular checkups.

Where do cavities come from?

Small holes or craters in the teeth are called cavities. These divots are caused by acid that is created from a combination of plaque buildup and sugars that rest on the teeth. This acid damages the tooth enamel and creates little holes in the teeth. Without interventions, cavities can cause serious problems as they expand to nerve tissue and other teeth. By using a fluoride toothpaste and brushing your teeth twice daily, you can greatly diminish your chances of developing cavities.

What is a filling?

In order to preserve our teeth it is important to ensure that cavities do not grow. When your dentist notices a cavity they will clean it out and replace the damaged enamel with synthetic material. This is called a filling. While some people may be anxious about getting fillings, the dentist always numbs the mouth before beginning the procedure to make sure it is a painless experience. The material that is used in a filling can vary from mixed metals to ceramic, but for teeth that are more visible, your dentist will always take extra care to ensure that the tone of the filling matches the natural tooth as much as possible.

Is brushing my teeth daily enough?

Daily tooth brushing is an important step in preventing decay, but the American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth at least two times a day. Daily and nightly brushing allows you to remove any acid that may have built up on your teeth throughout the day or overnight. This is key to good oral hygiene as it removes harmful bacteria from the teeth and gums that could cause cavities or infection. When brushing your teeth you should spend about two minutes to cover your top and bottom teeth, as well as your tongue. Following up with a fluoride rinse could protect your enamel even more, ask your dentist for their recommendation.

How often do I need to change my toothbrush?

Both manual and electric toothbrush heads need to be replaced semi-regularly. The American Dental Association suggests that a toothbrush should be changed out every three months as an older toothbrush is not as effective in preventing cavities. However, gum disease or oral cancers can make replacing your toothbrush more frequently a necessity. In order to stop the spread of bacteria, be sure to always rinse a used toothbrush with hot water.

What does gum disease look like?

Many are aware that good oral hygiene prevents gum disease, but may not be aware of the symptoms. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, but when the gums continue to go untreated the disease spreads. There are a few things to be aware of that can increase your risk of contracting gum disease:

  • Tobacco use
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Some medications
  • Genetics

Unfortunately, some people have a predisposition to gum disease, so be sure to inform your dentist if it is common in your family history. It is important to catch gum disease early as it can become permanent and lead to problems such as tooth or bone loss. Early signs of gum disease can be as simple as irritated gums that bleed or swell and bad breath. As the disease progresses be sure to look out for:

  • Loose teeth
  • Lost teeth
  • A receding gum line
  • Abscessed teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity

Regular brushing and flossing can help to stop gum disease in its tracks so you do not experience any irreversible symptoms. If you have any concerns, be sure to ask your dentist what else you can do to protect yourself as part of your six-month checkup.

How often do I need to see a dentist if I have braces?

Orthodontists and dentists will work together to ensure that a patient’s teeth are healthy. While braces require a higher attention to detail to prevent food being trapped between any tight spaces, most patient’s with braces should still only require a dental check up every six months. The orthodontist should make sure the patient knows how to clean their braces properly and the dentist will continue to follow up on the health of the teeth. Orthodontists are more specialized in tooth alignment and jaw placement, whereas dentists make sure that individual teeth and surrounding tissue are healthy. Visits to the orthodontist tend to be more frequent than every six months, but if everything looks normal there is no reason to see the dentist more regularly than usual.

How can I make an appointment?

Feel free to us our online submission form right here on our website! If you would rather schedule an appointment over the phone feel free to call our office at the number below. We would be happy to assist you in any way we can. If this is your first appoint with us be sure to let us know, so we can make sure you are prepared on arrival.

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