Stay informed by seeing our most common questions answered below
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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Our office is proud to be a certified provider of Implant clear aligners, which give you a clear, convenient, and comfortable option to achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.
Dentistry is continually evolving, and with a variety of advanced treatment options, achieving a beautiful, healthy, aesthetic smile is made easy for patients of all ages.
Digital X-rays provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos, and expose patients to less radiation than traditional X-ray technology.