Why is visiting the dentist so important?
Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:
- Helps prevent tooth decay
- Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
- Prevents bad breath – brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath
- Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence
- Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco
- Strengthens your teeth so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!
My teeth feel fine. Do I still need to see a dentist?
Your teeth may feel fine, but it's still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Your smile's appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep your smile healthy and looking beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Today's dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:
- Professional teeth whitening
- Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
- Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers
What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?
Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important, and you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine whether the dentist is right for you. During your appointment, consider the following:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient?
- Is the office easy to get to and close by?
- Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
- Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
- Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?
How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once!
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities) and avoid tobacco (this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).
- Don't be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months.
At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year of age. During this time, your child's baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child's first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.
How often should I see the dentist?
Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year. Your doctor will help determine how often you should visit the dentist for regular checkups.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth because of tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This produces an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss between teeth at least once.
What is a filling?
A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure to talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.
How often should I brush my teeth?
According to your dentist and the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria-causing plaque. It is also recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your teeth. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!
When should I change my toothbrush?
Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. Your dentist recommends that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently. Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you've been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.
What is gum disease?
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease:
- Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Receding gum line
- Abscessed teeth
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
How do I schedule my next checkup?
Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience. If you are a new patient, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need for your first dental visit.
How are the instruments cleaned? Are new ones used each time?
All instruments go through a thorough cleaning and sterilization process. Instrument packs are cleaned and sterilized between every patient. They are retained in sterile pouches until the time of use. We follow OSHA guidelines and standards to ensure the safest experience for all of our patients.
How do airway issues relate to my child's development of their mouth and teeth?
Airway issues are common in children and adults. Some examples of issues can include narrow upper jaw, enlarged tonsils, and unable to breath through the nose easily. The lack of proper space within the mouth, nose, and/or throat can lead to problems with proper growth and development of the jaw and teeth. Airway issues can negatively effect the overall well-being of all individuals regardless of age.
What are resin composite fillings?
Resin composite fillings are made of a ceramic and plastic compound. Because resin mimics the appearance of natural teeth, these fillings blend right in. They’re, also, known as “white fillings” or “tooth-colored fillings.”
Why do I need x-rays?
Dental xrays are used with very low radiation levels to help your dentist identify problems such as cavities, impacted teeth, and tooth infections.
Does my insurance cover my treatment?
Most dental plans allow a certain amount of coverage per family member to be used towards dental treatment each year. Then, dental insurance plans can help cover a portion/percentage of your dental cost. Our business staff is great with helping patients understand their dental benefits and inform them of any co-pays they may require for scheduled treatment.
Are x-rays safe?
We have been providing our patients with digital x-rays for over 15 years. They allow for a safe environment and the technology allows for better quality x-rays. The digital x-rays are safer than operating a microwave or cell phone.
Why do I need a crown?
Crowns are recommended when there is not enough healthy, stable tooth structure remaining to be able to support filling material. A crown will help protect and stabilize remaining tooth structure, in order to restore the proper function to the tooth. Crowns are strong restorations that can help prevent teeth from unrestorable fractures and they can help resolve chronic pain from flexing cracks and deep cavities.
Can we just do a filling instead of a crown?
If a crown has been recommended, it usually means that there will not be enough healthy tooth structure remaining after the tooth is prepared to be able to support a filling. A crown can protect the tooth properly and will restore it back to normal function. If an extra large filling is placed in a tooth that really needs a crown, the tooth is still a fracture risk, but can be decay free. A very large filling can be more of a detriment to the tooth over time, putting the entire tooth at risk for loss.
Why do I need a filling, if my tooth doesn't hurt?
Fillings are recommended when there is tooth decay, a small chip out of the tooth, cracks in the tooth, and/or a broken down existing fillings. These listed conditions are usually not painful until they are in a more advanced state. It is always best to take care of the problem before it gets painful. If the tooth is left untreated, then it can end up needing more in depth treatment or risk losing the tooth altogether.
How can I whiten my teeth?
We have a very easy at home kit that gives really great results. We will take impressions of your teeth and make trays in our lab that fit your mouth. Then, we will instruct you on how to use the custom trays and bleaching gel at home and let you know of any possible side effects. The procedure can be completed in one day, if you are willing to stay after the impressions for about an hour for the trays to be made. Otherwise, the impressions can be taken and the entire bleaching kit can be delivered at a different appointment.
Do we make dentures??
We work with local labs to recreate your smile with removable dentures, if that fits your need. There will be a series of appointments consisting of impressions and different fittings and measurements to ensure that we get an accurate fit for your new smile. Keep in mind that there is most likely going to be adjustments that will need to be made as you acclimate to the new dentures in the days and weeks after receiving them. We ask if you have dentures or partial dentures, please bring them with you to all hygiene visits...we will be happy to clean them for you and doctor will want to check their fit as well.
Why do implants take so long??
Implants are a wonderful way to replace missing teeth. There is a need for patience when an implant is recommended. First of all, the severity of any bone loss where the tooth was extracted could result in bone grafting, sinus lift, etc. These procedures will add to the healing time and proper placement of the implant. Once the implant is placed in the jawbone, it will be covered with tissue and given time to integrate/fuse into the bone. During this time, we can fabricate several different means of replacing the missing teeth until the implant is ready to finish. Once the oral surgeon has decided that the bone looks good around the implant, he will uncover the implant and place a healing cap. Not long after this step, if the oral surgeon is pleased with the healing, he will release you from his care. At that point, you will return to our office where we will take the impression to fabricate the implant crown. Then in a few weeks, the implant crown will be cemented. We will instruct you on how to properly clean around your new implant.