Listed below are the most commonly asked questions we receive from our patients.
What is dentistry
Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions, disorders, and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Often considered necessary for complete oral health, dentistry can have an impact on the health of your entire body.
Who is a dentist?
A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Your dentist has completed at least eight years of schooling, and received either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree, or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. If your doctor is a pediatric dentist, this means that they specialize in caring for children from infancy through their teen years. Your dentist has received the proper education and training needed to work with young kids.
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.
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?
At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?
We recommend that children first see a dentist as early as six-months-old and no later than one-year-old. 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.
What is a 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.
What does periodental treatment involve?
In the earlier states of gum disease (mild to moderate periodontitis), most treatment involves scaling and root planing. The procedure aims at removing plaque and calculus from the surface of the teeth adjacent to gum tissue. The periodontal pockets around the teeth are cleaned until all affected root surfaces are smooth. In the majority of early gum disease cases, treatment entails improving home care techniques and scaling and root planing. Advanced cases may require surgical treatment.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the back of your mouth. Usually, they erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. Occasionally, they appear at a later stage, and some never erupt at all. Thanks to evolution, our jaws are evolving and becoming smaller, and unfortunately our teeth aren’t quite keeping pace. Most of our jaws only have room for 28 teeth- we have 32. Basically, this means that the last teeth to erupt, which are the wisdom teeth, have nowhere to go if there’s not enough room remaining.
White biting hard food I broke one of my teeth. What should i do?
If you are not in any pain then ring the dentist as soon as possible and make an appointment, but try and keep the tooth as clean as possible and avoid biting hard on that tooth. If you have pain, then you will need to visit a dentist immediately.
What should I do when a tooth is pushed out of position?
Attempt to reposition the tooth to its normal alignment using very light finger pressure, but do not force the tooth. Bite down to keep the tooth from moving. Your dentist may splint the tooth in place to the two healthy teeth next to the loose tooth.
What can gum disease mean for a diabetic?
Gingivitus is an infection within the gums caused by bacteria found in plaque. A diabetic’s body doesn’t respond as quickly to infection as a non-diabetic. If the infection persists, it can spread to the underlying bone that supports and anchors the teeth. It has been shown that diabetics who keep their condition under control and maintain good oral hygiene have a far better chance of combating infections than those who are poorly controlled.
Why do I need X-Rays?
Radiographic or X-ray examinations provide your dentist with an important diagnostic tool that shows the condition of your teeth, their roots, jaw placement and the overall composition of your facial bones. X-Ray can help your dentist determine the presence or degree of periodontal disease, abscesses and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors. X-rays can also show the exact location of impacted teeth. They can pinpoint the location of cavities and other signs of disease that may not be possible to detect through visual examination (such as changes in the jaw bone structure as a result of systemic disease).
When should my child first see a dentist?
The ideal time for your child to meet the dentist is six months after their first (primary) teeth erupt. This gives your dentist a perfect opportunity to carefully examine the development of their mouth and catch problems such as baby bottle tooth decay, teething irritations and prolonged thumb-sucking early.
I brush my teeth constantly but still have a bad breath. What can I do?
Brushing and flossing are definitely the first steps to eliminating bad breath. Brushing and flossing remove bacteria responsible for creating odorous sulfur compounds and the food they feed on. However, bacteria hide not only on and around the teeth but also on the tongue under a layer of mucous. Here they are free to create odors. You might want to consider a tongue scraper. They’re extremely effective at removing this protective mucous layer from the back of the tongue. The latest products on the market for bad breath are toothpastes and mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide. The chlorine dioxide neutralizes the odorous sulfur compounds, instead of simply covering up the odor.
I have a number of black fillings, what can I have done to improve this?
The black filling material used in your teeth is amalgam. It has been used as a filling material for over a hundred years; it’s still one of the strongest materials available. However, these fillings can be highly unattractive and have a high mercury content. There are a number of other tooth-colored restorative materials currently available that can be used to replace old amalgams.
What can I do to alleviate my toothaches
If you are experiencing constant toothaches, you may need root canal treatment. Pain occurs when the pulp inside of a tooth is infected and the blood vessels and nerves are dying. If you are experiencing sensitivity and pain while you eat, make an appointment with the dentist today.
What are Dental Implants
Dental Implants are titanium rods that are inserted into the jaw bone to strengthen the jaw and prevent teeth from shifting. A crown is usually then attached to the rod and is the best alternative to a natural tooth.
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.