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Frequently Asked Questions

We've compiled some of our most common questions asked by our patient-partners about Dental issues and procedures.

What should I expect during a dental exam?

At a dental exam, your dentist will review your medical history, examine your teeth and gums for issues like cavities and gum disease, take X-Rays if needed, check for signs of oral cancer, evaluate your bite and jaw, offer oral health guidance, and discuss treatment options if any issues are detected. Regular dental exams are vital for catching concerns early and maintenance of optimal oral health.

How often should I come in for a dental cleaning?

For most individuals with healthy gums and teeth, dental cleanings every six months are recommended. However, the frequency may vary based on personal oral health needs. Some may require more frequent cleanings, especially those with gum disease. Regular cleanings prevent cavities, gum disease, and maintain optimal oral health. Consult with your dentist or hygienist to determine the cleaning schedule that best suits your individual needs.

Do teeth need fluoride?

Yes, fluoride is essential for teeth. It helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening enamel, the outer layer of teeth. Fluoride promotes remineralization, repairing early stages of decay and making teeth more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria and sugars. Most toothpaste contains fluoride, and fluoridated water contributes to oral health. Dentists may recommend fluoride treatments or supplements based on individual needs, ensuring teeth remain strong and protected against cavities. 

What type of toothbrush should I use?

Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a comfortable grip. Soft bristles effectively clean teeth without causing damage to gums or enamel. Consider a toothbrush with a small head for better maneuverability. Whether manual or electric depends on personal preference. Electric toothbrushes have advantages, including built-in timers for recommended brushing duration and potentially more thorough cleaning. Change your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3-4 months or sooner if bristles are frayed.

What is a filling?

A dental filling is a common procedure to treat cavities. After removing decayed portion of the tooth, the dentist fills the cavity with a restorative material, often composite resin (white colored) or amalgam (silver colored). This restores the tooth's shape, strength, and function, preventing further decay. Dental fillings are a routine and effective way to treat cavities, preserving the health and longevity of the affected tooth.

What is a crown?

A dental crown is a cap-like restoration placed over a damaged or weakened tooth to restore its shape, strength, and appearance. Custom-made to match the natural tooth, crowns encase the visible portion above the gumline. Crowns are used to protect and support teeth with large fillings, significant decay, fractures, or after certain dental procedures like root canal therapy. They are often made from material like porcelain, metal, or a combination, and their purpose is to enhance both the functionality and aesthetics of the treated tooth.

Why do my gums bleed?

Bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease, often caused by inadequate oral hygiene leading to plaque buildup and inflammation. Other factors like brushing too hard, using a hard toothbrush, hormonal changes, or certain medical conditions can contribute to gum bleeding. Consistent bleeding may indicate a need for improved oral hygiene care with regular brushing, flossing and professional dental cleanings. Consult with your dentist or hygienist to identify and address the specific cause.

When should I take my child to the dentist for their first checkup?

Schedule your child's first dental visit as soon as their first tooth appears or by the time of their first birthday. Early visits establish oral care habits, address concerns, and provide guidance for parents. Regular check-ups help prevent cavities and ensure optimal oral health as your child grows. Consult with your dentist to determine the best timing based on your child's development.

Are X-Rays safe and necessary?

Dental X-rays are generally safe, with low levels of radiation exposure. They are necessary for detecting issues like cavities, impacted teeth, or bone health not visible during a regular exam. Lead aprons and digital sensors are used to minimize exposure. The frequency of X-rays depends on individual needs and risk factors. Benefits of timely diagnosis often outweigh minimal risks, making dental X-rays a valuable and necessary tool in oral healthcare.

What is a deep cleaning?

•    A deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing, is a dental procedure designed to treat advanced gum disease known as periodontal disease. It involves cleaning below the gumline to remove plaque and tartar from the root surface of the teeth, promoting healing of the gums. This thorough cleaning addresses gum inflammation and prevents further disease progression. Deep cleanings are typically recommended for individuals with more severe gum conditions, aiding in the preservation of oral health.

Do I really need to floss my teeth?

Yes, flossing is essential for maintaining good oral health. It helps remove plaque and food particles from between teeth and along the gumline that brushing alone cannot reach. Flossing regularly can prevent cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. It is a simple yet effective practice that significantly contributes to overall oral hygiene. Your dentist or hygienist can provide guidance on proper flossing techniques for your individual needs.

Why should I come in for a dental visit if I don't have problems?

Regular dental visits, even without apparent problems, are crucial for preventive care. Dentists can detect issues early, preventing them from becoming severe. Routine dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease. Dental check-ups also allow your dentist to provide guidance on proper oral care practices. Overall, regular visits contribute to maintaining optimal oral health and preventing potential dental issues.

What is a sealant?

A dental sealant is a protective coating applied to the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars to prevent cavities. It acts as a barrier, sealing off grooves where bacteria can accumulate. Typically used in children and teenagers, sealants provide an extra layer of defense against tooth decay. The application is quick, painless, and contributes to better oral health.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure to treat an infected or damaged tooth pulp—the innermost part containing nerves and blood vessels. During the procedure, the infected or damaged pulp is removed, the inside of the tooth is cleaned, and it is sealed to prevent further infection. Often, a tooth undergoing a root canal is restored with a dental crown for added protection.

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath, or halitosis, can result from poor oral hygiene, bacteria in the mouth, specific foods, tobacco use, dry mouth, medical conditions (like infections, diabetes), or dental issues (cavities, gum disease). Good oral hygiene, staying hydrated, and addressing underlying health or dental problems are essential steps to combat bad breath. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help identify and treat potential causes.

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