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Frequently Asked Questions


How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?

Even if you take great care of your teeth and gums with daily brushing and flossing, you still need to see your dentist regularly.  You may not see or feel dental problems like cavities, gum disease and oral cancer until they are in more advanced stages.  Regular exams allow your dentist to find early signs of disease and treat them before they become more extensive and expensive to fix.  On average, visiting the dentist twice a year works well for most people.  Patients with higher risk of dental disease such as smokers, diabetics, people with weak immune systems, people with current gum disease or higher incidince of cavities and plaque buildup may need to visit the dentist more frequently.   


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 bad-breath causing bacteria in your mouth

  • 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!


How do I Select the Right Dentist?

Finding the right dentist is an important decision for your family.  Consider the following before making a decision:

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, family, neighbors or co-workers or ask your family physican or pharmacist.

  • Is the dentist a member of the American Dental Association (ADA)?

  • What is the dentist's commitment to continuing dental education?

  • Is the dentist and his team personable, patient, and caring?  Does he take time to answer your questions and ensure your comfort?


What is the Proper Care of my Teeth Between Visits?

In between check-ups, it is important to establish and maintain good oral hygiene habits.  Brush your teeth three times a day (generally after each meal) and floss at least once daily.  Should you need assistance learning how to properly care for your teeth between checkups, please ask our team. We will be delighted to show you!


How Often Should I Brush my Teeth?

You should brush your teeth for two to three minutes at least twice a day, especially between meals.  Many people just don't brush long enough. Most of us brush less than a minute, but to effectively reach all areas and scrub off cavity-causing bacteria, it is recommended to brush for two to three minutes.


How Often Should I Change my Toothbrush?

Old toothbrushes are ineffective and may harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections.  Toothbrushes should be changed ever three to four months, and even more frequently if you have gum disease .  If you become ill, you should change your tootbrush as soon as possible.  Be sure to change your toothbrush before the bristles become splayed and frayed.  If you are using an electric toothbrush, refer to the manufacturer recommendations for changing toothbrush heads.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bones that surround and support the teeth.  Gingivitis causes red, swollen gums that bleed easily when the teeth are brushed.  Because gingivitis usually does not cause pain, most people do not seek the treatment they need.  Periodontitis is a more severe gum disease that spreads below the gums and can damage the tissues and bone that support the teeth.  Periodontitis causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets where bacteria can damage the bone supporting the teeth eventually causing them to become loose or fall out.  Gums can also shrink and make the teeth appear longer.  To determine if you have gum disease, your dentist or hygienist will look for bleeding gums, buildups of plaque and tartar above and below the gums, areas where your gums are shrinking from your teeth, and pockets between teeth and gums. 


What Age Should I Start Taking my Child to the Dentist?

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) reccomends that your child first visit the dentist occurs six months after his or her first tooth erupts. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as cavities, and can help parents learn how to clean their child's teeth. Bringing your child to the dentist early often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits and acclimates your child to the dental office, thereby reducing anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future.


Why Should I Take my Child to the Dentist if they only have Baby Teeth that will Eventually Fall Out?

Many parents believe that since baby teeth will eventually fall out, there is no need to visit a dentist.  However, it is important to repair decayed baby teeth so the surronding teeth do not become infected.  Cavities that are not fixed can lead to painful abscesses, early tooth loss, as well as problems with spacing for incoming permanent teeth.


What Should I do if I Knock Out a Tooth?

If your tooth is knocked out, immediately call a dentist for an emergency appointment.  Handle the tooth by the crown (the top), not by the root (the pointed part on the bottom).  Gently rinse the tooth in water to remove dirt. Be careful not to scrub the tooth! Place the clean tooth in your mouth between the cheek and gum to keep it moist. If it is not possible to store the tooth in the mouth, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse it in milk or saline solution (the solution used for contacts). If a baby tooth is knocked out, the tooth should not be replanted.


What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene but can also be caused by retained food particles or gum disease.  Bad breath also may occur in people who have a medical infection, diabetes, kidney failure or a liver malfunction. Even stress, dieting, snoring, age and hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath.

You can help control bad breath by practicing good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. Make sure to also brush your tongue, cheeks and the roof of your mouth. To alleviate odors, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper.  If you think that you suffer from bad breath, your dentist can help determine its source.


Can I Make my Smile Whiter?

There are many options available to help brighten your smile.  Ask your dentist if you are a good candidate for whitening and he will determine which procedures will be most effective for your smile.



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