Keeping your teeth healthy requires more than just daily brushing and flossing—it also requires regular visits to your dentist. Below are some of the top questions we hear from our patients about what they can do to help maintain their smile.
How should I be taking care of my teeth?
The most important thing you can do to help maintain a healthy smile is to brush and floss your teeth regularly to remove the sticky film of bacteria called plaque. We recommend you brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Gently brush back and forth the surface of each tooth as well as in a circular motion at a 45 degree angle to the gum line.
Do I need to floss my teeth?
We also recommend you floss your teeth once a day to remove any plaque between your teeth that regular brushing doesn’t reach. Brushing your tongue will also help you remove bacteria that causes bad breath.
How often should I have regular cleanings and exams done on my teeth?
Having a professional cleaning and dental exam every six months will also help prevent you from developing gum disease and tooth decay. During your cleaning, a dental hygienist will remove any plaque and tartar (plaque that has hardened to the teeth and is more difficult to remove) as well as polish and remove stains from your teeth. Dental examinations are performed by the dentist and generally include a visual examination of tooth decay, gum disease evaluation, oral cancer screenings and an evaluation of soft tissues in the mouth and neck area.
At what age should my child first see a dentist?
We recommend your child’s first dental visit occur around age 3. Dental problems can begin earlier than this however, so it is important you remember to brush your child’s teeth regularly and report any problems or concerns you have to us immediately. The earlier the dental visit…the earlier a thorough prevention program can begin and dental problems avoided. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly and smile with confidence.
Why do I need full mouth x-rays?
X-rays play an important role in helping you maintain a beautiful smile because they allow the dentist to see things about your oral health that cannot be seen by the naked eye. This includes checking for cysts and tumors, looking for invisible decay between the teeth, and locating teeth that haven’t grown in yet. X-rays can also help identify cracks and other damage in an existing filling, alert the dentist to possible bone loss associated with gum disease, reveal problems in the root canal, and prepare and place tooth implants or other dental work.
When are x-rays of my teeth taken?
Typically a full mouth series of x-rays is taken on your first visit, which includes 2 to 4 bitewing x-rays (look at the spaces between teeth and the way the top and bottom teeth fit together) and 14 periapical x-rays (look closely at individual teeth). Panorex or panoramic x-rays (look at the entire mouth on a single x-ray) may also be taken, depending on your dental history.
Are fluoride treatments good for my teeth?
Fluoride treatments are another great option for helping prevent tooth decay. In fact, fluoride treatments can actually reverse early cavities! Every day acids—formed by plaque, bacteria, and sugar—attack the tooth’s enamel, while minerals such as fluoride work to restore your enamel. Although small amounts of fluoride are found naturally in food and water, sometimes it isn’t enough. To help balance this, fluoride is often added to the teeth through fluoride-treated water, toothpaste, rinses, and most effectively through professional fluoride treatments.
Are fluoride treatments just for kids?
Fluoride treatments are typically given to children as their teeth develop, but adults can benefit from treatments as well—especially those with a history of cavities.
Why should I get sealants on my teeth?
Sealants also help prevent tooth decay by sealing or filling in the normal pits and grooves of your back teeth. These pits and grooves easily trap food that can’t be removed by brushing or washed out by water and saliva. By placing a tough, plastic material designed to stick to the enamel on the chewing surface of the tooth, you can help fight against these pits and avoid future decay. Sealants are clear or tooth colored and make little to no difference in the shape or feel of your tooth.
When should I get sealants?
Sealants are generally applied to children’s first permanent back teeth, but can also be useful for adults in certain situations.
Call today to schedule your next cleaning or preventive treatment!