FAQ

FAQ

Have Questions? We Have Answers 

Some of you may have a lot of questions before going to your dentist, especially if you haven't been to the dentist in a long time. We’ve provided some of the most frequently asked questions our patients have asked us to help you out! 

How often should I get my teeth cleaned?
This question does not have one solid answer as many people would think. The simple answer is that you should have your teeth cleaned as often as your hygienist or dentist recommends. In a more detailed answer, it depends on the condition of your gums and how committed you are to your oral hygiene treatment plan. Everyone’s mouth is different. If a patient is diagnosed with moderate to advanced gum disease and isn’t willing to be active in their given treatment, it may be necessary to have them cleaned every month, especially if they want to keep all their teeth. It is strongly recommended that everyone go twice a year to be checked for oral cancer and signs of other diseases whose symptoms first appear in the mouth.

It's been a long time since I've visited the dentist. What should I do?
If you haven't been to the dentist in years you may feel reluctant to go. When going in for your cleaning and checkup, you may fear that the cleaning will hurt, or you may have a lot of cavities, or you just don't want to hear the importance in a lecture on how you need to floss and clean your teeth every day, twice a day. We understand this happens, but regardless of the reason, it's our goal to help you get your dental wellbeing back on track. After taking a break from the dentist for several years your checkup will go differently than other checkups, but those differences will depend on the time you've missed. You should expect to have a longer visit than an average cleaning appointment because of the great deal of plaque that will have built up on your teeth throughout this time, which takes extra time to remove. You may have slight bleeding in your gums as well. Most of the time cleanings do not cause any pain, just some mild soreness that will go away in a few days. You have a greater chance of having cavities, but cavities are nothing to fear. Most people get several in their lifetime. Rest assured, however, they don't take too much time to fill or cause too much pain. Not taking care of these cavities can cause more serious problems later such as a root canal or tooth extraction. These are more painful and you may lose the tooth. Our goal is always to help save the tooth in any way we can. Your hygienist should take some time to talk with you about maintaining your proper oral health. Most dental professionals will recommend having your teeth cleaned twice a year. This will minimize the time you spend at each cleaning appointment and will also help your dentist catch any major problems like gum disease or oral cancer early enough to treat them. Teeth need care just like any other part of your body. By letting your oral health decline, you are inviting larger health problems in. Although going to the dentist may not be your favorite thing in the world, you should make an appointment before another 6 months goes by. Your smile will thank you! :-)

Why should I floss?
Flossing does about 40% of the work required to remove sticky bacteria, or plaque from your teeth. Plaque generates acid which can cause cavities, irritate the gums and lead to gum disease. Each tooth has 5 surfaces. If you do not floss, you are leaving at least two surfaces unclean. Floss is pretty much the only thing that can get in between the teeth and remove bacteria. The problem is that there is no "instant gratification with flossing." Patients don't think it does anything. If you haven't been flossing and you start, do not worry about a little bit of blood; it just means that the gums are inflamed because plaque has built up and needs to be cleaned away. Bleeding for a few days, however, can be a sign of periodontal disease and you should talk to your dentist.

Why does the dentist take X-rays?

X-rays are taken to help the dentist visualize diseases of the teeth and the surrounding tissue that cannot be seen by the eye with an oral exam. In addition, X-rays help the dentist find and treat dental problems early in their development, which can potentially save you money, unnecessary discomfort, and maybe even your life. X-Rays are also used for the following:
-Identify decay occurring beneath the existing filling
-Reveal bone loss that accompanies gum disease
-Reveal changes in the bone or the root canal resulting from infection
-Assist in the preparation of tooth implants, braces, dentures or other procedures
-Reveal an abscess (an infection at the root of the tooth or between the gum and teeth)
-Develop other developmental abnormalities, such as cysts and some types of tumors

What is Periodontal (Gum) disease?
If you have been told you have gum disease, you are not alone. Many adults in the U.S. have some form of this disease. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious diseases that can result in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst case, teeth are lost. There are two types of gum disease: periodontitis and gingivitis. 

What causes gum disease?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless "plaque" on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form "tartar" that brushing doesn't clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.

Call us with any additional questions you may have!

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