FAQ General Dentistry
- Question: Why do regular dental visits matter? Answer: Regular dental visits are important because they can help spot oral health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable. They also help prevent many oral problems from developing in the first place. Visiting your dentist regularly is also important because some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth.
- What are some of the signs that suggest I may need to see a dentist?
- Your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold
- Your gums are puffy and/or they bleed when you brush or floss
- You have fillings, crowns, dental implants, dentures, etc.
- You don’t like the way your smile or teeth look
- You have persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- You are pregnant
- You have pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck
- You have difficulty chewing or swallowing
- You have a family history of gum disease or tooth decay
- You have a medical condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, or are HIV positive
- Your mouth is often dry
- You smoke or use other tobacco products
- You are undergoing medical treatment such as radiation, chemotherapy or hormone replacement therapy
- Your jaw sometimes pops or is painful when opening and closing, chewing or when you first wake up; you have an uneven bite
You have a spot or sore that doesn’t look or feel right in your mouth and it isn’t going away.
- Q: How often do I have to go to the dentist? A: There is no one-size-fits-all dental treatment. Some people need to visit the dentist once or twice a year; others may need more visits. You are a unique individual, with a unique smile and unique needs when it comes to keeping your smile healthy.
- What can I do to help take care of my teeth?
- Healthy habits. Brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily are essential for everyone, no matter how unique your mouth is. It’s the best way to fight tooth decay and gum disease.
- Build a relationship. Continuity of care is an important part of any health plan and dental health is no exception. When your dentist sees you regularly, he or she is in a good position to catch oral problems early. For instance, catching gum disease when it’s still reversible, or cavities when they are small and are more easily treated.
- Keeping your mouth healthy is an essential piece of your overall health. It’s important to keep your dentist informed of any changes in your overall health as well.
Talk about it! Only your dentist can determine what the best treatment plan is for you. Have questions about your oral health or certain dental procedures? Start a conversation. Ask your dentist to explain step-by-step. Dentists love having satisfied, healthy patients.
- What should I tell my dentist at the appointment?
Your dentist needs to know everything that may help him or her diagnose problems or treat you appropriately. Tell your dentist:
- Your fears — Many people have fears of the dentist that go back to childhood. Pain control and treatment techniques change constantly. The things you fear most may not exist any longer, or there may be new and improved ways of dealing with them. If you fear you have a particular disease or condition, let your dentist know. He or she can look for signs and either diagnose the problem or set your mind at ease. Often, just talking about your fears will take some of the edge off.
- Your overall health — Tell your dentist if you’ve been diagnosed with any diseases or are taking any new medicines. It is important to tell your dentist about all medicines you take. This includes prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines. Even diseases that seem to be unrelated to the mouth may require a different approach to dental treatments or prevention.
- Your dental health — Before the examination starts, tell your dentist if:
- You think you have a new cavity
- Your teeth have become sensitive
- You feel lumps inside your mouth
- Don’t wait to see if the dentist catches it or silently hope the dentist misses it. By telling your dentist your symptoms, you may help him or her make an early diagnosis.
- Are dental x-rays dangerous?re dental x-rays dangerous?
Dental x-rays are one of the lowest radiation dose studies performed. A routine exam which includes 4 bitwings is about 0.005 mSv, which is less than one day of natural background radiation. It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure from a short airplane flight (~1-2 hrs). Proper shielding is also common, which makes the potential risk even lower.
- How often do I need to brush/floss?
Generally it is recommended to brush and floss after each meal or twice a day
- What causes tooth sensitivity?
If you’ve ever felt pain in your teeth after drinking or eating hot or cold food and drinks, you’ve had tooth sensitivity. One out of every four adults has had tooth sensitivity, often coming and going over time. Tooth sensitivity is tooth pain that comes from a wearing away of the tooth’s surface or gums. When gums recede, or pull away from the teeth, they leave the root of the tooth bare. Because these roots are not covered by enamel (the hard outer layer of the tooth), thousands of tiny channels leading to the tooth’s nerve are exposed. When heat, cold or pressure touches these channels, you may feel pain. Ignoring your sensitive teeth can lead to other more serious oral health problems. This is especially true if the pain causes you to brush poorly, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
- What causes bad breath?
You may occasionally experience bad breath. It can be caused by certain foods, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, dry mouth, tobacco products or a medical disorder. Sometimes a sinus infection, postnasal drip or other respiratory tract infections can cause bad breath. If bad breath persists, your dentist may determine whether it’s caused by a dental condition.
- 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. Today’s dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:
- Professional teeth whitening
- Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers