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Our Most Frequently Asked Dental Questions

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Taking care of your teeth is an essential part of overall health, but it's normal to have questions about dental care. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked dental questions:

1. What toothpaste should I use?

Choose a toothpaste with fluoride, as it helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel. Look for a toothpaste that is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) for safety and effectiveness.

2. What is plaque and why is it harmful?

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. It can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if not removed regularly through brushing and flossing.

3. How often should I floss?

Flossing once a day is usually enough to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along the gumline.

4. Are electric toothbrushes better than manual brushes?

Electric toothbrushes can be more effective at removing plaque than manual brushes, but both can be effective if used properly. The key is to brush for at least two minutes twice a day.

5. What causes bad breath?

Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by poor oral hygiene, gum disease, dry mouth, certain foods, or underlying health issues. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can help prevent bad breath.

6. It's been a long time since I've visited the dentist. What do I need to do?

Schedule a dental check-up as soon as possible. Your dentist will assess your oral health and recommend any necessary treatments to address any issues.

7. How many times a year should I have my teeth cleaned?

Most people benefit from having their teeth professionally cleaned by a dental hygienist every six months. However, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings based on your individual needs.

8. When should I take my child to the dentist for their first check-up?

The ADA recommends taking your child to the dentist for their first check-up by their first birthday or within six months of their first tooth erupting.

9. My child's baby teeth have cavities. Should they be filled?

Yes, it's important to treat cavities in baby teeth to prevent pain, infection, and damage to permanent teeth. Your dentist may recommend fillings or other treatments.

10. What happens if a woman has dental problems when she is pregnant?

Pregnant women should continue to see their dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings. Dental problems during pregnancy, such as gum disease, should be treated to prevent potential risks to the baby's health.

Your Dental Fillings and X-Rays Questions Answered

Dental fillings and x-rays are common procedures in dentistry, but they can raise questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about fillings and x-rays:

1. My dentist says I have a cavity and that I need a filling. But why doesn't my tooth hurt?

Cavities often don't cause pain until they reach more advanced stages. When a cavity is small, it may not affect the nerves in your tooth, so you may not feel any pain. It's important to get cavities filled promptly to prevent further damage.

2. What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure to treat a damaged or infected tooth by removing the damaged tissue (pulp) from inside the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the root canals, and then filling and sealing the tooth to prevent further infection. It's often necessary when a cavity has reached the pulp of the tooth or when a tooth is injured.

3. What is in amalgam (silver) fillings, and are they safe?

Amalgam fillings are made from a combination of metals, including silver, mercury, tin, and copper. While the mercury in amalgam fillings can raise concerns, numerous studies have shown that amalgam fillings are safe for most people. However, if you have concerns about amalgam fillings, you can discuss alternative options with your dentist.

4. How safe are traditional dental x-rays, and are the new digital x-rays better?

Traditional dental x-rays, which use film, expose patients to a low level of radiation. While the amount of radiation is considered safe, digital x-rays are an alternative that use up to 80% less radiation than traditional x-rays. Digital x-rays also offer other advantages, such as the ability to view images immediately and share them electronically, making them a safer and more convenient option.

Your Cosmetic Dentistry Questions Answered

Cosmetic dentistry offers a range of treatments to enhance the appearance of your smile. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about cosmetic dentistry:

1. I'm interested in changing the shape of my teeth. What options are available?

There are several options to change the shape of your teeth, depending on your specific needs. Dental bonding can be used to reshape teeth by applying a tooth-colored resin material to the tooth and then shaping it to the desired form. Veneers are another option, which are thin shells of porcelain or composite resin that are bonded to the front of the teeth to improve their appearance.

2. My tooth is cracked, how should I proceed?

If your tooth is cracked, it's important to see your dentist as soon as possible. The treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the extent of the crack. For minor cracks, bonding or a crown may be sufficient. However, for more severe cracks that extend into the root of the tooth, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.

3. What are my options for whitening my teeth?

There are several options for whitening your teeth, both in-office and at-home. In-office whitening treatments are performed by your dentist and can provide immediate and dramatic results. At-home whitening kits, prescribed by your dentist, typically involve the use of custom-made trays and a whitening gel that you wear for a specified amount of time each day. Over-the-counter whitening products are also available, but they are not as effective as professional treatments.

Your Dental Healthcare Questions Answered

Maintaining good dental health is essential for a healthy smile. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about dental healthcare:

1. What causes teeth to decay?

Tooth decay, also known as cavities, is caused by a combination of factors including bacteria in the mouth, sugary and starchy foods, and poor oral hygiene. When these factors come together, they can lead to the formation of acids that attack tooth enamel and create cavities.

2. Why do my gums bleed?

Bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease, which is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar along the gumline. When plaque and tartar irritate the gums, they can become inflamed and bleed easily. Bleeding gums can also be caused by brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with bristles that are too firm.

3. Why are my teeth sensitive to cold?

Tooth sensitivity to cold temperatures can be caused by a variety of factors, including exposed tooth roots due to gum recession, enamel erosion from acidic foods or drinks, or cavities. It's important to see your dentist to determine the cause of your tooth sensitivity and to receive appropriate treatment.

4. Are there any dental problems associated with diabetes?

Yes, diabetes can increase the risk of developing gum disease, as high blood sugar levels can promote the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Gum disease can also make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels, creating a cycle that can worsen both diabetes and gum disease. People with diabetes should pay extra attention to their oral hygiene and see their dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.

* All information subject to change. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.