Dentistry is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases of the teeth, gums, and other structures of the mouth. It is often viewed as necessary for oral health however, dentistry can have an impact on the health of your body as a whole.
Who is a dentist?
A dentist is a trained specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. A dentist has completed at least eight years of schooling, and has either a recieved a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, or a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. If your dentist is a pediactric dentist, it means that they specialize in treating children from infancy through their teen years. A pediactric dentist has gone throught the proper education and trainging would need to work with young kids. Other specializations include:
- Endodontics (root canals)
- Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
- Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
- Periodontics (gum disease)
- Prosthodontics (implants)
Why is visiting the dentist so important?
Visiting the dentist not only keeps your teeth and gums healthy it also helps keep your body as a whole 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 bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath
- 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!
My teeth feel fine. Do I still need to see a dentist?
Even if your teeth feel fine it is necessary to visit the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you being aware. Your dentist wants to help you keep your smile healthy and beautiful because your smile is important. Since there have been many advances in the field of dentistry you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, or misshapen teeth. Today’s dentists have many choices that can help you smile with pride, including:
- Professional teeth whitening
- Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
- Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers
What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?
Choosig a dentist that fits for you and your family is important, you may wish to consider multiple dentists before making your final decision. While attending your first visit consider the following:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient?
- Is the office easy to get to and close by?
- Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
- Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
- Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?
How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?
- Remember to ALWAYS brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once!
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities) and avoid tobacco (this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).
- Don’t be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months.
At what age should I start taking my child to the dentist?
As soon as your child gets his first tooth we recommend you make an appointment. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry that six months after your child’s first tooth erupted your child goes to the dentist, or at one year of age, whichever comes first.
How often should I see the dentist?
All patients (children, teens, and adults) should visit the dentist for a regular checkup at least twice a year. Patients who have a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may require more visits. Your doctor will let you know how often you should visit.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a small hole in your tooth caused by tooth decay. When plaque buildup on your tooth combines with sugars and starches in the foods you eat cavities are formed. It produces an acid that eats away at the enamel on your tooth. If a cavity is not treated, it can lead o more serious problems. In order to prevent cavities you must remember to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once daily.
What is a filling?
A filling is a manufactured material that your dentist will use to fill a cavity after all of the decay has been removed. Generally fillings do not hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. A filling can be made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or even ceramic. If you need a filling please ask what material will best suit your teeth.
How often should I brush my teeth?
The American Dental Association recommends that you should brush your teeth at least two times a day. Because brushing removes bacteria-causing plaque, it helps keeps your gums, teeth, and mouth clean and healthy. The Association also recommends you use a soft-bristled brush and a toothpaste that conatins fluoride. Spend a minimum of two minutes brushing your teeth, one minute to the upper teeth and one minute on the bottom teeth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well, it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!
When should I change my toothbrush?
Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth as frequently as you are recommended. Your dentist will suggest that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you use an electric toothbrush, take care to read the instructions, you may not need to replace the head as often. Patients who suffer from gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrushes every four to six weeks in order to keep the bacteria from spreading. After you brush your teeth, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep your bristles clean. If you become sick be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease is generally caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its primary stage. Genetics, some medications, teeth grinding, and tobacco are other known causes of gum disease. The primanry form of periodontal disease is gingivitus, if detected early enough it is easily treatable. If gingivius is left untreated can turn into gum disease. Advaced periodontal disease causes bone and tooth loss, and is a permanent condtion. Visiting the dentist for regular checkups and brushing twice daily will help prevent gingivitus and periodontal disease. Common signs of this disease are:
- Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Receding gum line
- Abscessed teeth
If I have braces, do I still need checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it is even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist on a regular basis. With braces food can get caught in places your toothbrush can’t reach. When that happens bacteria can build up and cause cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist wil work closely with your orthodontist to make sure your teeth keep clean and healthy through your time with braces.
How do I schedule my next checkup?
Call our front desk, it is that simple! Our friendly front desk staff will be happy to help schedule an appointment for you. If you are a new patient please let us know and we will provide you with all of the information you will need for your dental visit.