Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I visit the dentist?

For most people, twice a year is usually sufficient; however, only you, your dentist and your hygienist can determine how often is actually necessary. Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.   Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to help detect, prevent, and maintain your dental health. Regular checkups are a MUST in order to maintain a healthy, happy smile!

What are the signs of gum disease?

• red, swollen or tender gums
• gums that bleed when you brush
• gums that have pulled away from the teeth
• bad breath that does not go away
• notice pus between your teeth and gums
• loose teeth
• a change in your bite (the way you teeth come together)
• a change in the fit of partial dentures

Why are x-rays important?

X-rays are extremely useful and important as a diagnostic tool and may reveal the following information:

• position of your teeth
• impacted teeth
• presence and extent of dental decay
• any bone damage
• an abscessed tooth
• jaw fracture
• any malocclusion of teeth
• other abnormalities of the jaw bone or teeth

What is nitrous oxide sedation?

Nitrous oxide (N2O) or laughing gas, is colorless, sweet-smelling, and nonirritating and when administered will create a state of mild sedation. This technique is advantageous for those patients that experience mild anxiety and fear when visiting the dentist.  This technique's use is dependent upon the level of anxiety of the patient.

What are dental sealants?

A dental sealant is a plastic, professionally-applied material that is put on the chewing surfaces of back teeth (premolars and molars) to prevent cavities. Sealants provide a physical barrier so that cavity-causing bacteria cannot invade the pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.

Can I prevent gum disease?

You can help prevent periodontal (gum) disease by:

Brushing your teeth really well twice a day (with a toothbrush in good condition).

Cleaning between your teeth with floss or an interdental cleaner.

Eating a balanced diet that limits between meal snacks and visiting your dentist regularly.

How can I make my smile whiter?

There are a variety of products and procedures available to help you whiten your smile. Start by speaking with your dentist to determine whether whitening procedures would be effective for you.

What do I do if I knock out a tooth?

If the tooth is dirty, hold the tooth by the crown (not the root) and carefully rinse off. Do not scrub or remove any attached tissue fragments. Try to gently re-insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If you are unable to do this, place the tooth in a cup of milk and get to your dentist as quickly as possible. Don't forget to take the tooth with you!

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that can be used to strengthen your child's teeth and prevent tooth decay. There are two primary ways that fluoride can be beneficial to your oral health.

Systemic: This type of fluoride is ingested through drinking fluoridated water or fluoride supplements prescribed by your pediatric dentist or physician. In the correct amounts, fluoride will make developing teeth stronger by incorporating itself into the tooth enamel. Too much systemic fluoride may cause fluorosis, a condition which causes white or yellow/brown spots on the teeth.

Topical: This type of fluoride is applied to the erupted teeth. It can be found in most toothpastes, many rinses or prescribed gels. Topical fluoride strengthens erupted teeth.

How does food cause tooth decay?

When you eat, food passes through your mouth where it encounters germs or bacteria that live in your mouth. This union of food, germs and bacteria create a sticky film of bacteria called plaque.

Bacteria loves sugars found in many foods, and will use the sugar to produce acids that are able to destroy the hard surface (enamel) of the tooth. If this sticky substance is not removed from your teeth, tooth decay will eventually occur.

What causes bad breath?

If you do not brush and floss daily, particles of food will remain in your mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, around the gums or on your tongue can rot, leaving an extremely unpleasant odor. Dentures, not cleaned properly, can also contain odor-causing bacteria and food particles.

Additional oral health information

Please go to the American Dental Association site for further information on oral health topics - click below: