General Dentistry FAQs

I'm afraid of going to the dentist, what can I do?

Fear of the dentist is quite common for many people. We are aware of the prevalence of dental anxiety and we are properly trained to work with you in helping overcome those fears. You will find that our team members are eager to work with you to make your visit comfortable and pleasant. Maintaining the health of your smile is important to us and it is our top priority to provide the highest quality of care and customer service to all of our patients.

What are dental sealants, who should get them, and how long do they last?

Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that is painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth (usually in the back teeth) to prevent tooth decay. The painted on liquid sealant bonds into the depressions and groves of the teeth which forms a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. Sealants can protect the teeth from decay for many years, but it is important to have them checked for chipping or wear at your regular dental check-ups.

There are many toothpastes to choose from; which one should I choose?

When purchasing toothpaste, always be sure to select one that contains fluoride. Toothpastes that contain fluoride have been shown to prevent cavities. We also suggest using a product that is approved by the American Dental Association which means the product has met the ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. When considering other properties of toothpaste, such as gum care or whitening, be sure to ask your dental hygienist or dentist what they would recommend to use regarding your concerns. Lastly, be sure to choose the toothpaste that feels best and works best for you. If you have any questions or concerns regarding toothpaste, be sure to ask your dental hygienist and dentist immediately.

Which is better, a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush?

Manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes are both effective when used properly. Be sure to discuss your home care needs with your dentist or hygienist.

What causes cavities?

Your mouth contains many forms of bacteria, both good and bad. Having bacteria in your mouth is normal, but certain types of bacteria can attach themselves to hard surfaces like the enamel that covers your teeth. If not removed, the bacteria multiplies until a colony forms. Proteins in your saliva also mix in and the bacteria colony becomes a whitish film on the tooth, known as plaque. This is what causes cavities.

What is the best way to get my teeth whiter?

Our offices would be happy to discuss different teeth whitening options to help achieve the smile you’ve always wanted!

How many times a day should I brush my teeth?

We advocate your brush your teeth after every meal, as this is the best way to re-insure your teeth are properly taken care of. If you have any questions or concerns, please ask your dentist or dental hygienist.

How often should I go to my dentist for a check-up?

A main priority in our offices is prevention- prevent disease, decay and tooth loss. Your dentist and your hygienist can determine how often you should visit the dentist for a cleaning, but for most people, twice a year is sufficient. Regular checkups are highly recommended to fight against gum disease.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis is the number one cause of tooth loss. This disease attacks the gum and bone, which are both the foundation in which your teeth rest. If the bone dissolves from around your teeth, your teeth eventually fall out. Anyone is susceptible to gym disease and this is caused by plaque. If plaque is not removed, calculus will form which in then cause gingivitis.

If you notice your gums begin to bleed, this may be a sign of gingivitis. Tender, red and puffy gums are also signs of this disease. Gum disease does not simply go away on its own, but the only way to remove this is with professional cleanings. To prevent gingivitis, go to your routine dental visits.

How safe are dental X-rays?

The dosage of X-ray radiation received at your dental office is typically very small (around 0.150 mSv for full mouth series, according to the American Dental Association website). Dental X-rays are very safe.

Is it safe to have silver (amalgam) fillings, or should I have them replaced with composite?

Amalgam fillings are safe, effective, and long lasting for dental decay. Amalgam fillings are made with silver, mercury, tin and copper. (Other metals may be included in amalgam fillings in some cases). Amalgam is a strong, stable substance that does well in moist environments.

Composite fillings are made from plastic mixed with powdered glass to make them stronger. These fillings are white which enables them to blend in with your teeth to have a more natural look. Composite fillings tend not to last as long as amalgam fillings, and can be more expensive. Overall, there is no need to be concerned about the safety of amalgam fillings. If you have any questions or concerns regarding amalgam fillings or composite, please notify your dentist.

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