You asked, we answered! Read our answers to our patients’ most common dental questions below. Have something to ask us? Contact us today!
How Many Times Per Year Should I See My Dentist?
Proactive dental care is recommended for all of our patients. We highly recommend making two general cleaning/exam appointments yearly. When you keep up with your oral care, our team can keep you updated on any changes in your oral health, and help you combat any issues you may be experiencing throughout the year. We will take care of the problem before it worsens.
Naturally, if you have reason to see us outside these two recommended visits, be sure to contact our office to make an appointment.
Other Than My Regular Dental Cleanings, When Should I See My Dentist?
Problems with the teeth, gums, and oral area vary from person to person. Generally speaking, err on the side of caution. If you feel any level of pain or discomfort, if you’ve had an accident, or if something just feels “off,” contact us and ask questions or schedule an appointment. Go with your gut rather than trying to wait it out. In many cases, the problem won’t heal on its own, and we can help.
These dental problems include a chipped/cracked tooth, gum tenderness, swelling, or bleeding, a loose tooth or tooth loss, sores or lesions in the mouth, pain in the jaw, excessive/chronic halitosis (bad breath), problems with chewing or biting, or any other abnormal symptoms.
What Happens During An Exam?
We’ll clean, polish, and floss your teeth. We’ll look for any signs of tooth decay, cavity formation, disease, and even oral cancer. We’ll check for cracks or chips, make sure no teeth are loose or missing, and get rid of any tartar/plaque buildup that can infect the gums leading to periodontal disease. We may administer X-rays and give you a fluoride treatment, if necessary. We’ll also check your jaw for TMJ disorder. All your questions and concerns will be addressed, and we can also discuss any cosmetic services that you may be considering.
Why Do I Need X-Rays?
Many oral diseases cannot be seen with the naked eye. An X-ray examination can reveal:
- certain types of tumors
- abscesses or cysts
- small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings)
- infections in the bone
- periodontal (gum) disease
- developmental abnormalities
Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage often saves time, money, and unnecessary discomfort. X-rays can detect damage to oral structures that not visible during a regular exam. If you have a hidden tumor, early detection via X-rays could save your life.
What Causes Cavities And How Can I Prevent Them?
Typically, what you eat/drink and how well you clean your teeth determine your likelihood of getting cavities. Steer clear from consuming too much sugar, especially sticky candies and chewy treats that can get stuck. Drink plenty of water to keep the mouth well-hydrated so food particles do not stick to the surfaces of the teeth. Brush and floss at least 2X per day, and do so with intention – no cutting corners. Also, keep up with your twice-yearly dental exams as recommended. This way, if a cavity is beginning to form, we can take care of it before it becomes a bigger issue.
Is Flossing Really Necessary?
Yes! Brushing alone can’t get into every area between teeth and close to the gum line. When food particles get stuck between teeth, they can start to decay and bacteria can grow. This can lead to issues with the gums as well as cavities. Floss every time you brush. And brush after flossing to remove any bits from your mouth that the floss loosened up. Rinse, and you’re set. Remember, use a fresh piece of floss every time.
What If I Can’t Brush Right After I Eat?
That’s OK. Just get to it as soon as you can. Consider the foods you select throughout the day if you won’t be able to brush. For instance, snack on an apple rather than a package of cookies. Smart choices, on the whole, make the most sense, and you’ll be healthier for it.
Why Do My Teeth Look Stained, Dark, And Dull?
What you consume may be changing the color of your teeth. Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, red sauces, even dark berries can stain your teeth. And remember, smoking is a bad idea for many reasons, one of which is that tobacco can discolor your teeth. Some medications may cause discoloration as well. Speak to your doctor if you believe this is the cause; perhaps they can prescribe something else.
We can help you whiten your teeth with a plan that beats out over-the-counter products by far.
What insurance do you accept?
Logan Dental will bill to any PPO dental carriers. We are in-network with Aetna, Cigna, Delta, Guardian, Metlife, and Superior.
What should I do if I require premedication?
Prior to any surgeries, your specialist will inform you if you’ll need dental premedication for any future dental appointments (ex. Stints/Joint replacements). Please contact us to request your prescription prior to your appointment. If you are unsure, please contact us – we’re happy to help!
Why should I go to the dentist regularly?
Many people do not see a dentist on a regular basis and only go when they have a problem. This is known as “crisis treatment”. While it may appear as though you are saving money, it often ends up costing much more in dollars and time. Many dental problems do not have symptoms until they reach the advanced stages of the disease process. These problems are more easily taken care of when caught earlier. This is called “preventive treatment”.
Why should I floss, isn’t brushing enough?
Flossing reduces the number of bacteria in your mouth. The millions of microscopic creatures feed on food particles left on your teeth and live in plaque which can be removed by flossing. Brushing your teeth can rid some of the bacteria in your mouth. But flossing removes the bacteria between the teeth – where a toothbrush can’t reach. Not flossing means allowing plaque to remain between your teeth. That plaque eventually hardens into tartar. Only a hygienist can remove tartar. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the proper way to floss. You and your dental professional will notice the difference at the next cleaning appointment.
What causes morning breath?
Bacteria found on your teeth in the crevices and on the taste buds of the tongue, break down the food particles, which produce sulfur compounds. It is actually these sulfur compounds that give our breath a bad odor. During the day, your saliva helps wash away bacteria and food particles. Your saliva also helps dissolve foul-smelling sulfur compounds. When you are asleep, saliva production in your mouth slows down. Since your saliva is the mouth’s natural mouthwash, most people experience morning breath.
What can I do about sensitive teeth?
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth can be very effective in treating sensitivity. After a few weeks of use, you may notice a decrease in sensitivity. Highly acidic foods such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, as well as high in sugar foods can increase tooth sensitivity, which can work against sensitive toothpaste. If you do not get relief by brushing gently and using desensitizing toothpaste, see your dentist. Home care products containing high fluoride can also be recommended to help reduce tooth sensitivity.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting bone structure. When left untreated, it can cause permanent bone destruction that can lead to tooth loss. Untreated periodontal disease could also increase your risk for conditions of heart disease, stroke, low birth weight in infants, pre-term delivery, respiratory disease, and prostate cancer. An advanced stage of periodontal disease exhibits inflamed gums pulling away from your bone and teeth. Other signs of periodontal disease include:
- pain when chewing
- red or swollen gums
- bad breath
- pus coming from around the teeth
- loose teeth or teeth that have moved
- sensitive teeth
- bleeding gums
Treatment of early periodontal disease can be performed in-office. However, advanced stages could require surgery. Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated successfully by seeing your dentist regularly and following recommended care plans.
What causes canker sores?
The exact cause of canker sores is unknown. Possible factors include genetics, allergies, stress, and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. Trauma to the inside of the mouth can also result in the development of canker sores. Ill-fitting dentures, braces, toothbrush trauma or biting your cheek can result in canker sores. Certain foods could also factor in. Acidic fruits, like citrus, and vegetables can trigger a canker sore or make the problem worse. Chips, pretzels, and hard candies have sharp edges that can nick and injure the soft tissue of the mouth.
To treat a canker sore, rinse your mouth with antimicrobial mouthwash or warm salt-water (1Tsp. to 1C). If the canker sore is present for longer than 2 weeks, give us a call.
What should I do about bleeding gums?
Gums that bleed are often a symptom of periodontal disease or gingivitis. But often, people reduce brushing as frequently and effectively because it may be painful or it may cause the gums to bleed again. However, brushing could actually help reduce inflammation. More importantly, you should see your dentist for a periodontal screening to determine the level of disease present and the best treatment course to pursue.