Why is visiting the dentist so important?
Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body 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 on bad-breath causing bacteria in your mouth.
- 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!
How can I take care of my teeth in between dental checkups?
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least three times 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). Also 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 plaque causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh!
- Be sure to schedule your routine check-up. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months – that’s twice a year!
At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six-months-old and no later than one-year-old. During this time, your child’s baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child’s first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure and schedule regular checkups every six months!
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth and I caused by tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque build-up on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This can produce an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least three times a day, and floss in between teeth at least once.
What is a filling?
A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic (typically Novocain) and relax your body with a light dose of nitrous oxide. Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including, amalgam, composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure and talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.
How often should I brush my teeth?
According to your dentist and the American Dental Association, you should be brushing your teeth at least three times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria causing plaque. It is also recommended that when you brush your teeth, you use a soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. You should spend at least two minutes on the top teeth and two minutes on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!
My teeth feel fine; do I still need to see a dentist?
Your teeth may feel fine, but it’s still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Also, your smile’s appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep your smile healthy, and looking beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Today’s dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, 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 in Dulles VA?
Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important; and, you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine if the dentist is right for you. During your appointment, 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)?
When should I change my toothbrush?
Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth three times a day for four minutes each time. Your dentist recommends that adults and children should change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions as you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently. Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks in order to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you’ve been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.
What is gum disease?
Also known as, periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include, tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. However, if you have gingivitis and it is left untreated, it may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly, and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease:
- Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Receding gum line
- Abscessed teeth
- How often should I visit the dentist for a check-up?
- It is generally recommended to visit the dentist for a check-up and cleaning every six months. However, your dentist may suggest a different frequency based on your individual oral health needs.
- How can I maintain good oral hygiene at home?
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and use an antiseptic mouthwash. Also, maintain a balanced diet and avoid excessive consumption of sugary or acidic foods and beverages.
- What is the proper way to brush and floss my teeth?
- Brush using a soft-bristled toothbrush in gentle, circular motions. Floss between your teeth and along the gumline to remove plaque and food particles.
- Are dental X-rays safe?
- Dental X-rays are considered safe with low radiation exposure. Dentists use them to detect issues not visible during a regular examination and to plan treatments effectively.
- How can I manage tooth sensitivity?
- Tooth sensitivity can be managed by using desensitizing toothpaste, avoiding acidic foods, and maintaining good oral hygiene. If the issue persists, consult your dentist.
- What are the signs of gum disease, and how can it be prevented?
- Signs of gum disease include red or swollen gums, bleeding during brushing, and persistent bad breath. Prevention involves regular dental check-ups, proper oral hygiene, and a healthy lifestyle.
- Is teeth whitening safe, and what options are available?
- Teeth whitening is generally safe when done under professional supervision. Options include in-office bleaching and at-home whitening kits provided by your dentist.
- What should I do in case of a dental emergency?
- Contact your dentist immediately for guidance. In the case of severe pain, swelling, or trauma, seek emergency dental care.
- Can I get braces as an adult?
- Yes, adults can get braces for orthodontic treatment. There are various options, including traditional braces and clear aligners.
- What are dental implants, and are they a suitable option for replacing missing teeth?
- Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth. They are a durable and effective option for replacing missing teeth.
Remember, these answers are general guidelines, and individual cases may vary. For personalized advice, consult with your dentist at LDA.
How do I schedule my next checkup?
Simply call Loudoun Dental Associates today at 703-542-7600! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience. If you are a new patient, please let us know, and we will provide you with all the information you need for your first dental visit.