When searching for a new dentist the best recommendation is always one made by asking a family member or friend. This will help in giving you a little bit of background on what type of office it is, and whether or not other people are happy with this office. If you are new to an area and do not have a friend who can recommend someone to you, then go to your phone book and make a list of the dentists in your area.
Your visit to the dentist should be pleasant and comfortable. You need to feel relaxed with your dental team in order to ensure that you can work together in maintaining a healthy happy smile. Take the time to ask around for a dental office that can meet your needs.
Your dentist is trained to detect and treat many problems before you are even aware of them. The goal is prevention – prevent disease, decay and tooth loss. Your dentist can help you but only if you make the appointment. It all comes back to teamwork. Only you, your dentist and your hygienist can determine how often to make a visit, but most for most people, twice a year is sufficient. Checkups should not be a one-time event. They are necessary for regular assessments of the condition and the well being of your mouth. Check-up procedures vary with each dentist but basically will contain: a review of dental and medical history, an overall examination of the mouth including oral cancer screening, a professional cleaning, possibly a fluoride treatment, and a general assessment of hygiene at home. Regular checkups are a MUST in the fight against gum disease.
If you are a new patient, your dentist may recommend x-rays to check the current status of your mouth and to check for hidden problems. Upon your first visit to the dentist, he or she will usually take those x-rays that will be necessary to comprehensively assess your oral health. A full series of x-rays usually consists of 14 – 18 films. A Panoramic x-ray film showing much greater areas of your jaw bones may be needed as well in order for your dentist to comfortably and competently examine you. Every six months or so your dentist may take a small series of x-rays consisting of four to six films. A six-month period is a long time in the life of a cavity and it is for this reason that a visit to the dentist every six months is so important.
With the advances in computer-aided dentistry, dentists can now provide patients the latest in diagnostic imaging. Digital means a fraction of the traditional x-ray exposure yet provides greater image resolution and clarity. The results include more exact diagnosis, greater confidence in treatment and patient/staff protection.
X-rays are an extremely useful and important diagnostic tool and can aid in preventing many major problems. The importance of routine thorough examinations by your dental team will do much to avoid major problems.
Dental X-rays may reveal:
- the number, size, and position of teeth
- unerrupted or impacted teeth
- the presence and extent of dental caries
- bone damage (such as from periodontitis)
- abscessed teeth
- fractured jaw
- impacted tooth
- malocclusion of teeth
- other abnormalities of the teeth and jaw bones
Bleeding gums are the first sign that there may be a problem with the gums. Puffy, tender red gums are also a sign that there is an infection present. Bleeding gums, however, are not always present even in severe cases of gum disease. Routine and regular visits to your dentist are the best way of catching gum disease in its early stages before too much damage has been caused. Gum disease will not go away by itself or with improved home care. The only way of removing plaque deep under the gums is with professional cleanings. Once you have had a gum problem you will always be susceptible to recurring problems, so be sure to see your dentist on a regular basis – every two to three months, unless he or she recommends otherwise. For more information on Gum Disease, click on this!
There are several things that can be done to slow down or totally prevent this breakdown process which leads to cavities. One of the most important contributors to decay are sugars, and eliminating or drastically reducing your intake of them will help greatly in preventing tooth decay. Proper brushing and flossing, and removal of the plaque will also help in preventing breakdown. Home fluoride rinses help aid in the remineralization process. Of course, routine visits to your dentist are of importance not only in the early detection of cavities but professional cleanings and fluoride treatments are very important in maintaining a healthy happy mouth.
Plaque and sugar interact with one another to form an acid, which breaks down the enamel of the teeth, resulting in a cavity. Proper removal of plaque will also greatly reduce the risk of getting cavities. Thorough brushing and flossing will not only remove sugar from the mouth but also the plaque, which has formed on the surfaces of the teeth since the last brushing. Certain foods will help to keep the mouth in a healthy state. These foods include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and any low sugar foods that won’t aid in tooth decay.
Sealants are a very good way of protecting the biting surfaces of teeth that have never had a filling nor have no decay. Sealants are a clear or white material, which is applied on the biting surfaces of the teeth. The purpose of sealants is to smooth over the normal crevices of the teeth were germs could easily accumulate, thereby protecting the teeth from decay.