The field of dentistry includes the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of various conditions and diseases of the teeth, mouth, gums, and jaw. Dentistry not only affects the health of your mouth, but also your overall health.
A dentist is a doctor who has studied oral health and is trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Dentists have at least eight years of higher education and have received either a DDS (doctor of dental surgery) degree or a DMD (doctor of dental medicine) degree. Some dentists choose to specialize in certain fields, including:
Dental visits protect your dental health and help you reduce your risk for a variety of other health conditions. Dental care:
Dental visits are important even if your mouth is healthy. In order to maintain dental health, you need routine visits approximately every six months. And remember, many dental health issues do not cause pain. Many people suffer from gum disease and do not even realize it. Additionally, dental visits can help you improve your smile. Your dentist can provide information about corrective treatments, whitening treatments, and tooth replacement.
Choosing the right dentist is important when making a commitment to good dental health. Your search for the right dentist should include at least one consultation that may or may not include an exam. During the consultation, consider:
Your dentist will help you design a personalized dental health plan. It should include:
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit by one year of age. The visits can be scheduled as early as six months and should coincide with the eruption of a child’s baby teeth. Visits should continue every six months from that point forward.
Routine dental visits should be scheduled every six months. Patients at risk for a variety of conditions, including oral cancer, should schedule more frequent visits.
Cavities are holes that form inside a tooth. They are caused by decay. Cavities are caused by plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth, mixing with starches and sugars in the diet. These things trigger acid that eat at tooth enamel. Untreated, cavities can lead to serious dental health issues. Cavities are completely preventable.
Fillings are synthetic material inserted into a cavity once the decayed material is removed. Fillings can be made from composite, ceramic, or gold. Getting a filling does not hurt, but your dentist will likely give you anesthesia because of the other tasks performed prior to a filling and the fact that your tooth is likely tender from the cavity.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is caused by plaque and bacteria buildup. Teeth grinding, tobacco use, medications, and genetics also increase a person’s risk for gum disease. Gum disease occurs in two stages: gingivitis which is the early stage and treatable, and advanced, which causes tooth and bone loss and is permanent.
Symptoms of gum disease often go unnoticed, but include:
The American Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice a day. Some dentists recommend brushing three or four times per day or after each meal, especially for children. Brushing removes bacteria and prevents plaque buildup. Most people should use a soft bristled brush and toothpaste with fluoride. Spend at least two minutes brushing during each session and remember to also brush your tongue.
Most dentists recommend replacing a toothbrush every three months. Electric toothbrush heads might need more frequent replacements. If you suffer from gum disease you should change your toothbrush every four to six weeks to prevent the spread of bacteria. Those recovering from an illness (strep throat, common cold, etc.) should change their toothbrush as they recover. It is also important to rinse the brush with hot water post brushing.
Yes! Your orthodontist will check issues related to your braces, but you still need your dentist to tend to routine issues. Additionally, your risk for bacteria and plaque buildup is even greater when you have braces because they make it more difficult to reach all of your teeth with brushing.
Contact our office today. We will review the appointment times available and help you find something that fits your schedule. If this will be your first visit to Randol Mil Family Dentistry, you can print and complete your paperwork in advance of your appointment.