Do I have to go to the dentist every 6 months?
Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year.
How often you need to go to the dentist depends on your individual oral healthcare needs. Factors to consider are how often you brush, floss, have tartar buildup, have gingival inflammation, are prone to tooth decay, how often you smoke and your diet. My team and I will take into consideration these factors when assessing the frequency of visits to maintain your optimal smile.
Do I really need X-rays? What about radiation exposure?
Dental x-rays help to see tooth decay not visible to the naked eye (especially in between teeth), new decay under an existing filling, bone loss that results from gum disease, infection that can lead to root canal, and in rare cases, cysts and tumors. It is also useful in determining whether you are a candidate for implants, crowns, bridges and other dental procedures.
In children, x-rays can help us to see if all baby and future adult teeth are present, developing normally, if there is enough space for all teeth an if they have any early dental decay or anomalies.
We are exposed to radiation nearly every day from sources as common as the rays of the sun, mineral in the soil, appliances in our home, airplane travel, cell phones and from medical/dental technologies. Digital dental x-rays are amongst the lowest dose of radiation in the healthcare industry. 4 dental x-rays (the usual amount for a routine exam) are less radiation than that of one day of natural sunlight and approximately equivalent to a short 1-2 hour plane ride.
When do I need to know before proceeding with the treatment recommended to me?
My team and I will come up with an individual treatment plan to help you achieve your oral health care goals. This may involve several procedures, in a sequence unique to your different priorities. We encourage you to ask questions! We want you to always feel comfortable making an informed decision. My team and I will always discuss benefits, consequences, and alternatives to your individual treatment plan. We are here to support you in any way we can!
Suggested Questions to ask:
- Can I see a model or picture of this procedure?
- How long will it take?
- How do I maintain this at home?
- Are there alternatives or follow up procedures?
- Is this something that we can do in the office or do I need to see a specialist?
- How much does it cost and will my insurance help with any part of it?
What is fluoride and how does it prevent tooth decay?
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in soil, water and various foods. Fluoride has a positive effect on teeth by making the enamel more resistant to decay. Fluoride can be found in toothpaste, rinses and in the community water to provide protection from decay to a large population of Canadians in a safe and regulated way.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease starts as plaque that sticks to your teeth at gum level. If this plaque is not removed with regular brushing, flossing and dental cleanings, it hardens into tartar (also called calculus). Tartar causes the start of a small infection of the gums called gingivitis. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Untreated it can lead to bone loss and early loss of teeth. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics.
Up to 7 out 10 Canadians will develop gingivitis in their lifetime. Aside from slightly red, irritated and slightly puffy gums, gingivitis can progress painlessly and quietly. My team and I will evaluate your teeth, gums and level of tartar buildup to help coach you in the prevention and treatment of this condition.
How can I take care of my teeth between dental visits?
- Brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once!
- Brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse to help prevent cavities.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar as this increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
- Avoid tobacco as this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer.
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months.
My teeth feel fine. Do I still need to see a dentist?
Your teeth may feel normal and pain free, but it’s still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. It is recommended to address teeth decay before it becomes symptomatic and deep. Your smile is important, and your dentist can help keep your mouth healthy and looking beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. My team and I can offer you many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence.
How to Care for your Mouth
The Proper Way to Brush
Your teeth should be brushed at least twice a day; ideally in the morning and before bed. The perfect toothbrush is small in size with soft, rounded-end bristles and no more than three to six months old. The head of the brush needs to be small enough to access all areas of the mouth, and the bristles should be soft enough so as not to cause damage to the gum tissue or enamel.
Here is a basic guide to proper brushing
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where the gums and teeth meet.
- Use small circular motions to gently brush the gumline and teeth.
- Do not scrub or apply too much pressure to the teeth, as this can damage the gums and tooth enamel.
- Brush every surface of every tooth, cheek-side, tongue-side, and chewing surfaces. Place special emphasis on the surfaces of the back teeth.
- Use back and forth strokes to brush the chewing surfaces.
- Brush the tongue to remove fungi, food and debris.
The Proper Way to Clean your Tongue
Thorough cleansing of your tongue is an important part of caring for your mouth and helping remove the bacteria that cause bad breath by moving particles around your teeth, gums and throat. A good tongue scraper is all you need to eliminate bacteria and help keep your mouth clean and to heighten your sense of taste buds.
Here is a basic guide to proper tongue cleaning
- Swish warm water in your mouth
- Clean the top layer with the tongue scraper with slow sweeping strokes from the back of the tongue to the front
- Apply a bit of toothpaste to the scraper and spread the toothpaste onto your tongue
- Allow it to sit for 60 seconds and then scrape toothpaste away
- Swish with warm water
The Proper Way to Floss
Flossing is a crucial part of removing plaque from the interdental regions (between the teeth). Flossing is an especially important tool for preventing periodontal disease and limiting the depth of the gum pockets. The interdental regions are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and should be cleansed with dental floss on a daily basis.
Here is a basic guide to proper flossing
- Cut a piece of floss to around 18 inches long.
- Wrap one end of the floss around the middle finger of the left hand and the other end around the middle finger of the right hand until the hands are 2-3 inches apart.
- Work the floss gently between the teeth toward the gum line.
- Curve the floss in a U-shape around each individual tooth and carefully slide it beneath the gum line.
- Carefully move the floss up and down several times to remove interdental plaque and debris.
- Do not pop the floss in and out between the teeth as this will inflame and cut the gums.
If you have any questions about the correct way to brush or floss, please ask our dentist or dental hygienist.