At Massasoit Dental Associates, we place significant emphasis on patient education, as no smile can be 100% healthy if the individual that it belongs to is not adequately knowledgeable about proper dental care or the available treatment options. We have compiled a list of questions commonly asked by our patients into this “Dentist FAQ” to aid you on your lifelong journey of perfect dental health.
1. How often should I see the dentist for a checkup?
We recommend that patients visit our office for a dental checkup at least once every 6 months. This standard guideline was developed by the American Dental Association (ADA), as this enables your dentist to monitor your teeth and gums and diagnose any problems in their early stages.
If you are experiencing a serious problem or undergoing a lengthy treatment that requires more extensive monitoring, your dentist will create an individual checkup schedule for you.
2. What age should my child be for their first visit with the dentist?
A child should visit the dentist around the time of their first birthday or upon the eruption of their first tooth, whichever occurs earlier. Starting dental visits in infancy serves numerous purposes:
- Ensuring the healthy development of teeth, jaws, and facial structure;
- Diagnosing and preventing common pediatric problems, such as baby bottle tooth decay and early malocclusions; and
- Helping your child become accustomed to seeing the dentist and minimizing any dental anxiety later in life.
3. What toothbrush is the best to use?
The best toothbrush is one that is soft and small enough to access hard-to-reach areas of your mouth, including the back teeth. Equally as important is using a gentle brushing technique that removes plaque and food particles without damaging your tooth enamel in the process. You might also consider an electric toothbrush, as it cleans teeth with greater speed and efficiency, especially for individuals who have difficulty brushing.
4. With so many toothpastes out there, how do I know which one to use?
The best toothpaste is one that has the ADA seal of approval and contains fluoride, which strengthens tooth enamel and protects it from decay. With these requirements taken care of, you can select a toothpaste that best fits your needs, including:
- Tartar control,
- For sensitive teeth, or
5. How can I prevent oral problems like tooth decay and gingivitis?
The simplest way to prevent all manner of dental problems is to brush and floss at least twice per day, use a fluoridated toothpaste, and visit the dentist every 6 months. You might also consider minimizing your consumption of foods and beverages with high sugar content, as sugar is one of the leading causes of cavities.
6. What is the best way to whiten my teeth?
There is a variety of teeth whitening options available today, from whitening toothpastes and at-home kits to dentist-supervised whitening solutions – both in-office and take-home. The “best” option depends entirely on your individual goals for the end result. Book an appointment with us today to discuss what option is ideal for you.
7. Are whitening toothpastes worth it and how do they work?
The only active ingredient that truly “bleaches” the teeth is peroxide. Many whitening toothpastes contain a form of peroxide that is safe for use inside the delicate tissues of the mouth. Some whitening toothpastes contain abrasive materials that “scrub” your tooth enamel as your brush, thereby gradually removing surface stains. However, continuing activities that stain your teeth in the first place – such as drinking coffee and red wine, and smoking cigarettes – will reverse the effects of the whitening agent. Once again, this depends on your individual needs and your dentist’s recommendations.
8. Is it safe to whiten my teeth with at-home kits and products?
As a general rule, yes. At-home whitening products are a quicker and cheaper way to brighten the color of your teeth. Products available at our office are professional strength and may provide a superior result than those available over-the-counter. Hydrogen peroxide present in whitening products may cause tooth and gum irritation for susceptible individuals, as well as contribute to the degradation of very unhealthy teeth. You may not always know your risks without consulting with a dentist.
9. Is there a treatment to change the shape of my teeth?
Yes, there is a variety of treatment options available for changing the shape of your teeth. Depending on whether the change is required for aesthetic or health-related reasons, or both, your ideal option may be:
- Porcelain veneers,
- Tooth-colored fillings, or
- Dental crowns.
10. Why are my teeth sensitive?
Tooth sensitivity is typically caused by worn enamel or receding gums that leave your tooth roots exposed. There is a variety of factors that can contribute to or increase tooth sensitivity – including: tooth erosion, tooth decay, grinding teeth, post dental treatment, and more.
To learn more or schedule an appointment with our Brockton dental office, please do not hesitate to call us at (508) 583-0103 or fill out the form below. The Massasoit Dental Associates team looks forward to serving you!