Preventative dentistry is about more than just visiting your dentist twice yearly for an exam and thorough cleaning. In fact, the majority of your preventative care is done at-home as a part of your normal hygienic routine. Many residents use manual toothbrushes to remove debris and plaque from their teeth. However, electric brushes have become widely popular in recent years, leaving some to wonder whether one type is better than the other.

Did you know…

the American Dental Association does not lean toward one type of brush over the other? It does, however, acknowledge that people with upper body mobility restrictions may better benefit from an electric toothbrush instead of a manual brush. Regardless of which type you decide is right for you, the ADA recommends that all brushes be soft-bristled so as to avoid abrasions that can lead to decay and receding gum lines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which toothbrush should I be using?

You can effectively brush your teeth with either a manual toothbrush or an electric one. However, the rapid movements of motorized versions may be more effective at removing plaque from the teeth and gum line. If you have questions about which toothbrush is best for you, speak with your dentist about it at your next visit. He or she may recommend an electric brush with an oscillating head or a brush that includes a timer to let you know how long to brush.

What types of results should I be getting from by toothbrush?

Regardless of whether you choose an electric brush or a manual brush, it should be easy for you to maneuver in your mouth and behind your back teeth. If the head is too big, it may not be effectively removing plaque from your teeth.

My electric toothbrush was expensive. Do I need to change it as often as a manual brush?

Yes. Your toothbrush should be replaced at least once every three to four months or whenever you notice fraying. However, most electric toothbrushes come with interchangeable heads. In other words, you won’t need to replace the entire device – only the brush itself.

Flossing is an important part of an oral hygiene routine, but research suggests that fewer than half of Americans do so daily. Flossing is simple and only takes an extra couple of minutes per day. Developing a healthy habit of flossing can prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and it may allow you to keep more of your natural teeth as you age. So what is the most effective means of flossing?

  1. Pull the floss taught and slide it between two teeth.
  2. Pull against the side of one tooth, creating a “C-shape” and sliding upwards to remove plaque build-up.
  3. Pull against the opposite tooth edge using the same technique.
  4. Repeat this process for each tooth until all inner surfaces have been flossed.
  5. Don’t forget to floss the backs of your molars!

Need some extra tips?

The American Dental Association recommends using a strand of floss approximately 18 inches in length. It is important to only use clean floss as you move between the teeth. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by looping each end of the floss around your fingers and beginning to floss with the area closest to one end. If you have never flossed, be sure to ask your dentist for a quick in-person tutorial at your next check-up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I be flossing?

Yes. The ADA recommends that everyone floss in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Even if you have restorations, such as crowns or veneers, good oral hygiene is essential for prolonging their use and maintaining your oral health.

What types of results should I get from flossing?

You may not experience immediate results from flossing, but over time, your habit will pay off. Flossing can prevent tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss – all of which can be highly inconvenient and expensive to treat. A piece of floss that costs just pennies could save you thousands of dollars later on.

Is there anything else I should be doing in addition to flossing?

Yes. In addition to flossing, you should be adopting proper brushing techniques and visiting your dentist at least twice per year for examinations and professional dental cleanings.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that has been shown to help strengthen teeth in children and also prevent decay in people of all ages. Topical fluoride, in particular is helpful for promoting oral health. The American Dental Association has publicly endorsed the use of fluoride for the prevention of dental caries, as has the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.

Did you know…

that you might be drinking fluoride every day without knowing it? Many communities add fluoride to the public water supply in an effort to promote better dental health. You can find out if there is fluoride in your tap water by contacting your local water utility. Keep in mind that if your primary source of drinking water is bottled, you may not be getting fluoride. You can contact your bottle water company or manufacturer to find out if fluoride is in your water. If not, speak with your dentist about getting professional fluoride treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need fluoride treatments?

You may need fluoride treatments if your drinking water is not fluoridated or if you are experiencing certain symptoms, such as receding gums. Fluoride treatments can also provide oral support and prevent decay if you wear orthodontic braces or are taking medications that cause dry mouth.

What should I expect during fluoride treatments?

Fluoride treatments are painless and can be administered in your dentist’s office at your twice-yearly check-ups and cleanings. Your dentist will distribute fluoridated gel, foam or varnish into a tray and place it over your teeth. The treatment takes only a few minutes and is only required between one and four times per year.

Is there anything I can do to supplement my fluoride treatments?

Yes. The ADA recommends supplementing your fluoridated drinking water or fluoride treatments with a fluoridated toothpaste.

If you are undergoing a dental procedure or operation, you will be given a set of post-operative instructions to abide by in the hours, days, and weeks after your treatment. Following these instructions is essential to preventing infections in surgical sites, protecting restorations, and minimizing the possibility of experiencing complications. Post-operative instructions vary from procedure to procedure, but you are still sure to have some questions regarding care. Your [city] dentist will be available to answer those questions and respond to any concerns you may have.

Try to anticipate some of the questions you may have about your post-operative care and ask them prior to your treatment.

Some of the most common post-op questions include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I talk with my dentist about the questions I have regarding my post-operative care?

Yes. Your post-operative care is contingent on you understanding everything about the recovery process and your responsibilities in caring for your surgical site.

What should I expect when I speak with my dentist?

Your dentist should allocate enough time in your consultation and pre-operative exam to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. You should also be provided a phone number that you can call following your procedure to discuss any questions that may come up at that time.

Is there anything I can do to make the process easier?

Yes. Begin thinking of any questions you may have about your post-operative care, and begin writing them down. You’ll be ready to ask all of your questions when the opportunity arises without missing any important details.

Digital x-rays are a more streamlined way of taking dental radiographs. Like traditional x-rays, digital versions provide an in-depth view of the structures of the mouth, helping dentists detect complications and develop effective modes of treatment. Digital x-rays are capable of revealing hidden caries, bone erosion, and even tooth decay hiding beneath restorations.

Requiring less radiation and no film to process, digital x-rays have become the standard for oral imaging. These systems produce instant digital images that can easily be enhanced and enlarged for a more accurate diagnosis. The images are captured, stored, and even transmitted via in-office computers. In fact, dentists can easily print or email copies of x-rays in just seconds.

Dental x-rays make for a better and more efficient patient experience. Office visits are faster, patients are exposed to less radiation, and radiographs can be sent to a specialist for review in a fraction of the time necessary for traditional film x-rays.

Endodontists are dental specialists who have completed two additional years of advanced endodontic training and education beyond dental school. Endodontic training emphasizes root canal treatments and the diagnosis of diseases and conditions that warrant them. An endodontist does not practice general dentistry but instead devotes the majority of his or her time to performing root canals – specifically those pertaining to narrowed canals or anatomically atypical cases. Most endodontists have offices equipped with highly advanced technology, including 3D imaging devices and high powered microscopes.

Did you know…

that endodontists perform an estimated 5.7 million procedures every year? Of those, the American Association of Endodontists reports that more than 4.2 million are root canal treatments. Despite the majority of those being widely successful, there are still several myths surrounding root canal treatment. For example, root canal treatments do not cause pain as rumored; they relieve it. Similarly, extracting a diseased tooth is not a better alternative to root canal treatment, as keeping as much of your natural tooth as possible should be the treatment goal of you and your dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I visit an endodontist?

You may need to visit an endodontist if you have decay that has reached the pulp of your tooth. Once bacteria reach the pulp, it can be extremely painful and will cause the tooth to begin to die. By seeking endodontic help, you can get relief for your pain and still preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible.

What should I expect during an endodontic treatment?

Your visit to the endodontist should not be intimidating. Instead, you can expect a comfortable office and knowledgeable staff members who assist patients everyday in relieving pain and treating diseased teeth. You can expect to be anesthetized for the duration of your treatment to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure. The majority of endodontic treatments are highly successful. Though results vary from person to person, there is a good chance your root canal and restoration will last you a lifetime.

Will I need to follow any special instructions after the procedure?

Following your root canal, you will need to follow a set of post-operative instructions designed to make your recovery easier and successful. You will not be allowed to eat or drink anything for at least a half hour, and you may begin experiencing some slight discomfort near the site of the procedure in the first couple of days. Be sure to avoid biting or chewing hard and sticky foods, and schedule an appointment to return to your dentist for a permanent crown or filling within 30 days of your procedure.

If you are undergoing a procedure or operation, you will be given a set of post-operative instructions to abide by in the hours, days, and weeks after your treatment. Following these instructions is essential to preventing infections in surgical sites, protecting restorations, and minimizing the possibility of experiencing complications. Postoperative instructions vary from procedure to procedure, but you are still sure to have some questions regarding care. Your dentist will be available to answer those questions and respond to any concerns you may have.

Try to anticipate some of the questions you may have about your post-operative care and ask them prior to your treatment.

Some of the most common post-op questions include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I talk with my endodontist about the questions I have regarding my post-operative care?

Yes. Your post-operative care is contingent on you understanding everything about the recovery process and your responsibilities in caring for your surgical site.

What should I expect when I speak with my endodontist?

Your endodontist should allocate enough time in your consultation and pre-operative exam to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. You should also be provided a phone number that you can call following your procedure to discuss any questions that may come up at that time.

Is there anything I can do to make the process easier?

Yes. Begin thinking of any questions you may have about your post-operative care, and begin writing them down. You’ll be ready to ask all of your questions when the opportunity arises without missing any important details.

Endodontic treatments have come a long way in recent years due in part to modern advancements in endodontic technology. Visiting an endodontist is much different than it would have been even just a few years ago thanks to advanced digital imaging tools that help automate office procedures. These tools allow for better accuracy, greater comfort and improved outcomes for patients.

Some of the advanced technologies that can be found in endodontic offices include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I benefit from advanced endodontic technology?

Yes! The technology available to endodontists is changing the way patients get care. Your treatment experience and outcome could be significantly improved by visiting an endodontist who employs the use of state of the art equipment.

What should I expect from these types of technology?

Depending on your procedure, you can expect a faster treatment and more accurate results.

Will I need to visit my endodontist for a follow-up?

Your endodontist will inform you of any post-operative instructions that you need to follow after treatment. Though you may not need to return to the endodontist following your procedure, it may be necessary for you to return to your restorative dentist if you need a crown or other restoration.

Your first visit to an endodontist lays the foundation for your future treatment. It will consist of a thorough review of your medical and dental history, as well as an evaluation of your symptoms. During your visit, your endodontist may review existing x-rays or request additional x-rays and 3D imaging to make an accurate diagnosis. Based on your endodontist’s findings, you will receive a treatment plan recommendation and be given the opportunity to ask questions about your diagnosis and treatment.

Before arrival…

In order to expedite your initial visit and streamline your office visit, you’ll need to come prepared with the following:

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I see an endodontist?

You should see an endodontist if you require an apicoectomy or treatment for a root canal or broken tooth that is beyond the expertise of a general dentist. You’ll need a referral to see an endodontist, so consult with your dentist about whether you should see an endodontic specialist.

What should I expect during my visit?

If you visit an endodontist, you’ll be evaluated and diagnosed based on your symptoms and image results. You may also be subject to additional screenings and diagnostic testing beyond what you may have already had at your general dentist’s office. Although some of the equipment in your endodontist’s office may look complicated, it is highly advanced technology that helps ensure your treatment is effective and precise.

What happens after my initial visit?

After you visit with your endodontist for the first time, you will be scheduled to return for treatment. Depending on the extent of your treatment, you may be anesthetized and sedated to ensure you are comfortable for the duration of your procedure.

For years, dental x-rays have been used to diagnose oral health complications and detect decaying or damaged teeth. X-rays provide a unique view of the mouth that isn’t possible with a visual exam alone. When x-rays are taken, the teeth and bones absorb the majority of the ray, making them highly visible on film or on a screen. Nearly all new dental patients are x-rayed, although you may instead request that previous x-rays be transferred from another dental provider to your new dentist. By comparing your x-rays with your full mouth examination and dental history, your dentist can prescribe effective treatment and recommend a plan for preventative care.

Did you know…

that dental x-rays deliver very low levels of radiation and are considered completely safe? In fact, x-rays are even considered safe during pregnancy and while breastfeeding so long as a leaded apron and collar are used to protect your body from exposure. If you are pregnant or think you may be, tell your dentist so proper precautions can be taken.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get dental x-rays?

Yes. Dental x-rays are capable of identifying tooth decay and damage beneath the surface of the teeth where caries are less visible during an examination. Furthermore, x-rays provide a reference point for the progression of decay in your mouth over time. You should have x-rays taken on a regular basis, but especially if you are experiencing oral health complications or are planning to undergo a dental procedure, such as a root canal.

What should I expect when I get dental x-rays?

Getting traditional dental x-rays can take several minutes. A thick paper tab is placed into the mouth, which you will be asked to bite down on. Most patients find that dental x-rays are completely painless and do not inflict any level of discomfort. In some cases, dentists intraoral x-rays, as well as extra-oral x-rays that snap images of the face, jaw and skull. Extra-oral x-rays are typically used to identify impacted teeth, such as wisdom teeth.

What happens after my dentist has taken x-rays?

Your x-rays will be saved either on film or digitally. In the future, your dentist may request additional dental x-rays every few years to monitor the health of your teeth, gums and jaw over time. If you are considered to be high risk for oral disease or are exhibiting symptoms of complications, your dentist may prefer to take x-rays more frequently.

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