Frequently Asked Questions
- What additional safety measures have been implemented at Sweetbay Family Dentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How often should I make an appointment with my dentist?
- What type of toothbrush and toothpaste should I use?
- Do teeth need fluoride?
- Do I really need to floss?
- Does a rinse or mouthwash help?
- What are the early signs of dental trouble?
- Why do I need dental exams?
- Are dental X-rays safe and needed?
- How do fillings work?
- What do sealants do?
- What’s the best way to whiten my teeth?
- How can I fix my teeth and smile?
What additional safety measures have been implemented at Sweetbay Family Dentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Learn about how we are handling the COVID-19 pandemic here.
How often should I make an appointment with my dentist?
The American Dental Association recommends healthy patients visit their dentists every six months. This will allow monitoring of underlying oral health issues which we believe promotes better overall wellness and quality of life. Sometimes you may require more frequent visits, in which case we will recommend an individual treatment plan for you.
What type of toothbrush and toothpaste should I use?
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Median and firm ones can damage teeth and gums. Brush with soft pressure, for 2 minutes, two times a day.
Both electric and manual toothbrushes are great at cleaning teeth. Manual brushes with angled bristles or mixed bristle heights will clean teeth better than brushes with flat, even bristles. If you have trouble using your hands, electric toothbrushes may be easier to use.
Set yourself a reminder to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Replace it sooner if the bristles have become bent or splayed out. Bent bristles will not clean your teeth well. They’re also a sign you may be brushing too hard.
Most kinds of toothpaste are good at clearing away bacterial growth and acid from food and drinks. When choosing a toothpaste, it is best to get one with fluoride to prevent cavities.
If your teeth are sensitive to cold, pick a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Make sure to let your dentist know as well.
Do teeth need fluoride?
Fluoride helps make teeth strong and prevents decay. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dental Association (ADA), and the CDC all agree that kids should use fluoride toothpaste for brushing, taking care not to swallow it.
Adults benefit from using fluoride to protect their teeth, too.
Do I really need to floss?
Yes, you should floss daily. Flossing is essential to clear food and plaque from between teeth and under the gumline. If plaque is not removed, it hardens and turns into tartar, which forms wedges that widen the space between teeth and gums. This leads to the formation of pockets and over time, gums pull away, bone loss could occur, and teeth will become loose.
Both waxed and unwaxed floss will do the job. Other suitable options you could use are floss picks or interdental brushes.
Does a rinse or mouthwash help?
Mouthwashes are a good addition to regular brushing and flossing. There are different types of mouthwashes that can help with cavity protection, sensitivity, or fresh breath.
Your dentist can recommend the best type of mouthwash for you.
Kids under 6 should be monitored when using mouthwash to avoid the chance of them swallowing it.
What are early signs of dental trouble?
If you have any of these issues or if you notice your child having trouble chewing or complaining of soreness, you should visit your dentist:
- Mouth sores
- Jaw pain
- Swollen face or gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Broken teeth
- Dry mouth
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
When you experience dental trouble, it is best to get checked out right away to prevent more serious problems and infections.
Why do I need dental exams?
The ADA recommends having regular exams every 6 months, or more often if your dentist recommends it. Regular exams help find trouble early, which can prevent bigger and more costly treatments later.
A dental hygienist will start by cleaning buildup from your teeth and taking
measurements of the space between your gum and teeth known as pocket depth. You may have some sore or sensitive areas, if it’s been a while between appointments.
Your dentist will complete your dental exam by looking at your x-rays, looking clinically in your mouth, and doing an oral cancer screening exam.
Are dental X-rays safe and needed?
You may expect to have X-rays taken during an initial exam if it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist. This allows your dentist to check the health of teeth. For regular check-ups, X-rays are taken about every 6 months to a year, depending on your dentist’s plan.
How do fillings work?
Cavities are caused by oral bacteria breaking through the initial layer of your teeth. Once the top layer is compromised the second layer is more susceptible to progressive deterioration of the teeth. Unless the cavity is filled in it will continue to progress leading to bigger issues such as dental pain which can lead to root canals or even loss of tooth if cavity is severe.
Learn more about Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings here.
What do sealants do?
Sealants protect against cavities that can form in the natural tiny pits and grooves on the biting surface of teeth. Kids ages 6 to 12 benefit from having sealants applied to their molars.
Dentists or dental hygienist put sealants on in an office visit, and it’s painless.
What’s the best way to whiten my teeth?
There are many over the counter whitening agents to whiten your teeth. Though these whitening products do work they tend to cause more sensitivity and require multiple applications to see the whitening effect.
In house office whitening show results once you leave our dental chair and causes less sensitivity. We also recommend custom take-home whitening kit for additional touch up.
Learn more about Professional Teeth Whitening here
How can I fix my teeth and smile?
Caps and crowns cover problem teeth by surrounding them in a material that looks like a real tooth. They use the root and inside of the tooth as a base to build on, then attach with special cement.
Veneers and bonding improve your smile by sticking a layer of smoother and whiter materials like porcelain or resin to the natural tooth.
Talk with your dentist about which fix is right for you.
Learn more about Crowns and Veneers here.