Below is a list of some of the questions we get asked most frequently from our patients. If you have a question that isn't answered below, feel free to give the office of your family dentist in Woodbridge, VA a call and we'll be happy to assist you.
You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before they get worse and harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach.
You should brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. You should floss once a day as well.
The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly.
Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.
You should visit the periodontist three times a year. A dental and periodontal exam can reveal early signs of decay and periodontal disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control the disease process before it gets worse and harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach.
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing, as well as tooth loss.
The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact your dentist if you experience any of these:
Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, and visiting you dentist regularly. Also make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth.
While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow color substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint.
Below are the three most popular teeth whitening options available today.
Teeth whitening usually lasts from one to three years before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only "touch ups" are required to maintain the whiteness.
ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day. Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities! If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken. Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher. During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities. Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.). Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.
With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn't able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.
Today, braces can be a fashion statement. At times, instead of traditional metal braces, contemporary looking braces can be used. For Self-ligating braces, which require no elastic ties, can possibly reduce the number of orthodontic visits. There are several types of so-called "invisible braces." Some of these are "clear/transparent" in color but work like traditional metal braces. In addition, there are a series of invisible mouth guard like appliances (not really braces) that patients can remove to eat and clean. The choice of appliance is somewhat dependent on the arrangement of the crooked teeth.
Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry concerned with the straightening of teeth to correct functional or cosmetic issues. Using specially designed and fitted appliances, constant and gentle pressure is applied to the teeth causing them to move into the desired position. While orthodontic appliances were traditionally made of metal, orthodontists now provide patients with the option of metal, ceramic, or plastic appliances. Such appliances can be removable or bonded to the teeth, based on the patient’s wants and the doctor’s recommendation. The movement of the teeth is triggered by a static yet gentle force which slowly shifts the teeth in a controlled direction. Braces are no longer an unpleasant impediment. Today, orthodontists provide their patients with top of the line products which are less painful, appearance-abusive, and much more effective! With the option of selecting between metallic or ceramic brackets, the color of the ties holding the brackets, and the style of braces, orthodontists have made wearing braces fun and easy!
Although treatment it is rarely needed at this age, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends an orthodontic screening for children by AGE 7. This is around the time that jaws are developed enough to predict if treatment will be needed in the future. Having an early screening allows pediatric dentists and orthodontists to assess and monitor the development of the patient before a problem occurs. When you have time on your side, you can plan ahead and prevent the formation of serious problems by intervening when necessary
When teeth are first moved, mild discomfort may result. The sensation usually lasts about 24 to 72 hours. Patients report a lessening of discomfort as the treatment progresses. Medicines such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) may be taken to alleviate the discomfort.
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist for cleanings and dental checkups. During orthodontic treatment, some dentists suggest adding an additional cleaning to the hygiene schedule to the common two times a year schedule.
Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, including the types of food you ingest, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and other causes. Going to your dentist will help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so that you can take steps to elminate it.
Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene and regular checkups to the dentist will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth which emit odors. It will also help prevent or treat periodontal disease (gum disease), caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist). Finally, make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any residue.
Taking proper care of your dentures helps to ensure that they last as long as possible and that your mouth remains healthy.
Removable dentures should be taken out at bedtime, cleaned, and soaked in a water-based cleaning solution overnight to keep your mouth healthy, remove food and plaque, and minimize staining. Dentures should be cleaned only with dish washing liquid or denture cleanser applied to a moistened denture brush or soft toothbrush, and all surfaces, inside and out, should be gently scrubbed. Individuals with implant overdentures need to practice especially careful oral hygiene, with thorough cleaning of the gums, attachment mechanism, and overdenture.
Periodic examinations are key to maintaining oral health and ensuring that your dentures continue to function properly. In addition to routine exams, see your dental professional to:
Fees for denture-related services vary widely. Speak to your dental professional and contact your state or local dental society about any available resources.
Communicating your needs, concerns, and expectations will help your dental professional provide you with the treatment plan and dentures that are best for you—giving you peace of mind, good oral health, and a reason to smile for years to come.