Dentistry can be a confusing subject for some, especially if it has been a long time since you’ve visited. Over the years, we’ve gotten many questions at the dental office, some of which we’ve heard many times. Below, we’ve included the most common questions and answers regarding many facets of dentistry for your convenience. If your question has not been answered here, feel free to give us a call directly.
When should I bring my child in for their first dental visit?
We recommend that you bring your child in for his or her first full dental visit around the age of three and a half. To help reduce the chances of anxiety, we encourage you to bring your children in before that visit so that we can show them how going to the dentist can be a fun and interesting experience. Of course, if you have any dental concerns about your child, you are welcome to bring them in sooner.
My child is six years old, and it looks like they have two sets of teeth, one behind the other. Is that okay?
In the “mixed dentition” stage of dental development, adult teeth begin coming in while the baby teeth are eventually lost. Sometimes, a child’s baby teeth do not fall out to make room for their adult teeth, leading to two rows of teeth. If this lasts for longer than six months, we would probably recommend “assisting” the baby teeth so that the permanent teeth do not become crowded or misaligned. In some cases, we may even recommend that the baby teeth be removed at an earlier time because of limited space in a child’s mouth.
What methods of teeth whitening do you offer?
We offer two methods of teeth whitening. With the first, we take an impression of the teeth to make custom-fitted trays for the patient to use with a bleaching agent at home. This allows the patient to whiten their teeth at their own convenience. The second method is an in-office treatment. We can isolate every tooth with a plastic material before applying the bleaching gel. This technique allows us to whiten certain teeth or all of them. Photographs and a starting tooth shade are recorded for monitoring and achieving the results our patients desire.
Why do my teeth seem to stain more than other people’s teeth?
Several factors can contribute to teeth that seem more prone to staining. Genetics and smoking can both cause teeth to stain more quickly. Diet matters as well, as drinks like coffee and wine have dark pigments that latch onto the enamel. To help reduce the amount of staining, we recommend you rinse with water after consuming any of the items mentioned above. Your at-home oral hygiene and the frequency/regularity of professional cleanings can also affect the coloration of your teeth.
Will whitening/bleaching make my teeth more likely to get cavities?
No. Dentist supervised home-bleaching kits have been in use for several years, and studies have not found any long-term side effects. The biggest side effect from teeth whitening/bleaching may be an increased sensitivity to cold, which should go away within one day after you stop the whitening process.
How long does it take for whitening toothpastes to work?
Quite frankly, forever. The August 1998 issue of Consumer Reports confirmed what most dentists already believed: over-the-counter whitening products scarcely work. The article states that the only real way to whiten your teeth is with the assistance of a dental professional.
Can I only get a cleaning at my first visit?
Our commitment to quality care dictates that a new patient will always receive a visual exam and have X-rays taken before a cleaning is performed. We do this to make sure that you receive the proper care for your mouth. It would be inappropriate to clean a patient’s teeth without addressing dental issues that may exist. We do make certain limited exceptions for patients who are transferring from another dental office and are up-to-date with their professional dental care. If this applies to you, please make sure to mention it to one of our team members when scheduling your appointment.
Do you have to take X-rays during my visit?
Taking X-rays allows our dentists to see what a standard exam may not reveal. A visual exam only shows about 10 to 20% of a tooth. X-rays allow us to better see the unique traits of your mouth as well as catch any potential dental issues. For some patients, such as pregnant women, X-rays may not be recommended. Generally, the little exposure to radiation is far outweighed by the many benefits of X-rays.