Common Dental Problems FAQ

How often should I visit the dentist?

For most people, twice a year is usually sufficient; however, only you, your dentist and your hygienist can determine how often is actually necessary. Checkups are needed for regular assessments of the condition and well being of your mouth; therefore, regular checkups are a MUST in order to maintain a healthy, happy smile!

Do I really need X-rays?

X-rays are used for the patient and Dentist to:

  • identify cavities between teeth and under fillings and crowns
  • evaluate bone levels for presence of gum disease
  • locate abscesses and infections of the tooth root
  • discover cysts and tumors

This is a simple diagnostic procedure that is commonly misunderstood. Everyone is and should be concerned about radiation exposure. However, did you know:

  • You would have to take 1750 dental x-rays to equal the radiation in a lower GI series! 1 dental x-ray is 1/10000 of the yearly maximum recommended dose.
  • Each time you fly from coast to coast you receive 4 millirems of background radiation, or the equivalent of four panoramic radiographs.
  • There is background radiation from concrete buildings, roads and even the sun! Just standing around you receive more than 3 bitewing x-rays worth of radiation every day!
  • When this very low radiation exposure is compared to the benefits of X-rays (detecting cavities, cysts and tumors) it seems like an easy compromise to make.

Can I prevent gum disease?

You can help prevent periodontal (gum) disease by:

  • brushing your teeth really well twice a day (with a toothbrush in good condition)
  • cleaning between your teeth with floss or an interdental cleaner
  • eating a balanced diet that limits between meal snacks and visiting your dentist regularly

What are the signs of gum disease?

  • red, swollen or tender gums
  • gums that bleed when you brush
  • gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • bad breath that does not go away
  • notice pus between your teeth and gums
  • loose teeth
  • a change in your bite (the way you teeth come together)
  • a change in the fit of partial dentures

How do I get a whiter smile?

There are a variety of products and procedures available to help you whiten your smile. Start by speaking with your dentist to determine whether whitening procedures would be effective for you.

Knocked out tooth, what do I do?

If the tooth is dirty, hold the tooth by the crown (not the root) and carefully rinse off. Do not scrub or remove any attached tissue fragments. Try to gently re-insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If you are unable to do this, place the tooth in a cup of milk and get to your dentist as quickly as possible. Don’t forget to take the tooth with you! If you have a dental emergency, call our office and we will try to see you the same day.