What you Need to Know About Quality Dental Care
For many people, a trip to the dentist is a stressful experience. Regis Court Dental Associates wants to remove any fear or anxiety that dental appointments can bring. The old saying is “knowledge is power,” which is why we want to give you all the information you need to feel comfortable at your appointment. Take a look at our frequently asked questions below. Still have questions? Give the Regis Court Dental Associates team a call, and we'll answer them for you!
- How can I take care of my teeth in between dental checkups?
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once!
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities). Also avoid tobacco (this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer)
- Don't be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh!
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months - that's twice a year!
- How do I schedule my next checkup?
Simply call our practice! Our front desk team members will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience. If you are a new patient, please let us know, and we will provide you with all the information you need for your first dental visit.
- How often should I brush my teeth?
According to your dentist and the American Dental Association, you should be brushing your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria causing plaque. It is also recommended that when you brush your teeth, you use a soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. You should spend at least two minutes on the top teeth and two minutes on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!
- How often should I see the dentist?
Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year. You doctor will help determine how often you should visit the dentist for regular checkups.
- If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
- My teeth feel fine; do I still need to see a dentist?
Your teeth may feel fine, but it's still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Also, your smile's appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep your smile healthy, and looking beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Today's dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:
- Professional teeth whitening.
- Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth.
- Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers.
- What is a cavity?
A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth and is caused by tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This can produce an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss in between teeth at least once.
- What is a dentist?
A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Your dentist has completed at least eight years of schooling, and received either a DDS (doctor of dental surgery) degree, or a DMD (doctor of dental medicine) degree. If your doctor is a pediatric dentist, this means that he or she specializes in caring for children from infancy through their teen years. Your dentist has received the proper education and training needed to work with young kids. Other specializations include:
- Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
- Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
- What is a filling?
A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic (typically Novocain) and relax your body with a light dose of nitrous oxide. Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including amalgam, composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure and talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.
- What is dentistry?
Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions, disorders, and diseases of the tooth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Dentistry is necessary for complete oral health and can have an impact on the health of your entire body.
- What is gum disease?
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. However, if you have gingivitis and it is left untreated, it may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly, and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease:
- Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Receding gum line
- Abscessed teeth
- What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?
Choosing a dentist who "clicks" with you and your family is important; and, you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine if the dentist is right for you. During your appointment, consider the following:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient?
- Is the office easy to get to and close by?
- Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
- Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
- Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?
- When should I change my toothbrush?
Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth two times a day for four minutes each time. Your dentist recommends that adults and children should change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions as you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently. Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks in order to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you've been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.
- Why is visiting the dentist so important?
Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:
- Helps prevent tooth decay.
- Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss.
- Prevents bad breath - brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bad-breath causing bacteria in your mouth.
- Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence.
- Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco.
- Strengthens your teeth so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!
Regis Court Dental Associates Answers your Pediatric Dental Questions!
Regis Court Dental Associates provide pediatric dentistry in Eau Claire. We treat infants, children, and adolescents, as well as providing general dentistry for adults. Below are common questions and our answers about the best way to care for a child's teeth.
- At what age is it appropriate to use toothpaste to clean my child's teeth?
Once your child has a few teeth, you can start using toothpaste on the brush. Use only a tiny amount for each cleaning, and be sure to choose toothpaste without fluoride for children under two, as too much fluoride can be dangerous for very young children. Always have your child rinse and spit out toothpaste after brushing, to begin a lifelong habit he'll need when he graduates to fluoride toothpaste. Children naturally want to swallow toothpaste after brushing, and swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause teeth to stain. You should brush your child's teeth for him until he is ready to take on that responsibility himself, which usually happens by age six or seven.
- At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months old and no later than one year old. However, we feel comfortable introducing your child to the dental office between the ages of 2 and 3 to foster the best experience. During this time, your child's baby teeth will most likely be in and your dentist can examine the health of your child's first set of teeth. After the first visit, be sure and schedule regular checkups every six months! (Feel free to bring your child in sooner than 2 to 3 years of age if a need arises or if you have any questions about their teeth development.)
- Baby teeth aren't permanent; why do they need special care?
Although they don't last as long as permanent teeth, your child's first teeth play an important role in his development. While they're in place, these primary teeth help your little one speak, smile and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a child loses a tooth too early ? due to damage or decay ? nearby teeth may encroach on that space, which can result in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth. Also, your child's general health is affected by the oral health of the teeth and gums.
- Does my child need dental sealants?
Sealants cover the pits and fissures in teeth that are difficult to brush and therefore susceptible to decay. We recommend sealants as a safe, simple way to help your child avoid cavities, especially for molars, which are hardest to reach. Find out more about dental sealants »
- How can I help my child avoid cavities?
Be sure that your child brushes his teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily is also important, as flossing can reach spots between the teeth that brushing can't. Check with your pediatric dentist about a fluoride supplement which helps tooth enamel be harder and more resistant to decay. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, limit snacking, and maintain a healthy diet. And finally, make regular appointments so that we can check the health of your child's teeth and provide professional cleanings.
- How can I prepare my child for his first dental appointment?
The best preparation for your child's first visit to our office is maintaining a positive attitude. Children pick up on adults' apprehensions and if you make negative comments about trips to the dentist, you can be sure that your child will fear an unpleasant experience and act accordingly. Show your child the pictures of the office and team members on the web site. Let your child know that it's important to keep his teeth and gums healthy, and that the doctor will help him do that. Remember that your dentist is specially trained to handle fears and anxiety, and our team excels at putting children at ease during treatment.
- How often should my child visit the dentist?
We generally recommend scheduling checkups every six months. Depending on the circumstances of your child's oral health, we may recommend more frequent visits.
- My child plays sports; how can I protect his teeth?
Even children's sports involve contact, and we recommend mouth guards for children active in sports. If your little one plays baseball, soccer, or other sports, ask us about having a custom-fitted mouthguard made to protect his teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums.
- What causes cavities?
Certain types of bacteria live in our mouths. When these bacteria come into contact with sugary foods left behind on our teeth after eating, acids are produced. These acids attack the enamel on the exterior of the teeth, eventually eating through the enamel and creating holes in the teeth, which we call cavities.
- What happens during my child's first visit to the dentist?
The first visit is usually short and simple. In most cases, we focus on getting to know your child and giving you some basic information about dental care. The doctors will check your child's teeth for placement and health, and look for any potential problems with the gums and jaw. If necessary, we may do a bit of cleaning. We will also answer any questions you have about how to care for your child's teeth as they develop, and provide you with materials containing helpful tips that you can refer to at home.
- What should I do if my child sucks his thumb?
The large majority of children suck their thumbs or fingers as infants, and most grow out of it by the age of four, without causing any permanent damage to their teeth. If you child continues sucking after permanent teeth erupt, or sucks aggressively, let us know and we can check to see if any problems may arise from the habit. Get more information, plus tips on helping your child break the habit »
- What's the best way to clean my baby's teeth?
Even before your baby's first tooth appears, we recommend you clean his gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. As soon as his first tooth appears, you can start using a toothbrush. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You can most likely find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local drugstore. Get more details about caring for infants' teeth »
- When should I schedule my child's first visit to the dentist?
We recommend that you make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as your child gets his first tooth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child is seen by six months after his/her first tooth erupts or by one year old, whichever is first.
- When should my child have dental X-rays taken?
We recommend taking X-rays around the age of two or three. The first set consists of simple pictures of the front upper and lower teeth, which familiarizes your child with the process. Once the baby teeth in back are touching each other, then regular (at least yearly) X-rays are recommended. Permanent teeth start coming in around age six, and X-rays help us make sure your child's teeth and jaw are healthy and properly aligned. If your child is at a high risk of dental problems, we may suggest having X-rays taken at an earlier age.