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Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.
Click on a question below to see the answer.
WHY IS VISITING THE DENTIST SO IMPORTANT?
Visiting us 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 Dr. Mortell Petisme or Dr. Go regularly will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath
- 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 you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!
- 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 our office if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth and can cause more plaque and potential cavities), and avoid tobacco (which can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).
- Don’t be afraid to brush your tongue! This 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.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year. During this time, your child’s baby teeth will be coming in and we can examine the health of those first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.
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 come in more than just twice a year. Dr. Mortell Petisme or Dr. Go will help determine how often you should visit our office for regular checkups.
According to Dr. Mortell Petisme, Dr. Go and the American Dental Association, you should brush 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 you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your teeth. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!
Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. We recommend that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because 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 to keep 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.
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. If detected, it is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated 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 our office 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