|RIGHT FROM THE DENTIST'S MOUTH|
I have been practicing dentistry for 15 years, and in that time I have had questions that come up frequently. Today my office manager and I decided to have a "Q & A" to help answer the most commonly asked questions from our patients.
1. Why should I go to the dentist regularly? Can't I just come when I have a problem?
We have several patients that only come to the dentist when there is a problem ( Emergency Treatment) instead of coming regularly ( Preventative Treatment). Emergency patients may feel like they are saving money, however, emergency treatment costs much more in time and money. The fact of the matter is that most dental problems start well before the pain, and what could be treated easily in the beginning can become more intensive if left untreated.
For example, tooth decay in the beginning is NOT painful. However, when the decay reaches deeper in the tooth it causes pain. What could have been treated with a simple filling could now consist of a root canal, build up and a crown. One extra visit has turned into 3-4 visits, and the cost has gone from a little over $100 to a little over $2000.
Trust me, call today for a check and cleaning. It will save you time and money!
2. Is it really that important for me to floss?
YES! When small particles of food are left between your teeth, bacteria begins to feed on it. (GROSS!) The bacteria lives in plaque that builds up on your teeth, which can be removed by flossing. Brushing alone is not enough because the brush can not reach all the areas where plaque builds up in the tiny spaced between your teeth. This plaque, if left on the teeth, hardens and becomes tarter, which can only be removed at your cleaning appointments. MORE FLOSSING = LESS SCRAPING! So FLOSS!
3. Why do I need x-rays?
Many patients do not want x-rays for a variety of reasons. However, x-rays are important because many problems can not be seen with the naked eye. Some of the following are things I may not see without an x-ray:
- decay between the teeth
- infections in the bone
- periodontal disease
- abscesses or cysts
- some tumors
- other abnormalities
As extreme as it may seem, sometimes an x-ray can catch something that, if left untreated, can become harmful to your overall health or even save your life!
4. Why do I need fluoride? What is it, and what does it do?
Fluoride is a mineral found in food and water. It helps prevent tooth decay by making the enamel (outter portion of the tooth) stronger. This protects acid from attacking the plaque bacteria in the mouth. We recommend fluoride treatments for children and ADULTS who are at high risk for decay at least twice a year.
5. What can I do about sensitive teeth?
Sensitivity toothpastes are very effective. After a few weeks of GENTLE brushing with these toothpastes, you can see a decrease in sensitivity. There are also ways to treat severe sensitivity in the office. Ask me or your hygienist if you are experiencing sensitivity for the best recommended treatment.
6. What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the soft and hard structures that support the teeth, bone and gums. In its serious form, the guns pull away from the tooth and supporting gum tissues are destroyed. Bones can be lost and teeth may loosen or eventually fall out.
You may be susceptible due to:
- someone in your family has it (genetically)
- lack of adequate home care
- health history
Signs or symptoms may be:
- bad breath
- red or swollen gums
- loose teeth
- sensitive teeth
- pus coming from around teeth
- pain when chewing
- tender and bleeding gums
Please, ask at your next appointment or call us if you think you may have periodontal disease. This disease can affect your overall health. It can lead to many medical issues including heart disease. I can not stress the importance of treatment enough!
7. Can I come to the dentist when I am pregnant?
Not only CAN you come... you absolutely NEED to come! About 1/2 of pregnant woman experience pregnancy gingivitis. If left untreated this can lead to periodontal disease, which can affect the health of your baby. Periodontal disease has been linked to preterm labor. It is more important than ever to maintain your routine visits to the dentist!
8. Do I need an occlusal guard?
There are many reasons why I may recommend an occlusal guard. Clenching and grinding of teeth can cause a significant amount of damage to teeth, jam muscles and/ or the jaw joint. Occlusal guards help to protect the teeth and jaw structures and minimize the damages caused by the extreme forces of clenching and grinding. I can not stop you from clinching and grinding, but I can protect your mouth from some of the negative effects.
If you have pain in your jaw or find yourself clinching and/ or grinding, call me to set up an appointment to discuss this as an option.
8. Why would my insurance say a treatment is not necessary if my dentist says it is?
Dental insurance is a contract between you (or your employer) and an insurance company. Based on your contract, there are certain procedures that your dental plan will supplement and certain procedures they will not supplement. None of this is based on your actual dental needs. I know what is best for my patient's dental needs. A good dentist will educate their patient based on those needs, NOT just what their dental insurance is supplement (cover). I pride myself on giving honest diagnosis and educating my patients with integrity. Integrity trumps insurance every time!
I hope this helped answer some of your questions. If you have any questions that may not have been on this list, please call us and we will answer your questions directly. 770-973-6520 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org