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the Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need to see the dentist twice a year?
It is important to get a regular checkup twice a year. We are able to clean your teeth, check for new cavities and periodontal disease, check for oral cancer and screen for other oral health problems at your visits. If we catch things early it is much easier to treat.
What can I do to replace my missing teeth?
You have many options depending on the number and location of the missing teeth. Everything from an implant, to a bridge to partial or complete denture. Come in for a comprehensive evaluation for more information.
How safe are dental X-rays?
There is very little risk in dental x-rays. We are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.
Why do my gums bleed when I brush my teeth?
Bleeding gums are one of the signs of gum disease. Think of gum tissue as the skin on your hand. If your hands bled every time you washed them, you would know something was wrong. Flossing, brushing and regular checkups can help to prevent gum disease.
Is there a relationship between tobacco use and periodontal disease?
Studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. Smokers are much more likely than non-smokers to have hard plaque form on their teeth, have deeper pockets between the teeth and gums and lose more of the bone and tissue that support the teeth.
How does periodontal disease increase my risk for heart disease?
Several theories exist to explain the link between periodontal disease and heart disease. One theory is that oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the bloodstream, attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation. Coronary artery disease is characterized by a thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries due to the buildup of fatty proteins. Blood clots can obstruct normal blood flow, restricting the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly. This may lead to heart attacks. Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease.
Can periodontal disease increase my risk for having a premature baby?
Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small. More research is needed to confirm how periodontal disease may affect pregnancy outcomes. What we do know is that periodontal disease is an infection and all infections are cause for concern during pregnancy because they pose a risk to the health of the baby. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, be sure to include an evaluation with a periodontist as part of your prenatal care.
What is the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes?
For years we've known that people with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes. Recently, research has emerged suggesting that the relationship goes both ways – periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar. Though more research is needed, what we do know is that severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, putting diabetics at increased risk for complications. If you are among the 16 million Americans who live with diabetes or are at risk for diabetes or periodontal disease, see a periodontist for an evaluation.
What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.
Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.
What should I do if my child has a toothache?
First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible.
Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?
Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced when a child is 2-3 years of age. Prior to that, parents should clean the child's teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. When toothpaste is used after age 2-3, parents should supervise brushing and make sure the child uses no more than a pea-sized amount on the brush. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?
Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.
What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the dentist.
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
These FAQ’s are taken from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, for more information you can visit their website at, www.aapd.org