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The Importance of Regular Dental Visits

little boy in chair

The Importance of Regular Dental Visits

Make dental visits part of your oral hygiene routine. Dental visits for children and adults should be every six months. Visit your dentist twice a year (or as recommended by your dental professional) to help keep tooth stains under control and identify oral hygiene issues before any serious problems arise. Have you ever wondered why the American Dental Association and your dentist recommend you come back every six months? It’s because regular dental visits are essential for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. And in between those examinations, it’s important that you work to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. It might help to think of coming to the Dentist twice a year like going to your Medical Doctor for your routine physicals. It is important to have regular dental exams and cleanings to be able to keep your mouth and gums healthy year after year.

What Goes On During a Regular Visit

Checking your teeth for tooth decay is just one part of a thorough dental examination. During your regularly scheduled dental appointments, we will look at your gums, mouth, tongue and throat. There are several routine parts to a dental examination: Don’t be surprised if the dentist also examines your face, bite, saliva and movement of your lower jaw joints (TMJs). Your dentist or dental hygienist will then clean your teeth and stress the importance of you maintaining good oral hygiene at home between visits. We will pay special attention to plaque and tartar. This is because plaque and tartar can build up in a very short time if good oral hygiene is not practiced between visits. Food, beverages and tobacco can stain teeth as well. If not removed, soft plaque can harden on the teeth and irritate the gum tissue. If not treated, plaque can lead to gum disease.

The Best Oral Hygiene Routinelittle girl toothbrush

An effective oral hygiene routine starts with a few simple steps:

  • Brushing: To get the best oral hygiene results from toothbrushing, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums, according to the American Dental Association. Use short strokes to move the brush over each tooth. For complete oral hygiene, be sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day, including the front and back sides of all your upper and lower teeth. Also, gently brush your tongue. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months to maintain oral hygiene.
  • Flossing: Flossing helps maintain oral hygiene by removing bacteria from areas between flosserthe teeth that are hard to reach by brushing alone. To floss your teeth, start with an arms-length piece of floss, and wrap most of it around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap a small amount around the middle finger of the other hand. Move the floss carefully up and down between each tooth, and make a C-shape with the floss as you reach the gum line. As you move from tooth to tooth, maximize oral hygiene by unwinding new floss from one hand and wind the used floss onto the other hand. *Flossers are also a good alternative to flossing and may be easier for children and anyone with dexterity flossissues to use.

 

  • Rinsing: You can also include a dental rinse (mouthwash) as part of your oral hygiene routine. A dental rinse is often recommended for additional oral hygiene if you wear braces.

Choose toothbrushes and types of dental floss that you find easy and comfortable to use and you’ll be more inclined to stick with your oral hygiene routine.

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tc/basic-dental-care-overview
  2. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tips-keep-teeth-white
  3. http://www.ada.org/en/
  4. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tc/basic-dental-care-home-treatment?page=2
  5. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/care-of-braces-retainers

 

 

Why Are Baby Teeth Important?

Why Are Baby Teeth Important?

 

This is a question I receive in my practice quite often when parents learn their child has a cavity in a baby tooth that needs to be repaired:

“Why do you have to fix a cavity on a baby tooth that he/she will just lose anyway? Is it really necessary?”

 

It’s a great question!

 

Here’s the answer:

Baby teeth are very important. They play a critical role in chewing, and speaking – especially as language is developing, and in appearance. Baby teeth also help shape the form of the face.  As important as all that is however, probably the most critical role baby teeth play in a child’s mouth is that of holding space in the jaw for the developing adult teeth.

 

Most parents don’t realize some baby teeth will remain in a child’s mouth until he/she is approximately 12 years old, so if a cavity is found in a baby molar at around 3 years of age, on a tooth that he/she will have until he is about 12, that’s potentially a span of 9 years for the decay to grow and worsen and create all sorts of problems, for instance difficulty eating, and the potential for abscess and infection.

 

What do I tell parents in my practice? When I find decay on a baby tooth, my general rule of thumb is to assess the size and location of the cavity and factor in the approximate duration of time the tooth will remain in the child’s mouth. For instance, if the cavity is very small, and the tooth will only remain in the child’s mouth for less than 6 months and doesn’t have the potential to spread to other teeth, I will most often watch it and allow nature to take it’s course. Instructing parents on good oral hygiene as a preventative measure.. If however, the decay is not minor and the child will have the tooth for more than 6 months and the decay has the potential to easily spread to other healthy teeth, the solution is to repair.

 

As always, it’s important to remember to take your child for regular dental check-ups, twice per year, to help maintain strong and healthy baby and adult teeth.

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