Frequently Asked Questions
Commonly Asked Questions About Oral Health
At Marshville Family Dentistry, our patients are our priority. We strive to protect your oral health and to help you achieve your smile goals. We offer dental services in Marshville, NC, and can customize treatments based on each patient’s needs.
We understand that many patients have questions about their dental health, what to do, and what to expect. Since education is an important part of dental care, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about oral health. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We are happy to help!
What type of toothbrush and toothpaste should I use?
Using a soft-bristled toothbrush is best as medium and hard-bristled brushes can damage the teeth and gums. Brush your teeth using soft pressure for two minutes twice per day. Both electric and manual toothbrushes work. However, electric toothbrushes help do some of the work for you, especially for patients who have trouble with their hands. Remember to replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3-4 months since broken bristles are ineffective.
Brush with a fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. These products are approved to strengthen and protect the teeth.
Do I really need to floss?
Yes! Flossing is often neglected, but it is an important part of your oral health routine. Brushing alone cannot remove food particles from between the teeth. Without prompt removal, plaque and tartar build up between the teeth leading to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. You should floss your teeth once daily to keep the areas between your teeth clean.
How often should I get a dental checkup?
Although dental health varies from patient to patient, the general rule of thumb is to see your dentist every six months. During your routine exam, your dental team will clean your teeth, check for issues, and maintain your oral health. If issues arise in this time, they are usually minor and can be addressed quickly and easily.
Patients who are prone to decay or gum disease may be advised to see a dentist more frequently. Your dental team will advise you on the best schedule for your oral health.
Why should I have dental X-rays? Are they safe?
X-rays are recommended for all new patients, so we have a baseline of their dental health. After that, they are performed periodically to track changes in your teeth that can’t be seen. For example, they help us see the whole picture of your teeth, roots, jaw, and bone.
Dental X-rays are safe. They do require low levels of radiation exposure, but the risks of harm are very small. The techniques and tools used limit exposure to radiation to protect the patient and staff. The patient also wears a leaded apron as a shield to minimize any risks.
At what age should my child start seeing a dentist?
The first visit is usually recommended by age one or when the baby teeth start to erupt. This allows your child to start getting used to the dentist’s office, sights and sounds of the environment, and the team. Early appointments help get your child on the right path for oral health.
During these appointments, the dental team gently examines the teeth, gums, and jaw. They watch for issues in growth and development. This time is also used to educate parents on the best way to care for their child’s teeth.
What are early signs of a dental problem?
Dental problems don’t just appear. It is easy to dismiss lingering problems until you suddenly experience tooth or mouth pain. If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your dentist for an exam as you may have an underlying dental issue.
- Bad breath
- Red or bleeding gums
- Mouth sores
- Tooth sensitivity
- Pain when eating cold, hot, or sugary foods
- Visible holes in your teeth
- Brown or black stains on the teeth
How can I prevent cavities?
Cavities don’t show up overnight. They start small as areas of plaque and tartar that build into decay. Prompt removal of plaque is necessary to keep it from progressing and eating away at your teeth.
The best way to prevent tooth decay and cavities is by maintaining a good oral health regimen. This includes brushing and flossing regularly and visiting your dentist for routine appointments. Additionally, avoid or minimize sugary foods and drinks that may stick to your teeth.
What can I do about sensitive teeth?
Tooth sensitivity often occurs when eating or drinking hot, cold, or sugary items. This occurs when the tooth enamel is thin. Sensitivity may also occur due to receding gums, a chipped or broken tooth, grinding your teeth, tooth whitening, orthodontics, or fillings.
If you experience tooth sensitivity, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your team will check for an underlying issue and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Why are my gums bleeding? What can I do about them?
Red, swollen, bleeding gums are an early sign of gingivitis and gum disease. Usually, improving your oral health routine can help reverse this stage of gum disease to get your teeth and gums back on track. However, a dental exam is advised to help remove any decay under the gums that may be contributing to the problem. If gingivitis is left unchecked, it can worsen into more severe stages of gum disease.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease or gum disease results from infections and inflammation in the gums and bones around the teeth. It is typically caused by poor oral health habits which allow sticky bacteria to build up on the teeth and spread beneath the gum line. The gums then become infected.
Periodontal disease builds up over time if it is left untreated. The disease progresses from red, bleeding gums to receding gums to possible tooth loss in severe stages. Patients with gum disease are often advised to see the dentist more regularly for treatments to remove bacteria from beneath the gum line. While advanced stages are not reversible, they can be slowed with proper treatment.
How can I whiten my teeth?
Professional teeth whitening is advised as a safe, effective way to brighten your smile. This removes stains that have built up over time due to age, lifestyle choices, or foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, red wine, and tomato products. Ask us about our teeth whitening treatments in Marshville to remove unwanted stains and whiten your teeth. At-home and office-based treatments will help you achieve a dramatically brighter smile so you look younger and happier.
How long will the whitening results last?
At-home whitening trays use custom-fitted trays and a bleaching agent which you can apply and wear for 30 minutes to an hour each day. Patients wear the trays daily until they achieve the desired results, usually 1-2 weeks. Office-based whitening is performed during a simple, hour-long appointment in your dentist’s office. Your smile is brighter after just one appointment.
With either treatment, how long the results last depend on your lifestyle. If you minimize your use of teeth-staining products and maintain good oral habits, your results will last longer. Additionally, maintenance treatments can be done using your at-home products to keep your smile bright.
How can I fix my teeth and improve my smile?
Improving your smile is a way of taking control of your oral health. It also improves the function and appearance of your smile and boosts your self-confidence. The following treatments can correct any imperfections and enhance your smile:
- Teeth whitening
- Dental bonding
- Porcelain veneers
- Dental crowns
- Dental implants
In addition, following good oral habits, such as brushing and flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly can keep your mouth healthy and your smile beautiful.
Am I a candidate for Invisalign?
Invisalign is the standard in clear aligner trays. The technology allows patients with mild to moderate orthodontic needs to comfortably and discreetly straighten their teeth. Invisalign is often approved for teenagers and adults with the following conditions:
- Crooked teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Gaps or spaces between the teeth
More severe cases may require additional orthodontic measures. We recommended scheduling a consultation to determine if the treatment is right for you.
I wear dentures. Do I need to see the dentist?
Yes! Your oral health goes beyond just teeth. It also includes the gums, mouth, jaw, and even dentures. Your routine exams help make sure all of these pieces are functioning as they should. The gums need regular care too to remove bacteria and prevent disease. For patients with partial dentures, the dentist still needs to examine and help you keep the rest of your teeth healthy.
Regardless of the type of denture you use, they all need to be adjusted from time to time. They may become loose or change shape with normal wear and tear. Ill-fitting dentures raises the risk of dental problems, such as gum disease. Your dentist cares for your entire mouth and can help make sure your dentures fit properly and comfortably.