Dental FAQs

Have a question about dentistry or general oral health? Chances are that others have wondered the same thing! Take a look below for answers to commonly asked questions. If that doesn’t help, feel free to drop us a line with any questions you may have. We’re always here to serve you.

Dental FAQs

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

Visiting the dentist regularly not only help keeps 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 the dentist regularly reduces the amount of bad-breath causing bacteria in your mouth
  • Gives you a more attractive smile and increases self-confidence
  • Reduces stains from food, drinks, and tobacco

How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, and floss at least once a day.
  • Use a toothpaste with fluoride. We might also recommend a fluoride rinse to help prevent cavities.
  • Avoid foods with a lot of sugar. Sugar increases the bacteria that grows in your mouth causing plaque and cavities. Avoid tobacco which can stain teeth, cause gum disease, and lead to oral cancer.
  • Brush your tongue to remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria.

How often should I see the dentist?

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 see us more frequently.

How safe are dental x-rays?

While the dose of radiation you are exposed to during standard dental x-rays is extremely small, Southeastern Dental has eliminated this concern by only using digital x-rays.

What happens when I have a cavity?

A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth because of tooth decay. We use a synthetic material to fill the cavity after the decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because we numb your mouth with an anesthetic. Fillings can be made from materials such as composites, gold, or ceramic.

When should I change my toothbrush?

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.

What is gum disease?

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. Advanced gum disease will lead to permanent tooth and bone loss. Signs of gum disease include:

  • Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gum line
  • Abscessed teeth

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. Bacteria can build up and lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease.

What age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six-months-old and no later than one-year-old. During this time, your child’s baby teeth will be coming in and we can examine the health of these first few teeth.

What are some dental issues that seniors face?

Seniors often face certain dental problems such as decay on the root surfaces of the teeth and tooth sensitivity. Dry mouth from various medications can damage the teeth and existing health conditions can affect oral health. As we age, our skin becomes thinner and gums are part of that process. Older adults should use softer toothbrushes to prevent gum damage from over-brushing. Regular checkups with Southeastern Dental are important to prevent many of the issues that seniors face.

What are dental sealants? Are they right for me?

Dental sealants are a breakthrough in our fight against tooth decay. They are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to seal out the bacteria and food that cause decay. Sealants are applied in a quick, comfortable procedure in just one office visit but can provide protection for years. Ask us about them at your next visit.