Dental FAQs

What is dentistry?

Dentistry involves identifying, treating, and preventing various conditions, disorders, and diseases affecting the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. It is essential to maintaining oral health, which can significantly impact the entire body’s well-being.

Who is a dentist?

dental-faqsA dentist is an expert who focuses on diagnosing, treating, and preventing oral health issues. To become a dentist, Dr. Peterson has completed at least eight years of schooling and earned a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. When dentists specialize in pediatric dentistry, they are trained to provide care for children from infancy to adolescence. This specialization requires specific education and training to work with young kids.

Other specializations include:

  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
  • Periodontics (gum disease)
  • Prosthodontics (implants

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

Regularly attending dental appointments at our office is vital for your teeth and mouth’s well-being and overall body health. Dental care plays a crucial role in maintaining your well-being due to the following reasons:

  • It aids in the prevention of tooth decay.
  • It safeguards against periodontal (gum) disease, which can result in tooth and bone loss.
  • It prevents unpleasant breath; regular brushing, flossing, and visits to Dr. Peterson reduce the bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath.
  • It contributes to a more appealing smile and boosts self-confidence.
  • It helps preserve the brightness of your teeth by preventing stains caused by food, beverages, and tobacco.
  • It strengthens your teeth, enabling you to enjoy healthy and beautiful smiles throughout your lifetime!

My teeth feel fine; do I still need to see a dentist?

Even if your teeth feel okay, you should visit us regularly since there may be issues you’re unaware of. Maintaining the health and appearance of your smile is essential, and Dr. Peterson can assist with both. Fortunately, dentistry has made significant progress, and you no longer have to tolerate discolored, damaged, or irregular teeth. Various treatment options are now available to help you feel confident when you smile.

  • Professional teeth whitening
  • Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
  • Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers

What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?

It’s essential to select a dentist compatible with you and your family, and it’s recommended that you explore multiple options before deciding on one. Your initial meeting with the dentist should help you determine if they are the right fit for you. During your appointment, please consider the following:

  • Is the appointment schedule convenient for you?
  • Is the dental office conveniently located and easily accessible?
  • Is the office clean and well-organized?
  • Has your medical and dental history been accurately recorded and stored in a permanent file?
  • Does the dentist provide clear explanations of oral health techniques?
  • Are you presented with cost information before scheduling any treatments?
  • Is your dentist an ADA (American Dental Association) member?

How can I maintain good oral health between dental checkups,

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth.
  • Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks that can contribute to tooth decay.
  • Avoid tobacco products, as they can stain your teeth and increase the risk of gum disease.
  • If brushing is not immediately possible, use mouthwash or rinse with water after meals.

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

It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) that children should have their first dental checkup when they are between six months and one year old. This is when their baby teeth start to grow, and Dr. Peterson can assess their oral health. After the initial visit, scheduling follow-up appointments every six months is crucial.

How often should I see the dentist?

People of all ages should visit us for a checkup at least twice a year. But, if you have a greater chance of getting oral cancer or gum disease, you may need to come in more often. Our specialist, Dr. Peterson, will advise you on how frequently you should visit us for regular checkups.

What is a cavity?

Tooth decay can lead to tiny holes called cavities that form inside your teeth. Plaque buildup on your teeth, combined with sugars and starches in your food, produces acid that can erode tooth enamel and cause cavities. Neglecting to treat cavities can result in more severe oral health issues. Regularly brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing at least once can help prevent cavities.

What is a filling?

When a dentist removes all the decay from a cavity, they use a synthetic material called a filling to fill it. Fortunately, fillings do not cause pain since an anesthetic is applied to numb your mouth. These fillings can be made from different materials, such as composites, gold, or ceramic. To determine which type of filling is best for your teeth, it’s essential to consult with Dr. Peterson.

How often should I brush my teeth?

For good oral health, brushing your teeth twice a day is essential, as Dr. Peterson and the American Dental Association recommended. This helps remove plaque, the primary source of bacteria in your teeth, gums, and mouth. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Take at least a minute to brush the top and bottom teeth, and don’t forget to brush your tongue to keep your breath fresh.

When should I change my toothbrush?

Changing your toothbrush regularly is essential, especially if you brush your teeth twice daily for two to three minutes each time. We suggest replacing your toothbrush every three months for both adults and children. If you use an electric toothbrush, you can follow the instructions, as you may only need to change the toothbrush heads sometimes.

Switching your toothbrush every four to six weeks is recommended for those with gum disease to prevent bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and clean the bristles. And if you’ve recently been sick, changing your toothbrush as soon as possible is best.

What is gum disease?

Gum or periodontal disease is caused by plaque and bacteria buildup if not treated early. Other factors that can cause gum disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, certain medications, and genetics. Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease and can be treated if detected early. However, if left untreated, it can develop into more severe forms of gum disease, leading to tooth and bone loss. To prevent gum disease, brushing your teeth regularly and visiting our office every six months is essential. Please be on the lookout for common signs of gum disease.

  • 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?

Absolutely! It’s crucial for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment to make regular visits to their dentist. Braces can trap food particles in hard-to-reach areas, accumulating bacteria that can result in cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Dr. Peterson will collaborate with your orthodontist to ensure that your teeth remain clean and healthy throughout your time with braces.

How do I schedule my next checkup?

Please call our practice to schedule your next dental checkup at the best time for you. If you are a new patient, please let us know, and we will send you the necessary information for your first visit. Our front desk staff will be delighted to assist you.