At Memorial Park Dental Spa, we always welcome questions and concerns from our patients. We believe that the more you know about your teeth and gums, the more comfortable and better you will be in taking care of them. Please explore these Frequently Asked Questions about dentistry, and let us know if you need more information regarding a certain aspect of your dental health or an upcoming appointment at our Houston office.
How important is dental care?
Dental care includes taking care of your teeth and gums by brushing, flossing and regularly visiting the dentist. Taking care of your teeth and gums not only keeps your mouth healthy, but also protects your overall health. There is a strong mouth and body connection that patients must be aware of. Dental care helps keep your smile healthy, beautiful and long-lasting because it:
- Helps prevent tooth decay
- Protects against gum disease
- Prevents bad breath
- Helps your smile look whiter, and more attractive
- Strengthens your teeth for long-lasting function
My teeth feel fine and look fine; do I still need to see a dentist?
Your teeth may feel fine, but dental problems can absolutely exist without you knowing. For example, early tooth decay and even early gum disease can be present without symptoms. Don't wait until you have dental pain to see a dentist, as this is often too late and can result in more costly restorative treatments. Furthermore, a professional dental cleaning is the only way to remove hardened plaque on your teeth and along your gum line.
Can I really change the way my smile looks without invasive procedures?
Today's advancements in cosmetic dentistry make it possible to correct nearly all smile imperfections. The appearance of your smile is important, for your self-esteem and quality of life. A cosmetic dentist can recommend a variety of treatment options to fit your personal budget, preferences and level of comfort. There are cosmetic services to correct teeth that are stained, gapped, chipped, missing, or misshapen. Our practices can help you smile with confidence by offering the following cosmetic solutions:
- Professional teeth whitening
- Tooth-colored fillings and bonding
- Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers
What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?
Choosing a dentist that is qualified and one that you and your family feel comfortable with is very important. During your initial visit, ask yourself the following questions to help you determine if the dentist is the right one for you:
- Was the appointment convenient to schedule and get to?
- Is the office environment clean and does it feel welcoming?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist or hygienist explain procedures and educate you on proper dental care?
- Is information about cost and payment options disclosed to you upfront?
- Is the dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?
How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?
Never forget to brush your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes each session. You should also floss at least once each day. Choose toothpaste that contains fluoride, as this aids in cavity prevention. Also, don't forget to brush your tongue to prevent bad breath and reduce plaque-causing bacteria. Avoid high-sugared foods and tobacco to keep your teeth free of decay, gum disease and staining. Finally, don't forget to schedule your next dental checkup, which is typically recommended every six months.
At what age should I take my child to see the dentist for the first time?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year of age. During this simple first visit, we will examine the health of those first few baby teeth that are erupting and help get the child comfortable with going to the dentist. A dental checkup should be scheduled every six months following the first appointment.
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 the dentist more frequently. We will advise you on how often you should see us for routine exams.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth as a result of of tooth decay. Cavities develop when plaque accumulates on the outside of the tooth. When you eat sugars and starches, harmful bacteria and acids can form that erode the enamel on your tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. A filling is the treatment of choice to repair a cavity. We offer composite resin, tooth-colored fillings as a synthetic material that fills the cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed.
When should I change my toothbrush?
If you are brushing your teeth twice a day as you should, your toothbrush will eventually become worn and less effective. In general, adults and children should change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions on when to change the toothbrush head. If you suffer from gum disease, we encourage you to change your toothbrush more frequently (every 4 to 6 weeks) to prevent bacteria from spreading. If the bristles of your toothbrush start to fray or you've been sick, go ahead and switch it out immediately.
What is gum disease?
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease primarily develops as a result of plaque and bacteria buildup. Gum disease occurs in stages. The earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease. However, if left untreated, it can progress into gum disease or advanced gum disease, which may involve permanent tooth and bone loss. Gum disease has also been linked to serious health condition such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and premature birth. Brushing your teeth regularly, avoiding tobacco and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gum disease. If you notice the following common signs of gum disease, please let us know sooner rather than later:
- 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?
Although you may see your orthodontist on a frequent basis, your orthodontist is not responsible for monitoring your dental health. Going to the dentist every six months while in braces is actually even more important. With braces, food often gets trapped in places that is challenging for your toothbrush to reach. It is common for orthodontic patients to suffer from cavities and gingivitis if they do not see their dentist throughout their treatment. We can ensure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while in braces as well as prevent serious dental problems from disrupting your orthodontic treatment.
How do I schedule my next checkup?
We make it easy and convenient to schedule your next visit. Simply give us a call and our front desk staff will be happy to find a time that works best for your schedule. If you are a new patient, please let us know so that we can gather the necessary information to prepare for your appointment.
At Memorial Park Dental Spa, we want to help you understand your dental health. You will find that our dental staff takes extra time with each patient to ensure you are educated and confident in the health, function and appearance of your smile – regardless of your stage of life.