As 2014 comes to an end, it is a great time to examine some of the most common dental questions that arise throughout the year. Here are answers to five of the most popular dental health questions.
1. Do I really need to see my dentist twice a year?
Yes. When people only see the dentist because of a problem, it can be very expensive. That is because by the time there is an issue, the dental problem is likely in its advanced stages. Seeing the dentist on a regular basis allows him or her to identify problems before they get complicated. In addition, having your teeth cleaned professionally every six months is a great way to keep cavities at bay. In fact, if you have a history of gum problems, your dentist may even recommend that you schedule additional visits.
2. Why do I need a filling if my tooth doesn’t hurt?
Tooth decay does not hurt until it gets close to the nerve. By the time you feel discomfort, a simple filling may end up requiring a root canal. Your dentist can usually identify tooth decay long before it becomes a big cavity. Catching decay early can save time, money and unnecessary discomfort.
3. Why does my child need dental sealants?
Even when you brush and floss well, you may miss food particles and plaque trapped in your teeth’s nooks and crannies. Dentists often apply sealant to the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent tooth decay. The thin, plastic coating bonds into the grooves to protect the tooth enamel. Children and teenagers often benefit from sealants on their permanent molars and premolars. Dentists often recommend sealants for baby teeth so that they are kept healthy. That is because baby teeth are important for spacing reasons and you do not want them to fall out too early. Applying sealants is a simple process and generally takes just a few minutes. With proper care, they can last up to 10 years.
4. Is it safe to have dental X-rays taken?
X-rays are important because they can reveal diseases invisible to the naked eye. In addition to locating small areas of decay between teeth, dentists rely on X-rays to find abscesses, bone infections, and signs of periodontal disease. Although exposure to radiation from any source, including the sun, home appliances and minerals in the soil should be limited, dental X-rays expose you to an extremely small amount. Most dentists use digital X-rays, which are even safer.
5. What should I do if I am too scared to go to the dentist?
It is normal to be a little nervous about going to the dentist, particularly for children. However, there have been so many advances in dentistry that it is possible to be treated comfortably even with dental anxiety. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends alerting the dentist and staff about your feelings so that they can adapt treatment to your needs. It is also a good idea to schedule your appointment for a time when you are not rushed. Many patients find it calming to wear headphones, which can block the noise coming from the drills. If you have severe anxiety, discuss sedation dentistry options with your dentist ahead of time.
Remember to schedule your 2015 cleaning and exam appointments as soon as possible. Merry Christmas from the Armstrong Team!