General Dentistry FAQ
What Toothbrush Should I use?
We highly recommend an electric toothbrush with a 2 minute timer.
Many people don’t brush for the recommended two to three minutes when using a manual toothbrush. Children are also good candidates for electric toothbrushes as their brushing habits tend to be less than optimal. While everyone certainly does not need an electric toothbrush, in many instances they can be very beneficial.
What Toothpaste Should I Use?
The most important ingredient to look for when choosing toothpaste is fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. Its use has been instrumental in the dramatic drop in tooth decay and cavity occurrence that has taken place over the past 50 years. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars and starches that remain on your teeth after eating. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from the acid that is released when this happens. It does this in two ways. First, fluoride makes your tooth enamel stronger and less likely to suffer acid damage. Second, it can reverse the early stages of acid damage by solidifying areas that have started to decay.
What if my teeth are sensitive? There are several options for toothpaste for people who experience sensitive teeth.
Prescription toothpaste is a thing. We prescribe prescription toothpaste that has a higher concentration of fluoride to help rebuild enamel, offer additional protection against sensitivity, and provide additional protection from cavities that are forming.
What is fluoride and why should I get it?
Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally found in air, soil, water, plants and foods. Boulder's water sources contain small amounts of natural fluoride. The city also adds fluoride to the drinking water to achieve a target level of 0.7 mg/L, which is based on 2015 federal and state guidance. The CDC ranks drinking water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
One of the easiest ways that you can prevent adult decay is by applying fluoride to your teeth.
Fluoride has been proven to protect teeth from decay by rebuilding weakened tooth surfaces through a process called tooth remineralization in which applied fluoride is absorbed into teeth and restores lost minerals that make our teeth hard. Not only can fluoride strengthen teeth to prevent future decay, it can also help to arrest early decay, thus preventing the need to fill a tooth.
Adults can benefit from fluoride because as we age, our teeth weaken as well making them more susceptible to decay. Although remineralization occurs daily in our mouths naturally, as we age, the natural process becomes less efficient. Other risk factors can not only reduce natural remineralization but can also make our mouths host to decay-causing bacteria at higher amounts.
Even though it is in most toothpaste, it is still recommended to have it applied at your 6 month cleaning appointments. These treatments contain a much higher level of fluoride than the amount found in toothpastes and mouth rinses, and is designed to benefit your teeth without being ingested.
Fluoride is safe and effective when used as directed but can be hazardous at high doses (the "toxic" dosage level varies based on an individual's weight but is between 5g-10g in one dose). It's very difficult to reach hazardous levels even with excessive use of a fluoride toothpaste and mouthrinse, the fluoride varnish used in dental offices, and the fluoride in our water supply. Nonetheless, if you do have concerns or questions about the amount of fluoride you or your child may be receiving, talk to your child's dentist, pediatrician, or family doctor.
Flossing…. I Brush My Teeth Everyday, Why Do I Need to Floss too?
The plaque between your teeth is not removed with just brushing. The toothbrush cannot reach into the spaces between your teeth. In order to remove that plaque and build up between your teeth it is recommended that you floss at least once a day. There are floss pics, coco floss, standard floss and even fancy water flossers. Help protect your teeth and prevent cavities by flossing once a day
If your gums bleed when you are flossing that is okay. This means that you are removing plaque from just under your gum lines. The more you floss the less your gums bleed and the less sensitive your gums will be. If they are still bleeding for extended periods of time with regular flossing and brushing you will want to see your dentist as there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
How often should I see a dentist?
Most people should see a dentist every 6 months. However, this will depend on the recommendation of the Dentist and Hygienist. If they feel that you are on the verge of developing gum disease or periodontist they will recommend a prophylaxis every 3-4 months.
If you have been diagnosed with Gum Disease or Periodontitis then you will need to see the Hygienist every 3 months after you have had your initial Deep Cleaning completed.
Why are my gums bleeding?
The main cause of bleeding gums is the buildup of plaque at the gum line. This will lead to a condition called gingivitis, or inflamed gums. Plaque that is not removed will harden into tartar. This will lead to increased bleeding and a more advanced form of gum and bone disease known as periodontitis. Bleeding gums can happen for a number of reasons, from gingivitis to a side effect of pregnancy. Changing your oral care routine can also make your gums bleed. We recommend brushing and flossing regularly and getting your semi annual dental visit in to stop your gums from bleeding. Certain medicines also increase the likelihood that your gums will bleed. If changing your oral care habits, adjusting your medications, and maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t help your gums stop bleeding, your next step should be to make a dental appointment to discover the underlying issue causing your gums to bleed.
But My Tooth Doesn’t Hurt.
We just told you that you have a cavity and you need a filling, but your tooth isn't hurting. You had a tooth ache but it is now gone, so why do you need to get treatment?
Unfortunately, many dental problems don't hurt until they are infected and need immediate and costly treatment. In this way, dental problems are similar to conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. They don't "hurt;” however, that doesn't mean you don't treat them. Neglecting your dental treatment until it hurts leads to bigger, more invasive, and more costly issues down the road. An untreated cavity can turn into a crown, untreated crowns could lead to the need for a root canal, untreated root canal can lead to the extraction of the tooth.
We hope to see you regularly for cleanings and checkups so we can help you be proactive about any dental issues that may arise. This way, you’ll be able to maintain optimum oral health with the least invasive treatment possible.