Are brushing and flossing enough to keep your teeth healthy? Or are you overdue for a dental visit? Keeping your teeth in great shape isn’t just about having a beautiful smile. Healthy teeth and gums are also important for your health. It might not be pleasant to think about cavities and other dental problems, but knowing about them helps ensure you see a dentist for the right treatment.
Not sure how to go about finding a dentist? We’ll go over tips on choosing one for exams and cleanings or other dental services. We’ll also walk you through when to see a dentist and how to prevent dental problems. This information is all part of improving your oral health.
You might be wondering why you need routine dental exams. Maybe you’re curious about dental X-rays or the kind of toothbrush you should use. The following questions and answers can help you understand dental health better.
Always go with soft bristles. Harder bristles can actually hurt your gums and teeth. You can use either a manual toothbrush or a powered one. The key is to brush properly. Remember to change your toothbrush every few months, since the bristles wear out. When that happens, they can’t clean your teeth as effectively.
Some people think they can skip flossing. It might not seem like a big deal, but flossing keeps your gums and teeth healthy. It removes bits of food and plaque from your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. This helps reduce your risk of gum disease and cavities.
Your teeth aren’t bothering you. Your gums seem fine. Do you absolutely need to see a dentist for a cleaning and exam? Yes, you do. Dental exams and cleanings provide a line of defense against dental problems. No matter how much you brush and floss, plaque can build up on your teeth or get below the gum line and turn into tartar. Dentists get rid of this damaging substance on your teeth with special tools. Dental exams mean dentists can look for decay, inflammation, or other signs of dental problems, too.
Worried about radiation exposure? Dentists limit dental X-rays to keep you safe from high levels of radiation. You might not need X-rays unless you have a tooth or gum problem that your dentist wants to examine in more detail. Note that the use of digital X-rays exposes you to much lower levels of radiation compared to traditional X-rays.
You need to see a dentist, but how do you pick one? Don’t just choose any. You’ll want to find a dentist who offers the care you need and has a good reputation in your area. Ask friends and family for recommendations. Which dentist do they use? Are they happy with the care they get? You can also search online for local dentists. Before choosing one, take a look at their office hours, services, location, payment options, and other factors.
Choose a dentist who’s a member of the American Dental Association (ADA). They need to meet strict requirements and commit to providing high-quality care. Do you have dental benefits? If so, look for a dentist who’s in your network. This helps keep costs down. Does the dentist offer emergency care? You might not need it, but it helps to have a dental office you trust in case of emergencies.
Dentists don’t spend all of their time examining teeth and doing cleanings. Dental offices usually perform many procedures, from routine cleanings to cosmetic procedures and tooth restoration. Here are some of the more common kinds of dental services that are offered:
What exactly are orthodontics? This kind of dentistry involves changing the way your teeth are aligned. When you close your mouth, your teeth should line up properly. Otherwise, you might have trouble chewing, talking, or even sleeping. Orthodontics treat alignment problems like an overbite, underbite, crowded teeth, or crooked teeth. You might wear braces or another device to help straighten your teeth.
Having this kind of treatment means you’ll be able to chew food without difficulty. You’ll also have an easier time speaking clearly when your jaws line up right. Other benefits of orthodontics include a lower risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. You’ll have a healthier smile, too. There’s also another important benefit of orthodontics—treating these issues early means fewer problems later on.
Have you had a dental exam recently? You should have these twice a year, according to the CDC. Or you might need them more if you have dental issues. It’s time to see a dentist if you’re due for a dental cleaning and exam, but there are other reasons to make a dental appointment.
Do you have tooth pain? How about swelling or a fever? These are all signs of tooth infections or other tooth problems that need care. Do your gums look red or swollen? Do they feel tender? These might mean you have gum inflammation or gum disease, which also requires care.
Dental visits aren’t only for dental problems and preventative care. You might want to see a dentist for cosmetic purposes as well. Are you self-conscious about crooked teeth or a gap between your teeth? Are your teeth stained? Many dentists do cosmetic procedures, like teeth whitening or veneers, to help you regain your confidence.
Your teeth and gums can end up with inflammation, damage, or other problems. In some cases, this can raise your risk of other health issues, too. That’s why regular dental exams matter so much. What kinds of dental problems are common? Check out these issues that many patients have:
Dental problems might be common, but they’re not a given. There are plenty of things you can do to lower your risk. Brushing and flossing on a regular basis are great for at-home preventative care. This helps reduce plaque buildup. Have dental exams and cleanings done twice a year for even more protection from decay and disease.
What else can you do? Don’t chew on hard things like pens or ice because this can damage your teeth. Avoid foods that are bad for your teeth as well. That means staying away from candy and other sugary foods. Starchy foods, like potato chips, also aren’t good for your teeth. Sticky foods, such as caramel, are among the worst kinds of foods you can eat. They attract lots of bacteria that lead to tooth decay.
With this helpful info, you might be inspired to take better care of your teeth and gums. Go ahead and set up your dental cleaning, or schedule a visit for dental problems you’ve been having. Use prevention tips to keep your mouth healthy on a regular basis. Making dental care a big part of your life helps boost your health and well-being overall.