FAQs on General Dentistry & Dental Health

This varies based on your individual dental health needs. Guidelines from the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend visiting the dentist at least twice each year for a professional cleaning and checkup. This will enable the dentist to spot any potential problems before they become serious. Of course, you should also schedule an appointment if you are experiencing pain in your tooth or gums.

If you feel pain when eating or drinking hot or cold food and drinks, you have sensitive teeth. One out of every four adults has experienced tooth sensitivity. This pain comes from wearing down the surface of the teeth or the gums, which allows hot, cold, or pressure to come into direct contact with the roots of the teeth, causing pain. Ignoring sensitive teeth and leaving these roots exposed can lead to serious oral health issues, and should be treated promptly.

Silver amalgam fillings are made of metal and have a silver-gray color. White or tooth-colored fillings are made of porcelain or a composite material, and are made to match the color of your teeth. While there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver) fillings, today most dentists recommend the use of composite materials. These modern fillings form a stronger bond with the tooth and offer improved cosmetic results.

Regardless of how diligent you are about brushing and flossing, it is possible that you may experience some degree of tooth decay. Because this can lead to serious oral health problems, it is important to see a dentist for regular checkups and at any sign of trouble. Cavities can be a problem at any age, even if you have never had cavities before. As you age, receding gums can expose roots to plaque, leading to decay, tooth sensitivity, and gum disease.

Medical lasers have many applications in the dental field. Lasers can be used to enhance the tooth whitening process, to remove excess tissue during gum recontouring, to cure fillings and bonding materials, and to remove decayed portions of a tooth. By using a highly focused beam of light rather than traditional dental tools, the dentist is able to work with minimal patient discomfort. In recent years, the use of dental lasers has become more common.

A routine cleaning at the dentist’s office goes beyond brushing and flossing. During this appointment, hardened plaque and tarter are removed from the teeth. This buildup cannot be removed using your toothbrush. The dentist will also measure pockets between the tooth and gum to keep track of possible tooth decay over time. The cleaning appointment also allows time for the dentist to examine your teeth to check for signs of decay or other dental health problems.