Answers to the Most Common Questions for Your Dentist

December 15, 2021

Even with everyone understanding the importance of dental health, it is common for people to have questions about their dentist. From product suggestions to how often to floss to information about cleanings or certain treatments, the questions can span a wide spectrum.

To save you the hassle of asking your dentist these questions, we have gathered the most common questions people have for dentists in one convenient list. That being said, if you have any further doubts, Dr. Sharma and his team are happy to answer your questions or provide further clarification.

What Toothbrush Should I Use?

You should try to choose a toothbrush that has soft bristles. If you opt for one with medium-to-firm bristles, you risk damaging your gums and teeth.

A powered or electric toothbrush is ideal, as it makes it easier to clean your teeth thoroughly. If you cannot afford an electric toothbrush or prefer a manual one for other reasons, opt for one that has a combination of bristle heights. These provide a better clean than toothbrushes with just one height of bristle.

What Toothpaste Should I Use?

Most toothpaste on the market will get the job done, clearing acids and bacterial growth that your teeth develop from eating and drinking. If you want toothpaste with fluoride, look for the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance. If you need more guidance, ask your dentist for a suggestion based on your oral health.

Do I Need Fluoride?

Fluoride can help prevent decay and strengthen your teeth. Both children and adults can benefit from using fluoride.

What Is a Dental Sealant?

The American Dental Recommendation recommends applying sealants to help fight tooth decay. These are thin coatings that your dentist paints onto the chewing areas of your premolars and molars. Think of them as a barrier to stop bacteria. Sealants are more commonly applied to kids’ teeth but work well for adults too.

Can I Skip Flossing? Is It Really Essential?

Never skip flossing. Flossing is essential to ensure that you remove plaque and food from under your gum line and between your teeth. Not flossing lets the plaque accumulate and harden into tartar. This can widen the space separating your gums and teeth.

If you cannot find an unwaxed or waxed floss you love or have issues reaching some of the spaces, try interdental brushes or floss picks.

Should I Use Mouthwash?

Using mouthwash can further reduce your risk of cavities and help prevent tooth sensitivity. Never use it as a replacement for brushing and flossing. If you have a dry mouth, then your dentist may suggest using a rinse twice a day.

My Kids Don’t Want to Brush. What Can I Do?

You need to make sure that your children are brushing their teeth regularly. The best way to do this is to show your own enthusiasm for brushing. If your kids see you brushing, you will set a good example.

You can also try to find ways to make brushing fun for your kids. Sing a song to them while they brush or find a song they love that is two minutes long.

Why Do I Need Regular Dental Checkups?

Simply put, regular dental checkups give your dentist the chance to spot any potential problems early on. This prevents the issues from worsening and requiring more extensive or costly treatment.

Dental checkups are also important because of the cleanings that your dental hygienist will complete. This supplements your regular brushing and flossing, helping remove buildup on your teeth.

I’m Pregnant. Should I Still Go to the Dentist?

Yes, remember that your mouth’s health affects your overall health. Additionally, pregnancy can make some dental issues worse. As such, you should keep up with your regular dental appointments while pregnant.

What Can I Do to Prevent Cavities?

The most important step to help prevent cavities is to brush and floss regularly. Brush your teeth for two minutes at a time. If you cannot brush right after eating, at least rinse your mouth.

You should also avoid sugar and sticky foods. Keeping up with regular dental checkups also helps prevent cavities.

Why and When Do I Need Dental X-rays?

X-rays are a common part of any dental exam if you have not been to the dentist in a while. They are also commonly used to help diagnose issues. X-rays can show certain tumors, development abnormalities, bone infections, gum disease, cysts, or abscesses.

Typically, you should expect to get x-rays every two years or so. Kids and people with gum disease will likely have them done more frequently.

What Are Some Signs I Need to Make a Dental Appointment?

Anytime that you notice any of the following issues, go ahead and schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can.

  • Broken teeth
  • Redness
  • Mouth sores
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Swollen gums or face
  • Jaw pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums

I Knocked Out My Tooth. What Should I Do?

After knocking out a tooth, rinse your tooth and your mouth. There is still a chance that you can save the tooth, but you will have to visit the emergency dentist in Chicago right away. You should rinse the tooth and put it in your mouth, holding it between the gum and cheek or underneath your tongue. An alternative is to put a clean cloth around the tooth and then put it in milk.

My Teeth Are Sensitive. What Can I Do?

One of the best ways to relieve sensitive teeth is with toothpaste for sensitive teeth. These typically have potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. It will usually take a few weeks for the sensitivity to decrease.

You should also try to avoid foods that can worsen the sensitivity. These include tea, soda, and highly acidic foods (such as lemons, orange, and grapefruits). Your dentist can also help by suggesting other treatments.

I Want to Whiten My Teeth. How Should I Do That?

It can be tempting to buy over-the-counter whiteners. Always talk to your dentist before using these products, as certain people, including those with dental work, should not use these kits. When choosing the kit, opt for one that has an ADA seal.

A more effective option is to have your dentist whiten your teeth in their office. You can also opt for take-home trays and gels from your dentist.

Why Do Teeth Get Darker?

Numerous factors slowly darken your teeth over time. Certain food and drinks can stain your teeth, as can tobacco. Among drinks, hot tea and coffee are common culprits. Their hot temperature leads to temperature cycling in your mouth. As your teeth expand and contract, stains are better able to penetrate. Among foods, acidic items are a common problem. They can open your tooth enamel’s pores, letting stains in.

Should I Really Avoid Sweet and Acidic Foods?

Yes, avoiding acidic and sweet foods will help your teeth stay healthy. The foods may stick to your teeth and lead to cavities.

Is Smoking Really Bad for My Teeth? What About Smokeless Tobacco?

Smoking or chewing smokeless tobacco can both lead to gum disease and oral cancer. They can also stain your teeth. Other potential risks include sores that refuse to heal, prolonged sore throats, white patches or lumps, restricted jaw or tongue movement, and difficulty chewing.

How Can I Find a Dentist?

You can look for recommendations for a dentist from family or friends. You can also ask your doctor or pharmacist. There is also an ADA find-a-dentist tool that can help. If you are interested in making an appointment with American Dental, contact our dental office in Chicago today!


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