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There are many questions when it comes to dental procedures. Why do we need certain treatments?, What does the dentist look for besides cavities?, Are x-rays safe?, etc. While you may know the answers to some of the questions, there are many questions asked by patients on a daily basis that relate to the ones mentioned below.

-Are You Ever Too Old For Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is about more than just looking good. It is not suggested to do cosmetic dentistry until after growth and development have ended, beyond that there is no age limit. Cosmetic dentistry will often repair and restore our teeth’s function along with improving esthetics. Cosmetic dentistry has also been shown to improve self esteem and how others see you. Whether it be the use of porcelain crowns to rebuild lost tooth height from years of use or dental implants to replace missing or badly damaged teeth, cosmetic dentistry can give you the smile you have desired and need to live a full, happy life.

-What Are Dental Sealants?

Sealants are a thin, plastic-like coating that is applied onto the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants are usually placed on the premolars and molars. The sealant flows into the grooves of the teeth and are set using a special dental light so they harden forming a protective shield.

It is generally recommended that children have sealants placed on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as the erupt into the mouth. However, it is also recommended for anyone with deep grooves and pits in the enamel of the biting surfaces of back teeth. Sealants generally last about 2-10 years depending upon wear and seal strength, but they should be routinely checked to ensure they have not fractured or chipped off exposing the tooth structure underneath.

-What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Oral Cancer?

While oral cancer is usually believed to be associated with those who drink and/or smoke, more then 25% of all oral cancer cases are of those who do not smoke and only drink alcohol on occasion. Oral Cancer signs and symptoms include:

-Development of white or red patches in the mouth.

-Development of sores that do not go away within 2 weeks.

-Unexplained pain or tenderness around the face and neck.

-Development of unexplained numbness in the face and neck.

-Chronic sore throat or voice changes.

-Ear pain.

-Change in the “bite” of your teeth.

It is important to remember that early diagnosis of oral cancer gives you the best chance for full recovery.

-How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

This has been a hot topic with many in the media and many families. We are exposed to radiation all day long going about our daily lives. This includes radiation from the sun and appliances in our homes. Luckily, these radiation levels are extremely small. A full set of dental x-rays is similar to the normal radiation we are exposed to on a normal day outside.

Dental x-rays have improved dramatically over the years. Modern x-ray units limit radiation to a small area using a single beam and use higher speed film to require a shorter exposure time. It is important to remember that radiation exposure is cumulative over the course of a lifetime. Dental x-rays are a necessary part of maintaining dental health. The ADA has standards of care in regards to acceptable diagnostic radiographs (x-rays) for all dentists to follow.

-I Have A Gap In My Front Teeth. Can That Be Fixed?

The procedure to close a gap between teeth is called dental bonding. Dental bonding is a cosmetic dentistry procedure using a tooth colored material that is applied to your natural teeth to close the space. The final product will look natural and match color perfectly. No one should know but you and your dentist. The procedure can be completed in as little as an hour.

-Are Teeth Whitening Toothpastes Effective?

Toothpastes contain mild abrasives and are generally effective at removing light surface stains. However, over time the staining goes deeper and more difficult for toothpaste alone to remove. Teeth whitening toothpastes are more effective at removing surface stains but the most effective way to whiten teeth is through your dentist using bleaching agents that can go deeper than just the surface. Whitening toothpastes can lighten your tooth’s color by about one shade. In contrast, light-activated whitening conducted in your dentist’s office can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter.

-When Is The Best Time To Remove Wisdom Teeth?

When the removal of wisdom teeth is determined necessary, it is best done when the roots are approximately 2/3rds formed, usually in the teenage years. Removal at this time allows for an easier procedure and decreases the risk of damage to the nerves in that area.

 Conclusion

An educated patient armed with dental health knowledge is going to be able to ask good questions regarding their dental care. You should know what options are available to you treatment-wise, why treatment needs to be done, and whether or not it specific treatments will work for you. The next time you are at the dental office, ask questions. Your dentist and hygienist will be happy to answer your questions and help you make informed decisions.



Tooth decay is an age old problem that has affected generations of children and adults. Tooth decay is preventable, we just need to understand what causes it so that we may then prevent it from occurring.

Tooth decay is caused by a bacterial intrusion into the tooth. The bacteria feed on the buildup of food debris on teeth. The bacteria then secrete acids which breakdown tooth enamel. Once the acid forms a hole in the enamel, the bacteria can then enter the tooth and progressively breakdown the tooth, causing a cavity.  Understanding this process is critical to maintaining oral health and preventing tooth decay.

Best Tips To Prevent Tooth Decay

Maintain Proper Dental Hygiene. This is the first step to preventing tooth decay. Proper dental hygiene should include, brushing, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. Toothbrushing should be done at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Brushing more often during the day will enhance your dental hygiene. Flossing should be done at least once a day (preferably before bedtime) but it can also be done more often.  The goal in dental hygiene is to not only keep down the amount of debris in the mouth but also to keep the environment from becoming acidic which will allow bacteria to more agressively break down teeth causing tooth decay.

Use of an antibacterial/fluoride mouthwash (such as purple listerine)is often overlooked but is also important. These oral rinses are designed to decrease cavity causing bacteria in the mouth while utilizing fluoride to strengthen enamel against breakdown. If brushing and flossing is done properly, use of an oral rinse should complete the protection against tooth decay.

Sugarless Gum. Sugarless gum is important because it stimulates salivary flow. The increased saliva in the mouth will help to keep our teeth clean. Saliva is the mouth’s natural defense against oral bacteria. Choose a sugarless gum with xylitol. Bacteria can not feed on xylitol, because it cannot be metabolized. This helps keep the acid levels lower. Xylitol has also been shown to help remineralize our teeth’s enamel.

Maintaining Proper Nutrition. Choosing foods and drinks wisely is important to your overall health as well as your dental health. By eating properly, you are able to keep your body as healthy as possible allowing your body to fight off any attack. The best snacks for your dental health include raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Avoiding sugar is not always an option so it is important to minimize the damage. Apples are actually the perfect snack for dental health as they act as a tooth cleaner and whitener. They are able to clean your teeth by the abrasive action of the skin and hard inner surface of the apple, malic acid in the apple helps to remove surface stain and keep teeth whiter. You can actually squueze juice from an apple and mix it with baking soda to brush on and whiten your teeth. So next time you are looking for a midday snack pick up a shiny apple.

Drink Fluoridated Water. While fluoride is a controversial topic for many. It has been proven time and again to protect our teeth from tooth decay. Fluoridated water is important for children to drink. The fluoride becomes a permanent part of the tooth when it is consumed during tooth development.  Drinking at least 16oz of fluoridated water each day will help prevent tooth decay. Another option is to use a supplemental fluoride prescribed by your dentist.

-Dental Sealants. Many believe dental sealants are just for children but that is not so. If an adult has no tooth decay on the tooth in question nor any previous dental restorations a sealant can be placed and be effective. A dental sealant is designed to cover the chewing surfaces of premolars and molars. This keeps the grooves of our teeth from developing tooth decay. In many of us, these grooves are quite deep and are an inherent weakness in the fight against tooth decay.

Tooth Decay Conclusion

Tooth decay is preventable with diligent dental hygiene and maintaining regularly scheduled dental visits. Maybe in the future, we can eventually wipe out tooth decay . Until then, we need to follow the steps above to maintain good oral health.



We are always looking for ways to prevent tooth decay. Most of us are aware of the traditional methods, such as brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily. Fortunately, there are dental sealants, a dental procedure which produces significant protection from tooth decay. Dental sealants are a great way to ward off tooth decay in the grooves of our teeth. Many of us have an inherent weakness in the structural formation in the grooves of our teeth. Weakness in the grooves on the top surface of our teeth allows food and bacteria to stick and stay. This creates a highly concentrated environment of cavity causing bacteria which are very difficult to thoroughly remove.  Dental sealants can help young children, teens, and adults prevent cavities.

How Do Dental Sealants Work?

Our teeth are formed with grooves and pits in them that can trap foods. When  food particles become trapped, there is a marked increase in probability of tooth decay. The longer the food debris stays, the more likely it is that tooth decay will begin. With proper dental hygiene, we are able to remove most of the food debris and dental plaque before it does any damage. For many with deeper grooves in their teeth, toothbrushes are unable to adequately get inside of the grooves leaving bacteria and food behind. Sealants are placed to help those with deeper, uncleansable, grooves.

Dental sealants are generally recommended to all children as their permanent premolars and molars erupt into the mouth. The dental sealant is a thin resin that is painted onto the biting surface of teeth. The thin resin then bonds down into the base of the grooves in the tooth’s surface. This resin will fill in those narrow grooves decreasing the chances of tooth decay developing in those teeth. The smooth surface makes it easier for you to maintain good dental hygiene. Even though the chance of tooth decay on the biting surfaces has decreased, tooth decay is still possible. The other surfaces of the teeth are still unprotected and the dental sealant does not last forever. They generally last about 5-8 years before needing to be reapplied.

Dental Sealants Conclusion

Dental sealants are a great preventive method for all ages. The most common cavities are those found in the grooves of our teeth. Dental sealants will definitely decrease the chances of developing tooth decay on the biting surfaces of your premolars and molars. Dental sealants provide you an opportunity to gain an extra edge in the fight against tooth decay. Dental sealants are placed in a painless manner, are relatively inexpensive, and long lasting. Ask your dentist if any of your teeth should be sealed and protected, because not all teeth need sealants. Remember to maintain regular visits to the dentist for dental examinations and professional cleanings.



In today’s modern world, dentistry comes in all forms. How do you know which dentist is right for you and your growing family? There are various specialties in dentistry and many of them overlap between different populations of patients. This overlap is very pronounced between family dentists and pediatric dentists. If you have  children, do you choose a dentist for yourself and a different one for your children?

What Is Family Dentistry?

Family dentists are trained to treat patients of all ages. Family dentists care for your child’s baby teeth, older child’s mixed dentition, adult teeth, and senior dental care. Everyone in the family going to the same dentist can be quite convenient. A child can become easily acclimated to the family dentist by simply watching and modeling another family member. It is usually a very easy transition.

Family dentistry provides preventative dental care, such as regular professional cleanings and oral cancer screenings, and other basic dental care that may be needed. It is important to schedule regular appointments for checkups, so that your dentist can catch any problems before they require the care of a specialist like an oral surgeon or orthodontist. Specialists offer advanced services like treatment of difficult root canals, periodontal surgery, bone surgery, braces, etc. While specialists are still used routinely many of these procedures can be done at the family dental practice. Most dentists will also take x-rays of the teeth on a timely basis to examine for cavities, TMJ problems, diseased tissues, and infection. Your family dentist can fill the cavities, use dental sealants to help to prevent cavities, monitor growth and development to evaluate need for braces, tooth extractions, etc.

If you see your dentist every six months, you will be less likely to have severe breakdown and tooth loss. Your family dentist is trained to help you keep your teeth healthy and can even provide cosmetic dentistry services to keep your smile bright and healthy. Your dentist will educate you and give recommendations for brushing, flossing and rinsing to prevent plaque and tooth decay between appointments. Finding a family dentistry practice that your whole family is comfortable with can take a lot of stress out of making and keeping your regularly scheduled appointments with a variety of dentists.

What Is Pediatric Dentistry?

Where a family dentist will see patients from age 2 to 102, pediatric dentists only see patients from approximately 2 to 18 years old. The pediatric specialty is only related to a young population and does not offer many advanced services of dental care for permanent teeth. Root canals, crowns, impacted teeth, and braces are generally not treated by a pediatric specialist. Many of the services offered do overlap with the family dentist such as x-rays, exams , fillings, sealants, dental cleanings, tooth extractions, baby root canals/crowns, space maintaining appliances. The Pediatric dentists role is important for patients who need specialized care like children with disabilities, those that need sedation, children with severe, full mouth breakdown, and those with behavior issues.

Conclusion

When making the choice between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist, it comes down to you and your child’s comfort levels. Feeling scared or uncomfortable in the exam chair or being scared of the dentist can ruin a child’s confidence and create a situation of dental anxiety or dental phobia. A good dentist, whether family or pediatric, will understand your child’s needs, make the experience a good one, and give great dental treatment. You want a dentist who will  provide a smooth, positive experience so that the little patient is motivated to continue good oral hygiene habits and regular appointments. When she/he is older and has to make health decisions on his/her own, they should have learned to establish a rapport and ease with their dentist. Choose wisely, but realize that a pediatric dentist may or may not be the best choice for your little ones if you have a good family dentist now.

Most family dentists will be happy to see your child even just to meet them and bring them back to get comfortable with the office.If you already have a family dentist that is experienced and willing to take on young children, you may want to start out in this environment to save the the hassle of going between various offices. Selecting a dentist who will treat your child throughout his or her growth has its distinct advantages, and a steady knowledge of patient history is one of them.  Family dentistry is a good choice for many due to the ease of having everyone in the family treated by the same doctor or at least in the same office.

When making any decision for your family it is always best to be informed and have options. There are many dentists with varying personalities, abilities,and skill levels. Find the one that fits you best, and you and your family will be much happier with your choice!