Category Archives: Dental Health

Why does your dentist recommend coming every six months?

Have you ever wondered why your dentist recommends you come back every six months? “Six months is the ideal period for most of our patients to come back and see us” says Dr. Yokeca Watts. “This time frame really gives us the best chance to observe changes and spot potential issues that might arise further down the road.”

And while visiting the dentist twice per year is recommended, there are times when a patient may need to be seen more frequently. “The six-month period is a general recommendation. However, each patient is different. If we spot an issue developing that might become a bigger problem within the next few months, we can schedule the patient to come back sooner. That way, if there is any additional procedures that need to be done, the treatment is minimized.”

Of course, while we want to see you at least twice per year, there’s no substitution for a good dental hygiene routine at home. “Most visits to our office are completed within an hour. That means the bulk of preventative care is done at home. Our patients do receive a thorough cleaning while they’re here, but that’s not an excuse to not brush and floss twice a day. We want to see our patients and make sure everything is healthy and developing correctly, and that starts and continues at home.”

Having a healthy smile makes for a happy child! If you have any questions about your child’s dental health or need to schedule an appointment, please contact our office for more information.

What is preventive dentistry and why is it important?

Preventive dentistry means a healthy smile for your child. Children with healthy mouths chew more easily and gain more nutrients from the foods they eat. They learn to speak more quickly and clearly. They have a better overall general health, because disease in the mouth can endanger the rest of the body. A healthy mouth is more attractive, giving children confidence in their appearance. Finally, preventive dentistry means less extensive and less expensive treatment for your child.

 When should preventive dentistry start?

Preventive dentistry begins with the first tooth. Visit our office at the eruption of the first tooth or by age one. You will learn how to care for your infant’s dental health. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental disease and helping your child build a cavity-free smile.

 What role do parents play in prevention?

After evaluating your child’s dental health, our doctors will design a personalized program of home care for your child. This program will include brushing and flossing instructions, diet counseling, and if necessary, fluoride recommendations. By helping your child with these directions, you can help give your child a lifetime of healthy oral healthcare habits.

 How does our dentist help prevent dental problems?

An exam, cleaning, polishing and fluoride treatment are all part of your child’s prevention program. However, there is much more. For example, we can apply sealants to help protect your child from tooth decay, help you select a mouth guard to prevent sports injuries to the face and teeth, and provide early diagnosis and care of orthodontic problems. We are uniquely trained to develop a combination of office and home preventive care to insure your child a happy smile.

Make your child an appointment today to begin their preventive program!

When Should I Start Brushing My Baby’s Teeth?

This is a question that we receive often from first time parents, and understandably so. Most (probably all) of us do not remember the first time our teeth were brushed. That’s okay, because we’re here to help!

It is very important to care for your child’s teeth from the beginning. Here are some recommended tips for starting your child on the path to healthy oral hygiene:

  • Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
  • For children younger than 3 years, caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use of the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
  • For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
  • Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.

How Does a Cavity Form?

How Does a Cavity Form?

When you go to the dentist for a checkup, you hate to hear those four dreaded words: You have a cavity. No one wants cavities, but the average person has 13 cavities by the time he or she reaches ages 40-59. That sparks a natural curiosity about tooth decay: How do cavities form? And how fast do cavities appear?

Let’s take a look at the life cycle of a cavity to provide greater insight.

How Does a New Cavity Form?

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in food, which turns into plaque. The plaque builds up on your teeth and begins to attack the enamel. If it’s not removed in a timely fashion, the plaque can eat a hole through the enamel, causing decay and cavities.

There are certain factors that can put you at a greater risk for developing tooth decay, including:

  • Eating high-sugar foods
  • Not producing enough saliva to naturally wash away bacteria in the mouth
  • Smoking
  • Suffering from diabetes
  • Practicing poor oral hygiene

How Long Does It Take for a Cavity to Form?

Cavities form faster for young children, whose teeth have weaker enamel, than for adults. Among kids, cavities can form in just a few months. But it can take up to a year for the cavity to form in adults.

How Long Does It Take for a Cavity to Hurt?

Though the actual hole in the tooth may not form for months, you can develop a toothache from a growing cavity in just a few days. You should contact your dentist when you begin to experience pain.

How Does a Cavity Feel?

It hurts to have a cavity. The hole can increase sensitivity in your tooth, and if it’s left untreated, you are at risk of developing an infection.

Many toothaches are caused by cavities. You may be able to feel a slight hole or indentation in your tooth with your tongue. You may feel pain when you chew, especially when you eat hard foods. Cavities may cause either sharp or dull pain, depending on how advanced they are. A cavity that goes untreated for a long time can cause a huge amount of pain. The decay will eventually attack the tooth’s pulp and nerve, which causes pain.

What Does a Cavity Look Like?

A cavity is a small hole in the tooth, but there can be other symptoms. These include:

  • Foul breath
  • Swelled gums
  • Spots on your teeth

If you have a cavity, there are three main options for treating them: fillings, crowns, and, in extreme cases, root canals.

Preventing Cavities

The smartest thing to do is combat tooth decay before it turns into a cavity. You can do this by practicing good oral hygiene and reducing the amount of sugar you eat.