Caring for Your Teeth: Frequently Asked Questions
At Maudsland Dental Care, we get asked a wide variety of questions about dental health, hygiene, and all things in between. Here’s a few of the more frequently asked questions we get in our practice about caring for one’s teeth.
Why is it important to have regular dental check-ups?
Dental check-ups are just as important as any other health check-up. Regular visits allow the dentist to monitor your oral health and correct problems as they occur. Waiting to visit a dentist can result in tooth decay or other oral health problems that may be more difficult to treat in an advanced stage.
How often should I visit my dentist?
Two dental check-ups per year are recommended for most people. If you have excellent oral health and are at a low risk for cavities or gum disease, your dentist may suggest annual visits.
People with health problems that can lead to diseases of the mouth should see a dentist more frequently. Your dentist will suggest a schedule that is appropriate for your situation.
What happens during a dental exam?
Your dentist will have you complete a health history questionnaire on your first visit. You will be asked about other medical problems, whether you smoke, how much alcohol you drink and any medication that you might take.
You may also be asked about your family’s health history. Any changes to your health should be reported to your dentist on subsequent visits.
A trained dental hygienist will clean your teeth. This includes scraping along the gums, polishing teeth and flossing. These procedures remove tartar and plaque.
Plaque is the sticky residue of food that adheres to teeth. It can be removed by brushing and flossing. Tartar is plaque that has hardened, also known as calculus. Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional.
After cleaning, the dentist will examine your mouth, gums and teeth. This exam looks for signs of disease and other problems. The dentist may evaluate tooth alignment, tooth wear and the overall health of the tongue, cheeks and throat.
Should I visit my dentist while I’m pregnant?
Changes in hormones during pregnancy can affect oral health. You should schedule regular check-ups while pregnant. After an exam and assessment, your dentist will discuss whether you need additional evaluations.
If you are nauseous during pregnancy, stomach acids can erode your teeth. Be sure to rinse thoroughly if you have nausea and vomiting.
If you have ongoing dental problems such as gum disease, treatment during pregnancy is important. There is a correlation between gum disease and low birth-weight babies.
Keeping your mouth free of infection during pregnancy is as important as addressing any infection in the body during this time.
At what age should children start having dental check-ups?
We recommend that children have their first check-up as soon as teeth begin to erupt or before their first birthday. The dentist looks at the condition and placement of baby teeth, as baby teeth serve as markers for placement of permanent teeth. They also help in chewing and forming words when speaking.
A dentist who specialises in paediatric dentistry will help parents and children develop good oral hygiene habits that protect teeth over a lifetime.