Questions About Family or Cosmetic Dentistry?
Below is a list of some of the questions we get asked most frequently from our patients. If you have a question that isn’t answered below, feel free to give our San Antonio, TX dental practice a call and we’ll be happy to assist you.
Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums
You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before they get worse and harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach.
The following guidelines are important to brushing correctly.
- Firstly, make sure to use a soft-bristled brush. Hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth.
- Place your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gumline. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline.
- Use short back and forth strokes or tiny circular movements to brush your teeth. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth.
- Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth.
- Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- Finally, don’t cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes.
The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly.
- Take 18″ of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand. You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1-2 inches in between for cleaning.
- Gently move the floss up and down the spaces of your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage.
- As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it up and down against the surface of one tooth. Gently clean at the gumline as well. Repeat this for the other tooth.
- Repeat this process for all of your teeth.
Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check-ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. Also, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, and visiting you dentist regularly. Also, make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth.
- In-office teeth whitening In-office teeth whitening works by producing a significant color change in your teeth in short amount of time, usually within an hour. The procedure is done at the dentist’s office applying a high-concentration peroxide gel on the teeth after they have been protected with a special shield.
- Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits These whitening kits are purchased from your doctor for use at home. The strength of the gel used in these kits is lower than that used for in-office bleaching, and thus the gel can be applied for longer periods of time. Usually, the trays are worn a couple hours a day or overnight for a few days or weeks depending on the product.
- Over the counter whitening Over the counter teeth whitening kits are store-bought and use a lower concentration gel than both in-office bleaching and take-home kits purchased from your doctor. While they are cheaper, they typically are less effective than methods that can be performed by your dentist because of the low concentration gel. Additionally, over the counter trays are not custom fit for your teeth, which can result in irritation to your gums while wearing the trays.
Teeth whitening usually lasts from one to three years before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only “touch ups” are required to maintain the whiteness
Other Common Questions
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We are happy to answer any oral health related questions.