Frequently Asked Hygiene Questions:

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It's been recommended that I use an electric toothbrush, but I've been using a manual forever.Is there really a difference?

Here at Dream Smile, we recommend the Sonicare Flexcare toothbrush because of it's clinical studies that show that it's far superior to manual toothbrushes. In fact, ninety-nine percent of the time, your dentist or hygienist can tell, just by looking in your mouth, whether you use a manual or electric. Sonicare states that their brushes are inspired by dental equipment. It's motion creates a "high velocity dynamic fluid cleaning action" that is able to dislodge plaque under the gum line when used properly. The Sonicare also has a built in two minute timer, so that patients are more aware of how long they should be brushing for. The electric toothbrush does the work for you, just by applying a light touch to the tooth surface. The electric brush heads, just as manual brushes, need to be changed every three months, not six as previously thought.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal Disease is a bacterial infection in the supporting structures surrounding your teeth, including bone and gums. Periodontal Disease is caused by plaque and bacteria, and the longer the disease goes undetected, the greater the risk of tooth loss. Being diagnosed with Periodontal Disease indicates that there has been a loss of bone or attachment surrounding your teeth which could ultimately, without treatment, lead to loss of the tooth. Periodontal Disease does not just affect your teeth, however. Research has shown the disease to be correlated with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and even pre-term labor. There is no cure for the disease, but we can help you maintain your current condition with individualized therapies to prevent it from getting worse.

What are the warning signs for Periodontal Disease?

Statistics show that 3 out of 4 Americans have Periodontal Disease, which is the greatest reason why adults lose their permanent teeth. Many of these adults are unaware they have it. Symptoms can include bleeding or tender gums, bad taste or oral malodor, but often can have no symptoms at all. We want our patients to be well educated on their oral health which is why we offer annual periodontal examinations with one of our hygienists, so we're able to detect and treat the disease in it's earliest stage.

My hygienist wants to see me every three months instead of six, is there a reason for this?

Not everyone takes the same doses of medication, similarly, hygiene appointments need to be individualized for each patient as well. Patients aren't all at the same risk of developing disease, therefore, many patients need to be seen by their hygienist more often. People have different needs and some people need to be seen every three months, just as others need to be seen every six months. Each and every day new research is showing us more correlations between oral health and general systemic health, so now, more than ever, we need to take initiative to maintain good oral health. Appointments with your hygienists are no longer considered to be just for aesthetic reasons, or to "clean the junk off your teeth", rather to check for cavities, monitor for evidence of disease, perform oral cancer screenings, and offer patient education.

I feel like every time I have a cleaning, x-rays are taken. Is this necessary, because I'm concerned about high levels of radiation?

We use digital radiography, which has significantly less radiation than the paper system still used today by many offices. A series of radiographs can detect cavities, Periodontal Disease, abcesses, and areas of decay surrounding restorations that are not visible clinically. Early detection of disease through x-rays can potentially save the patient unnecessary pain, money and time. Our goal is for you to have a beautiful, healthy smile and keep each tooth in your mouth forever. With regular hygiene appointments, x-rays, and proper homecare, it's easily attainable.

What is fluoride and what are its uses?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, even the oceans. Fluoride is effective in preventing and reversing the early signs of dental caries (tooth decay). Researchers have shown that there are several ways through which fluoride achieves its decay-preventive effects. It makes the tooth structure stronger, so teeth are more resistant to acid attacks. Acid is formed when the bacteria in plaque break down sugars and carbohydrates from the diet. Repeated acid attacks break down the tooth, which causes cavities. Fluoride also acts to repair, or remineralize, areas in which acid attacks have already begun. The remineralization effect of fluoride is important because it reverses the early decay process as well as creating a tooth surface that is more resistant to decay.

In addition, because older Americans are now keeping their teeth longer, fluoride will continue to be important for preventing tooth decay in this age group. Older Americans are especially susceptible to tooth decay because of exposed root surfaces and mouth dryness that may result from many medications.

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