East Hartford Dentist
Ask the Dentist
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How often should I brush my teeth?
Every person should brush twice a day, and floss at least once a day. If you prefer to also brush after meals, wait at least an hour after eating to ensure that the enamel-weakening acids are no longer present and you don’t damage the outer surface of your teeth. We also discourage excessive brushing, as it may damage your gums or tooth enamel.
When should I bring my child in for their first dental appointment?
We recommend that you bring your child in no later in than their third birthday to ensure that we set a healthy course for their dental development. However, if you believe your child needs attention earlier, you can certainly bring them in as soon as their first tooth emerges.
What are the causes of tooth loss?
Periodontal disease and tooth decay are the most common causes of tooth loss. Periodontal disease is an ongoing bacterial infection in the gums and bone around your teeth. This infection leads to an inflammation under the gums, and if not treated, can destroy the bone around your teeth. Approximately 75% of all adult tooth loss is due to periodontal infection.
Tooth decay primarily affects children, and occurs when food and plaque bacteria form acid that eats away at the outer structure of the tooth, eventually causing a cavity.
Am I at risk for oral cancer?
The use of various tobacco products, including cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco and snuff, has been linked to an increased incidence of oral cancer. Alcohol also increases the risk, while combining alcohol and tobacco adds to the probability of cancer occurring. We recommend that our patients seriously consider their lifestyle choices with regards to their dental and systemic health.
Sun exposure to the lips is also a factor in oral cancer. We recommend a hat that covers your face entirely or a lip balm with sunscreen in it.
Those with family histories of neck or oral cancer are at an increased risk for the disease. Smoking exacerbates this tendency.
What are the oral cancer warning signs?
White, red, or red and white patches inside your mouth are the most common signs of oral cancer. Other symptoms include a sore on your lip or mouth that won’t heal, bleeding in your mouth, loose teeth, difficulty or pain when swallowing, difficulty wearing dentures, a lump in your neck, or an ear ache.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call our office immediately to set up a screening.
How often should I visit the dentist?
Typically, we recommend that our patients visit us for check ups twice a year to maintain an optimal level of oral health. However, in certain cases, we may recommend more frequent visits if the treatment requires it.
How safe are dental X-rays?
The dose of radiation administered by our X-rays is extremely small to minimize your exposure. Our X-rays target very limited, precise areas for short bursts of time. We also provide protective clothing that blocks any stray (and extremely rare) radiation from reaching other parts of your body. We perform routine checks on the accuracy of our machines to guarantee the smallest dosage necessary is used for your dental X-rays.
However, all radiation exposure, whether from the sun, appliances, medical equipment or dental X-rays, can damage your body’s tissues and cells. In some instances, this accumulated radiation exposure can lead to cancer. We understand our patients’ concern about radiation exposure, and are happy to talk with you about the frequency of your dental X-rays.