We know that dental care can sometimes be complex and confusing. To help you understand your oral health and dental treatments, Adaptive Dental Associates has provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we hear. If you have further questions, or to make an appointment with Dr. Joseph Maggio, Dr. Robert Lo Guidice, Dr. Mary Dilger, or Dr. Melanie Hunt, our dentists in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, please call us today at 908-847-4498.
How often should I visit the dentist?
You should visit the dentist for a dental cleaning and exam at least twice each year. Depending on your oral health, your dentist and hygienist may recommend more frequent visits. These appointments will consist of a thorough exam of your entire mouth to ensure that you are in good health, and to remove plaque, calculus (tartar), and any other harmful substances from your teeth and gums. At the end of your appointment, your teeth will be polished, and we may make recommendations about ways you can improve your at-home oral hygiene routine.
How often should I brush and floss?
You should brush your teeth at least twice each day. It is especially important that you brush right before going to bed at night. We recommend that you use an ADA-approved, soft-bristle toothbrush, and fluoridated toothpaste. Electric toothbrushes are also recommended, as they are easy to use and very efficient at removing plaque from your teeth.
You should floss daily. If you have difficulty using conventional dental floss, we recommend that you try using a floss holder.
We also recommend that you rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and after meals when you are unable to brush. Our dentists can also recommend appropriate over-the-counter mouth rinses for your use.
Why is flossing important?
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and below the gum line. When you floss, it disrupts plaque colonies, preventing the buildup of harmful plaque and bacteria in your mouth and helping to prevent periodontal disease, tooth decay, and other conditions that could cause damage to your teeth, gums, and supporting bone.
When should my child visit the dentist for the first time?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend that children should visit the dentist for the first time by their first birthday. These initial appointments, often called “well baby” checkups, are designed to make sure that your child’s teeth and jaws are growing and developing properly, and to begin building positive associations with visiting the dental office, so that your child will feel comfortable with the dentist in the future. The dentist will also take time to answer your questions and concerns, and help you learn the best way to take care of your child’s oral health and smile.
Why is early orthodontic screening important for my child?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children receive their initial orthodontic screening by age 7. By age 7, your child’s mouth is fairly developed, and the permanent teeth have begun to come in. Many problems are easily diagnosed at this stage, and they can be treated earlier and more effectively, preventing the need for more extensive treatment later. During your child’s initial orthodontic screening, our dentists will determine if early treatment is needed and when treatment should begin.
What should I do if I have bad breath?
Bad breath (halitosis) can be embarrassing and unpleasant. There are many causes of bad breath, including:
- Morning time
- Certain foods
- Poor oral hygiene
- Periodontal disease
- Improperly fitted oral appliances
- Dry mouth
- Tobacco products
- Dieting, dehydration, hunger, and missed meals
- Certain medications, medical conditions, or illnesses
If you have bad breath, we recommend that you:
- Practice good oral hygiene, including brushing your tongue
- Visit the dentist regularly
- Stop using tobacco products (smoking, chewing tobacco, etc.)
- Use mouthwash/rinses
Our dentists will usually be able to treat bad breath. If your mouth is healthy and halitosis persists, there may be an underlying medical condition causing your bad breath, and you should meet with your physician to determine the cause and receive treatment.
Are silver (amalgam) fillings safe?
Yes. There has been concern over the safety of silver fillings in recent years. The ADA, as well as the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the FDA, and others, support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost-effective. The U.S. Public Health Service has stated that the only reason not to use silver fillings is when the patient has an allergy.
If silver fillings are not for you, there are a variety of alternative filling materials available, including composite (tooth-colored) resin, porcelain, and gold. Our dentists will discuss your options with you before treatment to determine which type of filling is best for you.
Are dental X-rays safe?
Absolutely. Dental X-rays produce very little radiation – less radiation, in fact, than what you are exposed to in your everyday life. With the advent of digital X-rays, this radiation is further reduced. Digital X-rays produce 80-90% less radiation than traditional film radiography. As technology continues to advance, X-rays become safer and safer for use.
Additionally, federal law requires each X-ray machine to be checked regularly for safety and quality. When you receive a dental X-ray, you can be certain that you are safe and that the image produced will be of high quality.
How can I tell if I have periodontal (gum) disease?
Periodontal disease begins when plaque is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria within the plaque produce acids that inflame the gums and slowly destroy the bone. Because it begins so slowly, periodontal disease can often be difficult to diagnose in the early stages. Some common symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Unusually red gums
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Persistent bad breath
- New spacing between the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Pus around the teeth and gums
- Tenderness and discomfort
- Receding gums
There are also several factors that increase your risk of developing periodontal disease, including:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Appliances or prosthetic teeth that no longer fit
- Medications (steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure medication, oral contraceptives, etc.)
- Systemic disease (diabetes, blood cell disorders, etc.)
While you cannot control all of these conditions, we strongly encourage you to do your best to minimize the factors that may contribute to periodontal disease. Practicing good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly are the first step.
How can cosmetic dentistry improve my smile?
Cosmetic dentistry has become increasingly possible due to advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials, as well as the focus of patients on improving their overall health and appearance. There are many ways in which you can improve your teeth and enhance your smile, from single-tooth restoration to a full smile makeover. Cosmetic dentistry incorporates many aspects of dental care, from routine preventive treatments to complex restorative procedures. Some common cosmetic treatments include:
- Teeth whitening
- Porcelain dental veneers
- Composite (tooth-colored) dental fillings
- Porcelain dental crowns
- Dental implants
For more information about cosmetic dentistry, and to schedule a consultation with our dentists, please contact our office.
What are porcelain dental veneers and how can they improve my smile?
Porcelain dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells that are bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth. Each veneer is custom-designed to fit your tooth in order to provide optimal results. Veneers are highly durable and do not stain, making them a very popular solution for patients who want to correct the flaws in their smile. Veneers may be recommended for the following problems:
- Severely stained or discolored teeth
- Unwanted or uneven spaces between teeth
- Worn or chipped teeth
- Slight tooth crowding
- Teeth that are misshapen
- Teeth that are too large or too small
What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
When your teeth are stained, discolored, or simply dull, one of the first solutions offered at Adaptive Dental Associates is teeth whitening. There are several professional whitening treatments available, including in-office whitening and take-home whitening. Our practice uses the innovative GLO™ whitening system to produce beautiful results to brighten your smile.
Please remember that as teeth whitening is not permanent, you may need to “touch up” your treatment every few years to keep your smile looking its best. You may also experience some sensitivity following your treatment. This is normal and temporary, and it will subside within a week after you have completed your treatment.
Why are regular dental appointments important?
While visiting the dentist only when you have a problem may seem like the more effective solution, the reality is that regular dental appointments are a better idea in the long run. Regular dental appointments to receive preventive care ensure that your mouth remains healthy, preventing the development of dental problems and the need for complex restorative procedures in the future. This means that you save time and money in the long run, and that you can enjoy good oral health both now and in the future.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings, usually applied to the molars. Sealants cover your tooth to give it a smooth surface and block out plaque and food debris to keep teeth healthy and free from decay. Dental sealants are typically provided for children, but they may also be recommended for an adult with higher risk of cavities.
What is a root canal?
Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure in which our dentists remove infection and decay from the inner portions of your tooth (the pulp and nerves). Root canals are needed when decay or injury damage the innermost areas of the tooth, and they are often the only way to prevent the tooth from being extracted in these situations.
Do you offer financing options?
Adaptive Dental Associates offers several financial options to work with your budget. Please visit our Financial Options page or contact our office for more information.