At Oakville’s Oak Park Dental, we encourage our patients to keep up to date with dental knowledge. The more you know about your teeth, the better you can take care of them! Here are some answers to some frequently-asked questions about dental hygiene, restorative care, gum disease, and more. If your question is not answered here, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at Oak Park Dental in Oakville and we would be happy to assist you.
Did you know that the enamel that makes up teeth is the hardest substance in your body? Despite its toughness, enamel takes a hard beating from our everyday eating and drinking, so we need to take care of it properly. Learn more about caring for your teeth.
How often should I get my teeth cleaned professionally?
The Canadian Dental Association recommends visiting the dentist for a professional clean every six months. Depending on your dental health status, however, your dentist may recommend more frequent visits.
When should my child see the dentist for the first time?
After the first eruption of their first tooth, or when they become one year old. However, if you believe your child has a dental problem before this, please consult a dentist as soon as possible.
How often should I brush and floss?
At a minimum, brush twice a day and floss once a day. Ideally, brush after every meal. We understand that most people hate the thought of flossing, but if you don’t, 1/3 of your tooth’s surface is not being cleaned! Remember: plaque can harden into tartar in as little as 24-36 hours, rendering it irremovable by conventional methods and requiring the attention of a professional hygienist.
How can I make my teeth whiter?
Foods such as coffee and tea, along with tobacco smoking, can cause teeth to stain. Factors such as skin tone and make-up can also influence the perception of one’s teeth colour. Bleaching agents and surface whiteners can help you achieve whiter-looking teeth.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge – otherwise known as a fixed denture – fills the gap left by a single missing tooth or several. They are supported on either side by natural teeth or tooth implants.
What is a dental crown or tooth cap?
Crowns or “tooth caps” serve as coverings on damaged, but not lost, teeth. They can be metal, composite, or porcelain, and look almost exactly like natural teeth.
What are onlays and inlays?
Inlays and onlays replace lost dental matter much like fillings. Inlays fill spaces within the teeth and onlays do too but they also cover the chewing surface of teeth.
What are bonded fillings?
Bonding involves shaping composite resin to fill in areas of missing tooth structure. The dentist uses light to shape and harden the composite resin in layers, which can also be used to paint over stains.
What should I do if one of my teeth falls out?
If it’s an adult tooth, it can be saved! If you are faced with a knocked out tooth:
Lick it clean or rinse it with cold water, but for no longer than 10 seconds
Avoid touching the root; hold only the white part
Place it back into the gum socket and hold it there with a clean cloth and biting it down
If it doesn’t fit back into your gum, store it in milk or saliva, or hold it in your cheek (be careful not to swallow it)
Then, visit a dentist as soon as possible. If your dentist is unavailable, listen for instructions on their answering machine. You can also visit another dentist for an emergency appointment.
Aren’t braces just for kids?
Definitely not! Adults can absolutely receive braces and other orthodontic treatments. However, many adults choose Invisalign® treatment for its discreteness.
Is Invisalign® right for me?
Invisalign® is suitable for most people, but if your teeth need more extensive orthodontic work done, you may require alternative methods.
What is gingivitis and periodontitis?
Gingivitis is a milder, and quite common, form of gum disease, while periodontitis is a more advanced form. If you notice bleeding, puffiness, and gum tenderness, you may have gingivitis. Periodontitis happens when bacteria invade the gums and remains untreated, causing pain, bad breath, and receding gums. Allowing gum disease to advance can cause loosening and even loss of teeth.
Can gum disease cause heart disease?
You may have heard that gum disease is linked to other disorders, such as heart disease. While scientific evidence isn’t exactly conclusive, scientists do suggest there is a link. Bacteria that cause gum disease can spread to blood vessels, and the body’s immune system can trigger vascular damage. However, there may be no relation; instead, smoking can contribute to both heart disease and gum disease and thus cause the correlation between the two.
How is teeth related to sleep disorders?
You may be a teeth grinder without even knowing it. A dentist can prescribe a mouth guard designed to keep you from damaging your teeth in your sleep, a habit that can also cause headaches. Sleep apnea can also be helped with a mouthguard that works to reposition your tongue.
What is dental anxiety?
“Dentophobia” refers to intense anxiety associated with dental procedures. It is not uncommon among children and adults alike. For patients with dental anxiety, our clinic offers sedation options that can make the experience more comfortable.
When do kids lose their first teeth and when should all their adult teeth come in? What if my child still has baby teeth at their age?
A child’s first adult molars grow in at about age six. Kids also lose baby teeth at around this age, and will continue replacing baby teeth with adult teeth until around age 12. While it’s okay to wiggle baby teeth, don’t force them out.
Delayed loss of baby teeth is usually not cause for concern. However, do check with your dentist, because we can understand the situation better with x-rays. Baby teeth impeding the growth of adult teeth may cause crowding issues that require orthodontic treatment later on.
What are wisdom teeth and do I have to get them removed?
Wisdom teeth (otherwise known as “third molars”) are the last molars to erupt. They usually grow in during a person’s late teens and early twenties. Our ancestors used their third molars to digest plant matter. Not everyone gets wisdom teeth, and not everyone needs to get them removed.
Due to their late eruption into a mouth already filled with teeth, wisdom teeth can grow in at an angle and crowd other teeth). They are also extra susceptible to infection and decay since they are so far back in the mouth. For this reason, some people need their wisdom teeth removed.
Does having wisdom teeth mean I am wise?
Alas, probably not! There is no evidence to suggest that the appearance of wisdom teeth is associated with, well, wisdom. The term “wisdom teeth” originates in the 17th century and refers to the eruption of these teeth during a time in your life (late teens, early twenties) associated with higher wisdom since you are becoming an adult.
Have more questions that aren’t answered here? Please contact our team at Oakville’s Oak Park Dental. We would be happy to share our knowledge.