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Dental Cleaning FAQ

What are the most common oral health problems?

Dental problems are stressful, painful, and sometimes embarrassing. The good news is that most of the common oral health problems can be avoided by brushing and flossing twice a day and coming in for regular dental cleanings and oral exams.

These are the most common dental problems:

  • Tooth Decay
  • Bad Breath
  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Gum (Periodontal) Disease
  • Oral Cancer
  • Mouth Sores
  • Tooth Erosion
  • Toothaches

What causes tooth decay?

Technically it’s bacteria that causes tooth decay (cavities), and that bacteria multiplies in the bed of plaque that weakens tooth enamel. But what causes that bacteria to build up?

The biggest factors leading to bacterial build-up and cavities include:

  • Sugary foods
  • Sticky foods
  • Sugary beverages

How often should I see a dentist?

Even if you take the best care of your teeth and gums, it’s important to see your dentist once every six months. There are problems you won’t be aware of which an x-ray can pick up. Furthermore, oral cancer screenings and other oral exams take place at regular appointments to keep your whole body healthy.

Regular dental visits—particularly regular cleanings—also keep plaque buildup at bay and make each cleaning easier the more regularly you come in.

How often should I change my toothbrush?

In general, we dentists (and the American Dental Association, too) recommend replacing toothbrushes every three to four months. If you get sick, however, it’s important to toss the toothbrush early.

Similarly, if you’re a rough brusher and start to notice the bristles of your toothbrush are frayed, that’s another sign it’s time to replace your toothbrush early.

What type of toothbrush should I be using?

As long as you have a toothbrush that feels good in your hand and that you can easily insert to every corner of your mouth, you can use whatever toothbrush you’d like. Electric toothbrushes tend to have smaller heads that are easier to maneuver, but it comes down to which toothbrush you’ll really use. That’s the one for you!

Do I really need to floss?

YES. The spaces between your teeth are hard for a toothbrush to reach. By not flossing, you’re leaving those surfaces unbrushed. Furthermore, if you’re using fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash to prevent tooth decay, that fluoride won’t be absorbed into any part of the tooth it can’t reach. If there’s tartar or plaque buildup between your teeth, those surfaces will be missing out on each application of fluoride.

Do I need a dental exam?

YES. Regular dental exams are how your dentist can stay ahead of problems that become more costly or serious later. Whether you have a toothache or you feel fine and are just due for your six-month check-up, your dental exam will be quick and painless and keep you safe.

What is the best way to whiten my teeth?

While there are many teeth whitening treatments on the shelf at the store, nothing beats a professional whitening treatment applied by your dentist.

Your best long-term habits to keep your teeth from staining in the first place are to regularly brush and come in for your biannual dental cleanings.

What to do before going for a teeth cleaning

Maybe you haven’t thought much about your oral care habits at home until you’re about to come in for your regular appointment. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do before a teeth cleaning:

  • Do write down any questions you have for your dentist
  • Don’t overbrush to “make up” for lost time—it will only leave your gums inflamed
  • Do arrive a few minutes early (you’ll be more relaxed this way)
  • Don’t fib about your oral care habits when we ask
  • Do communicate any concerns or anxiety you have to staff before your appointment

How do I know if I need an emergency dentist?

Urgent dental matters usually involve obvious trauma (like an accident), sudden pain or swelling, or bleeding that won’t stop. If you have other issues like increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold, a toothache that won’t go away, or an uneven tooth surface, schedule an appointment quickly before it turns into an emergency situation.

Contact our dental office in Arlington, TX to answer all your pressing dental questions

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