A: Dentistry is a branch of medicine that involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Like other medical fields, dentistry is necessary for complete oral health, as there are proven correlations between oral health and overall health.
Q: What is a dentist?
A: A dentist is a medical specialist who is trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Dr. Hahn completed over eight years of schooling to obtain his Doctorate of Dental Surgery. A pediatric dentist specializes in caring for children from infancy through their teen years. A pediatric dentist has completed specialized education and training in order to work with young kids.
Other specializations include:
- Endodontics (root canals)
- Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
- Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
- Periodontics (gum disease)
- Prosthodontics (implants)
Q: Why is visiting the dentist so important?
A: Dental health is important for many reasons. Regular visits to Family Dental Choice will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will help keep the rest of your body healthy, as well. Dental care is important because it:
- Helps prevent tooth decay
- Protects against gum disease, which can lead to numerous other health concerns
- Prevents bad breath; brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits cut back on
- bacteria that causes halitosis
- Gives you an attractive smile and increases your self-confidence
- Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained
- Strengthens your teeth so you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!
Q: My teeth feel fine; do I still need to see a dentist?
A: Your teeth may feel fine, but only a trained dentist can tell for certain. Some dental concerns do not immediately present with symptoms, giving you the impression that everything in your mouth is A-OK. Your smile is important, and we can help keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
You no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Advances in dentistry techniques and equipment allow dentists to offer treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:
- Professional teeth whitening
- Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
- Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers
Q: What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?
A: You want a dentist who is interested in your long-term dental health, not one who wants you out of their chair fast in order to squeeze in another patient. Choosing a dentist who understands the needs of you and your family is important, so you may want to spend some time investigating before you make a commitment. At your first visit, you should consider the following to help you make an informed decisions:
- Are their hours convenient for you and your family?
- Is the office in close proximity to you and easy to get to?
- What does the office decor say about the practice?
- Is your medical and dental history recorded and reviewed with you?
- Does the dentist take the time to review best practices for preventative care?
- Are you presented with information about cost before your appointment?
- Is your dentist a member of the American Dental Association (ADA)?
Q: How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?
A: Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste and least twice a day (preferably after each meal) and floss at least once daily!
Avoid sugary foods and drinks (which can lead to plaque) and avoid tobacco (which not only stains your teeth, but can cause oral cancer).
Brush your tongue! Doing so will reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
Visit Family Dental Choice regularly – at least once every six months.
Q: At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?
A: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that you bring your child to the dentist when they are six to 12 months old OR when their first tooth erupts. In order for your child to establish a positive association with going to the dentist, continue taking them for checkups every six months.
Q: How often should I see the dentist?
A: For most people, seeing the dentist once every six months is sufficient. For patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or other dental problems, more frequent visits may be required. Once he is familiar with your individual needs, Dr. Hahn will determine how often you should visit for checkups.
Q: What is a cavity?
A: A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth as a result of tooth decay. When plaque builds up on the surface of your tooth, it produces an acid that destroys your enamel. If left untreated, a cavity can lead to serious, painful, and costly oral health problems. Prevent cavities by brushing your teeth at least two times a day and flossing between teeth at least once daily.
Q: What is a filling?
A: A filling is a synthetic material used by dentists to fill a cavity after the decayed material has been removed. Because we numb your mouth before the procedure, fillings usually do not cause discomfort. Fillings are made from materials including composites, gold, or ceramic. When you meet with Dr. Hahn, he will help you determine which type of filling best suits your needs.
Q: How often should I brush my teeth?
A: Dr. Hahn and the ADA recommend brushing your teeth at least two times a day. When you brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Total brushing time should be about two to three minutes.
Q: When should I change my toothbrush?
A: If you are brushing as recommended, your toothbrush will eventually wear out. Under normal circumstances, we recommend changing your toothbrush (or electric toothbrush brush head) every three months. Those with gum disease are should change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep bacteria from spreading and those who are sick should change their toothbrush ASAP. After brushing, be sure to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with hot water to prevent bacteria growth.
Q: What is gum disease?
A: Gum disease (or periodontal disease) is most often caused by untreated plaque and bacteria buildup. Periodontal disease can also be caused by tobacco use, teeth grinding, medications, and genetics.
The beginning stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. Untreated gingivitis may turn into gum disease, which could then lead to permanent tooth and bone loss. You can avoid gum disease by brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly. Common signs of gum disease include:
- Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Receding gum line
- Abscessed teeth
Q: If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
A: Yes! Those wires and brackets give food and plaque lots of places to hide, so it’s even more important for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment to visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places your toothbrush can’t reach. To avoid bacteria buildup that can lead to cavities, gum disease, or other problems, Dr. Hahn will work closely with your orthodontist to ensure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while you’re wearing braces.