There are some very simple steps that you can take in the prevention of cavities that can save you much pain and money in the long run. Here are a few of the major ones.
Most dental professionals recommend that toothbrushes be replaced every three months or more frequently if you are an extremely vigorous brusher and you notice the bristles begin to flare out. Toothbrushes should also be replaced after you or family members have had a cold, flu, or other upper respiratory infections.
Yes. If excess fluoride is ingested it can result in a condition known as fluorosis. Fluorosis can cause varying degrees of staining and irregular enamel formation in your child`s permanent teeth. Most municipal water supplies are fluoridated at safe levels (1.0 ppm). If your water source is an independent well, or if you drink only bottled water, you will have to investigate the level of fluoride that the water contains. Another potential source of excess fluoride is fluoridated toothpaste. Children should use a "grain of rice" size dab of fluoridated toothpaste and expectorate as much as possible. Parents should always supervise young brushers.
The areas most prone to decay are the deep developmental grooves in the biting surfaces of molars and premolars. Dental sealants are transparent or opaque acrylic materials that can be applied to these surface grooves to effectively "seal-out" harmful bacteria and significantly reduce decay. Ask your dental professional if sealants are an option for you or your children.
Today there are more options than ever for tooth bleaching/whitening. There are numerous over-the-counter as well as professionally dispensed whitening products. Many stains that are the result of smoking, coffee, tea and/or age may be improved with these treatments. Staining due to antibiotic use or excess fluoride are less likely to respond to these treatments. Before trying any whitening procedures, discuss your condition with your dental professional and together you can decide which treatment will achieve the results you’re seeking.
The majority of the dental community feels that amalgam fillings are completely safe and that the risk associated with the mercury contained in these restorations is minimal. If you have any concerns about amalgam fillings your dental professional will be happy to discuss alternative restorative options.
All patients are individuals, and have varied needs. The interval of six months for "cleaning & check-up" is a commonly recommended time frame, which may or may not be appropriate for you. If you have concerns about the frequency of your cleaning appointments you should discuss them with your dental professional. Together you can reach a cleaning schedule that is appropriate for your oral condition and that fits your busy schedule.
Dental x-rays are taken to diagnose problems that may be occurring in your teeth and supporting bone that are not visible to the naked eye. If the condition is allowed to develop until it is detectable by a visual exam the problem will have progressed significantly and will probably require more extensive treatment than if it was caught in the early stages. Nevertheless, the radiation we receive from all sources is cumulative over our lifetime, so we need to be aware of exposures. Discuss with your dental professional why the x-rays are being taken and always have your x-rays forwarded if you change dental care providers.