At Jeffrey A Lowry DDS, we place a large emphasis on patient education. Understanding your oral health and your dental care options goes a long way to helping you make decisions that will lead to a healthy, beautiful smile. As part of our commitment to your dental education and oral health, we have provided this page of frequently asked questions. If you have further questions about dental care, or if you would like to set up an appointment with our knowledgeable dentist in Riverside, California, please feel free to contact our office at 951-263-7001.
How often should I brush and floss?
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss daily. Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental diseases, preventing buildups of plaque and damage to your gums, teeth, and bone. You may also want to consider rinsing your mouth after you brush and floss, either with water or with a recommended dental rinse.
Why is flossing important?
Flossing helps to reach the areas between the teeth and under the gumline that your toothbrush can’t clean effectively. Flossing disrupts colonies of bacteria, preventing them from building up and causing decay, disease, or other dental problems.
How can I get my kids to brush their teeth?
Try to make it fun. If you are enthusiastic about brushing your teeth, your children will likely also be enthusiastic – if you display good oral habits, they will follow your example. Getting your children to brush their teeth begins with taking them to the dentist at an early age. All children should see the dentist by their first birthday, or within 6 months after the eruption of their first tooth.
How often should I have a dental cleaning and exam?
You should visit the dentist for a routine checkup at least twice a year, though our dentist may recommend more frequent visits if he feels it necessary. Regular dental exams and cleanings are essential in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.
What should I do about bad breath?
Halitosis, or chronic bad breath, can be unpleasant and embarrassing. There are many reasons why you might have bad breath. In healthy individuals, bad breath is usually caused by microbial deposits on the tongue. Your bad breath may also be caused by certain foods, poor oral hygiene habits, gum disease, tobacco products, dehydration, or a medical condition or illness.
To help eliminate your bad breath, we recommend that you practice good oral hygiene, including brushing your tongue, and that you drink plenty of water and use mouthwash or other rinses. You should also visit our dentist regularly, and stop chewing tobacco and smoking.
In most cases, our dentist can treat the cause of your bad breath. If halitosis persists, he may recommend that you visit your physician to determine the cause of the odor and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Are silver (amalgam) fillings safe?
Amalgam fillings often contain mercury, along with several other metals. While there are claims that this can cause a variety of health problems, the general consensus, supported by the American Dental Association, the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the FDA, is that silver fillings are safe for use, except in cases where patients are allergic to that material. However, despite the studies indicating that there are no measurable health risks for patients who use silver fillings, mercury is a toxic material. There are many different alternative to silver fillings, including gold, porcelain, and tooth-colored (composite) fillings. At our practice, we provide composite dental fillings.
How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?
Many people have gum disease and don’t know it, due to the fact that gum disease is painless in the early stages, and may not exhibit any noticeable symptoms. For this reason, regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are needed to help determine if any symptoms of gum disease exist.
Periodontal disease begins when plaque is left on the teeth and gums, hosting bacteria that produce acids that gradually inflame the gums and destroy your bone structure. Good oral hygiene practices go a long way to ensure that your mouth remains free of plaque. Other factors that lead to gum disease include use of tobacco products, poorly fitting appliances, crooked or crowded teeth, certain medications, systemic diseases (such as diabetes), and even genetics.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Persistent bad breath
- Growing space between your teeth
- Loosing teeth
- Pus around your teeth and gums
- Receding gums
- Tenderness or discomfort
If I wear dentures, do I still need to visit my dentist?
Yes! Visit to the dentist involve more than simply checking your teeth. While you may not need to worry about dental decay, regular visits to the dentist to check the fit and function of your dentures are important. During your visit, your appliance will be evaluated to determine if it still fits or if it need replacement, and you will be checked for any other possible dental problems.