Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues.

Are dental x-rays safe?

We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.

Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. At our office we take necessary precautions to limit your exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. We use lead apron shields to protect your body and also modern, fast film that reduces exposure time.

How often should dental x-rays be taken?

The need for dental x-rays depends on your individual needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based on your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.

A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients and is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect any new dental problems.

How do I properly brush my teeth?

Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an CDA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.

1. Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small,
circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.

2. Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.

3. Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of your front teeth.

4. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath. Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.

How do I floss my teeth?

Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing cleans spaces, and prevents plaque colonies from building up.

Take 12-16 inches (30-40 cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5 cm) of floss between your hands.

1. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a gentle sawing motion.

2. Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.

Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Do I need to rinse after I brush?

It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to ask your dentist or dental hygienist whether it’s right for you.

Other dental aids may be recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist:

• interdental brushes
• rubber tip stimulators
• tongue cleaners
• irrigation devices
• fluoride
• medicated rinses

Why is it important to have straight teeth?

The benefits of proper jaw and teeth alignment go far beyond appearance. In general, straight teeth are easier to clean, lessening the risk of decay and other dental problems. Recent studies have repeatedly shown a link between orthodontic treatment and a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. A proper bite allows proper chewing, which lessens the risk of digestion problems.
What causes improper bites?

Most bite problems are genetic in origin. Some cases are caused or worsened by thumb sucking, prolonged pacifier use, poor oral hygiene and poor nutrition, or injury.
Am I too old to have braces?

Patients of all ages can enjoy the aesthetic and health benefits of treatment. The pre-teen and teen years remain the most popular time for treatment, since the jaw is still growing. However, around 30% of today’s orthodontic patients are over 18. Treatment in adults may take slightly longer, but will still yield great results.

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