Our dentists and team know that many people have questions about their dental care. We have provided this page of answers to frequently asked questions to help you understand dentistry and your dental treatments a little better. If you have more questions or if you would like to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Greg Ortman or Dr. Christopher Holcomb, please call Ortman Family Dentistry today at 765-447-0322. We will be happy to provide you with additional information.
What is dentistry?
Dentistry is a field of medicine dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions, disorders, and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. As dentistry can have an impact on the health of your entire body, it is often considered necessary to receive complete oral health care.
Gum, or periodontal, disease, is a dental disease caused by plaque and bacteria buildup. It may be exacerbated by tobacco use, teeth grinding, genetics, or certain medications. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth and bone loss, as well as gum recession.
What is a dentist?
Dentists are specialists who work to prevent, diagnose, and treat oral health problems. They have completed at least 8 years of schooling, and received either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. Some dentists pursue additional training in order to specialize in a particular branch of dentistry. Dental specialties include:
- Oral and maxillofacial surgery
- Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
- Pediatric care
Why is it important to visit the dentist regularly?
Visiting the dentist regularly helps to keep your teeth and mouth healthy, and helps you maintain your overall health. Benefits of regular dental care include:
- Preventing tooth decay
- Protecting against periodontal (gum) disease
- Preventing bad breath
- Giving you a more attractive, confident smile
- Helping to keep your smile beautiful and free from stains and discolorations
- Strengthening your smile so that you can continue to enjoy good oral health as well as a beautiful smile
If my teeth feel fine, do I still need to visit the dentist?
Yes! Many dental problems do not have obvious symptoms, and can cause damage to your oral health without you knowing about it. Regular appointments with your dentist help to prevent many problems, and can also help you achieve a more beautiful smile.
What should I look for when choosing a dentist?
When choosing a dentist, you may want to consider several different dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, consider the following questions:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient for you?
- Is the dentist’s office easy to get to/close by?
- Is the office clean and orderly?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
- Is information about the cost of your treatment present before scheduling your next appointment?
- Is your dentist a member of the American Dental Association?
How can I take care of my teeth in between dental appointments?
Practice good oral hygiene! This involves:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day, or after every meal
- Floss daily
- Use a toothpaste containing fluoride, and ask your dentist about using a fluoride rinse
- Avoid foods with high levels of sugar
- Avoid tobacco
- Brush your tongue – this will remove food particles and help keep your breath fresh
- Schedule your dental checkup every 6 months, and keep that appointment
When should my child start visiting the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist as early as 6 months of age and no later than 1 year of age. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular appointments for your child at 6-month intervals.
How often should I visit the dentist?
You should visit the dentist at least once every six months. Patient with a higher risk of developing oral cancer or gum disease may need to visit more often.
What is a cavity?
Cavities are small holes that form inside the tooth as a result of tooth decay. They develop when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in food to produce an acid that eats away the enamel on your tooth. Regular brushing and flossing help to prevent cavities.
What is a filling?
A dental filling is a material used by our dentist to fill the hole left by a cavity after the decayed portion of your tooth has been removed. They may be made from composite (white), gold, ceramic, or silver materials.
How often should I brush my teeth?
You should brush your teeth at least two times a day to remove bacteria-causing plaque and keep your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy. We recommend that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoridated toothpaste.
How often should I change my toothbrush?
Our dentist recommends that you change your toothbrush every 3 months. If you use an electric toothbrush, read the instructions on how often to change the toothbrush head. Patients with gum disease should change their toothbrush every 4-6 weeks. After you brush, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill off germs and keep it clean. If you have been sick, change your toothbrush as soon as you can.
What is gum disease?
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Loose teeth that may eventually fall out or need to be removed
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Receding gum line
- Chronic bad breath
If I have braces, do I still need to schedule a dental checkup every 6 months?
Yes! It is extremely important that you continue visiting your dentist while receiving orthodontic treatment, as food or other debris may become caught in places that your toothbrush cannot reach. Your dentist will help to keep your teeth lean, working with your orthodontist to help you avoid cavities, gum disease, and other problems and keep your smile healthy while wearing braces.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Call or text Ortman Family Dentistry at 765-447-0322! Our team will be happy to help you set up your next dental appointment. If you are new to our office, just let us know, and we will provide all the information you need for your first meeting with your dentists.