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Dentistry FAQ

Dentistry FAQ

What is dentistry?

Dentistry is a branch of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of conditions, disorders and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth and jaw. Dentistry embodies all aspects of oral health, which can have an impact on your overall health.

What is a dentist?

A dentist is a physician who specializes in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of oral health issues. Dentists have completed eight years of schooling and either have their DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. Besides the name, there is no difference between the two degrees. A general dentist can perform a variety of traditional, restorative, cosmetic and comfort dentistry services. However, dentists can also specialize in different areas of dentistry. These specializations include:

  • Pediatric dentist (children's teeth from infancy through teenage years)
  • Endodontist (root canals)
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeon (surgery, pathology and radiology of the mouth, jaw, teeth and face region)
  • Orthodontist (dental irregularities such as bad bites, crooked or misaligned teeth – often associated with braces treatment)
  • Periodontist (gum diseases)
  • Prosthodontist (restoration and replacement of teeth)

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

During dental visits, the dentist or hygienist will provide your teeth with a deep cleaning, removing bacteria and plaque that can't be removed by simply brushing. Visiting the dentist regularly ensures that your teeth and mouth stay healthy for life.

If my teeth feel fine, do I still need to visit the dentist?

Yes! There are many problems that could exist without you even knowing.

How will I know if I have found the right dentist?

It's important to find a dentist that meshes well with you and your family. Before scheduling an appointment, possibly schedule a consultation first. You may want to consider the following during your consultation or first appointment:

  • Was scheduling the appointment convenient?
  • Is the office easy to get ahold of?
  • Is the office close by?
  • Is the office clean and orderly?
  • Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a secure file?
  • Does the dentist explain treatment well?
  • Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
  • Is your dentist a member of the American Dental Association?

At what age should I take my child to the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see a dentist as early as six months old and no later than one year old. A good rule of thumb is when the first tooth appears.

How often should I see the dentist?

People of all ages should see the dentist at least once every six months. Patients who have a higher risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more often. If this is the case, your doctor will let you know.

How often should I brush my teeth?

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth two times per day! Ideally, once in the morning and once before bed. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride and brush your teeth, gums and tongue. Don't forget to floss!

How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?

  • Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once!
  • Use toothpaste that contain fluoride.
  • Avoid foods with lots of sugar and avoid tobacco.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth due to tooth decay. When plaque builds up on the outside of the tooth and is combined with the sugars and starches in the food you eat, a cavity is formed. The acid that is produced can eat away at the enamel on your tooth.

What is a filling?

A filling restores a tooth, damaged by decay, back to its normal function and shape. When a dentist gives you a filling, they will remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and fill the cavity with synthetic filling material.

When should I change my toothbrush?


If you are brushing your teeth the recommended two times per day, your toothbrush will eventually wear out. Dentists recommend that you change your toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, you may have to change the brush head less often, but be sure to read the directions. If you have gum disease, you may want to change your toothbrush every 4-6 weeks to keep bacteria from spreading. If you have been sick, change your toothbrush as soon as possible. To keep your toothbrush clean from day to day, rinse it with hot water after use to kill germs and keep the bristles clean.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that has been left untreated. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease and is treatable if detected early. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss. Brushing your teeth regularly and scheduling dental checkups every six months are the best way to prevent gum disease.

Do I still need dental checkups if I have braces?

Yes! In fact, it's even more important. Your dentist and orthodontist will work together to make sure that your teeth stay healthy and clean while wearing braces.

How do I schedule my next checkup?

Call our office at 817-237-1600. One of our receptionists will be happy to help you schedule an appointment or answer any questions that you may have.