If you are seeking dental services in Lomita, having questions is normal. You might wonder what to expect during a procedure, what treatments are available, or how to prepare for an appointment. At Washington Dental, we understand that patients have questions, and we are here to provide the answers you need.
We offer various dental services, from family to cosmetic and general dentistry. Our team of skilled professionals provides routine cleanings, exams, and more complex procedures like root canals, crowns, and dental implants. We also offer cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening and veneers.
Whether you need a routine cleaning or a more complex procedure in Lomita, we have the expertise to provide the treatment you need. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and receive the dental care you deserve.
What Does General Dentistry Entail?
General dentistry encompasses a broad range of dental procedures to maintain and improve the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth. The branch of dentistry involves routine dental care, preventative care, and treatments for common dental problems.
- Routine Dental Care
Routine dental care includes regular check-ups, cleanings, and X-rays. During a dental check-up, your dentist examines your teeth and gums for signs of decay, disease, and other issues. They may also perform an oral cancer screening.
Dental cleanings involve the removal of plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and gums. X-rays diagnose dental problems that may not be visible during a visual examination.
- Preventative Care
Preventative care involves preventing dental problems before they occur. This care includes regular brushing and flossing, fluoride treatments, and dental sealants. Fluoride treatments help strengthen your tooth enamel, while dental sealants protect against cavities.
- Treatment of Common Dental Problems
General dentistry also involves treating common dental problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. Treatment options may include fillings, root canals, crowns, and periodontal therapy. Your dentist may also provide treatments for cosmetic purposes, such as teeth whitening and veneers.
The Importance of General Dentistry
Regular visits to the dentist help maintain good oral health. By catching potential problems early, your dentist can prevent more serious issues from developing. General dentistry can also help you maintain a healthy, attractive smile and prevent bad breath and other oral hygiene issues.
What is Family Dentistry?
Family dentistry is a dental practice that focuses on providing care to patients of all ages, from children to seniors. Family dentists offer services similar to those general dentists offer. However, family dentistry is tailored to meet the needs of every family member. These services include routine dental care, preventative care, and treating common dental issues.
Benefits of Family Dentistry
The major benefit of family dentistry is that it provides dental care to patients of all ages. Families can receive care from a single dentist rather than visiting multiple dentists for different family members. Additionally, family dentists are trained to work with children and can help instill good oral hygiene habits from an early age.
How Often Should I Schedule an Appointment with My Dentist?
How often should you schedule an appointment with your dentist? The answer may depend on age, dental health, and other factors.
Frequency of Dental Visits
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that adults and children visit dental clinics at least twice yearly for routine check-ups and cleanings. However, depending on their dental health and other factors, some patients may need more frequent visits.
Examples of patients who need to visit the dentist more frequently include those with a history of dental problems, such as cavities or gum disease, or those with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system. Children may also need to visit the dentist more often than adults. This is because children's teeth are still developing and may be more susceptible to cavities and other dental problems.
Why Regular Dental Visits Are Important
Regular dental visits allow dentists to check for signs of dental problems, such as cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. Catching these problems early enough can prevent them from worsening and requiring more extensive treatment.
Also, regular cleanings can remove or prevent plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth and gums. In return, you prevent cavities and gum disease. Regularly visiting your dentist can help you maintain a healthy, attractive smile and prevent bad breath and other oral hygiene issues.
What Kind of Toothbrush and Toothpaste Should I Use?
Choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste goes a long way toward maintaining good oral health and preventing dental problems. But with so many options available on the market, knowing which products to choose from can take time and effort.
There are two main types, namely:
- Manual toothbrushes. These are the traditional type of toothbrushes and come in various sizes, shapes, and bristle types. When choosing a manual toothbrush, look for one with soft bristles and a small head that can reach all areas of your mouth. Also, changing your toothbrush every three to four months is advised to maintain good oral hygiene, especially if you notice the bristles starting to fray.
- Electric toothbrushes. These use oscillating or rotating bristles to clean your teeth. Some models also include timers and pressure sensors to help you brush more effectively. While electric toothbrushes could be more expensive than manual toothbrushes, they could be more effective at removing plaque and reducing gum inflammation.
Ultimately, choosing between a manual and an electric toothbrush will depend on your personal preference and oral health needs.
When choosing toothpaste, look for one that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Also, you should look for toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Toothpaste brands with the ADA seal of approval have been tested for safety.
Other factors to consider when choosing toothpaste include:
- Whitening: Some toothpaste brands contain whitening agents that help remove surface stains from your teeth.
- Tartar control: Toothpaste brands with tartar control ingredients can help prevent the buildup of tartar on your teeth.
- Sensitivity: If you have sensitive teeth, look for toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth.
Do I Need to Floss?
Flossing helps maintain good oral health, yet many people neglect this important step in their oral hygiene routine. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along your gumline, areas your toothbrush can't reach.
If left in these areas, plaque can harden into tartar, which only a dental professional can remove. Flossing can also improve your breath by eliminating odor-causing bacteria from your mouth.
Does a Rinse or Mouthwash Help?
Using a mouthwash or rinse could be a helpful addition to your oral hygiene routine. However, it should not replace brushing and flossing. Mouthwash can help freshen your breath, kill bacteria, and reduce plaque and gingivitis. However, flossing cannot remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth.
You want to choose a mouthwash appropriate for your needs. For example, if you have sensitive teeth or gums, you should choose a mouthwash formulated for sensitive teeth and gums. If you decide to use a mouthwash or rinse, follow the instructions on the label and use it in addition to brushing and flossing, not instead.
Types of Mouthwash
There are several types of mouthwash available, including:
- Antiseptic mouthwash: This type of mouthwash contains alcohol or other antimicrobial agents that can help kill bacteria and reduce plaque.
- Fluoride mouthwash: A type of mouthwash that contains fluoride, which can help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.
- Anti-gingivitis mouthwash: This is formulated to help reduce gingivitis, a mild gum disease.
- Sensitive teeth mouthwash: A mouthwash type that helps patients with sensitive teeth and contains ingredients to help reduce sensitivity.
Be sure to choose a mouthwash appropriate for your needs and follow the instructions on the label.
What Are the Early Signs of Dental Trouble?
Always pay attention to your oral health and watch for early signs of dental trouble. Catching dental problems early can prevent more serious issues and save you time and money in the long run. Below are examples of early signs of dental trouble to watch for:
- Tooth Sensitivity. If you experience sudden or increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks could be a sign of tooth decay or enamel erosion. Consider talking to your dentist if you notice increased tooth sensitivity.
- Bleeding Gums. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, it could be a sign of gingivitis, a mild gum disease. Gingivitis can be treated and reversed if caught early, so talk to your dentist if you notice bleeding gums.
- Bad Breath. Persistent bad breath, or halitosis, can indicate gum disease or other oral health problems. If you have persistent bad breath, talk to your dentist.
- Pain or Swelling. If you experience pain or swelling in your mouth, it could be a sign of an infection or abscess. Talk to your dentist immediately if you experience pain or swelling in your mouth.
- Loose Teeth. If you notice a tooth or teeth that are loose or shifting, it could be a sign of gum disease or other oral health problems. Be sure to talk to your dentist if you notice loose teeth.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe and Needed?
Dental X-rays serve as a commonly used diagnostic tool by dentists, aiding in identifying dental issues that may not be discernible during a visual examination. However, many patients worry about dental X-rays' safety and whether they are necessary. Below is what you need to know:
- Safety of Dental X-Rays
Dental X-rays are considered safe and are associated with minimal risk. The amount of radiation exposure from a dental X-ray is very low. It is comparable to the amount of radiation exposure from everyday sources, such as the sun and natural background radiation.
- Need for Dental X-Rays
Dental X-rays are an important diagnostic tool that can help identify dental problems that may not be visible during a visual examination. X-rays can help detect cavities, gum disease, impacted teeth, and other dental problems before they develop into serious issues that may require more extensive treatment.
- Frequency of Dental X-Rays
The frequency of dental X-rays you need depends on your dental health needs. When determining how often you need X-rays, your dentist will consider factors such as your age, oral health, and risk for dental problems. In general, most patients will need X-rays every 1-2 years.
- Types of Dental X-Rays
There are several types of dental X-rays, each of which provides different information about your dental health. Your dentist may recommend one or more X-rays, including bitewing X-rays, periapical X-rays, panoramic X-rays, and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans.
Do Teeth Need Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water and some foods, and it is also added to many dental products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride effectively prevents tooth decay, but some may wonder if it is necessary or safe.
Benefits of Fluoride
Fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel, making teeth more resistant to decay. It can also reverse early signs of tooth decay before they become cavities. Fluoride can be obtained through drinking fluoridated water, using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, and receiving fluoride treatments from your dentist.
Safety of Fluoride
Fluoride is safe when used in the appropriate amounts. The American Dental Association recommends that children and adults use fluoride toothpaste with a concentration of 1000–1500 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride. Higher fluoride concentrations, such as those used in fluoride treatments at the dentist, should only be used under professional supervision.
Who Needs Fluoride
Everyone can benefit from fluoride, but some people may be at a higher risk for tooth decay and need more fluoride. This includes children, people with dry mouths or a history of cavities, and those with braces or other orthodontic appliances.
What Do Sealants Do?
Thin plastic coatings, also known as dental sealants, are applied to the chewing surfaces of the premolars and molars. These coatings help prevent tooth decay. Sealants are typically applied to the teeth of children and teenagers, but they can also be used for adults at high risk of developing cavities.
Sealants fill in the deep grooves and pits on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, which are difficult to clean with regular brushing and flossing. These areas are particularly susceptible to decay, providing a prime breeding ground for bacteria and food particles.
Also, sealants are quick, easy to apply, and painless. Your dentist will clean and dry the tooth, apply an acidic solution to roughen the surface, and then paint the sealant onto the tooth. The sealant will bond to the tooth and harden under a special light.
Sealants can last up to 10 years and can be easily replaced if worn out or damaged. They are a simple and effective way to help protect your teeth from decay and maintain good oral health.
What Should I Do If I Have A Dental Emergency And Cannot Reach My Dentist?
Dental emergencies can happen at any time and can be very painful and stressful. If you experience a dental emergency and cannot reach your dentist, there are several steps you can take to manage the situation and alleviate your symptoms until you can receive professional help.
If you experience severe pain or bleeding, go to the emergency room or call 911 immediately. Your symptoms could indicate a serious problem that requires immediate medical attention. You want to rinse your mouth with warm water for a chipped tooth. Next, apply a cold compress to the affected area. The cold press is effective in reducing swelling. Save any broken tooth pieces and bring them to your dental appointment.
If you have a knocked-out tooth, gently rinse it, place it in a small jar of saliva or milk to keep it moist, and carry it to your dental appointment. If you have a loose or broken filling or crown, use dental cement or temporary filling material to cover the affected area and protect it until you can see your dentist.
Remember, these are temporary solutions; you should still seek professional dental care to ensure the best possible outcome.
What Are My Options For Replacing A Missing Tooth?
If you have a missing tooth, several options are available to replace it. The following are some of the most common options:
The implant is a small titanium post inserted into your jawbone to replace the root of your missing tooth. Once the implant is in place, a crown is attached to the top of the post to replace the missing tooth. Dental implants look and function like natural teeth; they can last a lifetime with proper care.
A bridge is a prosthetic tooth attached to the teeth on either side of the gap. Bridges can be made from various materials, including porcelain, gold, and metal alloys. While bridges are less expensive than implants, they may last less long and can be more difficult to clean.
Dentures are removable prosthetic devices that are used to replace missing teeth. There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. You use full dentures if all your teeth are missing. Again, you use partial dentures if only some natural teeth remain. Even if dentures are more affordable than implants or bridges, they are less comfortable and require frequent adjustments.
A flipper is a removable, temporary partial denture that can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. Flippers are typically made from acrylic resin and are designed to be worn for a short period until a more permanent replacement option can be found.
What Causes Teeth To Decay?
Tooth decay is a common dental problem that occurs when the enamel on your teeth starts to break down. The following are some of the main causes of tooth decay:
Poor Oral Hygiene
One of the main causes of tooth decay is poor oral hygiene. When you don't brush and floss regularly, food particles and bacteria can build up on your teeth, forming plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that can erode the enamel on your teeth and cause decay.
Sugary and Acidic Foods
Foods high in sugar and acid can also contribute to tooth decay. Sugary foods and drinks can provide a food source for the bacteria in your mouth, while acidic foods can erode the enamel on your teeth. Limiting your intake of sugary and acidic foods is important to help protect your teeth.
Having a dry mouth can also increase your risk of tooth decay. Saliva helps to wash away food particles and neutralize the acid in your mouth, so when you don't produce enough saliva, your teeth are more susceptible to decay. Certain medications, medical conditions, and dehydration can cause a dry mouth.
Your genetics can also play a role in your risk of developing tooth decay. Some people may be more prone to developing cavities due to the shape and size of their teeth and the strength of their enamel.
Are There Any Dental Problems Associated With Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body processes sugar. It can lead to several health problems, including dental issues. Below are things you want to know about the dental problems associated with diabetes:
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease can cause inflammation and bleeding of the gums, eventually leading to tooth loss. The patients are more likely to have gum disease because they are more susceptible to infections.
Diabetes can cause a decrease in saliva production, which can lead to a dry mouth. A dry mouth can cause bad breath, tooth decay, and other oral health problems. If you have diabetes and are experiencing dry mouth, talk to your dentist about possible treatments.
Patients who have diabetes may experience slower healing after dental procedures such as tooth extractions or gum surgery. This is because diabetes can affect the body's ability to heal itself. If you have diabetes and need a dental procedure, talk to your dentist about ways to promote healing.
People with diabetes are also more susceptible to developing oral thrush, a fungal infection in the mouth. Thrush can cause white patches on the tongue, inside the cheeks, and on the roof of the mouth. It can also cause a burning sensation in the mouth.
Find a Qualified Dentist Near Me
There are many frequently asked questions about dental procedures. Some common concerns include the appearance of yellow teeth and how to whiten them; whether cavities can be treated at home; the necessity of tooth fillings and root canal treatments; the safety of dental x-rays; and whether dental cleaning could result in loosened teeth.
At Washington Dental, your dental concerns and problems are addressed if you seek a qualified dentist in Lomita. We offer many dental procedures, including teeth whitening, cavity treatment, tooth fillings, root canal treatment, and more. If you need dental treatment, call us at 310-326-5183.