While a visit to the dentist isn’t always a pleasant experience, it is paramount for your health. Over 60% of all dental procedures are either preventive or diagnostic. Early diagnosis is vital for it prevents the progression of the dental condition. If a disease isn’t spotted early, it can lead to more unpleasant consequences. It’s also more expensive to treat a full-blown illness.

If you or your loved one is in Lomita, California, and needs a dental care service, look no further than Washington Dental. Our dentists are qualified and have years of experience diagnosing and treating a myriad of dental ailments. We pride ourselves on offering the best dental treatment services. Below are answers to some common questions you might have about dentistry.

In general dentistry, a general dentist conducts a thorough check-up of your mouth, including teeth, gums, and maxillofacial region. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), 80% of dentists practice general dentistry. The other 20% are specialized in different areas of dental treatment. These specialized fields include:

  • Endodontics.
  • Prosthodontics.
  • Maxillofacial and oral surgery.
  • Pediatric dentistry
  • Emergency dentistry.
  • Cosmetic dentistry.
  • Orthodontics.

A general dentist offers preventive services, therapeutic services, cosmetic dentistry, and oral surgery.

  1. Preventive Services

Preventing a disease before it escalates is one of the most important steps you can take to maintain healthy oral hygiene. The preventive measures stop the progression of the infection before it gets out of hand. The cornerstone of preventive measures includes a high level of oral hygiene. Your dentist might also give you instructions on the best preventative measures to take while at home. These measures might encompass brushing your teeth regularly and using sealants if necessary.

  1. Restorative Services

When you visit your dentist, they check for oral diseases, including tooth decay and gum infections. If you have tooth decay or chipping, the dentist can recommend either a direct or indirect restoration. Direct restoration involves procedures used to fill cavities. The dentist can use various materials, which include:

  • Composite
  • Amalgam
  • Conventional Glass Ionomer (GCI)
  • Resin - Modified Glass Ionomer (RMGI)

You can also undergo indirect restoration procedures, which involve removing decay and making molds of your teeth. The procedures and molds include:

  • Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that cover your tooth. The purpose of the crowns is to restore your tooth’s structure.
  • Dentures are fake teeth. They can be a full or partial set.
  • Wisdom teeth removal.
  • Root canal. The dentist performs this procedure when your blood vessels and nerves are infected. The procedure helps in relieving pain and also negates the need for tooth extraction.
  • Tooth extraction occurs when all the other procedures cannot help save the tooth. In this procedure, the dentist removes the tooth.

Many people have different thoughts on how often you should visit the dentist. However, you should visit your dentist at least twice every year. That’s one once every six months. But, if you have a dental condition, your dentist might request you to have more frequent visits.

You should not fret about dental x-rays. The procedure is extremely safe as the radiation is within acceptable levels. The unit measure of radiation is called a millirem, and dental radiation only exposes you to 0.5 millirems.

You might have had a bad experience with a cavity. But do you know what a cavity is exactly? A cavity is a hole that develops in your tooth. The enamel degrades, and a hole forms in your tooth. Decay is the leading cause of the degradation of the tooth.

You should visit a dentist as soon as you discover a cavity, no matter its size. When the dentist covers the cavity, it will prevent the hole from enlarging. A large cavity might lead you to lose your tooth. 

Although dental restorations might last long, they don’t last forever. Some dental restorations last longer than others, depending on their type and your dental hygiene patterns. With time, the dental restoration might wear off, allowing decay to permeate to your tooth, thus causing problems.

You should observe very high dental hygiene if you want your dental restoration to last long. Also, visit your dentist as regularly as possible.

You might not be comfortable with the color of your teeth and would like to do something about it. Although many products in the market promise to offer the solution, you should be careful about these products and only use the ones certified by the American Dentist Association. Alternatively, you can visit your dentist for a whitening procedure. The procedure is an in-office affair and usually takes place in one visit. 

Fluoride is a mineral that’s available in many foods. Various dental products, including toothpaste and mouthwash, have fluoride as an active ingredient. Fluoride is critical as it strengthens your teeth, making them more resistant to decay. You should consume food rich in fluoride and use dental products with fluoride. Note, too much fluoride can cause teeth discoloration and a bone condition known as skeletal fluorosis.

Cracking of teeth is quite common. The teeth will crack due to decay, accidents, clenching, or heavy filling. Signs and symptoms of a crack or cracks are known as “cracked tooth syndrome.” When your dentist diagnoses this syndrome early, a greater chance to save your tooth exists.

Some symptoms of cracked teeth include erratic and sharp pain when you bite. Your teeth become overly sensitive to hot or cold drinks or food. It becomes challenging to identify the aching tooth. If you experience any of these symptoms, discuss the same with your dentist.

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt. They grow when you’re between the ages of 17 and 25. At times, they erupt much later or fail to erupt altogether. Wisdom teeth are located at the back of your jaw.

When plaque is not removed regularly, it turns into a deposit known as tartar. As a result, bacteria found in plaque causes periodontal disease. The bacteria cause the gums to soften, bleed, swell and begin to recede. Eventually, the supporting structure of the teeth degrades, and the result is tooth loss.

Excellent oral hygiene is the sure way to prevent gum disease. You should remove plaque through constant brushing and flossing. Regular visits to your dentist for professional cleaning are also critical in preventing gum disease. Did you know that pregnancy, stress, genetics, and diabetes can also affect the health of your gums?

The popularity of amalgam as a filling material is due to its strength. Dentists have been using amalgam for over a hundred years. One of the downsides of the material is its dark coloring. If you are looking for aesthetic appeal, you will not find it in amalgam.

Luckily, it's possible to replace your amalgam fillings with more attractive alternatives.

An x-ray examination provides crucial details about the state of your teeth. The dentist uses this information to come up with a detailed treatment plan. The x-ray shows the condition of your teeth, the composition of your facial bones, and your jaw placement.  This information is crucial, especially if you are to undergo any type of dental surgery.

The x-ray is also critical for it can reveal the presence of an anomaly that is undetectable with a physical examination.

You should brush at least twice a day. Doing so will eliminate bad breath. When you brush and floss, you kill the odor-causing bacteria. You also eliminate food particles which the bacteria feed on. Odor-causing bacteria also hide under the tongue.

To eliminate these bacteria, brush your tongue as you brush your teeth. You can also use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue. Using mouth cleaning products containing chlorine dioxide is another excellent option to keep your breath fresh. Chlorine dioxide kills the odor-causing bacteria.

Cosmetic dentistry is a procedure to correct a certain aspect of your dental formula. You can undergo cosmetic dentistry to correct an overbite, underbite, and other similar conditions. The dentist also conducts cosmetic surgery to whiten your teeth. Or place porcelain veneers that change the color of your teeth.

In this procedure, the dentist attaches a composite resin to your teeth or tooth structure. The main aim of the procedure is to hide your teeth or tooth imperfections. The bonding covers stained, broken, or chipped teeth. The resin is usually the same color as the rest of your teeth, so it’s difficult to tell the difference.

Tooth sensitivity is another common dental condition. You can rub a bit of toothpaste on the sensitive tooth before you retire to bed. Acidic food will also irritate you if you’ve got sensitive teeth. So, try to avoid acidic food as much as possible. Grinding your teeth can also cause tooth sensitivity.

If the sensitivity becomes too much, it's critical to speak to your dentist about the issue. The dentist will offer other solutions to help you manage the situation.

A dry mouth can be an indication of different dental issues. The condition gets worse as you grow older. At most times, though, the condition is a result of medication. Antidepressants, heart medication, high blood pressure drugs can all cause a dry mouth.  A dry mouth is uncomfortable and makes it extremely difficult to eat some foods. If you are experiencing a dry mouth, discuss the condition with your dentist. They will recommend a product to help manage the condition.

Although you might experience some level of discomfort, tooth extraction isn’t normally painful. Your dentist numbs your nerves first to make the process as painless as possible. After the procedure, your dentist will give you medication to manage any pain and help the wound heal. 

If you bleed excessively or the pain lasts longer than one week after the extraction, you should go back to the dentist for a checkup.

When you visit a new dentist, they will endeavor to find out all about your dental health. They will record your details, including your date of birth and address. They will also ask you about your medical history to understand if you have any medical condition. They will also ask if you’re undergoing any treatment. Armed with this information, your dentist can treat you safely.

After acquiring the information, the dentist will perform a physical examination to determine your dental health. They might also take an x-ray to have a better understanding of your dental formula. If you need any treatment, the dentist will advise you on the next step to take.

It's best to brush your teeth with soft-bristled toothbrushes. Using firm bristled toothbrushes can damage your gums and teeth. To maintain your dental hygiene, brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes.

You can either use an electric or manual toothbrush. Toothbrushes with angled bristles clean your teeth better since they reach all your teeth’ contours. You should replace your toothbrush after 3 or 4 months because the bristles wear out, and the toothbrush no longer does its job well. You should not wait for three months to replace your toothbrush if its bristles start to spread out or show signs of wear.

Use toothpaste and oral hygiene products like mouthwash with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance. These products have fluoride, which protects your teeth against decay. 

Flossing at least once per day is a great dental hygiene habit. Flossing does remove food particles that get stuck in your mouth after eating. Floss helps clear plaque. Plaque hardens and becomes tartar which causes degradation of the gums and eventual tooth loss.

Yes. You still need to brush your teeth even if you use a mouthwash. A mouthwash is critical for fresh breath, dealing with sensitivity and cavity protection. But it should not be an alternative to cleaning your teeth twice daily. Ask your dentist to recommend the best mouthwash to use, especially if you’ve got a condition. You shouldn’t allow kids who are younger than six years to use a mouthwash for the risk of swallowing it.

If your dentist spots an anomaly earlier on, they will start treatment as fast as possible. An illness is much more difficult to treat when it's at an advanced stage. It's also more costly. You should go for dental exams every six months.

Several reasons might necessitate a dental crown. Some of these reasons include:

  • Keeping a cracked tooth together.
  • To cover an earlier or recent dental implant.
  • To keep a tooth with a large filling in place.
  • Covering misshapen, discolored, and stained teeth.

You can use various types of dental crowns. You can either go for the onlays or ¾ crowns. However, these crowns don’t cover the tooth as much as the conventional tooth crowns. The conventional crowns cover your tooth in its entirety.

You should go for a three-quarter and an onlay when your tooth’s integrity isn’t extensively compromised. That is, your tooth’s structure is still solid. In this procedure, your dentist removes the damaged portion of your tooth and reshapes your tooth for the crown to fit.

The purpose of fillings is to treat any decayed tooth or cover a tooth that has a cavity. Dentists also use fillings to treat cracked or fractured teeth. When you complain of a toothache, the dentist will immediately check if you have cavities. The dentist uses both x-rays and physical examination to see the best way to fill the cavity.

Tooth extraction is only done when all other treatments will not offer any solutions. Or if you don’t want other treatments. It is usually done when the tooth is too damaged. If you have a cavity, the dentist might decide to pull out the tooth.

The tooth decay can be so advanced that only the tooth root is left intact. In such a case, the dentist extracts the root through a minor tooth surgery.

A dental implant is the most permanent tooth replacement procedure. In this procedure, your dentist permanently implants tooth roots into your jawbone. With the implants, you can have either permanent or removable replacement teeth. These teeth match your natural teeth.

The process requires several visits to the dentist. It is not a one or two-visit procedure. The dental implant procedure can take several months as you heal. These dental implants allow artificial teeth to work like natural teeth.

You can receive a dental implant if you are healthy enough. You should have healthy gums and jawbones for the procedure to be successful. You need healthy gum so that it can hold the teeth into place once you heal.

If you are a heavy smoker, suffer from diabetes or heart disease, you need constant evaluation from your dentist. Make sure you disclose your health status before the dentist starts the implant process.

Although oral cancer examination isn’t a treatment per se, it’s critical for your oral and general health. Your dentist performs the oral cancer examination to check any signs of cancer in your mouth. Once the dentist identifies early signs of cancer, you start on medication early.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

People who smoke or use tobacco products are more likely to suffer from oral cancer. Additionally, people who also abuse alcohol are at a higher risk of suffering from the ailment. As you age, the risk of suffering from oral cancer increases. Too much exposure to the sun can also lead to lip cancer.

Is Oral Cancer Treatable?

The success of oral cancer treatment depends on the time of its discovery. If the dentist detects cancer early, the treatment is usually successful. Oral cancer treatment usually includes radiation therapy and surgery. If the cancer is a bit advanced, a combination of treatments is used to treat the disease.

An example of combined treatment is using radio and chemotherapy at the same time. Thanks to medical advancement, nowadays targeted treatment is available. Through this new technology, the drugs specifically target and kill cancer cells. Depending on the severity of the disease, your dentist might refer you to a specialist.

Contact a Washington Dentist Near Me

Dental health is critical if you want to live a healthy life. However, you might have more questions than answers on dental healthcare. In this article, you have learned the common questions asked about dental health. If you have more questions about your dental health, do not hesitate to contact a qualified dentist.

If you or your loved one needs a dental checkup or treatment in Lomita, CA, you should visit a reputable dental clinic. At Washington Dental, we have been treating patients suffering various dental conditions for many years. Our dentists have a wealth of experience in treating many kinds of dental diseases. We are also experts at performing dental procedures. Should you need to schedule an appointment, please reach us at 310-326-5183.