If you’re diligent with your home oral hygiene and come see Dr. Strober and Dr. Butkofski (congratulations on your retirement, Dr. Messer!) and our team at Gentle Dental twice every year, it can seem pretty easy to keep your smile looking great. But that’s not how all people take care of their teeth.
The American Dental Association says that just over half (52%) of U.S. adults visit their dentist in the recommended six-month timeframe. The rest of the population visits either once a year (15%), every two to three years (11%), or, believe it or not, 22% haven’t seen a dentist in the last five years. Is it something we said?
Holy tooth decay and gum disease!
It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not hard to keep your smile healthy and looking great. Here are a few tips for doing so from the team at Gentle Dental.
Keep your twice-yearly appointments
The ADA recommends seeing a dentist for professional cleanings and exams every six months. This is not an arbitrary timeframe — six months is about the time it takes plaque to calcify into tartar in typical places like on the inside of the bottom front teeth. At six months, our Gentle Dental hygienists use dental picks and easily remove this tartar. But if left alone, the tartar will eventually start to push under the gumline, and this is the beginning of gum disease. Also, if we spot any decay at six months, it’s going to be small and easy to remove. If it is left alone, the decay will widen and eventually enter the inside of the tooth. Now you’ll have lots of pain and the tooth will need a root canal to save it from needing extraction.
Everyone loves their coffee and red wine, not to mention blueberries, raspberries, and even dark chocolate. Problem is, they all conspire to leave stains on the enamel of your teeth. Our in-office teeth whitening treatments remove those stains and whiten your teeth many shades in just an hour.
Attentive home hygiene
Good home hygiene is where a great smile starts and is maintained. Brush twice daily for two minutes using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride. Better yet, use one of the ADA-accepted electric toothbrushes (we’ll get into the list in March’s second blog). They have been proven to deliver better cleaning, and they even have a built-in timer, so you brush for the entire two minutes. Then floss once a day.
If you have deep staining, say from a reaction to tetracycline when you were a kid, these stains cannot be whitened. But you can have Dr. Strober or Dr. Butkofski place porcelain veneers over the front surfaces of all your visible teeth. These thin shells of porcelain can mask all sorts of cosmetic flaws and give you a perfect smile for all to see.
We can also place restorations, such as porcelain crowns, to protect and strengthen a tooth with lots of decay or a deep crack or chip. And dental implants are far and away the best option for replacing a missing tooth or two.
See? That wasn’t so hard. A healthy smile is usually a great looking smile, as well. We’ll help you keep it that way at Gentle Dental. Is it time for your next six-month cleaning and exam? Call us at (732) 549-5660 to make your appointment.