Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
What should I expect during my cleaning visit?
We will review your medical and dental history with you.
We will then examine your teeth and gums and do an oral cancer screening.
Radiographs will be taken, as appropriate.
We will clean, polish and floss your teeth, and apply fluoride varnish, if needed.
The dentist will then discuss your diagnoses with you and make an appropriate treatment plan.
When should my child come in for their first dental check-up?
The ability to sit through a dental visit varies from child to child, but generally by age 3, children are able to get their teeth cleaned by the hygienist and examined by a dentist.
X-rays may or may not be taken at these first visits.
We do not recommend that children under age 3 have a regular cleaning and check-up, but if you have any dental concerns, a dentist would be more than happy to examine your young child’s teeth.
Are parents allowed in the treatment rooms with their children?
We allow parents in the room during their child’s appointment; however, the dentist or hygienist may request the parent step out for portions of the appointment.
Many times a child will react more positively without a parent in the room.
We will always work with you to get the best possible experience and outcome for your child.
Why do I need X-Rays?
X-rays or radiographs allow the dentist to see between the teeth and to visualize the internal features of the tooth and bone.
Often x-rays allow the dentist to see the beginning of dental disease before it becomes a problem to the patient.
People who have a history of dental problems such as decay or gum disease will have to have x-rays more often than people without these problems.
How are cavities formed?
Cavities are formed when bacteria in the mouth produce acid from sugars in our food and drinks.
These acids dissolve the enamel, and over time, repeated exposure to the acids create holes in the teeth, or cavities.
How do I prevent cavities?
The most important aspect of preventing cavities is stopping the repeated acid attacks on the enamel.
Brushing for two minutes twice a day removes the bacteria-filled plague from the teeth, but cannot reach between the teeth.
Flossing is the only way to do that.
Fluoride in toothpaste, mouthrinse, and varnish helps strengthen the enamel and can help prevent very small cavities from getting bigger.
Diet is also an important factor: avoiding or limiting exposure to sugary and starchy food and drinks prevents the bacteria from forming the acid that attacks the teeth.
Repeated, prolonged exposure to sugar and citric acid, such as sipping on soft drinks, is one of the leading causes of cavities.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is an element often naturally occurring in drinking water.
Fluoride incorporates into tooth enamel to repair the early stages of cavity development and it strengthens enamel to help make it less susceptible to decay.
Because too much fluoride can cause tooth discoloration during tooth development, your dentist will evaluate individual risk of decay and exposure to fluoride and prescribe fluoride tablets if appropriate.
Decades of research has shown that fluoride is both a safe and effective means of preventing tooth decay.
What is gum disease?
Over time, the presence of bacteria in plaque and tartar causes inflammation that can destroy the gums and bony attachment of the teeth.
This is called periodontal disease.
It often starts with puffy, bleeding gums and can progress to loose teeth and infection.
The disease is often made worse in the presence of other factors such as smoking and diabetes.
Regular cleanings and good home care can help prevent gum disease, but sometimes it can progress with no symptoms.
The severity of the disease dictates the treatment, which can vary from more regular cleanings to cleanings with anesthetic below the gumline to referral to a gum and bone specialist for periodontal surgery.
Schedule a Visit
Drs. Chitwood and Matthews are accepting new patients.
Call us today at (608) 372-3298 to schedule your next visit.