Do you have questions about routine checkups, cleanings, or gum disease? Are you eager to find out if you or your child are good candidates for dental sealants? If so, we have the answers. Below, our Fort Lauderdale dentist, Dr. Natalia Benda-Celenski, shares insight into some of the most common preventative dentistry FAQs so you can learn more about general dentistry and how to keep your smile healthy and pearly white.
Q: How often should I undergo general checkups and cleanings?
It is recommended that patients of all ages, including children, undergo routine general checkups and cleanings twice a year (or every six months). With regular checkups and cleanings, you can prevent serious dental issues from developing and address minor problems quickly before they escalate. Those with existing or advanced gum disease may be advised to undergo more frequent checkups and deeper cleanings (such as scaling and root planing) to monitor and maintain oral health.
Q. Is using toothpaste with fluoride enough? Do I still need to have regular fluoride treatments at the dental office?
While fluoridated toothpaste helps to strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay, it does not replace professional fluoride treatments at a dental office. Professional fluoride treatments use a significantly higher concentration of fluoride than cannot be found in over-the-counter toothpastes or mouthwashes. To rebuild lost tooth enamel and lower your chances – and your children’s – of developing cavities, our Fort Lauderdale dentist recommends having a professional fluoride treatment performed at least once a year, though depending on the condition of your teeth, we may recommend that you return for more frequent treatments.
Q. Is it true that once you have a deep cleaning you’ll have to keep getting them instead of regular cleanings?
This is a common, widespread misconception and one that, unfortunately, deters people from getting the dental treatment they need to both prevent and attack gum disease. If large pockets between your gums and teeth are discovered during a routine dental exam, we may recommend a deep cleaning (also known as scaling and root planing) to remove plaque below the gum line as well as treat infections and stop them from spreading further into your gums and bone tissue. However, with improved oral hygiene at home, pockets can be reduced and you can return to regular cleanings. That being said, not all pockets return to normal size and may continue to create issues for patients and affect their overall health. In these cases, we may recommend additional scaling and root planing treatments to prevent advanced periodontal disease, which can lead to sudden tooth loss or the need for a tooth extraction .
Q. Can I have a dental sealant placed on my teeth in lieu of a filling?
Although dental sealants can reduce the risk of developing cavities by as much as 80% and can be safely applied to teeth in children and adults, they are not effective treatments for existing cavities. When a cavity develops, the only way to stop it from progressing further into your tooth is to have the affected area cleaned and the decay removed by drilling and then replacing the vacant area in the tooth with a filling, dental inlay or onlay, or dental crown. At Pearl White Dentistry, we offer several natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing alternatives to silver or metal-alloy tooth restorations, including tooth-colored fillings.
Q. How often should I have an oral cancer screening?
Oral cancer screenings are safe to undergo as many times as needed and take only a few minutes to perform. If caught early, the prognosis for oral cancer is favorable. For your convenience, we recommend combining mouth cancer screenings with routine exams so you can maximize the benefits of your dental visit and monitor your oral health periodically.