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Dental FAQ

Dental FAQ

Get answers to all of your pressing questions.

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Why do I need to have my teeth professionally cleaned? Aren’t I doing a good enough job at home?

When cleaning your teeth at home or at your hygiene visit, the goal is to remove bacteria that have accumulated on the teeth. This bacteria, mixed with the sugars found in the foods you eat, produce acid, which attacks the hard enamel of the teeth, causing tooth decay and gum disease.

With daily brushing and flossing (using proper technique, of course), this bacteria can be somewhat removed. However, it is quite difficult to remove this bacteria from all of those awkward places, such as behind the lower front teeth, around the gumline, and the back molars.

After 24 hours, that missed bacteria turns into sticky plaque. This plaque then mineralizes and turns into calculus. Hardened plaque, or calculus, cannot be removed by regular brushing and flossing. This is where the dental professional is needed to “scale” or remove the hard deposits from the teeth.

If this calculus is left on the teeth and is not removed by your hygienist or dentist, then it eats away at the teeth and gums, causing decay and gum disease. This leads to bone loss. Bone loss leads to tooth loss. So, as the saying goes, “just clean the teeth you want to keep.”

It is generally advised to have a professional cleaning every six months. However, depending on the state of your oral health and whether you have any existing bone loss or have had extensive dental work, coming in for scaling every three to four months may be required to maintain a healthy smile. Your hygienist or dentist will let you know the ideal frequency for visits.

How much does a dental cleaning cost?

There are multiple factors that determine the cost of a dental cleaning. These factors include your current level of oral health, how often you visit the dentist for routine care, how many teeth you have and the level of calculus build-up on the teeth. If you have questions, please give us a call and we’ll do our best to help you with an estimate.

What is fluoride and why do I need it? Is it safe?

Fluoride is a mineral that has been found to safely strengthen teeth and prevent decay. Sugars and acid-producing bacteria form a sticky plaque that sits on your teeth, eating away at the hard enamel. Eventually, a cavity forms.

Regular professional cleanings and fluoride treatments, along with using a fluoride toothpaste, will aid in remineralizing enamel to help prevent cavities. Fluoride also helps with tooth sensitivity from gum recession by protecting these areas from acid bacteria.

Although fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, the lack of fluoride in our Kelowna municipal water supply and the amount found in our soil makes it vital to use a fluoride toothpaste and get a regular fluoride treatment at your dentist to maintain healthy, strong teeth.

How safe are dental x-rays?

At Burtch Dental, we use the most up-to-date equipment for maximum safety. This includes our digital x-rays, which emit up to 90% less radiation than film x-rays. They’ve been proven to be safe and produce only a fraction of the radiation you would be exposed to in other imaging procedures. The routine x-rays we take during your dental cleaning and checkup, expose you to roughly the same amount of radiation you would experience from a plane ride.

X-rays are a critical component of the dental exam. They are essential in providing a complete diagnosis to see issues that are not visible otherwise. They allow your Kelowna dentist to observe bone loss, decay, abscesses and tumors. During procedures such as root canal treatments or implants, they ensure accurate placement of material below the level of the bone that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

What can I expect at my first visit?

At your visit, we will begin by going over your health history and any dental issues you may have. A team member will take the minimal amount x-rays required to detect any tooth decay, bone loss or infection present, and your Kelowna general dentist will discuss these findings with you.

We will also take intra-oral photographs of your teeth individually as a way to visually show you any concerns we may have with your oral health. From there, your dentist will discuss the course of treatment that best suits you, if needed, and prioritize procedures to fit your lifestyle and budget. We always allow plenty of time for questions, so ask away! Our goal is for you to leave the office feeling confident with your treatment plan.

Do you bill my insurance directly?

Yes, as a courtesy to you, we bill directly to all major insurance companies and dental plans. Any residual balance left over must be paid at the time service is provided.

Is teeth whitening safe?

Yes, teeth whitening is a safe and cost-effective way to enhance your smile. The professional-grade whitening solution used by our dentists causes minimal sensitivity and removes even deep-set stains from your teeth.

How often should I brush my teeth?

We recommend brushing a minimum of two times per day for two minutes each session. Brushing your teeth does more than just remove bacteria – it keeps your breath minty fresh and gives you a sparkling smile. And, remember, good dental health goes beyond your teeth, so be sure to give your gums attention when brushing too.

While you’re sleeping at night, you produce less saliva than you do during the day. Saliva works inside your mouth as an added layer of defense against bacteria and plaque that leads to cavities. Brushing immediately before going to bed will remove many of the little particles of food and a lot of the bacteria inside your mouth that is just looking for a way to degrade your dental health. Brushing again in the morning, gets rid of any residual bacteria and stimulates the flow of saliva.

Keep in mind, form is just as important as frequency when it comes to brushing your teeth. If you need help with proper technique, we’ll be more than happy to demonstrate for you!

Why are strong teeth important?

The quality and health of your teeth is often used as a measurement of your overall health. Keeping your teeth strong and healthy not only gives you a bright, white smile, but it also protects your mouth and other parts of your body.

Cavities and infections in the mouth can cause a range of other ailments, such as ear infections and mouth pain. Periodontitis, the severe form of gum disease, has even been tied to conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Avoid it all by keeping up with your routine care from the expert dentists at Burtch Dental.

When should I schedule my child’s dental appointment?

Either within six months of the first tooth erupting or by the time they are one year old. This way, we can ensure there are no surprises throughout the development of their smile. Early dental visits also help little ones get comfortable with the dentist, which makes it more likely they’ll continue to get important care throughout their life.

What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?

A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.

Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a long period. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth arrive, an oral appliance may be recommended.

Burtch Dental offers expert guidance and genuine care for patients of all ages. Schedule a visit with a Kelowna dentist today!

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