Is it OK to go to the dentist once a year?

The average person should visit the dentist twice per year. Regular semi-annual visits for professional dental cleanings and exams protect against gum disease and help decrease tooth decay and loss. Your dental hygienist will professionally clean off tartar buildup that you cannot do yourself with brushing, flossing, or by using a water flosser. Early detection of cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer with semi-annual dental visits helps prevent small problems from becoming larger, more expensive issues.

If you have a history of gum disease and bone loss around the teeth, it will be necessary to have dental cleanings more than twice per year. During your exams, Dr. Ewell and your hygienist will discuss with you which frequency of dental cleanings your mouth needs to ensure future bone loss is diminished.

The following situations should result in individuals seeing the dentist every six months:

– Those who have a history of cavities or tooth loss
– Those who experience dry mouth as a result of health or medication side-effects
– Those who have diabetes or heart disease – oral bacteria can make these conditions worse
– Those who have a physical or mental disability that prevents them from brushing their teeth adequately

What happens if you don’t go to the dentist for 5 years?

It is recommended to visit the dentist twice per year, but we understand that life gets busy or you may have apprehension regarding the dentist. Even if it has been a while since your last visit, Dr. Allen Ewell and Dr. Elizabeth Ewell will care for you in a non-judgmental way. If it has been 5 years or more since your last visit, it is very likely that there will be heavy tartar build-up on the teeth and gum disease with bone loss around some teeth. There may be large cavities; some of these may cause discomfort and others you may not feel if the nerve of the tooth has already slowly died. Regardless of your situation, we will kindly work with you to bring health back to your gums and teeth.

Do I really need to have my teeth cleaned every 6 months?

Plaque begins to form immediately after eating or consuming any non-water beverage. Within 48 hours, it hardens on your teeth and becomes tartar. This tartar collects more bacteria and food debris and contributes to:
– Tooth decay
– Gum disease
– Bad breath
– Weakened and destroyed enamel
– Tooth Sensitivity

By coming in every six months for a professional dental cleaning, you can prevent the harmful effects of tartar. Your dental hygienist can remove tartar gently and effectively using professional instruments and skills which cannot be adequately done at home. Most individuals naturally build up tartar at a rate that requires professional cleanings every 6 months. However, some individuals with gum disease require more frequent cleanings as the gum disease bacteria and tartar form at a faster rate. Dr. Ewell and your hygienist will discuss with you which frequency of cleanings you need for optimal oral health.

How do you remove calculus from teeth without going to the dentist?

Calculus or tartar is hardened plaque that is strongly adherent to the tooth and root surfaces beneath the gums. Calculus hardens within 48 hours of the formation of plaque. Safe and effective calculus removal cannot be done without seeing a professional dentist or hygienist. Although generic scalers can be purchased, it is very easy to accidentally damage your tooth enamel or gums by attempting to remove calculus yourself. If you have gum disease, the calculus is beneath the gums and must be removed gently with numbing and a knowledge of root surface anatomy.

You can ensure excellent oral hygiene at home by brushing twice per day (preferably with a powered toothbrush – Dr. Allen Ewell and Dr. Elizabeth Ewell recommend Sonicare and Oral-B) for at least two minutes each time. Ideally, flossing daily will ensure the most effective plaque removal, but flossing 3-4 times per week is better than nothing!

Does apple cider vinegar remove tartar from teeth?

Apple cider vinegar has many excellent health benefits, but can be too harsh to be used on your teeth. Tooth enamel becomes weaker and dissolves when exposed to acid. Apple cider vinegar is an acid and can damage your teeth. We do not recommend that apple cider vinegar be used to remove plaque from your teeth. Tartar is solidified plaque that cannot be removed on your own; it is removed by professional dental cleanings. Perhaps you have also heard that apple cider vinegar can whiten your teeth and remove stains. Although it may remove stains, it also removes enamel doing more harm than good!

It is much healthier and gentler to use either baking soda or toothpaste with fluoride to remove plaque and stains from your teeth.

Can I scrape plaque off my teeth?

Plaque forms immediately after we eat food or consume anything that isn’t water. It is soft and easily removed by brushing and flossing. The most effective toothbrushes are powered since the vibration disrupts the plaque better than manual toothbrushes. We highly recommend brushing twice per day with Sonicare or Oral-B brands for adults and any introductory powered toothbrush for children. Children need adult supervision of brushing until age 7 or 8 and even need an adult to brush the child’s teeth after they have done it on their own for effective plaque removal. Flossing once per day will help remove plaque that is in between the teeth that your toothbrush bristles just can’t reach.

How do you remove hardened plaque?

Hardened plaque, also known as tartar or calculus, is removed by professional dental cleanings. Our hygienist gently and effectively removes tartar from the teeth and roots to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque is soft and easily removed by brushing and flossing, but once plaque sits on the teeth for 48 hours it hardens into tartar and becomes very challenging to safely remove on your own. Regular dental cleanings remove this tartar and help prevent gum disease.

Can you remove tartar yourself? Can you scale your own teeth?

Generic-grade dental scalers can be found for purchase, but it is not recommended to use them without professional training. They are sharp instruments and can accidentally tear or puncture the gums or cause irreversible damage to the enamel. If you have gum disease, the tartar is beneath the gums and tightly adhered to the surface of the roots, making it impossible to clean off on your own. Professional cleanings every six months or more frequently in the presence of gum disease will gently and effectively remove tartar without causing damage to your teeth or gums.

What removes tartar from teeth?

Tartar is a hard, solid substance of calcified plaque, bacteria, and food debris. It cannot be removed by brushing, flossing, rinsing, or using a water flosser. It must be removed mechanically by your dentist or dental hygienist using professional instruments and skills. Although you can purchase generic scalers, it is very easy to accidentally cause damage to your gums or enamel by trying to remove tartar on your own.

If you have gum disease (periodontal disease), the tartar build-up is underneath the gums and strongly adhered to the surfaces of the roots. This tartar causes bone destruction around the teeth and can eventually cause tooth loss. During a deep cleaning, (Scaling and Root Planning), your hygienist will gently numb the areas of concern and be able to effectively reach the tartar build-up underneath the gums using professional scalers. The hygienist will smooth the root surfaces to discourage more tartar from clinging to the roots. Professional removal of tartar helps prevent worsening gum disease and bone loss.

What is the difference between plaque and tartar?

Plaque is a soft, easily removable biofilm material made up of food debris and bacteria that forms and sticks on your teeth immediately after eating or drinking anything that isn’t water. Adequate brushing twice per day and flossing once per day can effectively remove plaque from your teeth. However, even the very best brushers and flossers (Dr. Ewell and your hygienist included!), will still be unable to remove 100% of the plaque from their teeth. After 48 hours, plaque hardens into tartar (or calculus). This tartar cannot be removed by brushing, flossing, rinsing, or using a water flosser. This tartar is professionally removed from your teeth at your dental cleanings.

Do you brush your teeth before going to the dentist?

While it is appreciated if you are able to brush your teeth before visiting the dentist, it is not required and we won’t judge you if you are unable to do so! Dr. Allen Ewell and Dr. Elizabeth Ewell know you have a busy schedule and it may not be feasible or convenient for you to brush your teeth before you see us. If you would prefer to brush your teeth before we take a look, just let us know and we can provide you with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

What happens if you haven’t been a dentist in years?

If it has been many years since your last dental visit, you can expect a warm welcome and kindness from all of us at Dentistry of Arizona. Dr. Allen Ewell and Dr. Elizabeth Ewell understand that life gets busy, you may be concerned about the cost, or have had bad dental experiences in the past. Regardless of your situation, we won’t hold your past against you and are thrilled that you’ve made the decision to visit the dentist. If you have a specific area of concern that you want us to focus on, we will do a limited exam of that area with X-rays. We will then discuss with you your treatment options. Eventually, we want to do a full, comprehensive exam with X-rays to make sure other areas of concern are also discussed. After your reintroduction to the dental office, we hope to become your dental home where you feel comfortable and well taken care of!

What do I do if I can’t afford a dentist?

We understand that the cost of dental treatment can be daunting, so we work with our patients to help make oral health attainable and feasible. At Dentistry of Arizona, we believe in prevention and routine dental visits to catch problems when they are small and inexpensive before they grow into bigger and more costly issues.

Prevention Through Oral Hygiene and Regular Visits
We strongly recommend that all of our patients help prevent tooth decay by using fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinse. Fluoride is safe and proven to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities / slow down the progression of decay. Excellent oral hygiene habits, including using a powered toothbrush twice per day with fluoridated toothpaste, and flossing and using a fluoridated mouth rinse are key habits for oral health. By seeing the dentist at least twice per year for an exam and x-rays, we can catch areas of concern earlier on.

Prevention Through Diet
Tooth decay progresses rapidly in the presence of sugar and acids. To avoid forming several cavities, drink primarily water instead of sports drinks, energy drinks, soda, lemonade, or juice. Enjoy these drinks as a treat and try to drink water afterwards to rinse it off your teeth. The sugar and acids from these drinks break down tooth enamel rapidly and leave teeth prone to cavities.

Payment Options
For patients without insurance, we offer a few different options that make treatment more attainable so you do not need to avoid dental care:
1) We offer cash or check discounts when treatment is paid in full
2) We offer payment plans (typically 3 or 6 months, although may be customizable to your needs)
3) We offer an annual In-House Patient Loyalty Plan which includes routine exams, routine x-rays, an emergency exam, 6 month cleanings, or 3 month cleanings depending on periodontal needs.
4) We offer CareCredit – find out more about CareCredit hereWe are more than happy to discuss financial options with you – our goal is to make treatment attainable, affordable, and keep you healthy!

How can I go to the dentist without dental insurance?

Our goal is to help make dental treatment affordable; we will work with you even if you do not have dental insurance to help you get the dental care that you need.

At Dentistry of Arizona, we offer a few financial options when patients do not have dental insurance. We are more than happy to discuss these options with you!

1) We offer cash or check discounts when treatment is paid in full
2) We offer payment plans (typically 3 or 6 months, although may be customizable to your needs)
3) We offer an annual In-House Patient Loyalty Plan which includes routine exams, routine x-rays, an emergency exam, 6 month cleanings, or 3 month cleanings depending on periodontal needs.
4) We offer CareCredit – find out more about CareCredit here.

Is it cheaper to get a tooth pulled or filled?

Dr. Allen Ewell and Dr. Elizabeth Ewell’s practice philosophy is that if a tooth is useful (meaning it is being used in chewing) and can be restored (whether by a filling or by other means), then they strongly recommend the tooth be treated versus extracted. Although it can be less expensive to have a tooth removed versus a filling, ethically, our doctors will not remove teeth that can be saved or have a useful purpose to chewing. Having a restorable and functioning tooth removed can result in shifting and malpositioning of the remaining teeth and loss of chewing function. There may be some circumstances when the extraction of the tooth is still ethical and a reasonable option – Dr. Ewell will discuss the risks and benefits of your options.

Will a rotten tooth eventually fall out?

A rotten tooth may eventually fall out if there is severe and significant bone loss around the tooth or it may continue to crumble and break away slowly over the years. Rotten teeth harbor bacteria and cause infection of the jaw bone even if you cannot feel it. This infection causes bad breath, can affect the adjacent teeth and spread bacteria to them, or it can abscess. In some circumstances, an abscess can cause severe swelling of the face or neck and can become a life-threatening emergency. If you have a rotten or broken tooth, come in and see us for a quick emergency exam so we can remove the infection versus letting it linger in your body.

Is it better to have a root canal or extraction?

Each tooth is different and each patient has different needs. If your tooth has deep and extensive decay, Dr. Ewell will discuss with you the long-term prognosis of the tooth and whether a root canal should be pursued or an extraction is more predictable. After clinical examination, an updated x-ray and a photo of the tooth will show you the size of the cavity and how much tooth there will be remaining after the cavity is cleaned out. Dr. Ewell will discuss what your particular tooth will benefit the most from and let you make an informed decision.

What happens if you have a tooth pulled and don’t replace it?

Sometimes teeth are lost due to catastrophic fractures, very deep decay, or extensive bone loss. When a tooth is removed, the surrounding and opposing teeth will typically shift and move. This malalignment can affect chewing and can cause bone loss of the jaws making tooth replacement or denture wearing more challenging. Some teeth in patients do not miss when they are removed and not replaced (wisdom teeth or second molars), but other teeth provide more chewing and esthetic function. However, if you are bothered by one or many missing teeth, we provide a few options including dental implants, bridges, removable partial dentures, or complete dentures (with or without implants).

Experience a Refreshing Approach to Dentistry

If you have any questions or are ready to schedule a visit with Dr. Allen Ewell and Dr. Elizabeth Ewell, your Surprise, Arizona dentists at Dentistry of Arizona, don't hesitate to reach out. Give us a call today or conveniently request an appointment online. We look forward to assisting you!
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