These preventive dentistry exams done every six months help prevent problems with your teeth, gums and jaw bones, or they catch and manage problems before they worsen. During your visit, our doctors will take a picture of the current standing of your dental health and what would be needed to keep your oral hygiene in its best state. Both Dr. Allen Ewell and Dr. Elizabeth Ewell have a strong philosophy of prevention and catching small issues before they grow into larger problems.
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 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 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 prevent 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.
We truly believe that regular dental examinations are important in order for your child to have good dental health and a smile of which he or she can be proud. We start by doing a professional cleaning, removing all of the bad tartar and other buildup on your child’s teeth.
We then do an examination, looking to catch and fix any problems before they become bigger ones. We examine each tooth, looking for any signs of decay, damage, or any other problems, such as signs of infection. We want to correct any problems your child may have before they get any worse.
We like to see your little one for the first time before they turn two! Their first visit is a complimentary "Happy Visit" where they will get to ride in the chair, feel the "wind" on their tooth from the air/water tip, and will get their teeth counted and polished. We make this visit fun and comfortable! Dr. Ewell will visually determine if there are any obvious cavities that need attention. Once children are around age four, we will begin by taking their first series of dental x-rays. We love seeing children of all ages and making positive memories at the dentist!
Dental sealant is a coating painted on the teeth to help prevent cavities on the biting surface of the teeth. It attaches to your child’s teeth, smoothing the rough edges, depressions, and grooves that are typically found on teeth. It gives your child’s teeth a protective coating, helping to prevent tooth decay and cavities. They do not cover the in-between parts of the teeth, so it is still important to floss to prevent cavities there.
Sealants are usually done on the back teeth once they have erupted fully. Even if your child brushes and flosses properly, he or she may miss some areas. For this reason, sealants are a good way to protect your child’s teeth.
Cleanings and Periodontal Cleanings
Professional dental cleanings will remove the buildup of plaque and tartar that you cannot remove on your own. Then, your teeth will be polished nicely. We recommend all our patients have a fluoride varnish applied to their teeth to help strengthen and protect the enamel and prevent cavities.
When necessary, Scaling or Root Planing, or "deep cleanings" are done if you have gum disease. The bacteria that causes periodontal disease causes bone loss around the teeth and can even lead to tooth loss. This bacteria and tartar forms underneath the gums and clings to the surface of the roots. We want to prevent tooth loss and maintain the level of your bone. During these deep cleanings, our hygienist will get specific problems areas of the mouth numb and can then comfortably clean underneath the gums. These scaling or root planing treatments are then followed by three or four month periodontal maintenance intervals to keep the periodontal bacteria in-check.
Professional cleanings also give our dentists a chance to really look at your teeth. We will do a thorough examination to make sure you don’t have any other problems that need to be addressed. We are hoping to catch any little problems before they become bigger ones!
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 is able to remove tartar in a gentle and effective way using professional instruments and skill 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 forms at a faster rate. Dr. Ewell and your hygienist will discuss with you which frequency of cleanings you need for optimal oral health.
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.
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 skill. 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 Planing), 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.
Sports guards are a must for anyone who plays contact sports. These customized athletic sports guards protect teeth from being knocked out or fracturing in case you get hit in the face. They are very important for those with braces or prior dental treatment like crowns or implants.
Not only do they help protect your teeth and the dentistry you have already had done, but they also provide a barrier for your cheeks, lips and tongue to reduce the risk of soft tissue damage from dental work and braces. We create customized sports guards in a variety of styles and colors to suit your personality.
If you often wake up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth (particularly when you are stressed or stuck in rush-hour traffic), you may have a common condition called “bruxism" and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (commonly referred to as "TMJ.").
Most people do grind their teeth (including both of our doctors) when we sleep and cannot help it. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to heavy wear and tear on teeth and can cause your natural teeth and crowns to fracture.
Sleep Apnea Appliances
People who have sleep apnea never get the rest that they deserve. They have trouble breathing which constantly wakes them up throughout the night. They may also heavily snore or seem like they are gasping for air during the night. Many people who have sleep apnea have multiple health problems. They are always exhausted and may have trouble concentrating at home or at work. Sleep apnea can also affect their blood pressure, making them more likely to have strokes.
We can fabricate a custom sleep apnea appliance that is less cumbersome than a traditional CPAP that improves snoring and your airway, allowing you to have improved sleep and overall health.