What do I need to bring to my first dentist appointment?
- Dental Insurance Card (if applicable)
- Identification such as Driver's License, Military ID or State ID
How safe are dental x-rays?
Dental x-rays are safe when compared to medical x-rays. We are exposed to radiation every day, from the sun, airplane planes rides, even some stones such as granite or marble. Everything in our environment gives off a certain amount of radiation. Dental x-rays are one of the lowest doses of radiation within the medical field. In a routine exam, we take 4 bitewing x-rays which is .005 mSv. This is less than 1 day of natural background radiation. It is the same amount of radiation when you fly for 1-2 hours. In a 24 hour period, we are exposed to about .01 mSv. Millisieverts (mSv) are the units used to measure radiation.
Why does the dentist take x-rays?
Certain diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when the dentist examines the mouth but can be seen on the x-rays, such as:
- Small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations and/or fillings
- Infections of the bones
- Periodontal disease
- Developmental abnormalities
- Certain kinds of tumors
Finding and treating dental problems at an early point can save patients time, money and needless discomfort.
How can I prevent cavities?
Spend two to three minutes brushing your teeth at least twice a day! Do not brush too hard. It only takes a little pressure to remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth. Floss at least once a day, as flossing is the only way to get the bacteria and food from in-between your teeth, especially tight or close together teeth.
Be mindful of how much sugar you eat or drink. Foods high in sugar include candy, soda, gum, fruits, crackers and chips. If you cannot brush directly after a meal, carefully rinse your mouth with water. This helps to remove food from your teeth and mouth. Do not forget your regular dental visits and cleanings!
What is fluoride and why is it important?
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and even water. A few natural sources of fluoride are brewed tea, canned fish, cooked kale, spinach, apples, and skim milk. As well as food, some city water contains fluoride.
Lack of fluoride leads individuals at any age at risk for dental decay. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making your tooth enamel more resistant to acid attacks from plaque.
The dentist also gives fluoride treatments during the routine cleanings, predominantly for children. This keeps cavities from forming.