Dental FAQs

What is dentistry?

Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions, disorders, and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Often considered necessary for complete oral health, dentistry can have an impact on the health of your entire body.

Who is a dentist?

A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. We have typically completed at least eight years of schooling, and received either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery), or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). As a general dentist, I am qualified to perform many different aspects of care as the need arises. They include:

  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Oral surgery (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
  • Crowns and bridges
  • Periodontics (gum disease)
  • Prosthodontics (implants, partials, dentures)

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

Visiting me regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:

  • Helps prevent tooth decay
  • Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
  • Prevents bad breath; brushing, flossing, and seeing me regularly will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath. These bacteria have also been associated with problems in the rest of your body.
  • Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence
  • Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco
  • Strengthens your teeth so you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!

My teeth feel fine; do I still need to see a dentist?

Your teeth may feel fine, but it’s still important to see me regularly because problems can exist without your knowing. Your smile’s appearance is important, and I can help keep it healthy and looking beautiful.

With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. I offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:

  • Professional teeth whitening
  • Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
  • Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers

How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss once a day!
  • Make sure to use a toothpaste that is correct for your needs.
  • Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth and causes more plaque and potential cavities), and avoid tobacco (which can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).
  • Don’t be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit me every six months.

At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year. During this time, your child’s baby teeth will be coming in and I can examine the health of those first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.

How often should I see the dentist?

Children, teens, and adults should all see me for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to come in more than just twice a year. I will help determine how often you should visit for regular checkups.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth because of tooth decay. Cavities form when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with bacteria, sugars, and starches in the food you eat. This produces an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth.

If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss between teeth at least once a day.

What is a filling?

A filling is a synthetic material I use to fill a cavity after all the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because I will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic. I have not used “amalgam” (which contained mercury) for the last 23 years.

How often should I brush my teeth?

According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria-causing plaque.

It is also recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your teeth. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!

When should I change my toothbrush?

Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. I recommend that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently.

Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you’ve been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.

What is gum disease?

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics.

Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease. If detected, it is treatable and reversible. If gingivitis is left untreated it may turn into periodontitis (advanced gum disease) which is still treatable but not reversible. Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) can lead to both tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition.

Brushing and flossing your teeth, and visiting me every six months, will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease include:

  • Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gum line
  • Abscessed teeth

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit me regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. I will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.

How do I schedule my next checkup?

Simply call my practice! 516-239-1879. My front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience. If you are a new patient, please let us know and we will provide all the information you need for your first dental visit.

Back to Top

FIND US