Dr. Jonathan Kim and his team at Knolls Dental Care care about your concerns. To provide you with answers to your questions, we have provided a general list of frequently asked questions. If you still have questions or concerns after reading through this page, we invite you to contact our dentist in Long Beach, California, at 562-427-3890. We look forward to hearing from you!
What is the Best Toothpaste for My Child?
Fluoridated toothpaste is recommended for children. However, if your child tends to swallow toothpaste after brushing, you may want to find a toothpaste that is not fluoridated, or use a very small amount of toothpaste, such as a pea-sized drop. Be careful not to give your child too much fluoride or they may develop fluorosis, which is a condition that affects teeth that have not erupted. As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, begin using an ADA-approved toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth. If you have questions about your child’s fluoride intake, you should speak with our dentist.
Many people only visit the dentist when they have a noticeable problem. While they may think that they are saving money, the reality is that the treatments to repair and restore their teeth and smiles cost more money and time than it does to visit the dentist at regular intervals. Visiting the dental office regularly ensures that you receive preventive care to stop problems in the earliest stages of development, and to hopefully prevent them from developing in the first place. Your dentist can monitor your oral health and help you learn the best ways to care for your teeth so that they remain healthy. You should visit the dentist twice each year.
Why do I need to floss?
Brushing your teeth will clean the surfaces of your teeth, but will not reach the areas between the teeth or below the gum line. Flossing ensures that plaque and bacteria are removed from your mouth before they can cause damage to your teeth.
How often should I brush and floss?
You should brush at least twice each day. It is especially important that you brush your teeth before going to bed. Use an ADA-approved soft-bristled toothbrush, and fluoridated toothpaste. You should floss daily. We also recommend that you use a mouth rinse. Contact our office if you have questions.
How safe are dental X-rays?
Dental X-rays are extremely safe. In fact, you are exposed to less radiation with dental X-rays than you are in your day-to-day life from the sun. Advances in dentistry continue to make dental X-rays safer through digital imaging technologies and higher-speed X-rays. Additionally, federal law requires that X-ray machines be checked for safety and accuracy every 2 years.
I’m terrified to visit the dentist – what can I do?
Please speak with our team. We take your fear seriously, and will work with you to help you feel more comfortable in our office. There are many strategies that we can use to help lessen anxiety and fear. These include medications to number treated areas, sedation dentistry, the use of lasers instead of drills in your treatment, and a variety of techniques to reduce anxiety and mind/body pain (guided imagery, deep breathing, biofeedback, acupuncture, etc.). There are also dentophobia clinics and support groups available.
When should my child visit the dentist for the first time?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children visit the dentist for the first time about 6 months after their first tooth erupts, or no later than their first birthday. These appointments are designed to help your child become comfortable in the dental office and ensure that he or she is growing the developing correctly.
When will my baby start getting teeth?
Babies actually begin to develop teeth in the second trimester of pregnancy (about 16-20 weeks.) Teeth typically begin to emerge between 6 and 10 months of ages. You should begin flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have two adjacent teeth.
Why are primary teeth important?
Primary teeth are critical to maintaining good oral health and proper development. Your child’s primary teeth facilitate:
- Proper speech production and development
- Proper chewing and nutrition, and good digestion
- Straighter smiles – primary teeth hold the places of the adult teeth
- Excellent oral health
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you and your child take good care of their primary teeth. Please make an appointment with your dentist if you have questions.
What is cosmetic dentistry, and how can it help me?
Cosmetic dentistry is a field of dental specialty that focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth so that you can enjoy a more beautiful smile. It includes preventive care as well as restorative treatments. Some common cosmetic dental treatments include:
- Teeth whitening
- Dental veneers
- Composite (tooth-colored) dental fillings
- Dental bonding
- Dental crowns and bridges
- Dental implants
I’ve lost a tooth. What are my options for replacing it?
There are several options available to replace your missing tooth. When you visit our office, our dentist will examine your mouth, discuss your oral health needs and smile goals with you, and review your treatment options. We will design a customized treatment plan to restore your tooth and your smile. Some of the tooth replacement options we may discuss include:
- Dental implants
- Dental bridges
- Complete or partial dentures
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a procedure performed when injury, infection, or decay reach the inner tissues of the tooth. Our dentist will clean out the infected pulp tissue within your tooth roots, sterilize the canals, and then fill them with medicated material and seal the tooth to prevent future infection. While root canals have a reputation as being painful, advances in dentistry have made it possible to perform your treatment comfortable as well as effectively.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a field of dental specialty that focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial irregularities, including misaligned teeth and jaws. An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received 2-3 years of additional training following dental school in managing tooth movement and guiding facial development.
When should my child receive their first orthodontic screening?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive their initial orthodontic screening by age 7. At this age, several permanent teeth have erupted, and any developing problems will be easy to diagnose and treat.
Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?
No! While the majority of patients who receive orthodontic treatment are children or teenagers, more and more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment to improve their smiles and oral health. As long as your teeth and supporting structures are healthy, you can receive treatment.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an oral condition that affects the gums and supporting structures in your mouth. It begins as a bacterial infection of the gums, and gradually progresses until it destroys your gums and bone structure. The milder stage of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis, while the more severe form of the disease is known as periodontitis. You should be checked for periodontal disease each time you visit your dentist.
What causes periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by the harmful bacteria trapped in plaque. As plaque hardens into calculus (tartar), the disease becomes more established in your mouth, and the gum attachments begin to separate from your teeth and create pockets that harbor these harmful bacteria. If gum disease is allowed to progress without treatment, the condition may become irreversible.
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums, or other pain in your mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of dentures or other removable appliances
- Halitosis (bad breath)
What do I do if I have bad breath?
Halitosis (bad breath) may be caused by any number of factors, including:
- Morning time
- Poor oral hygiene
- Periodontal disease
- Poorly fitted appliances
- Dry mouth
- Tobacco products
- Medical conditions or illnesses
- Dehydration, hunger, or missed meals
- Certain foods
You can prevent bad breath by visit the dentist regularly, staying hydrated, practicing good oral hygiene, using mouth rinses, and by not using tobacco products. If your halitosis persists, we recommend that you consult a physician to determine if your bad breath is caused by a medical condition, and receive an appropriate treatment.