Why is it so important to see a dentist?
Visiting the dentist 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 the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bad-breath causing bacteria in your mouth
- 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 that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!
What can I expect at a regular checkup?
During your checkup appointment, your dental hygienist will evaluate the health of your gums and examine your mouth for any indications of oral cancer or tooth decay. Dental X-rays may also be performed to detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. Your hygienist will clean your teeth and remove any plaque and tartar buildup. If not removed, soft plaque can harden on the teeth and irritate the gum tissue. If not treated, plaque can lead to gum disease. After your checkup, your dental hygienist will give you a few tips on maintaining oral health before your next appointment.
Are dental x-rays safe?
Dental x-ray exams are safe; however, they do require very low levels of radiation exposure. Dental X-ray tools and techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation and every precaution is taken to ensure that radiation exposure is As Low As Reasonable Achievable (the ALARA principle). We use a leaded apron that minimizes exposure to the abdomen.
I don’t have any oral health issues, should I still see a dentist?
It is important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Since oral health has such a profound effect on your general health, it is important to see your dentist regularly. Even with healthy teeth, dentist can help improve the appearance of your smile through cosmetic dentistry. You no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. There are many treatment choices, including: teeth whitening, tooth replacement, and full smile makeovers.
What should I look for when selecting a dentist?
Choosing a dentist for your family is an important decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine whether the dentist is right for you by considering the following:
- Are the staff members courteous and respectful?
- Is the office clean and orderly?
- Was your dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist or hygienist explain techniques for good oral health?
- Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?
How should I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?
Brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once! Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, this will help prevent cavities. 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. Last but not least, pay attention to what you eat! Avoid tobacco and foods with a lot of sugar.
What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers are thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve the appearance or provide strength and resilience. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length. Learn more by visiting our page on dental veneers.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is placed in your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be a good option for you if you have missing teeth due to periodontal disease or injury. Check out our page on dental implants to learn more.
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-old and no later than one-year-old. During this time, your child’s baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child’s first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.
What are my payment options?
We believe finances should never be a roadblock to good dental hygiene. That’s why we offer options so that you can make the proper decisions on the dental treatment you need and desire. In addition to accepting most dental insurance plans, we offer several payment options for our services to fit your budget. We can accept checks, credit cards, or dental financing through CreditCare.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our Columbia, MO practice at (573)445-5300! Our front desk staff at Willett & Patton DDS 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 you with all the information you need for your first dental visit.