How often do I need to brush/floss?

Generally it is recommended to brush and floss after each meal or twice a day

How often do I need to visit the dentist?

This may vary for each individual, but you should visit twice a year for a checkup and cleaning. Some people need more. It all depends on your condition. Your dentist and hygienist best tell that to you.

It is important to know that prevention is the best thing you can do for your teeth. This involves visiting your dentist, brushing, and flossing. Strangely enough, these three things done effectively will minimize the amount of fillings that you will need.

Some people attitude towards check-ups thinking the old adage 'if it ain’t broke, don't fix it' whereas the exact opposite is absolutely true. You may think that if the dentist does not find something wrong, their time has been wasted. A successful series of visits should not discourage you from ever seeing their dentist and hygienist again. The idea that you should only see the dentist when something is wrong is not only ridiculous but can end up costing you a lot of money, comfort and time. Changing the oil in your car can keep it running a long time. Prevention is the key.

Your dentist is trained to detect and treat many problems before you are even aware of them. The goal is prevention - prevent disease, decay and tooth loss. Your dentist can help you but only if you make the appointment. It all comes back to teamwork. Check-ups should not be a one-time event. They are necessary for regular assessments of the condition and the well being of your mouth. Check-up procedures vary with each dentist, but basically will contain: a review of dental and medical history, an overall examination of the mouth including oral cancer screening, a professional cleaning, possibly a fluoride treatment, and a general assessment of hygiene at home. Regular check-ups are a must in the fight against gum disease.

What can I expect on my first visit?

On the first visit, you can expect a new patient interview, exam and oral cancer screening, any necessary x-rays and early discussion of a treatment plan . On your second visit the Doctor will review your treatment in detail integrating your desires and needs and then you will get a cleaning.

What information do I need about my medical history?

It is very important that you list any medical conditions, medications and allergy to any medicine when filling out the medical history form for your dental visit.

When is a good time to remove my wisdom teeth? Is it always necessary to remove all my wisdom teeth?

It is generally recommended that wisdom teeth be removed between the ages of 18 and 25, but this is not always the case. Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. Your dentist can determine this after an examination.

What do I need to do if I have a heart murmur, or an artificial metal hip or artificial knee?

For patients with a heart murmur, they may have to consult their physician before presenting for dental treatment. It may be necessary to take an antibiotic as a precaution.

What is the proper way to brush?

  • STEP 1: Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, clean the outer surfaces of each tooth. Angle the brush along the other gumline. Gently brush back and forth.
  • STEP 2: Brush in the inside surfaces of each tooth, where plaque may accumulate most. Brush gently back and forth. Use the tip of the brush to clean behind each front tooth, both top and bottom. Then, brush the chewing surface of each tooth, gently brushing back and forth.

What is the proper way to floss?

  • STEP 1: Use about 18” of floss, leaving an inch or two to work with.
  • STEP 2: Gently follow the curves of your teeth.
  • STEP 3: Be sure to clean beneath the gumline, but avoid snapping the floss on the gums.

What should I do about tooth decay and older fillings?

Because decay can lead to serious problems, it's important to see a dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings. Your dentist or hygienist is trained to spot early signs of decay. Changes that occur with aging make cavities an adult problem, too. Receding gums, and an increased rate of gum disease, can expose tooth roots to plaque. Softer than enamel, tooth roots are susceptible to decay and are more sensitive to touch and to hot and cold. It's not uncommon for people over the age of 50 to experience tooth root decay.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

If you've ever felt pain in your teeth after drinking or eating hot or cold food and drinks, you've had tooth sensitivity. One out of every four adults has had tooth sensitivity, often coming and going over time. Tooth sensitivity is tooth pain that comes from a wearing away of the tooth's surface or gums. When gums recede, or pull away from the teeth, they leave the root of the tooth bare. Because these roots are not covered by enamel (the hard outer layer of the tooth), thousands of tiny channels leading to the tooth's nerve are exposed. When heat, cold or pressure touches these channels, you may feel pain. Ignoring your sensitive teeth can lead to other more serious oral health problems. This is especially true if the pain causes you to brush poorly, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

What causes tooth grinding?

Does your jaw feel stiff or do you have difficulty opening your mouth wide? Are your teeth sensitive to cold drinks? Do your jaw muscles feel tired in the morning? You may be grinding your teeth at night (a medical condition called bruxism) or you may be clenching your teeth, which can be just as harmful. People with nighttime grinding habits may wear away their tooth enamel “ten times faster” than those without “abusive chewing habits.” Eventually, your teeth may be worn down and destroyed. In addition to relieving head, neck, jaw joint and shoulder pains, treating bruxism and clenching is cost effective compared to ignoring the condition and exposing teeth to continued grinding. Without treatment, crowns (caps), bridges, implants and dentures are often needed to repair or replace worn and damaged teeth. Ask your dentist if a nightguard can help to provide temporary relief from grinding, bruxing or clenching.

What is dry mouth?

Some adults develop a condition called dry mouth, which results when there is insufficient saliva. Dry mouth is caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamine, antihypertensives, antidepressants, decongestant, painkillers and diuretics. Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Without saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food, and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, extensive cavities can form. Sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses. In some cases, a dentist may prescribe a medication that helps produce saliva and may suggest fluoride products to help prevent rapidly advancing tooth decay.

What causes bad breath?

You may occasionally experience bad breath. It can be caused by certain foods, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, dry mouth, tobacco products or a medical disorder. Sometimes a sinus infection, postnasal drip or other respiratory tract infections can cause bad breath. If bad breath persists, Dr. Low may determine whether it's caused by a dental condition.

What do you offer for pain management?

Your comfort is a priority and various methods of anesthesia are available to address this such as The Wand and nitrous oxide. Many patients (82 percent in one study) who have experienced anesthesia with The Wand say it is a completely painless process. Some even say they experience less lingering numbness.

How can I whiten my teeth?

Generally there are three ways to whiten your teeth. Each of these are dependent on what your exact condition is, so you will still need to ask your dentist which is best for you. You may use any or combinations of the following depending on your condition:

  • Bleaching- either at home kits provided by your doctor or in office “Power Bleaching” done in the Dentist's office. Good results are provided by either and can raise the level of whiteness on the professional VITA dental shade scale. Ignore those kits that are available over the counter, or on late night television info-commercials. They do not work. Ask your dentist about what is best for you. There are little known side effects other than slight sensitivity or slight gum irritation.
  • Veneers- Thin, custom porcelain facings made to fit on top of your teeth that can change the size, shape, color and arrangement of your teeth. They can be made to any color you desire. More brightness is available by changing by this method.
 An analogy is being able to place a thin artificial fingernail (veneer) on top of your regular nail and bond it on. You then get an instant look of a great nail and it looks great.
  • Porcelain Crowns- Thicker full coverage “caps” that go over the whole tooth. These may be used if you have a lot of tooth missing, or have lots of fillings or crowns already. The added benefit is that they also provide more strength to the tooth. The may either have a metal backing or may be made fully in porcelain. You will need to consult your dentist who is best for your teeth. Again you can change size, shape, color, and arrangement of your teeth in a shorter time period.

What is Bleaching and Tooth Whitening? Is it safe?

Whitening teeth with special bleach only prescribed by and used under the supervision of a dentist has been shown to safe for teeth and gums. Some patients have experienced increased tooth sensitivity and some temporary discomfort of their gums. These symptoms tend to disappear within 1-3 days after stopping the process. Usually after the sensitivity disappears the whitening process can be started again and usually the sensitivity does not return. In any case, any reaction should be reported immediately to your dentist or hygienist for their special instructions.

Over-the-counter quick bleaching kits may cause problems that you may be unaware of such as irritation of the gums and surrounding soft tissue. Overzealous use of over-the-counter home bleaching can wear away tooth enamel, especially due to the fact that these solutions have a very high acid content. We cannot over emphasize that these types of procedures are best controlled at your dentist's office. Your progress will be monitored carefully which will certainly reduce most secondary effects. Only a dentist can make your teeth their whitest.

How can I find the BEST dentist for me?

When searching for a new dentist the best recommendation is always one made by asking a trusted family member or friend. This will help in giving you a little bit of background on what type of office it is, and whether or not other people are happy with this office. When you call or visit these offices, ask lots of questions. It is important to know the qualifications of the dentist, his chairside/bedside manner, and his technical expertise. See how the staff responds to your inquiry. The dentist and the whole staff should act in a professional and courteous manner. If they don’t, find another office. It is not usually the best to go to the dentist “who your insurance plan says you have to go.” You may also request to go "out of plan" because you trust the dentist you are currently seeing.

If you are new to an area and do not have a friend who can recommend someone for you, then go to your phone book and look up the name of the local dental society. Call them and ask them for an impartial referral to a dentist who can fit your need. You can make your own list of the dentists in your area. You can either call or visit these offices to find out such things as: How do they answer their telephone? What are the office hours? Are they convenient to your schedule? Will they work with your insurance plan if this is important to you? Do they treat children if you have any? Are they available in case of an emergency? Does the dental staff make you feel comfortable? Are they courteous and helpful? Are the answers to your questions direct or evasive? It is proper for a staff member to refer all questions needing a professional answer to the dentist. They cannot answer or diagnose over the phone. Paying a visit to the office will help you to assess the atmosphere of the office and help you decide whether or not you would be comfortable there.

Often, referral services such as 1-800-****** ask that the dentist pay a fee to get referrals. You may only get lots of slick TV, print or yellow pages marketing from this source.

Finally, your visit to the dentist should be pleasant and comfortable. Ask about full explanations of all the procedures that you will have. You can expect better care if you are educated and informed about all that is presented. You need to feel relaxed with your dental team in order to ensure that you can work together in maintaining a healthy happy smile. Take the time to ask around for a dental office that can meet your needs.

In our office you get all of the above along with short video DVD explanations of each procedure. They help you understand how the dentist diagnoses your condition and you get to see the procedure explained on a short video!

How do I keep my teeth healthy?

Your second set of teeth is your last (the first being your baby teeth), and proper care will ensure that you keep them for life. In spite of what you may have heard Dental Disease is not only controllable, it is also correctable and most of all preventable.

A thorough brushing and flossing routine is important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Proper technique in brushing is important as the actual brushing itself. If you are going to do it, do it right. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the proper way, which is a version of the Modified Bass technique. It is easier to watch and imitate. Proper angles and a circular motion will help.

Flossing is important because it reaches the areas a toothbrush cannot reach, between the teeth and under the gum line. If you do not floss, it is like taking a bath and not being able to clean under your arms or behind your ears-so if you are going to take a bath, do it right. If you are going to clean your teeth, do it right and do not skip flossing.

Of the mouth rinses, Listerine, or its generics, is the best over the counter. Most are over-rated and do not show anti bacterial activity that you want. Most studies support this.

Routine visits to your dentist for a check up and cleaning will help to maintain healthy teeth and gums. It is important that you find a dental team that you feel comfortable with and who you can work with in order to maintain a healthy smile for life.

Your teeth need proper nutrition just as your body does. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a sure bet for healthy teeth and gums. Natural sugars however act the same way on teeth as refined sugars, so be sure to brush or at least rinse with water if a toothbrush is not handy after eating.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease (periodontal disease or gingivitis as it is also called) is the number one cause of tooth loss today. The reason you loose teeth from gum disease is because this disease attacks the gums as well as the bones, which are the foundation in which your teeth rest. As the bone is eaten and literally dissolves away from around your teeth, your teeth become loose and eventually fall out. Anyone at any age is susceptible to gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque. If the plaque is not removed on a daily basis it will form calculus a bacterial by product which is formed from bacteria feeding on acids and food. This is the breeding ground for the germs, which cause periodontal disease.

Bleeding gums are the first and only sign that there may be a problem with the gums. Later, puffy, tender red gums are also a sign that there is an infection present. Bleeding gums however are not always present even in severe cases of gum disease. Routine and regular visits to your dentist are the best way of catching gum disease in its early stages before too much damage has been caused. Gum disease will not go away by itself or with improved home care. The only way of removing plaque deep under the gums is with professional cleaning. Once you have had a gum problem you will always be susceptible to recurring problems, so be sure to see your dentist on a regular basis - every two to three months, unless he or she recommends otherwise.

Further delay will cause your teeth to get loose. Then the only alternative is for the dentist to pull your teeth and place dentures or bridges. Implants are not always suggested in the periodontal cases because of the bone foundation required for a good implant.

A common way to think of your gums is the foundation in your house. One would not be wise to remodel the kitchen if you have a major termite infestation. Or, why should you fix a fence post that is falling down?

Do things the right way and treat the gum disease first. After all is stable, then let the dentist give the OK to treat the rest of your teeth. Ask why if your dentist does not screen you for gum disease at your first visit. This is accomplished by measuring your gums and teeth with a periodontal probe. They will call out numbers for each tooth. A good healthy mouth has smaller numbers, a poor mouth has larger numbers. This is the proper way to find gum disease and is only done by dental professionals.

How does a tooth decay?

A substance known as plaque causes tooth decay. Plaque is a clear or white bacteria laden film, which develops on the teeth. The bacteria in plaque interact with the starches and sugars we eat and form an acid, which breaks down or de-mineralizes our teeth. As this process is going, on our saliva along with properties it has, acts to help re-mineralize teeth. When the demineralization process is faster than that of re-mineralization a cavity occurs.

Teeth happen to be the hardest substance in the human body, and yet your mouth is such a harsh environment that even the hardest substance breaks down. We grind on our teeth, subject it to hot and cold temperature extremes, and we hit them together many times during the day. We generate thousands of pounds per square inch on them, and yet they hold up.

There are several things that can be done to slow down or totally prevent this breakdown process which leads to cavities. Proper brushing and flossing, and removal of the plaque will help in preventing breakdown. Of course routine visits to your dentist are of importance not only in the early detection of cavities but professional cleanings and fluoride treatments are very important in maintaining a healthy happy mouth. One of the most important contributors to decay are sugars, and eliminating or drastically reducing your intake of them will help greatly in preventing tooth decay. Home fluoride rinses help aid in the re-mineralization process.

How do we prevent tooth decay?

There are several things that you can do to help prevent tooth decay. The most important thing you can do is BRUSH, FLOSS, and VISIT your Dentist regularly, as often as he/she recommends. A little ounce of prevention will go a long way in Dentistry.

Effective brushing means getting into all of the areas that the brush will reach: tops of teeth, into the grooves, into the gum pocket, behind the teeth, next to the tongue. Studies have shown that the average American brushing time is under 30 seconds. You will do much better if you move that amount of time to two minutes.

In our office we give you a new toothbrush at each initial exam and each check up, grade you and honestly tell you how you are doing; the feedback allows you to be more effective at keeping the cavities and gum diseases away. Wouldn't you rather spend a little more time at home doing it right than fixing it at the dentist? Everyone asks which brush is best; contact us for our suggestions based on the research.

Effective flossing is the second way to eliminate cavities. This again is a prevention technique designed to keep your teeth clean where the bristles of a brush cannot go. The invention of floss is not anything new. It is a simple, cost effective way to clean between the teeth. Note that you do not see many commercials saying "Buy our floss@ because, frankly, there is not a lot of profit by selling you a piece of string with a little wax on it. What kind is best? All floss is about equal, although we have some preferences. Contact us for suggestions. Always have had a hard time with floss? When you come to our office we always show you the right way to floss so that you can be more effective at it. Doing by imitation is easier than telling you. After all, if no one has ever shown you the right way to do it, you may be doing it all wrong. Or not at all, as is often times the case.

What you eat plays a very important role in the overall well being of your mouth and the rest of your body. Since sugars are directly related to the breakdown process, which causes decay, eliminating sugar from the diet will have a direct impact on cavities.

Plaque and sugar interact with one another to form an acid, which breaks down the enamel of the teeth, resulting in a cavity. Proper removal of plaque will also greatly reduce the risk of getting cavities. Thorough brushing and flossing will not only remove sugar from the mouth but also the plaque, which has formed on the surfaces of the teeth since the last brushing. Certain foods will help to keep the mouth in a healthy state. These foods include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and any low sugar foods that won't aid in tooth decay.

What are Sealants?

Sealants are plastic coatings on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent or slow down decay. These too are a prevention step that places protective coat to prevent cavities. Sealants are a very good way of protecting the biting surfaces of teeth that have never had a filling and have no decay. Sealants are a made of clear or white plastic material, which is applied on the biting surfaces of the teeth. The purpose of sealants is to smooth over the normal crevices of the teeth were germs could easily accumulate, thereby protecting the teeth from decay. It is one of the best-cost effective ways to slow decay: it can typically cost about one third or one fourth of the cost of a filling. In fact, the more up to date insurance companies realize that it would rather pay for these rather than pay for a filling. If your plan does not pay for these, switch plans. If your dentist is not willing to place these on your children ages 6 to 14, switch dentists. Note: without proper brushing and flossing, you may still get cavities from the sides of the teeth, and sealants will not do any thing for these areas.

What are the concerns regarding Tongue Piercing?

Tongue piercing is becoming more common. Like other forms of body piercing, it carries serious risks during the procedure itself. There are important matters to consider before undergoing tongue piercing. These include the risk of local or systemic infection.
 Local infection can occur because the mouth is hard to sterilize and many places that pierce tongues do not always maintain a sterile environment. You do not know how clean the instruments or even the person is who does the piercing. Imagine having a swollen tongue and not being able to talk., eat or drink. Or worse, imagine losing a part of your tongue permanently.
 Systemic infection is always a possibility and includes the risk of hepatitis, AIDS or other transmissible disease. The rinsing with mouthwash will not take care of an infection if it is serious. It is important to remember that law does not regulate piercing establishments nor are the operators licensed. The operator's experience and competence can vary and are not guaranteed. Like other forms of body piercing, tongue piercing also can result in an allergy if the metals used are not of the highest quality. Many times, the stated price of the piercing does not include the jewelry to be placed.
 Unlike other forms of piercing, the tongue also caries the increased risk of bleeding problems. The tongue is a muscle. Piercing is not meant to go through muscles. It was not meant for the skin that grows in the earlobe (remember how they told you to keep rotating the earring around?) to grow through the tongue. This poses a threat for infection Tongues have major blood vessels within it and many operators are not aware of this. If a blood vessel had been in the path of the needle, severe and difficult- to-control bleeding could have resulted. The jewelry may also be swallowed if loosened and result in choking. 
 In addition, unlike other forms of body piercing, tongue piercing also caries the risk of damage to the surrounding teeth. The hard jewelry can chip and break the enamel or fillings of the teeth as one talks and eats. This damage can also result in the death of the tooth's inner pulp if the trauma to the tooth is chronic. This tooth damage may result in the need for expensive crowns to restore a smile or even a root canal to keep the tooth. If there is a problem after tongue piercing, it is important not only to contact the piercing establishment, but your physician and dentist as needed. Your smile and your health are important in the long run! 
 Common symptoms after piecing include pain, swelling, infection, and an increased flow of saliva and injuries to gum tissue. Following piercing of the tongue, swelling is common. Unlike an earlobe that is pierced, the tongue is in constant motion, which slows and complicates the healing process. A severely swollen tongue can actually close off your airway which could be life threatening!

Question: “I read the ‘article’ about tongue piercing, because I was recently planning to get my tongue pierced. As mentioned, one should be sure that the highest quality metal be used for the piercing to avoid allergic reactions. Are there any specific suggestions for a metal?”

Reply: “I think it is great that you want to get the highest quality metal for your jewelry but hold it, what about the protection of your own high quality crystalline structures already in your mouth-your teeth? Remember now matter how high the quality of the jewelry in your tongue, all metal jewelry can injure one thing you cannot replace easily, the beautiful enamel of your teeth. Enamel of the teeth can permanently chip or even worse, the whole tooth, pulp and all can become injured. So not only think of how your body responds to metal with allergy, but think how your teeth will respond with an injurious force in your mouth of metal.”

Above information on Tongue Piercing compliments of: Margaret J. Fehrenbach, RDH, MS Educational Consultant

How about 17 year old Jennifer... About a week ago Jen decided she could use some jewelry - only this time she wanted to wear it in her mouth. When Jen came into our office, her teeth ached and her entire right side of her mouth was swollen. When I saw her in our reception area, she held her throbbing jaw with one hand. In her other hand she held what looked like a tiny barbell with one end missing. It was jewelry that she had worn through her tongue before it became infected. She thought that she had taken precautions after she had paid for the barbell to inserted through her tongue. She had rinsed with some mouthwash she found at home in an attempt to control the "millions of bacteria" swimming around. However, when her tongue was pierced, it created an open wound, a breeding ground for germs. In a few days an infection developed. I asked Jen what happened to the other end of the barbell? She told me she swallowed it as it had come loose because of the pressure under her swollen tongue. She's thankful that she didn't choke on the remaining piece. Jen told me that she also wanted to add a hoop and a stud to her lips and a hoop above her eyelid at the same time as her tongue was pierced. Now the thought of piercing made her head throb! Jennifer could have suffered nerve damage as well as chipped or cracked teeth, blood poisoning, or blood clots.

A final word on tongue piercing: DON’T!

Do you grind your teeth? What is TMJ?

Often people who are under an unusual amount of pressure will deal with their tension and stress, by clenching or grinding their teeth while sleeping. Grinding your teeth at any time is considered a hazard and can affect the total well being of your mouth. Grinding your teeth can cause damage to the tempromandibular joint (TMJ) and can alter your bite. If you hear a clicking or popping in your jaw joints when you chew, you may suffer from tempromandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).
 TMJ causes may be numerous. Although stress-related grinding of your teeth at night is one cause of TMJ, other causes of TMJ have been traced to or associated with a bad bite (teeth not coming into contact properly, arthritis, poor posture and even sleep positions. Injury or aging can also cause TMJ disorders. TMJ can create headaches; dizziness, buzzing or ringing in the ears and dull pain around the ears that radiates to neck, back and shoulders. Injuries to the joint, muscles, tendons and ligaments can cause this. Blunt trauma, accidents such as falling or sports injuries, opening too wide and even yawning can cause damage.
 Treatment of TMJ problems varies with the cause. Your dentist may suggest pain control medication therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, hot or cold compresses, or your dentist may make an appliance to help relax your jaw muscles and re-align the teeth and jaws. Often relaxation exercises to reduce tension, or even a special diet can aid in restoring normal joint functions As with any other joint, common sense things you can do is minimize movement like not opening your mouth wide for hard foods such as apples or corn on the cob.
 In short, it is a complex disease and is best left to a professional to diagnose and to treat. If you believe that you suffer from a TMJ disorder, tell your dentist so that the condition can be monitored and diagnosed and follow his or her recommended treatment.

Do I really need x-rays?

In general, x-rays are very safe at the dentist. There are many things that expose you to more radiation other than the dentist, and you should be aware of these.
 Dental x-rays are taken routinely by your dentist. There are many diseases and dental defects, which can not be seen by the naked eye, especially where teeth are concerned. These may include such things as decay under old fillings, teeth trapped below the gums, cavities between the teeth, bone loss as a result of gum disease and changes in either jaw bone structure which can be affected by many systemic diseases.
 If you are a new patient, your dentist may recommend x-rays to check the current status of your mouth and to check for hidden problems. At your first visit to the dentist he or she will usually take a full series of x-rays consisting of 14 - 18 films. A different type, called a Panoramic x-ray film, may show a greater area of your jaw bones and may be needed to comfortably and competently examine your surrounding tissue areas. Every six months or so your dentist may take a small series of x-rays consisting of four to six films. A six-month period is a long time in the life of a cavity and it is for this reason that a visit to the dentist every six months is so important.
 Is it Safe to have X-rays taken? Yes. Digital Dental x-rays are very low in radiation, unlike their medical counterparts. Numerous precautions and advances in x-ray equipment help protect patients from receiving unnecessary radiation. The amount of radiation received from a dental x-ray exam is extremely small compared to other naturally occurring sources of radiation, including minerals in the soil, radon and cosmic radiation from outer space. A full-mouth series of films, using state-of-the-art technology, will deliver an effective dose that is equivalent to about 5 days of exposure to naturally occurring environmental radiation. In taking bitewings, you may get the same amount of radiation as getting into a commercial airplane and going across the country because you are higher in the atmosphere.
 The reason for this is that the amount of radiation needed to expose a film as small as a dental x-ray is very small. Areas in your mouth that are being x-rayed are far less dense than other areas of your body and therefore require less radiation in order to pick up the image. The beam of radiation is a very narrow one and passes only through the cheek and out of your body. It is very focused the rest of your whole body does not get exposed.. Make sure you wear a lead apron so that the rest of your body is also shielded from any stray particles.

Comparisons of Common Sources and Amounts of Radiation Activity/Source Amount of Radiation Received Bitewings (4 films) 0.038 milisievert (mSv*) Full Mouth Dental Survey (18 films) 0.150 mSv Lower GI Series 4.060 mSv Average U.S. citizen living in average location 3.6 mSv annual dose People whose occupations involve some exposure to radiation 50.0 mSv maximum whole body dose allowed per yr.

Dental X-rays may reveal:
  • the number, size, and position of teeth
  • impacted teeth, extra, or un-emerged teeth
  • bone damage (such as from periodontitis)
  • gingivitis or periodontitis
  • abscessed teeth
  • fractured jaw
  • impacted teeth
  • malocclusion of teeth (poor alignment)
  • other abnormalities of the teeth and jaw bones (cysts or , pre-cancer, or cancerous growths)

I am afraid of going to the Dentist

Fear of the dentist is quite common and many people are as fearful and concerned as you may be. However, because fear of the dentist is so common, your dentist and his staff are also well aware of this and are properly trained to work with you in helping you to overcome these fears. In our fears, fear of the unknowns bothers us. Ask your dentist to show and explain to you each step. Then you can see how easy the experience should be. Make sure that your dentist also has a good chance at making sure you are numb for any procedure that may cause pain. Ask the dental team about your concerns and questions. You will find they are eager to work with you to make your visits pleasant. Asking questions about your mouth and proposed treatment will help to remove fear of the unknown and give you an opportunity to become involved in your dental health. Most importantly, remember that your dental team is eager to work with you, not just on you, in order to achieve a mutual goal of maintaining the health of your smile.

Louise says...

"Thank you Dr. Low for the care and comfort I have had in your office for many years. I always feel when I leave your office that I have had the best treatment possible. I am always treated with kind respect. I almost look forward to coming in."

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