Below you’ll find answers to many of the most frequently asked questions about dental care from the San Marcos family dentistry clinic The Dental Space.
Does The Dental Space Only Treat Kids?
The Dental Space is for everyone! Dr. McCartor sees patients from six months old through adulthood.
What Insurance Does The Dental Space Take?
The Dental Space takes most PPO plans, as well as Medicaid and CHIP. We do not take HMO plans at this time.
When Should My Child Have Their First Visit to a Dentist?
This is on of many important dental care questions that parents are often surprised by the answer to. The American Dental Association recommends that children should see a dentist once they turn six months of age.
How is a Pediatric Dentist Different From a Family Dentist?
Pediatric dentists complete an additional two to three years of specialty training after dental school, and their practice is limited to treating children. A pediatric dentist provides both primary and specialty oral care to infants, children, adolescents, and people with special health needs.
How Often Should Me and My Child See a Dentist?
Dr. McCartor recommends that everyone see a dentist every six months. In order to maintain good oral health, prevent cavities and gum disease, and identify potential tooth and gum issues at their earliest stages, regular dental exams and cleanings are essential.
Can Thumbsucking and Pacifier Use Harm a Child’s Teeth?
Parents often have questions and concerns about their children’s dental care. In general, thumb and pacifier sucking habits are normal and will only become a problem if they continue to do so for a very long period of time. Children usually stop sucking their thumbs or fingers on their own. However, if they continue to do so past their third birthday, you can talk to your dentist about strategies for discouraging the habits.
Do I Still Need to See a Dentist Regularly if My Teeth Feel Fine?
Even if you’re not having problems with your teeth, it is still important to see a dentist regularly to catch problems that you may not have noticed.
How Can I Keep My Teeth Healthy in Between Checkups?
- Brush your teeth after meals, or at least twice a day.
- Floss once a day.
- Make sure your toothpaste has fluoride to protect your teeth from cavities
- Avoid very sugary foods and drinks, as well as tobacco
- Brush your tongue. This will remove food particles and bacteria, which can cause plaque buildup and cavities. Brushing your tongue can also help to freshen your breath!
What Is a Cavity?
A cavity is a hole that develops when a tooth decays. Cavities can grow bigger over time, and the inside of the tooth can become infected as a result. Tooth sensitivity and pain can result, and if the cavity gets too big, the tooth may have to be removed, so see your dentist ASAP if you think you have one!
What Is a Filling?
Fillings are synthetic materials that your dentist uses to fill cavities after the decay in the tooth has been removed. In most cases, dental fillings aren’t painful since your dentist numbs your mouth with anesthetic. There are several types of filling materials that can be used, including porcelain, resin, and composite materials that match the appearance of your natural teeth.
How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush?
Toothbrushes will wear out over time, especially if you are brushing your teeth properly; twice a day for two minutes each time. Dr. McCartor recommends that adults and children change their toothbrushes every three months. To kill germs and keep your toothbrush’s bristles clean, rinse it with hot water after use. Replace your toothbrush as soon as possible after being sick.
Do I Need to Brush Baby Teeth? Don’t They Eventually Lose Them Anyway?
Kids do eventually lose their baby teeth, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t brush them! Baby teeth not only assist in speaking and chewing, they also help prepare a path for the permanent teeth when they come in. In some cases, losing a child’s baby teeth too early can lead to crowding issues that will require braces in the future.
Also, it is smart to instill the habit of brushing twice a day in young children. This makes brushing an easier habit to maintain as kids grow to adolescence.
When Should Kids Start Using Toothpaste
Once teeth begin to emerge, begin brushing twice daily with a soft, age-appropriate toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. Use just a tiny smear of toothpaste — about the size of a grain of rice- and make sure that they are spitting out and not swallowing the excess toothpaste.
How Should I Choose a Toothbrush?
It is best to buy toothbrushes with soft bristles. Medium and firm brushes can damage the gums and teeth.
Both electric and manual toothbrushes do a good job of cleaning teeth. Generally, manual brushes with mixed bristle heights or angled bristles do a better job of cleaning than those with all flat, even bristles. For people who have difficulty using their hands, electric toothbrushes may be easier.
What Should I Look For When Buying Toothpaste?
Most toothpaste brands do a good job of cleaning bacteria and acid left by the things you eat and drink. It is most important that you pick a toothpaste with fluoride, which has been shown to strengthen and protect teeth. Look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal and you’ll be set.
For those with sensitivity to hot or cold, there are special toothpastes for exactly that purpose, though make sure to let your dentist know that you are experiencing these issues.
Is Flossing Necessary?
Flossing loosens and clears plaque and food debris from between your teeth and under your gum line. Plaque can eventually harden into tartar.
Dr. McCartor recommends flossing after meals, or at least once a day. There are several options available to match your preferences- waxed, unwaxed, floss picks, and interdental brushes- and all do an excellent job of clearing plaque and debris from between your teeth.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
Digital x-rays and other technological advancements make modern dental x-rays much safer today than they ever have been. Radiation from dental exams contribute only a small amount to the total radiation experienced in our daily environment, from both natural and man-made sources.
Whether you need an x-ray or not will be determined by recent cavity activity. Typically x-rays are needed every 6 months to one year. Kids may need to have x-rays taken more often than adults because their teeth are changing and they tend to get more cavities.
Get Answers to More Questions about Dental Care in San Marcos, TX
The Dental Space is happy to answer all of your dental care questions! Use the Contact Us page or call us at 512-667-9770 to schedule an appointment with Dr. McCartor today. Our office is located in San Marcos, TX, at 1101 Thorpe Ln, Suite 101, just off IH 35 in the Springtown Center Shopping Mall. We serve clients in San Marcos and throughout Hays County, including Martindale, Redwood, Reedville, Maxwell, Wimberley, and Kyle.