What is dentistry?
Basically, dentistry is concerned with diagnosing, treating, and preventing any harmful diseases, conditions, and disorders of the teeth, gums, jaw, and mouth. Dentistry is a necessary part of maintaining optimal oral health and it can also impact the health of your entire body. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body, which means that keeping your mouth healthy is essential to keeping your entire body healthy.
Who is a dentist?
A dentist is someone who has completed at least eight years of higher education and received either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. Dr. Chris has received a DDS degree and is able to diagnose, prevent, and treat problems with the teeth and mouth.
There are many dentistry specialties, including:
- Prosthodontics (special prosthetics such as dentures)
- Periodontics (periodontal or gum disease and dental implants)
- Pedodontics (children’s dentistry)
- Orthodontics (braes)
- Oral and Maxillofacial (surgery, pathology, radiology, etc.)
- Endodontics (root canals)
Why do I need to visit the dentist?
Attending regular checkups at our Staten Island dental practice is essential to keeping the teeth, mouth, and body healthy. Dental care from our dentist is essential because it can:
- Help prevent decay and restore decayed teeth
- Strengthen your teeth so you can enjoy healthy and beautiful teeth for life
- Enhance the beauty of your smile and increase your confidence
- Protect your mouth against periodontal (gum) disease
- Prevent stains caused by tobacco, food, or drink
- Reduce the bacteria that causes bad breath
My teeth don’t hurt. Do I still have to visit the dentist?
While your teeth may not hurt, it is still very important to attend your regular checkups with our dentist. Not every dental problem causes pain, and many exist without any signs or symptoms. We know that the appearance of your smile is very important, so we will do all we can to keep your smile healthy and beautiful. Dr. Chris offers many different cosmetic and general dentistry treatment options to give you the smile that you deserve. These services include:
- Dental implants
- Teeth whitening
- White or tooth-colored fillings
How can I choose the right dentist for me?
It’s important to visit a dentist who understands the needs of you and your family. It is often easy to determine if a dentist is right for you during the first appointment when you consider the following:
- Is the office close and easily accessible?
- Was scheduling the appointment convenient?
- Is the office orderly and clean?
- Is the dentist a member of the American Dental Association?
- Did someone record your medical and dental history and then place it in a permanent file?
- Did the dentist take the time to explain to you how to obtain good oral health?
- Did someone inform you about the cost of the treatment before scheduling the treatment?
How can I care for my teeth between visits to the dentist?
There are several things you can do to ensure optimal oral health in between your visits to our office:
- ALWAYS brush your teeth at least twice each day and floss between the teeth at least once.
- Remember to clean your tongue! When you brush or scrape your tongue, you are removing excess food particles as well as bacteria that cause plaque. Scraping your tongue can also keep your breath fresh.
- Make sure that your toothpaste contains fluoride, and check with the dentist to determine if you need a fluoride rinse to help prevent cavities.
- Avoid eating foods that have a lot of sugar (which leads to more plaque and possible tooth decay) as well as tobacco (tobacco use is a common risk factor for oral cancer).
- Do NOT forget to schedule your routine checkups at our office. Depending on your individual needs, you should visit the dentist once every three to six months.
When should my child begin seeing the dentist?
Children can begin seeing the dentist at any time if there is a dental emergency or concern. At Dr. Chris’ Staten Island office, we begin seeing children around the age of three years old in order to begin routine preventive care. Following the first visit, remember to schedule checkups every six months to ensure that your child’s teeth remain healthy and beautiful.
How often do I need to see the dentist?
This depends on your individual conditions, but most patients need to visit the dentist for a regular checkup at least every six months. Those who are at greater risk for periodontal (gum) disease or oral cancer should probably visit the dentist more than two times a year. At your initial appointment, Dr. Chris will tell you how many regular checkups he recommends each year to help you maintain optimal oral health.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is caused by tooth decay, which creates a small hole inside of the tooth. When plaque builds outside of the tooth and combines with the starches and sugars from your food, it produces an acid that destroys the tooth’s enamel, creating a cavity. When left untreated, cavities lead to more serious oral problems. By brushing twice every day, flossing at least once a day, and attending regular appointments with our Staten Island dentist.
What are fillings?
Fillings are made of a synthetic material and are used to “fill in” a cavity after our dentist has removed all present tooth decay. Before a filling is placed, our dentist will administer a local anesthetic so that you remain completely comfortable throughout the treatment. Fillings can be created with a variety of materials, including traditional amalgam (silver), gold, and composite resin (tooth-colored or white). When you visit with Dr. Chris, he will help you determine which filling material is right for you.
How often should I brush my teeth?
The American Dental Association and Dr. Chris recommend brushing at least twice each day. When we brush our teeth, gums, and tongue, we are removing the bacteria that cause plaque and helping keep our mouth clean and healthy. For best results, use a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Spend one minute each on the top and bottom teeth, and don’t forget to brush your tongue – brushing your tongue helps to give you fresher breath!
When does a toothbrush need to be changed?
With regular use (brushing two-three times a day for two or three minutes at a time), your toothbrush will wear out in about three months. Electric toothbrushes may not need to be changed as frequently; remember to check the directions to determine how often the heads should be changed. Those who have gum disease should change their toothbrush every four to six weeks in order to avoid spreading bacteria. After you brush your teeth, remember to rinse the toothbrush with hot water. This kills any present germs and helps to keep the bristles clean. If you’ve recently been sick, change your toothbrush as soon as possible.
What is gum disease?
Gum or periodontal disease is caused by the untreated build-up of plaque and bacteria. Gum disease can also be caused by other factors, including teeth grinding, tobacco use, some medications, hormonal levels, and genetics. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis and is treatable if detected. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. Advanced periodontal disease often leads to the loss of teeth and supporting bone structure and is a permanent condition. To help prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease, it is extremely important to brush and floss every day and visit the dentist on a regular basis. Some of the more common signs of gum disease include:
- Gums that bleed or are red, irritated, or swollen
- Gums that pull away from the teeth
- Abscessed or loose teeth
- Teeth that fall out
- Severe tooth sensitivity
- Persistent or chronic bad breath
I have braces. Do I still have to visit the dentist every six months?
Yes! It is even more important to visit the dentist regularly when you have braces. Braces can cause food to get caught in hard-to-reach places. This makes bacteria build up and, if left there, can lead to a variety of problems, including cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal (gum) disease. Our Staten Island dentist, Dr. Chris, will work with your orthodontist to ensure that your teeth remain healthy and clean throughout your orthodontic treatment.
How can I schedule my next checkup?
It’s easy! Just give our office a call at (718) 987-4040. One of our friendly, caring team members will guide you through the scheduling process. If you are a new patient, make sure you tell us so we can provide you with any information you might need for your first appointment with Dr. Chris. We look forward to taking care of you!