General Dentistry

Routine dental exams and cleanings, along with good oral hygiene and other preventive care as needed, are the foundation of a healthy smile.

You should be seeing your dentist every six months to have your teeth professionally cleaned and your entire smile, including your gums and your teeth, examined. This can help to identify oral diseases in their earliest stages when they can be treated most easily.

Routine Dental Care

You should be having semi-annual exams and cleanings at your dentist’s office. Here’s what to expect from those services:

  • Dental exams: Dr. Burton will examine your teeth and gums thoroughly to identify any signs of oral diseases, such as cavities or periodontal disease.
  • X-rays: We take x-rays once a year to look at the interior structures of your smile.
  • Oral cancer screening: We use Velscope technology to detect symptoms of early-stage oral cancer.
  • Dental cleanings: You can be the most diligent brusher and flosser around, but it still may not be enough to keep your smile completely clean. A dental hygienist can access the parts of your smile that are hard for you to reach on your own and eliminate plaque and tartar from those areas.

general dentistry | Midtowne Smiles | Grand Rapids, MI

Additional Preventive Care

Some patients may benefit from other preventive care, such as sealants or fluoride treatments, to protect or strengthen the teeth. Dr. Burton will discuss the benefits of these interventions with you so that you can make an informed choice about your treatment.

Oral Hygiene Tips

In order to keep your smile as healthy as possible between dental appointments, you should be brushing and flossing as directed. Keep in mind the following tips:

  • Use the right amount of pressure: You want to make sure that you’re brushing hard enough to dislodge plaque from your teeth, but don’t overdo it. Heavy-handed brushing can actually degrade your teeth, too.
  • Use a brush that’s in good condition: If your brush is worn, it won’t be as effective. Use a soft-bristled brush and switch to a new brush every 3-4 months to make sure it’s in good condition.
  • Make sure you’re brushing long enough: You should be brushing twice each day, two minutes each time. If you use an electric toothbrush, it may have a built-in timer to help you reach this goal.
  • Floss every day to keep your gumline healthy: Daily flossing is important to disrupt plaque formation along your gumline and prevent gum disease. It also helps to remove bacteria from the areas between your teeth that your brush can’t reach.

Common General Dentistry Questions

Why should I go to the dentist regularly?

Patients should see their dentists every six months to stay on top of changes in their oral health. This allows your dentist to identify and treat any issues before they become severe. For example, a small cavity can be addressed with a filling while a large area of decay may require a crown. Some patients may be tempted to delay visits to the dentist until they’re experiencing symptoms, but doing so makes it more likely that you’ll need a more involved treatment.

How often should I brush and floss?

You should be brushing twice each day, and flossing daily. Keep in mind that you should take care to use the proper technique for these activities. Each brushing session should last two minutes to be sufficient, and you should use a brush that is no more than three or four months old. You should also angle your brush along the gumline to remove plaque in that area. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist for more guidance on toothbrushing technique.

How often should I have a cleaning?

In addition to having your teeth examined every six months, you will also have dental cleanings at these regular appointments. Those cleanings are just as important as the exams. Brushing and flossing alone can’t remove Tartar. A dental hygienist can use specialized instruments to dislodge the tartar that forms when plaque calcifies on your teeth. It’s also easier for the dental hygienist to reach the rearmost sections of your smile, along with the inner surfaces of your teeth, which you may not be able to get to.

Will a tooth filling hurt?

Getting a cavity filled is usually associated with minimal if any, discomfort. We will first numb the area with a local anesthetic so that you will not feel any sensations while we remove decayed tooth material. If you do experience any discomfort after the anesthetic wears off, it can usually be managed with over-the-counter painkillers.