In dentist offices across the country, there are a few questions that local family dentists get asked time and time again. Here are five of the most common questions people ask — or are too shy to ask — their dentists, along with their answers:
- What Services Can a Family Dentist Provide?
A family dentist is usually a general dentist who will work on patients of all ages (in fact, most children are treated by family, rather than pediatric, dentists). You might be best acquainted with general dentistry as it pertains to your twice-yearly cleanings and the occasional filling, but general dentists also deal with replacing missing teeth or certain cosmetic procedures such as whitening and veneer placement.
- Do Dental X-Rays Cause Cancer?
Of course, all exposure to radiation can increase your risk of developing cancer. But dental x-rays are considered safe, and new technology allows the x-rays your dentist takes to be more focused and at lower levels than the x-rays of the past.
- How Much Does Flossing Matter?
Most people ask this question hoping to be told that they’re allowed to blow it off once in a while. But the reality is that flossing is extremely important, even if you can’t see particles of food stuck in your teeth. Not flossing means leaving about 40% of each tooth uncleaned, so it’s absolutely vital that you learn to floss properly and make it a part of your daily routine.
- Does a Root Canal Hurt?
Like most dental procedures, a root canal is generally painless, since it’s performed under partial anesthesia. Furthermore, root canals relieve pain caused by degrading teeth, saving teeth that would otherwise need to be pulled. Most dentists speculate that the reason the myth of a root canal being painful has spread so far in popular imagination is because people associate the tooth pain they feel before a root canal (indicating a severely diseased tooth) with the treatment itself.
- What Are Dental Implants?
Once a tooth is lost (or extracted because of disease or damage), the best way to replace it is probably a dental implant. As opposed to traditional dentures or bridges, implants are metal pins (usually titanium) that are inserted into the jawbone itself. When the bone grows around it, an implant is a secure attachment for a dental prosthesis such as a false tooth.
Do you have any other questions you’ve been wanting to ask a family dentist? Join the discussion in the comments.