What is dentistry?

This a field in the medical industry geared towards the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases relating to the teeth, gums, and jaw. Dentistry specifically deals with dental health (also known as oral health), but it can impact the health of your entire body.

What is a dentist?

A dentist is a doctor who works in the dental field. In short, a dentist is a specialist in performing the treatments and procedures necessary for maintaining good oral health. They will receive either a DDS degree (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a DMD degree (Doctor of Dental Medicine) after at least 8 years of schooling. Dentists must also regularly continue their education in order to stay current with advances in the field. There are dentists who specialize in specific areas of care in dentistry such as:

  • Pediatrics: caring for the dental health of infants and children
  • Endodontics: specialize in root canal treatment
  • Oral & Maxillofacial: surgeries for both the oral and facial areas
  • Periodontics: treating gum disease (also known as periodontal disease)
  • Prosthodontics: creation of dental restorations

Why is it important to visit the dentist?

The mouth is full of oral bacteria, so you are always at risk for developing dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease. These problems can be prevented with good oral hygiene, but it is always best to visit a dentist for check-ups and professional dental cleanings. It is recommended that you visit a dentist every six months in order to maintain your dental health. When you make routine visits to Houston Cosmetic & Family Dental Associates, we can help:

  • Prevent tooth decay
  • Give you a more attractive smile
  • Prevent gum disease
  • Keep your teeth looking bright
  • Prevent bad breath
  • Strengthen your teeth

How do I care for my teeth in between dental appointments?

When the bacteria in your mouth collect on teeth, they create a film called plaque. Plaque is harmful for dental health because it uses the sugars we eat to create acids that destroy tooth enamel, causing decay. If plaque is left undisturbed, it can harden into tartar and infect the gum line, causing gum disease. These problems can be easily prevented if you keep a daily oral hygiene routine. Some ways you can care for your teeth and keep good oral hygiene include:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing between your teeth once a day
  • Changing your toothbrush about every three months
  • Avoiding foods with a lot of sugars
  • Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and other abusive substances

At what age should children start to see the dentist?

It is recommended that children begin seeing a dentist by their first birthday to ensure that their incoming teeth are developing correctly. There are many pediatric dentists who specialize in providing infant care. Children should continue to visit a dentist every six months, and Dr. Paul Graf provides dental services for children above the age of three.

Should I still see the dentist every six month if I have braces?

Absolutely! In fact, dental check-ups are even more important if you are straightening your teeth with orthodontia. The brackets and wires of traditional metal braces easily trap food and plaque, creating a build-up that our dentist in Spring, Texas, can clean away.

What is a cavity?

When plaque acid destroys tooth enamel, a small hole can develop that is called a cavity. These tooth tissues have decayed, and if left untreated, this decay can grow and destroy tooth structure, infect the living tissue inside, and cause other dental problems. Our dental team treats cavities by removing the decayed tissues and restoring their structure with a dental filling. More serious cases of decay may require a dental crown to repair the cavity.

What is gum disease?

If the plaque and tartar that develop on teeth spread under the gum line, they can infect the tissue there. This results in the inflammatory condition of gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease. In its early stage of gingivitis, your gums may be red, swollen, and bleed easily. If gingivitis advances to periodontitis, then you may suffer from tooth loss as well as gum and bone deterioration. Gum disease can be treated when you visit a dentist for a deep cleaning treatment of scaling and root planing as well as other procedures. Of course, the best way to treat this condition is by preventing it with daily oral hygiene.