Frequently Asked Questions
What is dentistry?
Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions, disorders, and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Often considered necessary for complete oral health, dentistry can have an impact on the health of your entire body.
What is a dentist?
A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Dr. Brielle Renz completed eight years of schooling to receive her DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. She also is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD), and the International Affiliation of Tongue-Tie Professionals (IATP). Dr. Renz has obtained her Associate Fellowship in Laser Dentistry through the World Clinical Laser Institute (WCLI).
Why is visiting the dentist so important?
Dental care is important to the health of your entire healthy. Dental care makes the whole person healthier by:
- Preventing tooth decay.
- Protecting against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss.
- Preventing bad breath (halitosis) – You can reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth by brushing and flossing.
- Helps you achieve a beautiful and natural looking smile so you can be confident in your appearance.
- Helps keep teeth looking bright by eliminating stains from food, drinks, and tobacco.
- Strengthening your teeth and preserving the natural structure so your teeth last as long as you do.
My teeth feel fine. Do I still need to see a dentist?
If it’s been more than 6 months since you seen the dentist and your teeth feel “fine” then it’s the perfect time to schedule! A regular checkup puts you in the drivers seat of your own oral health. Regular checkups are a proactive approach to keeping your smile beautiful and healthy. Restoring stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth can make a big impact on your smile’s appearance. Today’s dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:
- Professional cleaning and polishing
- Professional Zoom! teeth whitening
- Fillings that are a perfect match for your tooth color
- Tooth restoration and replacement
- Full cosmetic smile makeovers
What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?
Finding that “Goldilocks fit” for you and your family is important, and you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. Use these 5 steps as a roadmap to help find a dentist that “clicks” with you:
- List your criteria – These are your non-negotiables. Are you looking in network for insurance purposes? Do you need special office hours? Within 15 minutes of your home or office?
- Ask around – This one is a gimme. Ask your family and friends to provide recommendations for dentists. If you’re moving to a new city, your current dentist may have a recommendation for you. All moved in and still stumped? Your classmates or co-workers may be able to provide some valuable insights as to who are the top dentists in your area. If all else fails turn to the almighty Google and look for detailed reviews.
- Look for a dentist with a modern approach – A great dentist will use proven technologies and will be an advocated for the overall health of your whole body. They will take time to understand your health history, ask questions, and share how your oral health is connected to your wellbeing.
- Find a passionate dentist -These dentists are the life-long learners. They join professional associations like the ADA. They attend conferences and late-night study clubs. These dentists aim to go far beyond what is required for continuing education in order to refine their hands-on clinical skills.
- Visit the office – This is not a wedding, it’s a fist date (though hopefully less awkward).. Generally referred to as a consult by most dentists, this first meeting is your chance to interview the dentist. Do they listen to your questions and concerns and communicate effectively? Do they take a preventative approach to dentistry? Are they continuously improving their skills and technologies? Most importantly, do you feel comfortable? Trust your gut here.
- Rinse and repeat as needed – This is your health and hard-earned money. The time it takes to find the right dentist will pay big dividends in your long-term health and satisfaction.
How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?
Your recommended homework is to brush and floss daily. Brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once per day. Diet also plays an important role in your overall health. Avoid foods with a lot of sugar. Sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities. Avoid tobacco which can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer.
Brush your tongue to reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria keep your breath minty fresh.
Schedule your routine visit to the dentist every six months.
At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?
The first visit is the perfect opportunity for your child to establish healthy habits and become familiar with a dentist. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year of age. During the first visit, we will examine your child’s first few teeth and discuss how to care for them between checkups. The first visit is also a good time to “ride the chair” and become acquainted with the sites and sounds of a dental office. Our toddlers love to spray the water into a cup and use the suction to remove the water. A happy checkup earns your child a golden token for the toy dispenser! After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.
How often should I see the dentist?
Every six months is the minimum guideline for most adults, teenagers, and children. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist 3 or more times per year. Your dentist will make a recommendation about how often you should visit for regular checkups.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth because of tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This produces an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss between teeth at least once.
What is a filling?
A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. We use tooth-colored fillings that are a perfect match for the white color of your smile.
How often should I brush my teeth?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should brush your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria-causing plaque. It is also recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste when you brush your teeth. Spend one minute brushing the top teeth and one minute brushing the bottom teeth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling minty fresh!
When should I change my toothbrush?
Replace your toothbrush about every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently. Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to help kill germs and keep the bristles clean. Need an extra toothbrush for your home or office? -Just ask!
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease:
- Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Receding gum line
- Abscessed teeth
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
How do I schedule my next checkup?
Call 701-258-3308! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience.
If you’re a new patient, you can complete your new patient forms online (link new patient page please).