How often should I go to the dentist?
For most patients, we recommend a cleaning every six months. Regular dental visits are important because they allow us to prevent potential problems, and address existing problems early on when treatment is simpler and more affordable. Each patient is different and we will custom tailor a hygiene recall schedule to best suit your individual needs.
What type of toothbrush/toothpaste should I use?
Toothbrushes with soft bristles are preferred over toothbrushes with medium or hard bristles. Hard bristled toothbrushes can wear down and damage your teeth and gums. A soft bristled toothbrush used for two minutes with light pressure is adequate for maintaining a healthy mouth. An electric toothbrush is a great option as well. Many of them have a timer to ensure you brush for the recommended two minutes and alert you if you are brushing too hard. Patients with dexterity issues may also find that an electric toothbrush helps them clean their teeth better than a manual brush. The most important thing when selecting a toothpaste is to make sure that it contains fluoride.
How often should I replace my toothbrush?
We recommend that you change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. If your toothbrush appears worn out or if the bristles are flattened/splayed, you should replace it. Toothbrushes should also be replaced after you’ve been sick.
How do sealants work?
Sealants are placed on the biting surfaces of molars to cover the deep pits and fissures that are difficult to clean with a toothbrush. We typically aim to get sealants on teeth soon after they erupt in children between 6 and 12 years old. This is when teeth are most susceptible to decay. Sealants are painless to apply to teeth and do not require anesthetic. The composite resin material flows into the deep pits and fissures of the teeth to keep sugars and decay causing bacteria out of the hard to clean areas of the teeth.
Are dental x-rays safe and needed?
Dental x-rays are safe in moderation. Dr. Cunningham will always take as few x-rays as necessary to ensure that your radiation exposure is kept to an absolute minimum. New technology in digital x-rays allows for minimal radiation exposure while providing you with high quality images that allow Dr. Cunningham to diagnose and address dental problems. X-rays are important to diagnose periodontal disease and decay in between teeth. They also allow us to track tooth development, and diagnose oral pathology.
What is the best way to whiten my teeth?
Stores sell over the counter whitening products or you can have custom whitening trays fabricated in our office. The benefits to custom trays are that we are able to control where the whitening products contact your teeth, and prevent irritation to your soft tissue. It is important to speak with the dentist prior to whitening to ensure that you don’t experience sensitivity or disappointing results. If you have dental restorations in your front teeth or significant staining, whitening may not be the best option for you.
What can I expect at my first visit?
Your first visit is designed to be a laid back and educational experience. This is a great opportunity for you and Dr. Cunningham to get to know each other and discuss your oral healthcare goals. Dr. Cunningham will perform an exam and take any necessary x-rays to help diagnose any problems you may have. After discussing his finds and your concerns, he will create a custom tailored treatment plan that best suits your needs.
Do you treat children?
We love treating children in our office! Dr. Cunningham started his career working in a non-profit office that treated mostly children. It is very important to us that your child has a positive experience that ensures they do not carry any dental related anxiety into adulthood. We aim to provide our young patients with a fun experience that encourages them to develop good oral hygiene habits at a young age.
Do you use any amalgam/mercury filling materials in your office?
No. All of our restorations are made with the most modern and highest quality dental materials on the market. Our filling materials are all composite based which means we will leave your tooth looking as beautiful and as natural as it was when it first erupted.