I am afraid of going to the dentist ... What can I do? View Answer

Fear of the dentist is quite common for many people. Smit Dental Clinic is well aware of the prevalence of dental anxiety and we are properly trained to work with you in helping you to overcome these fears. You will find we are eager to work with you to make your visits comfortable and pleasant. Asking questions about your mouth and proposed treatment will help to remove fear of the unknown and give you an opportunity to become involved in your dental health. Most importantly, remember that your Smit Dental Clinic team is eager to work with you, not just on you, in order to achieve a mutual goal - maintaining the health of your smile.

When should I take my child to the dentist for their first visit? View Answer

Your child's first teeth erupt around 6 months old. For the prevention of dental problems, Smit Dental Clinic recommend your child should be seen at 1 year of age. This first visit will help your child to become acquainted with our office and develop a relationship with the doctor and staff, as well as a chance to help educate parents to properly care for their child's teeth.

Are baby teeth really that important to my child? View Answer

The first primary tooth, or baby tooth, erupts between 6 months to one year of age. The timing is different for each individual, but all 20 baby teeth are usually in by 3 years of age. Baby teeth are extremely important for a variety of reasons.
Baby teeth:
Help children chew food easily and properly to maintain healthy nutrition
Help children develop proper speech, and speak more quickly and clearly
Help jaw formation by maintaining space and eruption paths for permanent teeth
Help develop self -esteem, and set the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles
Baby teeth are also just as prone to cavities as adult teeth. In fact, more than 50 percent of children will be affected by tooth decay before the age five, so you want to keep those cavities away to avoid an early loss of a tooth. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when it's their turn to erupt. Proper oral hygiene is important as soon as your baby is born. Establishing good oral habits early will go a long way, even beyond impressing the tooth fairy!

What are dental sealants, who should get them, and how long do they last? View Answer

Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that is painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth -- usually the back teeth (the premolars, and molars) -- to prevent tooth decay. The painted on liquid sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and groves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.
Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. In this way, the dental sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.
Sealants can protect the teeth from decay for many years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wear at regular dental check-ups

What is the best way to get my teeth whiter? View Answer

Smit Dental Clinic would be happy to discuss several options with you to help you with your smile. We offer teeth cleanings, in-office whitening, and take-home whitening tray kits with different whitening gel strengths.

How many times a day should I brush my teeth? View Answer

Smit Dental Clinic advocates brushing after each meal. The best way to be sure you are caring for your teeth properly is to discuss your homecare techniques and needs with your dentist or hygienist.

When should we begin using toothpaste on our child and how much should we use? View Answer

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child's gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child's toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

How safe are dental X-rays? View Answer

Exposure to all sources of radiation -- including the sun, minerals in the soil, appliances in your home, and dental X-rays -- can damage the body's tissues and cells and lead to the development of cancer. Fortunately, The dosage of X-ray radiation received by a dental patient is typically extremely small (around 0.150 mSv for a full mouth series, according to the American Dental Association website), equivalent to a few days' worth of background environmental radiation exposure, or similar to the dose received during a cross-country airplane flight (concentrated into one short burst aimed at a small area)
Advances in dentistry over the years have lead to the low radiation levels emitted by dental X-rays. At Smit Dental Clinic we only take necessary dental films, and we use digital x-rays which significantly reduces radiation exposure compared to traditional x-rays.

What is gum disease? View Answer

Gum disease(gingivitis) or periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss today. The reason you lose teeth from gum disease is because this disease attacks the gums as well as the bone, which are the foundation in which your teeth rest. As the bone dissolves away from around your teeth, your teeth become loose and eventually fall out. Anyone, at any age, is susceptible to gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque. If the plague is not removed on a daily basis it will form calculus, which is the breeding ground for the germs which cause periodontal disease.
Bleeding gums are the first sign that there may be a problem with the gums. Puffy, tender red gums are also a sign that there is an infection present. Bleeding gums, however, are not always present even in severe cases of gum disease. Gum disease will not go away by itself or with improved home care. This is because the plaque has become cemented to your teeth like a hard calcium deposit. The only way of removing plaque deep under the gums is with professional cleanings. Routine and regular visits to your dentist are the best way of catching gum disease in its early stages, before too much damage has been caused.

How often should I go to my dentist for a check-up? View Answer

Some people tend to have a rather strange attitude towards checkups. If the dentist does not find something wrong, their time has been wasted. As a matter of fact, a series of successful visits can discourage them from ever seeing their dentist and hygienist again. The idea that you should only see the dentist when something is wrong is not only ridiculous but can end up costing you a lot of money, comfort and time!
Your dentist is trained to detect and treat many problems before you are even aware of them. The goal is prevention - prevent disease, decay and tooth loss. Your dentist can help you but only if you make the appointment. It all comes back to teamwork. Only you, your dentist and your hygienist can determine how often to make a visit, but for most people, twice a year is sufficient. Checkups should not be a one-time event. They are necessary for regular assessments of the condition and the well being of your mouth. Check-up procedures vary with each dentist, but basically will contain: a review of dental and medical history, an overall examination of the mouth including oral cancer screening, a professional cleaning, possibly a fluoride treatment, and a general assessment of hygiene at home. Regular checkups are a MUST in the fight against gum disease.