What is the difference between a DDS and DMD?

If you’re looking to find a dentist you may notice that while most are listed with a “DDS”, some may be listed as “DMD”. They both mean the same thing—your dentist graduated from an accredited dental school. The DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are the same degrees. Dentists who have a DMD or DDS have the same education. The level of education and clinical training required to earn a dental degree, and the high academic standards of dental schools are on par with those of medical schools. Upon completion of their training, dentists must pass both a rigorous national written exam and a state or regional clinical licensing exam in order to practice. In order to keep their licenses, they must meet continuing education requirements for the remainder of their careers so that they may stay up to date on the latest scientific and clinical developments.

I’m not having any symptoms. Do I still need to see a dentist?

Yes. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you can still have dental health problems that only a dentist can diagnose. Regular dental visits will also help prevent problems from developing. Continuity of care is an important part of any health plan and dental health is no exception. Keeping your mouth healthy is an essential piece of your overall health. It’s also important to keep your dentist informed of any changes in your overall health since many medical conditions can affect your dental health too.

What are some signs that I need to see a dentist?

• Your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold

• Your gums are puffy and/or they bleed when you brush or floss

• You have fillings, crowns, dental implants, dentures, etc.

• You don’t like the way your smile or teeth look

• You have persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth

• You are pregnant

• You have pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck

• You have difficulty chewing or swallowing

• You have a family history of gum disease or tooth decay

• You have a medical condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders or are HIV positive

• Your mouth is often dry

• You smoke or use other tobacco products

• You are undergoing medical treatment such as radiation, chemotherapy or hormone replacement therapy

• Your jaw sometimes pops or is painful when opening and closing, chewing or when you first wake up; you have an uneven bite

• You have a spot or sore that doesn’t look or feel right in your mouth and it isn’t going away

How can I maintain a healthy smile with my dentists help?

Here are some tips to help you take care of your smile:

• Healthy habits. Brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily are essential for everyone, no matter how unique your mouth is. It’s the best way to fight tooth decay and gum disease.

• Build a relationship. Continuity of care is an important part of any health plan and dental health is no exception. When your dentist sees you regularly, he or she is in a good position to catch oral problems early. For instance, catching gum disease when it’s still reversible, or cavities when they are small and are more easily treated.

• Maintain. Keeping your mouth healthy is an essential piece of your overall health. It’s important to keep your dentist informed of any changes in your overall health as well.

• Talk about it! Only your dentist can determine what the best treatment plan is for you. Have questions about your oral health or certain dental procedures? Start a conversation. Ask your dentist to explain step-by-step. Dentists love having satisfied, healthy patients.

——————————————————————————————————————- Pregnant? 9 Questions You May Have About Your Dental Health
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Do I Need to Change My Daily Habits?

If you’re already brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth once a day, keep up the good work! If not, there’s no better time to start, as poor habits during pregnancy have been associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Talk to your dentist about your routine and if you should make any changes. Shopping for you and your growing family? Look for dental products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

With pregnancy come changes in your body, emotions and mouth. As many as half of all women develop pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that is most common between the second and eighth months of pregnancy. It usually goes away after childbirth. Hormones make your gums more easily irritated by plaque and can cause gums to be red, tender, sore and bleed. Brush twice a day for two minutes, clean between your teeth once a day, and talk to your dentist about other steps you can take to keep your gums healthy

Do You Lose a Tooth with Each Baby?

No, this is an old wives’ tale. Losing a tooth is not a normal part of pregnancy, and if you do, you most likely already had an existing dental problem. You may, however, feel like your teeth are a bit loose. According to the Mayo Clinic, progesterone and estrogen can loosen the ligaments and bones that keep your teeth in place, even if you don’t have gum disease. Many times this goes away after pregnancy, but talk to your dentist if you feel like your teeth are moving when they shouldn’t.

I’m Struggling with Morning Sickness. What Should I Do?

Unfortunately, morning sickness can hit any time of the day. Vomit contains stomach acids that can eat away at your teeth, so waiting to brush after you’ve rinsed your mouth can help prevent those acids from doing damage. Instead of brushing, first swish and spit. You can use water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of 1 cup of water and 1 tsp. of baking soda. Spit it out, and brush your teeth about 30 minutes later.

Is It Safe to See the Dentist During Pregnancy?

Yes! In fact, your dentist may recommend additional cleanings during your second trimester and early third trimester to help control gingivitis. If your last visit to the dentist was more than 6 months ago or if you notice any changes in your mouth, schedule an appointment. Always let your dental office know how far along you are when you call, and tell your dentist of any change in the medications you take or if you have received any special advice from your physician.

Help! Brushing Makes Me Gag.

During a time when anything (and possibly everything) may make you gag, take it slow and figure out what works for you. Changing your flavor of toothpaste, using a brush with a smaller head, or brushing at different times of the day may help. If you need to swish and spit before coming back to brush your teeth, try that as well. The important thing is to keep up your routine because you’re slightly more at risk for cavities, thanks to acid on your teeth from morning sickness, possible diet changes and feeling too tired to brush.

Does What I Eat Affect My Baby’s Teeth?

Your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth months of pregnancy, and eating well can help them form correctly. Get plenty of nutrients – including vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium and phosphorous. To reduce the risk of neural tube defects, you need 600 mcg of folic acid each day while pregnant. Take folic acid supplements, and eat foods high in folate. While you’re at it, drink plenty of water with fluoride to keep your own teeth strong.

Are X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, dental X-rays are safe during pregnancy. Your dentist or hygienist will cover you with a protective apron that minimizes exposure to the abdomen. Your dental office will also whenever possible cover your throat with a protective thyroid collar to protect the thyroid from radiation.

Is It Safe to Have a Dental Procedure?

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agrees that procedures like cavity fillings and crowns are safe and important to have during pregnancy to prevent potential infection. It may be more uncomfortable to sit in a dental chair the later you are in pregnancy, so schedule dental work in your second trimester, if possible. Cosmetic procedures, like whitening, should wait until after baby arrives. If you need an emergency procedure, work with your dentist on the best plan for the health of you and your baby.

Thinking about teeth whitening? Get the facts first. Here are five of the most commonly asked questions about the process.

Why Did My Teeth Change Color?

Over time, your teeth can go from white to not-so-bright for a number of reasons:

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Teeth whitening is a simple process. Whitening products contain one of two tooth bleaches (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide). These bleaches break stains into smaller pieces, which makes the color less concentrated and your teeth brighter.

Does Whitening Work on All Teeth?

No, which is why it’s important to talk to your dentist before deciding to whiten your teeth, as whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellow teeth will probably bleach well, brown teeth may not respond as well and teeth with gray tones may not bleach at all. Whitening will not work on caps, veneers, crowns or fillings. It also won’t be effective if your tooth discoloration is caused by medications or a tooth injury.

——————————————————————————————————————- What Are My Whitening Options?
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Talk to your dentist before starting. If you are a candidate, there are four ways to put the shine back in your smile:

Stain Removal Toothpastes

All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives that scrub the teeth. Look for whitening toothpastes that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance for stain removal (it will tell you on the package). These toothpastes have additional polishing agents that are safe for your teeth and provide stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these types of ADA-Accepted products do not change the color of teeth because they can only remove stains on the surface.

In-Office Bleaching

This procedure is called chairside bleaching and usually requires only one office visit. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect your gums. Bleach is then applied to the teeth…..  I DO NOT DO THIS PROCEDURE BECAUSE OF THE SENSITIVITY…TOO MUCH PAIN AND SUFFEREING..

At-Home Bleaching from Your Dentist

Your dentist can provide you with a custom-made tray for at-home whitening. In this case, the dentist will give you instructions on how to place the bleaching solution in the tray and for what length of time. This may be a preferred option if you feel more comfortable whitening in your own home at a slower pace, but still with the guidance of a dentist. Out-of-office bleaching can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Over-the-Counter Bleaching Products

You may see different options online or in your local grocery store, such as toothpastes or strips that whiten by bleaching your teeth. The concentration of the bleaching agent in these products is lower than what your dentist would use in the office. If you are thinking about using an over-the-counter bleaching kit, discuss options with your dentist and look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. That means it has been tested to be safe and effective for teeth whitening. Get a list of all ADA-Accepted at-home bleaching products.

Are There Any Side Effects from Teeth Whitening?

Some people who use teeth whiteners may experience tooth sensitivity. That happens when the peroxide in the whitener gets through the enamel to the soft layer of dentin and irritates the nerve of your tooth. In most cases the sensitivity is temporary. You can delay treatment, then try again.

Overuse of whiteners can also damage the tooth enamel or gums, so be sure to follow directions and talk to your dentist.