There are many different aspects of dentistry, and the office of Daniel J. Walker DDS understands that this can sometimes be confusing or overwhelming when you are seeking information. With this in mind, we are pleased to provide this page of frequently asked questions to help give you some basic dental information. We encourage you to call 808-329-8180 to speak with a member of our team if you have further questions, and to schedule your appointment with our caring dentist in Kailua Kona, Hawaii.
Why should I visit the dentist regularly?
People often only visit the dentist when there is a problem. They may do this because they believe they are saving time and money, but the reality is their treatments end up costing significantly more money and time than regular dental visits would. This is because many dental problems do not show symptoms until they reach advanced stages. Regular dental visits, however, allow us to provide you with preventive care. Preventive care stops problems in the early stages of development, and will typically stop these problems from developing in the first place.
How can I prevent cavities?
Take your time when brushing your teeth. When you brush, spend 2-3 minutes doing so. This is how long it takes to get rid of bacteria that destroy tooth enamel. Remember to brush gently, as it takes very little pressure to remove bacteria and plaque, and too much pressure will damage your gums. Floss at least once a day.
You should also watch your sugar intake, and be aware of any foods that may stick to your teeth. When you eat sweet or sticky foods, brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating them. If you are unable to brush after a meal, rinse your mouth out with water or chew sugarless gum.
Do not forgo regular dental visits. Routine dental checkups help our dentist notice and treat any problems that may be developing, especially in the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth.
I’m terrified of visiting the dentist. What should I do?
If you are terrified or anxious about going to the dentist, you are not alone. Between 9-15% of Americans have said that they avoid visiting the dentist due to anxiety or fear.
If you are afraid or nervous, please do not hesitate to discuss it with our dentist first. We will take your concerns seriously and work with you to determine the best ways to make you feel less anxious and more comfortable at our office.
There are many strategies available today to help lessen anxiety and fear. These include medications (both to numb the area of your mouth being treated, as well as sedative or anesthesia to help you relax), the use of lasers rather than drills, and a variety of techniques to reduce anxiety and mind/body pain (guided imagery, biofeedback, deep breathing, acupuncture, etc.). At the office of Daniel J. Walker DDS, we also provide our nervous patients with NuCalm® technology to help them relax without the use of narcotics or controlled substances. In addition, there are dentophobia clinics and support groups which you can attend.
How can I tell if I have gum disease?
Periodontal, or gum disease is usually painless in the early stages of development. We recommend that you maintain regular dental visits, so that you can be checked for any signs of this condition.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red and swollen gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Persistent bad breath
- New spacing or gaps between the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Pus around the teeth and gums
- Receding gums
- Tenderness or discomfort
You can reduce your risk of developing gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene, visiting the dentist regularly, and maintaining a balanced diet.
How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?
Cosmetic procedures are designed to improve the esthetics of your teeth and enhance the beauty of your smile. Advances in the dental field have made it possible for you to enjoy a healthier, more attractive smile without much effort. Cosmetic dentistry includes preventive care as well as restorative treatments.
Common cosmetic treatments include:
- Teeth whitening
- Composite (tooth-colored) dental fillings
- Porcelain dental veneers
- Porcelain dental crowns
- Dental implants
What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?
Porcelain dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells. Each of these shells is individually created to cover the front of your teeth and provide you with a long-lasting, dazzling solution to transform your smile. Veneers may be a good cosmetic treatment option if you have:
- Severely stained or discolored teeth
- Uneven spaces or gaps between the teeth
- Worn or chipped teeth
- Slight tooth crowding
- Misshapen teeth
- Teeth that are too small or too large
Veneers typically require two visits to the dentist.