What is dentistry?

Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions and disorders of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Dr. Mike Hanley has completed at least eight years of schooling and has received DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degrees.

What are the different dental specializations?

If your doctor is a pediatric dentist, this means that he or she specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing oral health problems in children from infancy through their teenage years. Pediatric dentists acquire the proper education and training necessary to work with young children. Other dental specializations include:

  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Oral and maxillofacial (this includes pathology, radiology, and surgery)
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
  • Periodontics (gum disease)
  • Prosthodontics (dental implants)

Why is visiting the dentist important?

Visiting the dentist regularly will keep your teeth and mouth healthy, and even keeps the rest of your body healthy too. Receiving routine dental care from the dentist is important because regular cleanings prevent tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease and also reduces bad breath. A dentist can also provide you with the cosmetic dental care that will help keep your teeth bright and sparkling, and can even use methods to help straighten your teeth for better care and aesthetics. Overall, visiting a dentist allows you to enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile for the rest of your life!

My teeth feel fine; do I still need to see a dentist?

Yes! Your teeth may feel and look fine, but it’s still important that you see the dentist regularly because complications can exist without you even knowing. Your dentist can also provide care that will prevent potential problems from occurring.

Do I still need dental checkups every 6 months if I have braces?

Yes! It’s actually more important that you see Dr. Mike Hanley regularly if you are receiving orthodontic treatment. With braces, food can easily be caught in places your toothbrush or floss can’t reach. If you do not visit our office for a routine cleaning, those food particles will eventually attract bacteria, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Dr. Mike Hanley will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure your teeth remain clean and healthy while you receive orthodontic treatment.

What should I look for when choosing a dentist?

You should be able to recognize if a dentist is right for you and your family during your first visit with them. During your appointment, consider the following:

  • Is the appointment scheduling convenient?
  • Is the office easy to get to or close by?
  • Does the office appear clean and organized?
  • Is my medical and dental history being recorded and put into a permanent file?
  • Does the dentist explain techniques for good dental and oral health?
  • Is information about the cost available to me before the treatment is scheduled?
  • Is my dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?

How can I take care of my teeth in between dental checkups?

  • Always brush your teeth at least twice a day for two full minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and floss at least once a day.
  • Don’t forget to brush your tongue!
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months, or after you’ve been sick. If you have gum disease, we recommend that you replace your toothbrush every 4 to 6 weeks to prevent bacteria from spreading further.
  • Avoid foods high in sugar, and avoid tobacco products.
  • Finally, don’t forget to visit our office for a regular checkup every six months.

At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as 6 months of age, and no later than one year of age; this is the period of time in which your child’s first teeth will be coming in. After the first visit, bring your child in for regular checkups every six months.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease—also known as periodontal disease—is the infection of the gums due to plaque and bacteria buildup that has not been treated.Gum disease can also be caused by tobacco use, teeth grinding, certain medications, and genetics.

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is a treatable form that can eventually progress to advanced gum disease without treatment. Symptoms of early gum disease include:

  • Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gum line

Advanced gum disease has more serious symptoms, including tooth or bone loss. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting our office for routine checkups and cleanings will prevent gingivitis and halt the progression of advanced gum disease.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is a small hole that forms on the inside of a tooth as a result of tooth decay. Cavities form when there is a buildup of plaque on your tooth.

Plaque is a thin film of bacteria that is attracted to the sugars and starches left on your teeth after eating certain foods. The bacteria produces an acid that can eat away at the outer layer of your tooth (enamel), leading to the formation of a cavity. Left untreated, a cavity can lead to a more serious problem. Cavities can be prevented by practicing good dental habits at home, and visiting the dentist twice a year.

What is a filling?

A filling is a special synthetic material used to fill a cavity. Fillings can be made of a number of materials, including ceramic, gold, or composites. If you’re in need of a filling, we can discuss which type of filling is best for you and your teeth.

How do I schedule my next checkup?

It’s as simple as calling our practice! Our staff will be happy to schedule your next dental checkup at your earliest convenience. If you are new to our office, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need for your first visit with us.