Dr. James S. Kim, DDS. SC

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): General Dentistry - Adults

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We strongly encourage and invite questions from our patients. An educated and informed patient is a patient who is empowered to take control over his or her own healthcare. Please take a look through this selection of questions our patients often ask. If your question is not answered here or if you’d like further information, please give us a call at 715-849-5667

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General Dentistry - Adults

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps prevent tooth decay in three main ways:

  1. Fluoride can stimulate a process called remineralization, which helps reverse the effects of early tooth decay. Remineralization is the opposite of demineralization, which occurs when acids eat away at teeth, creating weak spots and eventually leading to cavities.
  2. Fluoride strengthens teeth and makes them more resistant to tooth decay and damage.
  3. Fluoride interferes with the metabolic processes of the bacteria that cause tooth decay, stopping them from producing the harmful acids that damage teeth.

Since water fluoridation programs begin, tooth decay in communities with fluoridated drinking water has decreased by at least 25% in both kids and adults! In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined water fluoridation in communities to be one of the greatest public health achievements of the twentieth century! While it’s possible to consume an excess of fluoride and experience side effects like fluorosis, which leaves chalky white marks on your teeth, it is essentially impossible to do this by drinking water.

If you live in an area that doesn’t have fluoridated water, you are on a private well, or you exclusively drink filtered or bottled water, let us know. We can apply a fluoride varnish after your cleanings to help you get the positive benefits of this valuable mineral.

 

Plaque is a sticky substance that forms on teeth when food bits and bacteria mix with saliva and are allowed to build up, creating a film on the surface of your teeth. Good brushing and flossing habits help to keep plaque at bay. The plaque not only looks unsightly, the bacteria in plaque are frequently a culprit in bad breath.

If plaque is not removed promptly, it will harden into tartar, which requires removal by a professional. Tartar build-up can lead to cavities and gum disease. Regular cleanings as recommended by your dental hygienist will help eliminate plaque and tartar and prevent gum disease and decay.

The fact is, no matter how diligently you brush your teeth, it’s virtually impossible to remove all traces of plaque from your teeth, particularly in the spaces between your teeth and just below your gumline. Think of your routine professional cleanings as an opportunity for a “fresh start!”

Your comfort is important to us. If you’ve been putting off a cleaning because of fears, please let us know. We have sedation options available that can make it easier for you to get the routine preventive treatment you need. These routine treatments help you avoid more serious conditions later on.

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