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Everyone has questions for their dentist at one time or another, but how often do you actually think of the questions you have while you’re sitting in the dentist chair? Probably not very often. Here is a list of the most-asked questions to dentists by their patients. Chances are, you have some of these same questions, too.

Q: What is plaque and why is it bad?

A: Plaque is a sticky film that covers your teeth. It is a bacteria and is constantly working to form hard layers in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. Brushing your teeth twice per day and flossing once per day helps remove this plaque. If not removed, research has shown that it can lead to gum disease, and gum disease is linked to other problems like heart disease and stroke.

Q: Are electric toothbrushes better than manual toothbrushes?

A: As far as effectiveness goes, the two are exactly the same. However, the difference is made in the effort put in to using a manual toothbrush. Most people who use manual toothbrushes do not brush for the full two minutes, but electric toothbrushes often have a built-in timer that keeps the brush going for the full two minutes. From that standpoint, electric toothbrushes are better for effectiveness in brushing the full amount of time. If you are a committed brusher and flosser, you can’t go wrong either way.

Q: Why should I have my teeth cleaned twice a year?

A: If everyone would brush twice per day and floss once per day, there would essentially be no need for professional teeth cleaning twice a year. However, plaque builds up over time and each day we don’t brush and floss for the full two minutes twice per day, more plaque builds, and getting that plaque cleaned off every six months keeps the teeth fresh since we all know how realistic it is to brush and floss twice a day every day without any exception.

Q: What is a root canal?

A: A root canal is intended to be a tooth saving procedure that removes the pulp or living tissue from inside the tooth. Each tooth has roughly from one to three roots and each root has one or two canals that stretch the length of the entire root. In a healthy mouth, these canals are filled with tissue. With today’s technology, root canal therapy is now totally painless.

Q: When will my child get his or her first tooth?

A: There is a wide range in which children begin getting their first teeth. It usually occurs when the child is between five and seven months of age, but rest assured that getting a first tooth in several months before or after this is not an abnormality. Some children have erupted teeth at one month old, while others are one year old. Gender also makes a difference as girls’ teeth usually erupt earlier than boys.

Q: Why don’t my dentures fit anymore?

A: Dentures need to be replaced every 3-5 years so, if you have had your dentures for longer than this period of time, chances are it doesn’t fit anymore and you should visit your dentist to talk about receiving more. Your existing dentures can be relined or a new set can be made according to your preference. Ask your dentist about specific options and he can go over any questions you have.

Q: My dentist says I have a cavity and that I need a filling. But why doesn’t my tooth hurt?

A: Most dental problems don’t exhibit symptoms until they reach more serious, advanced stages of the disease. It is best to get preventative check ups and take care of potential problems before they even begin to hurt because, in the end, that will be the path of least resistance.