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When should I teach my child to start brushing their teeth?

This is such a fun question for us because as dentists, we love that people are thinking about their oral health and the oral health of their children. When it comes to basic habits and patterns, the earlier the better! In fact, as soon as those little teeth emerge you’ll want to do the brushing for them in a really gentle manner. This is good for their baby teeth but it also acclimates your child to the feel of the brush. 

Some parents have a hard time getting their children to brush their teeth regularly. Heck, I bet many of us, at one time or another, were that kid who got the toothbrush wet and set it back in the cup in the bathroom just to fake out mom or dad. That’s just the reality of parenting and childhood. But, one thing you can do is to brush your teeth in front of your child as frequently as possible. Children often want to imitate their parents and brushing your teeth in front of them gives them that little boost they might need to get them interested in brushing their own teeth. Most of the time, this kind of passive encouragement works better than getting into an argument with your child and everyone is happier when we avoid that.

There other ways to encourage your child to brush their teeth such as positive reinforcement with words of affirmation or, of course, rewards. Just make sure the rewards aren’t bad for their teeth if you know what we mean. Whatever you choose, though, we want you to know that we are in your corner. Your child’s teeth are important to us, too. If you’re looking for the best dental care in Fayetteville, West Fork, Johnson, or Springdale, we’d love for you to make an appointment with us. We are dentists who care for you and your family.

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At what age should I take my kid to see the dentist?

An interesting question we love to hear answers to is this: what is your earliest memory of going to the dentist? For adults, that’s not an easy answer because we’ve been so often throughout the course of our lives but just think about it for a moment. What’s the first thing you remember about dentistry? Is it a taste, like the way the x-ray inserts tasted when you got your x-rays? Was it the lights? Was it the scraping away of the calcium build up? We sincerely hope that mixed in there was a sense that your dentist cared about you and what they were doing to help you have the healthiest mouth possible because that is one of our goals. From the earliest memories a child may have, we want them to trust us and look forward to coming in.

The good news for you, parent, is that you can get your child acclimated to going to the dentist before they even begin to have memories of going to the dentist. The American Dental Association recommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist coincide with the emergence of the child’s first tooth. That typically occurs around six months. You might think that sounds a little excessive, but it gives dentists like us the opportunity to not only get to know you and your child, but we can also start to see, very early on, evidence of possible issues that may arise. We aren’t trying to make you paranoid, especially if you’re a first-time parent, but we’re on your side. We want your child to have a healthy mouth devoid of any oral problems. If there happens to be one, the earlier we catch it, the better. 

Even if you feel shy or scared, give us a call and set up an appointment. We care about you and your family which is why we are a family dental practice. No matter if you live in Farmington, Greenland, Tontitown, Fayetteville, or Springdale, we are here to serve you and your family. We want to see your amazing smiles light up Northwest Arkansas and can’t wait to help you do it.

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Why should I floss?

The old joke is that you should floss the teeth you want to keep. We know, not funny. But even if the joke falls flat, can we tell you a secret? It’s kind of true. On a scale of eating a brownie to being shot out of a cannon, we know that a lot of people put flossing toward the cannon end of things, but it’s a really important practice that every dentist, us included, would love for people to adopt. What is it about the act of sliding a piece of waxed fiber between your teeth for a couple of minutes a day that people find so horrifying? Well, maybe not horrifying, but unpleasant. Or time-consuming. That’s probably the biggest complaint we hear, that it takes too long. That one comes in just behind, “it makes my gums bleed,” a comment that, honestly, should be met with the truth: the more you floss, the less your gums will bleed. In fact, it drastically reduces the likelihood of gingivitis which is the condition of inflamed gums that leads to, well, bleeding gums.

So, the answer to “why should I floss,” is “because it’s good for your dental health and the dental health of your whole family.” It’s true! When you and everyone else floss, it reduces the amount of time you are in the chair, it increases the likelihood you’ll not have significant issues with your teeth and gums, and it just flat out leads to better oral health. So goes the mouth, so goes the body. We promise a flossing habit will add great value to your life and that of your family. If you need help learning to floss, schedule an appointment with us. We’ll show you how it’s done. If we could get everyone in Prairie Grove to Goshen and West Fork to Lowell learning how to floss properly, we’d throw a huge party. With dentist-approved snacks, of course.

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What are dental implants?

Things happen. Accidents. Bad life choices before starting to make good ones. Genetics. These are just three of the possible routes someone might have to take before they end up in a dental chair talking to one of us about the possibility of dental implants. You know what? It’s okay. For one, the likelihood that someone will actually notice is very slim. For another, if you end up needing one, it will help your bite, your ability to chew, your ability to speak clearly, as well as a bunch of other positive side effects.

Yes, we just told you why it’s okay before answering the question, but we want to make sure you know it’s a good question and not one you need to be afraid of asking. A dental implant is a device that is implanted into your gums that replace teeth that have fallen out or have been pulled for a number of different reasons. Think of it almost like a dental prosthetic. It’s an artificial device that mimics the use and pattern of a tooth or teeth. It’s really simple. You get the implant and then an artificial tooth or teeth are attached to the base and voila! you’ve got yourself back in business!

There’s really no need to be scared or embarrassed by dental implants. People have been seeking them out for a long time and the procedure can help you look and feel great. That’s what makes us feel great as dentists and we are thrilled to serve patients from all over northwest Arkansas especially you when you come in for an appointment!

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Why do you X-ray my teeth?

Lots of things have changed over the years in terms of dental practices and methods. Technology and techniques innovate and improve and we are so grateful that they do. This is the case in all medical fields including dentistry. While the machines themselves have improved over the years, you can’t beat the old-fashioned x-ray for helping diagnose problems that may not be observable by a mere glance. 

What are we looking for when we take x-rays of your teeth? As you may know, an x-ray allows us to see below the surface of both the teeth and the jaw. If something is going on there that’s not great for your health, we’ll spot it with an x-ray. X-rays help us see potential problems in the roots of teeth, the jaw itself, and possibly even allows us to identify decay that might not be visible to the eye. It’s a handy tool for us as we work hard to make sure your teeth are as healthy as possible. You may notice that we don’t take x-rays every single time you come in for a check-up and cleaning and that’s because you don’t need it. The American Dental Association says that if everything is as it should be and you or a dentist don’t know of any potential problems, then you can go 2 or 3 years between x-rays. 

Has it been a minute since your last dental appointment and thus your last x-ray? There are lots of reasons why you may not have visited the dentist in a while, and we want to tell you that’s okay. Make an appointment and we’ll be sure to give you the best dental care northwest Arkansas has to offer. No judgment here. We just want you to have the best oral health you can. If you’re looking for a dentist, it doesn’t matter if you live in Fayetteville, Johnson, Tontitown, or Springdale, we’d love to schedule an appointment with you. Give us a call!

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What do I do if I break a tooth?

There should be a catalog of all the causes of chipped or broken teeth in the United States. We bet there have been some doozies. Car doors. Accidental elbows. Thinking you’re a gymnast. Bicycle crashes. Walking into a window so clean you thought it wasn’t there. And more! We know accidents happen. You know that, too. So what is a person supposed to do if they chip or break a tooth? We’re glad you asked!

First things first: what you’ve seen or heard on TV is likely true. After you’ve rinsed out your mouth–something that may hurt but is necessary–and taken steps to make sure that you have stopped the bleeding in your mouth, the next step is to put the broken tooth in some milk or water or a solution of saline. See, not everything on TV is terrible–you just learned something that many people have probably taken for granted. Next, make sure to come in and see your dentist. This is a crucial step because your dentist can take the missing tooth and do something about it. There’s a possibility that we can put it back in and everything will be okay. If the tooth is too far gone, we’ll recommend a cosmetic reconstruction that could involve a bridge or an implant. It’s really up to your dentist and to figure out what next steps there need to be.

When it comes down to it, no one wants to chip or break a tooth, but if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that you’ll be lucky if all you did this year was accidentally break a tooth. Sure, there’s been a dark cloud over most of the year, but we want to assure you that we’re a bright spot on that otherwise dreary palette. We look forward to seeing you and partnering with you. We serve all of NW Arkansas including West Fork, Fayetteville, Farmington, Springdale, and more! Check us out today and set up an appointment with us, especially if you have an emergency.

We can’t wait to serve you!

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