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Dr. Daniel A. DelCastillo, DMD PA
Dr. Michael Maya, DMD
925 Arthur Godfrey Rd, #302 Miami Beach, FL 33140

Se Habla Español

5/5

(200 reviews)

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Frequently Asked Questions

At Beach Dental Care, our goal is to do more than just help you manage your oral health. We also like to empower our patients with knowledge. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions that will hopefully ease your mind and provide you with the information you need. Don’t see the answer you’re looking for? Pick up the phone and give us a call! We’re here to help!

General Tooth and Gum Care FAQs

You should schedule a dental appointment at least twice a year. This is important because, when it comes to long-term oral health, prevention is always the best medicine. By having your teeth and gums thoroughly examined on a regular basis, you’ll improve the chances of early diagnosis and treatment of decay or disease. 

Additionally, professional cleanings enable your dental provider to remove plaque that may have developed in hard-to-reach areas or places you may have missed. Removal of this buildup helps to prevent bacteria and cavities, which means healthier gums and stronger teeth. 

Ideally, you should brush your teeth thoroughly after each meal. This helps to remove excess buildup and prevent tooth decay. At the very least, you should brush your teeth once in the morning and again before going to bed. Flossing should be done daily as well.

Brushing your teeth correctly is just as important as brushing them frequently. To ensure that you get the most out of every brushing session, we recommend sticking to the following guidelines:

  • First, choose a brush that features soft bristles. This is important, because hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of the teeth.
  • Next, align your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gumline, keeping in mind that bristles should be in contact with both the tooth surface as well as the gumline while brushing.
  • Begin brushing by using either tiny circular motions or short back and forth strokes. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth you are brushing.
  • Be gentle when you brush and take your time. Slower, gentler strokes are more effective in removing plaque. Conversely, applying too much pressure or brushing too quickly can wear down the enamel of your teeth.
  • Thoroughly brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner and chewing surfaces.
  • Try to brush for at least 2 minutes. Again, longer brushing at a gentle pressure is more effective and better for your teeth and gums than rushing.

Brushing your teeth correctly is just as important as brushing them frequently. To ensure that you get the most out of every brushing session, we recommend sticking to the following guidelines:

  • Begin with a section of floss that is approximately 18 inches in length and wind it around the middle finger of each hand. The reason we suggest using such a long piece is because this allows you to move the floss as it becomes dirty, ensuring optimal cleanliness. 
  • Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving a length of 1 to 2 inches in between for cleaning.
  • Gently place the floss in between the spaces of your teeth, slowly moving it up and down. Be careful not to pull up too quickly or harshly, as this can cause damage to your gums. Just like brushing, slow and steady is safer and much more effective.
  • As you move the floss in between two teeth, slide it up and down the surface of each tooth, cleaning up to the gumline as well.
  • Repeat this process until the spaces in between all of your teeth have been thoroughly flossed.

Plaque is a clear film that builds up on the surface of the teeth and just below the gumline. It is caused by food debris and bacteria that is not properly and/or thoroughly removed. Over time, if plaque isn’t adequately removed, it can lead to the development of cavities and eventually even gum disease.

Brushing and flossing every day, along with visiting your dentist for a thorough exam and professional cleaning at least twice per year can help prevent plaque buildup. Additionally, eating a balanced diet and avoiding sugary snacks can also help keep plaque at bay.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the gums and bones that hold the teeth in place. Periodontal disease typically develops when plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth and harden. This disease often begins as gingivitis, which causes swollen, tender and inflamed gums. As the disease advances, however, it can lead to increased discomfort while chewing, gums that are sore and may bleed, and ultimately even tooth loss.

There are a number of telltale signs that periodontal or gum disease may be present. If you notice any of the following, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible:

  • Red, tender or swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed while brushing
  • Gums that have begun to pull away from the teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Changes to the way your teeth fit together while biting
  • Changes to the way partial dentures fit

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to practice good oral hygiene habits. This includes daily brushing and flossing, as well as visiting your dentist at least twice a year. Eating a healthy diet that includes the daily recommended vitamins and minerals can also promote stronger teeth and healthier gums.

Teeth Whitening

While most people start out with pearly white teeth, over the years, they can begin to discolor due to the enamel wearing down. As enamel wears down, a yellow-colored substance called dentin, which makes up the core of our teeth, begins to show through. This is ultimately what causes the yellowish tint many of us experience as we get older.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways to improve the appearance of the teeth once they have yellowed. Some methods are more effective than others. Below are a few of the most popular teeth whitening options available today.

Over the Counter Whitening

Over the counter teeth whitening is performed using kits that are sold at any local convenience or health and beauty store. These kits contain a low concentration whitening gel and provide slight, temporary results. While over the counter whitening is more economical than professional whitening methods, it is also less effective. Additionally, because over the counter trays are not custom-fit to your teeth, it can result in uneven results and possible gum irritation.

In-office Whitening

As the name suggests, in-office teeth whitening is performed in the dentist’s office using a high-concentration peroxide gel. Because this gel is professional-grade, it is much more powerful and therefore more effective than over the counter whitening products. It can also produce noticeable results much faster – typically within just an hour of receiving the treatment.

Professionally Dispensed, Take-Home Whitening Kits

The third option for whitening teeth is performed using a kit that is provided by your dentist for use at home. The strength of the gel in a take-home kit is lower than what is used for in-office bleaching, which is why it can be applied for longer periods of time – typically using a tray that is worn either overnight or for a couple of hours during the day. Take-home kits are more effective than over the counter whitening products, but take longer and may be slightly less effective than in-office whitening.

Professional teeth whitening typically lasts anywhere from one to three years before the teeth begin to become discolored again. Once you’ve invested in professional whitening, however, you should be able to maintain that whiter appearance through occasional “touch up” treatments rather than having to whiten fully again.

Orthodontics

Orthodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on the straightening of the teeth to correct either functional or cosmetic issues. Using specially designed and custom-fitted appliances, like retainers and braces, gentle pressure is continuously applied to the teeth, causing them to shift to the desired position. Orthodontic appliances may be bonded to the teeth, or could be removable, based on a number of factors that are unique to each patient.

Today’s orthodontists provide patients with best-in-class products that are much more comfortable, attractive and effective than the tools of the past. And with so many different styles and options, wearing braces today can be fun and easy!

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends children receive an initial orthodontic screening around the age of seven. At this age, the jaw is typically developed enough that a trained professional can predict whether treatment will be needed in the future.

Early screenings also allow pediatric dentists and orthodontists to evaluate and monitor the patient’s development so that they can identify and address problems early, before they have a chance to worsen. So, while it’s rarely a necessity for a young child to be seen by an orthodontist, it can do wonders for preventative care.

There may be a slight amount of minor discomfort when the teeth first begin to move. This sensation typically only lasts for about 24 to 72 hours. As time goes by, this discomfort should go away. In the meantime, over the counter pain management medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help to alleviate any lingering discomfort.

It’s not always obvious that a person needs braces, as sometimes these appliances are recommended for functional needs vs. strictly cosmetic. Below are a few of the more common signs that you may want to make an appointment with an orthodontist:

  • Upper front teeth protrude excessively over lower teeth or are bucked
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of lower teeth when biting (deep bite)
  • Upper front teeth are situated behind/inside lower front teeth (underbite)
  • Upper and lower front teeth don’t touch when biting (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • Spaces between teeth 
  • Center of upper and lower teeth not properly aligned
  • Finger- or thumb-sucking habits that continue after age 6
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Uneven or excessive wearing of the teeth
  • Lower jaw shifts to one side when biting

It’s important to practice good daily oral health habits, even if you happen to be wearing braces or a retainer. This includes brushing thoroughly after each meal and flossing at least once per day. To help prevent cavities, you should always use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Your dentist or orthodontist may also recommend using a fluoride rinse to help with hard-to-reach areas.

If you remove your retainer to eat, be sure to store it in its container to prevent loss or damage. Use this opportunity to brush and floss as soon as you’re done eating. You should also brush your retainer gently using your toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner, but you should always check with your dentist or orthodontist first. Never put your retainer in the dishwasher or boiling water.

During your treatment, you should try to avoid foods that contain a lot of sugar, as this can increase the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, leading to plaque and cavities. You should also avoid sticky or chewy foods, such as taffy or gum, especially hard foods, like ice cubes or nuts, and any smaller foods that could potentially get stuck in your braces, such as seeds or corn on the cob.

Last, but certainly not least, be sure to schedule and stick to routine checkups with your family dentist. Even if you are seeing an orthodontist, you should still continue to visit your regular dentist for exams and cleanings every six months. 

Wearing braces should not prevent you from participating in any of your normal school or recreational activities. Of course, it may take some getting used to when you first get your braces put on. Keep in mind, however, that if you play a contact sport, it is strongly recommended that you wear a mouth guard to protect your braces.

With braces, it is strongly recommended that you brush your teeth at least three times a day (ideally after each meal that you eat). This will help to remove any excess food particles that may have become trapped in your braces. You should also floss daily to reach places in between your braces that your toothbrush isn’t able to reach. If you’re unsure about how to properly brush and floss with braces, your dentist or orthodontist can show you how. Just ask!

There are a lot of different options available today when it comes to the look and style of braces. In fact, unlike the traditional metal braces of the past, today’s braces can even be a fashion statement! Additionally, some styles of braces, such as self-litigating braces, can reduce the number of visits to the orthodontist.

There are also a number of products that offer “invisible braces”. Some of these work like traditional braces, but are less obvious because they are made of clear or transparent material. There is also the option of clear, removable aligners. The most popular brand of this is Invisalign. This option uses a series of custom-fitted, clear mouth guards that slowly readjust the placement of the teeth.

The type of braces you end up with will depend on a number of factors, including the arrangement and severity of the crooked teeth as well as personal preference and desired outcome. Your orthodontist will make specific recommendations upon examining your teeth and discussing your options.

Yes! In addition to regular visits to the orthodontist, you should continue to see your family dentist for exams and cleanings at least twice a year. During orthodontic treatment, your dentist may also suggest additional visits as well for optimal cleanliness.

Dentures

Taking regular care of your dentures helps to ensure that they last as long as possible and that your mouth remains healthy. To keep your dentures clean and in good shape, use the following guidelines.

Clean and Soak

Dentures that are removable should be taken out at bedtime, thoroughly cleaned and then allowed to soak overnight in a water-based cleaning solution. Not only does this keep them cleaner, but it also helps to minimize staining, so they’ll look better longer as well. 

Dentures should be cleaned with denture cleaner using a denture brush or soft-bristled toothbrush. All surfaces, both inside and out, should be scrubbed gently but thoroughly.

Individuals who have implant overdentures should be especially careful about practicing good oral hygiene. Thorough cleaning of the gums, overdenture and attachment mechanism should be performed on a daily basis.

Keep Those Appointments!

Periodic dental exams are they key to maintaining good oral health and ensuring that your dentures continue to look good and function properly. In addition to regular exams, you should also contact your dentist to:

  • Address sore spots and irritations
  • Remove stubborn stains that don’t come off with routine cleaning
  • Repair broken dentures 
  • Determine if dentures need to be replaced (usually needed every 4 to 8 years)

Cost

Fees for denture-related services vary widely. Speak to your dental professional and contact your state or local dental society to learn more about resources that may be available to you.

Your Beautiful Smile

Communicating your needs, concerns, and expectations will help your dental professional provide you with the treatment plan and dentures that are best for you. This will ensure you enjoy peace of mind, good oral health, and a reason to smile for many years to come.

Other Common Questions

Bad breath can be caused by a variety of factors, including the types of foods you eat, whether your mouth is too dry, and the existence of periodontal disease. If you’ve noticed your breath hasn’t been as fresh lately, and regular methods, like brushing and using mouthwash don’t seem to correct the issue, contact your dentist. He or she may be able to help determine the cause and provide guidance on steps you can take to eliminate it once and for all.

Regardless of the underlying cause of your bad breath, practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings should help reduce it. Brushing after each meal and flossing daily helps to remove food particles from the teeth, which can emit odors. Likewise, staying on top of your oral health reduces the risk of developing periodontal disease.

If you wear dentures, they should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight every night in an antibacterial solution as directed by your dental provider. Finally, be sure to brush the surface of your tongue regularly as well, as this can help eliminate the buildup of odorous residue and keep your mouth cleaner and fresher.

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