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You might not think too much about your regular oral care routine until it comes time for your regular visit to the dentist. All of a sudden you start to worry about how well you’ve taken care of your teeth and what you should do to prepare before a dentist cleaning. Good news: here are some simple things you can do and some things you definitely shouldn’t do before your next cleaning.

Don’t Brush Like Crazy

There is nothing wrong with brushing as usual but when you brush like crazy right before a dentist cleaning, you actually make it harder for us to identify problem spots. When we see what areas house leftover food, we can better advise you on what to do when you’re brushing to avoid tooth decay in the future.

Do Take Ibuprofen If Cleanings Are Painful

If having your teeth cleaned has ever been painful, taking some Ibuprofen pills before the process begins can lessen the pain. You should absolutely tell your dentist or hygienist if you are in pain though, don’t just suck it up! We can often change our approach while cleaning your teeth so it hurts less for you. If you’re prone to inflamed gums after a cleaning, Ibuprofen will reduce that.

Don’t Whiten Your Teeth

Many people will feel insecure about their teeth before a dentist cleaning so they decide to whiten their teeth to make them look better. We’re not here to judge you, we’re here to help! The whitening process can make your teeth more sensitive which can result in a more uncomfortable and painful cleaning. If you want to whiten your teeth, ask your dentist to do it right after your cleaning. At this point, your teeth are their cleanest and will be most receptive to the whitening gel.

Do Eat A Protein-Filled Meal

When you eat a high-protein meal you give yourself fuel for longer than you would with a high-carb meal. If you have a long dental appointment ahead of you, you want to make sure you’re full so you don’t start feeling weak or cranky while you’re in the middle of it. Going to the dentist can be stressful for some people and feeling hangry makes that even worse.

Don’t Go If You’re Sick

I know you don’t want to cancel your appointment because you’re sick but we actually prefer that you do. We’d rather not catch whatever you have but in addition to that, a cleaning involves scraping below the gum line to remove tartar. That means your gums may become irritated and small amounts of bacteria can get into the bloodstream via your mouth. This is totally normal and isn’t an issue most of the time but if you’re sick, your immune system has already taken a hit so it’s wise not to throw more at it until you’re feeling better. Stay home, relax, and get better!

Do Make Notes To Refer To

How often do you think of something you should probably mention to your doctor or dentist and then totally forget when you see them? Make a point to make notes of these things so that you can let us know when we see you. Let’s say you noticed you had some bleeding when brushing but just with your bottom right teeth. That’s the kind of thing we definitely want to hear about!

Don’t Lie

We know that you might feel bad that you’re not flossing or brushing as often as you should but don’t let that get in the way of being honest with us. We need that information to perform the best cleaning possible and so we can make recommendations to you. Don’t lie about the actions you’re taking (or not taking) or any pain or other issues you’re facing no matter how small.

Do Bring Your Oral Appliance

Whether it’s a CPAP machine mask or a bite guard to prevent you from grinding your teeth, bring it in so we can give it a good scrub. Even if you’re cleaning your oral appliance at home as suggested, you don’t have access to some of the tools we have like ultrasonic cleaning machines. There’s no sense in putting a less than clean oral appliance in a freshly cleaned mouth!

Don’t Panic

Remember, we’re here to help you, not judge you and hurt you. If anything we do makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, let us know. We want to make your visit to the dentist as easy and relaxed as possible. No one is perfect so don’t feel ashamed about any issues you might be facing. I can promise you that we’ve seen it all at this point. If you’ve had a negative experience with a dentist, we welcome you to come try The Silverstrom Group. We have a dental spa that makes a trip to the dentist something to look forward to—even enjoy!

How to Get Your Teeth Clean Before the Dentist

You might be diligent as far as your oral hygiene goes, but even the most frequent flosser forgets every now and again. Of course, you may not even think about the quality of your dental hygiene until it comes time for your scheduled dental visit. You’ll want to put your best smile forward when you see your dentist, so whether you’re a habitual brusher or you’ve been known to skip a session, knowing how to get your teeth clean before the dentist ensures the best checkup possible. Use these techniques and your dentist and dental hygienist are sure to be impressed.

Proper Brushing

Brushing your teeth is one thing, but brushing them properly gives you completely different results and clean teeth for your checkup. A quick once-over with your toothbrush won’t cut it, so schedule a little extra time to give your smile the attention it deserves. According to the American Dental Association, this is the proper way to deep clean your teeth:

  1. Squeeze a strip of toothpaste onto a soft-bristled brush. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes, which can be too abrasive and damage tooth enamel.
  2. Start with the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, beginning at your gumline. Gently brush your gums back and forth before moving up the surface of your teeth.
  3. Focus first on the outside of your teeth, and then make sure to clean the backsides, as well.
  4. Target the front of your teeth by brushing vertically to remove plaque at all angles.
  5. Reach back and brush all sides of each of your molars, making sure to brush all the way to the back of your mouth.

Flossing

Once you’ve finished brushing your teeth, make sure to floss. Brushing is great, but can leave food particles and plaque stuck in the small spaces between teeth. To really impress your dentist, start by stretching a piece of floss between two fingers and winding the floss around your pointer fingers for a secure hold. Starting between your back two bottom teeth, gently slide the floss down between each space and then tug upward to remove the floss and debris. Continue the process toward the front of your mouth and then switch to your top teeth until every space has been properly cleaned.

Mouthwash

Finally, put the finishing touch on your deep cleaning by swishing with a mouthwash to rinse and disinfect your mouth. It’ll remove any lingering bacteria and ensure that you have fresh breath for your checkup. Pour a small amount in a small cup and swish it forcefully between your teeth and around your mouth for about 60 seconds. Spit out the mouthwash and you’re ready for your dental closeup.

Visiting the dentist should be anything but nerve-wracking, but if your oral hygiene has been less than exemplary, you might be feeling a little nervous. By knowing how to get your teeth clean before the dentist, you can be sure that you’ll have the best appointment possible. A deep clean is the key to smiling all the way through your appointment and is the perfect way to renew your commitment to good oral hygiene.

And, in any of these cases, make sure someone can drive you to and from your visit safely.

3. Have your dentist walk you through the steps they’re going to take before they actually take them.

If you’re already freaked about visiting the dentist, having them stick tools in your mouth without you knowing what the eff is happening isn’t going to help. That’s why Dr. Cho recommends that you ask your dentist to explain what they’re going to do first. “As a patient, you have every right to know what’s being done and why, and if there are options,” she says.

4. Bring a sympathetic loved one who’s willing to give you a massage (yes, really!).

Dr. Maples’ office actually has a massage therapist do complimentary massages on anxious patients during their cleanings. The idea is to focus on a more pleasurable experience so the feeling of getting your teeth cleaned fades into the background.

Since most dentists don’t offer this service, you can replicate it with a willing friend or family member, provided you check first with your dentist’s office and they’re OK with it, Dr. Maples says.

5. Make your appointment for the middle of the day when things are calmer.

Like every doctor’s office, your dentist’s office will be busier at certain times. The middle of the day, when people have already gone to work and kids are in school, tends to be quieter, Dr. Maples says. “That’s when it’s a little more relaxed to be in the office,” she says. The less hectic setting may help tame your nerves. Plus, the odds are pretty high that you’ll be in and out more quickly than if you were to schedule your visit another time, Dr. Maples says, so you won’t spend as much time in the waiting room agonizing over what’s to come.

6. Tune out with music as your dentist works.

Music can be a great distraction, which is key when all you can think about is having dental tools that look like torture devices in your mouth. As long as your dentist is OK with it, it should be fine to listen to music during your appointment. “Today, everyone has their own music—bring it,” Dr. Wolff says. To make it easier on everyone, Dr. Wolff recommends bringing earbuds instead of a big headset, which can get in the way of your dentist’s work. Noise-cancelling ones can be especially helpful, Dr. Cho says. “I always tell patients if I need their attention, I’ll just tap them on their shoulders,” she adds.

7. Agree on a signal that both you and your dentist know is a sign you’re in pain or need a breather.

Many people are freaked out at the idea of being unable to communicate during a dental appointment—hello, your mouth is a little busy, here. This is why Dr. Maples recommends having a signal that lets your doctor know that you’re uncomfortable and need to stop. Most patients opt for raising their hand, but it can be anything, she says—just make sure your dentist is on the same page before they start your treatment.

If you’re nervous about bringing this up with your dentist, don’t be. Your dentist likely wants to know when you’re in pain to see if there’s anything they can do about it. “Dentists do not get rewarded for hurting people,” Dr. Wolff says. “Our goal is to make people smile.”

8. Plan a post-visit reward you can look forward to, especially one that hinges on getting your butt in that dentist’s chair.

Now that you’re a grown-up, your dentist probably isn’t offering you a toy at the end of your appointment. Luckily, you can just treat yourself instead. Anticipation of doing something awesome can make your trip to the dentist much easier, Dr. Cho says.

Planning out a little something nice in advance, like going to a movie or taking a shopping trip, can help you get through the visit, Dr. Cho says. You can even hold yourself accountable with a method like buying a movie ticket online, having it sent to a friend’s email instead of yours, and telling them they can only send it back to you if you go to your dentist’s appointment.

There are a lot of ways to make going to the dentist a bit easier, but there’s one common denominator: a dentist who cares about how you feel and will cooperate with your plan, or even offer their own suggestions based on your situation. If your dentist won’t work with you to make you more comfortable, it’s time to get a new one. “Find a dentist who will listen to your concerns and fears,” Dr. Wolff says. “Having a dentist that recognizes you are uneasy is a big help.”

Related:

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  • 5 Causes of Jaw Pain That You Need to Know
  • How Often Do You Really Need to Floss?

Top do’s and don’ts after a dental filling

One of the most common treatments in dental offices is the filling of a tooth. During routine checkups, dentists check the mouths of patients for cavities. If a cavity is found, the treatment route most commonly taken involves the removal of the decayed pieces of tooth, cleaning the area, and filling the newly cleaned cavity with either composite or amalgam fillings. While the process itself is relatively painless and straightforward and can be done in a few short minutes at your dentist’s office, the aftercare involved is seen as a gray area for many patients. Here are the top do’s and don’ts that should be followed after you have received a dental filling.

Do: Check Your Bite
Fillings are usually filled with metallics or ceramics. The setting time of a filling plays a role in when you should check for things like an uneven bite. Ceramics set almost immediately, and your dentist will usually ask you after the procedure to bite down to ensure that your bite is not uneven. If you have opted for metallic materials, setting time takes a bit longer. If you notice that the teeth that were filled touch one another when you bite down before your other teeth touch one another, contact your dentist to have the imbalance corrected as soon as possible.

Don’t: Drink Hot Beverages
The anesthetic does not wear off immediately following a filling. Because you will not be able to accurately measure a drink’s temperature, you could burn yourself easily. Hot beverages are best avoided until all feeling returns to the mouth.

Do: Think About Your Food
For composite fillings, food can be eaten immediately. However, with silver fillings, hard foods and chewing directly on the filling are to be avoided for the first 24 hours following the procedure. It is important to remember that the numbing solution can cause your mouth to feel numb up to three hours following a filling. This can cause severe tongue or cheek bites for those with composite fillings that eat immediately following the procedure. Use the other side of your mouth to chew, regardless of filling type. For those with silver fillings, if you have had cavities filled on both sides of the mouth, stick to liquids and soft foods during that initial 24-hour period; for those with composite fillings, wait until the numbness wears off to resume eating solid foods.

Don’t: Touch Your Filling
This is self-explanatory for adults. However, if you have a child that has received a filling, the feeling of numbness can be a new feeling that they want to explore. Make it a point to reinforce the rule that fillings should not be touched or played with following the procedure. Further, if you notice imbalances in your bite, do not try to correct them on your own by pressing down on your filling. Contact your dentist to resolve the issue.

Do: Remember What Caused Your Cavity
The best way to avoid additional cavities is by engaging in a healthy dental routine as well as a diet that is tooth-healthy. Regular brushing and flossing and limiting acidic food and sugary foods are all ways to help keep the teeth strong and to ward off cavity-causing bacteria.

Don’t: Ignore Lasting Pain
Some pain around the injection site where you were numbed, as well as some tooth sensitivity, is normal and is usually nothing to concern yourself with. Additionally, for deeper fillings, because the filling is so close to the nerve and because the tooth is inflamed, pain in the tooth a few days after the procedure is also normal. However, if you are still experiencing pain a week after your filling, call your dentist to discuss whether or not you need to visit the office for a follow-up.

Do: Talk to Your Dentist
Do not be afraid to ask your dentist questions about follow-up care. Your dentist wants you to feel confident about the health of your teeth and will be more than happy to answer any and all filling-related questions that you have.

By following these do’s and don’ts, along with scheduling routine cleanings, you can ensure that your fillings will remain intact and will protect your teeth for years to come.

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Chewing Tips After a Filling

After you get a filling in one or more of your teeth, soreness and tooth sensitivity may persist for hours, or even days, after you leave the dentist’s office. This can make eating and drinking an uncomfortable affair.

Luckily, by following some common sense chewing tips and avoiding foods that can cause trouble after fillings, you can considerably reduce discomfort:

  • Chew slowly and bite lightly: Biting exerts tremendous pressure on the teeth, and this can make them very sore after you get a filling. When chewing your food, take your time and try not to bite all the way through; this will prevent your teeth from making forceful contact. If possible, chew on the opposite side of the mouth from where your filling is.
  • Keep your mouth closed when chewing: For some people, even cold air can trigger pain in sensitive teeth. Consequently, besides being good manners, keeping your mouth closed when chewing will lessen the chance of cold air entering your mouth and causing you pain.
  • Skip sticky foods: Some fillings, particularly silver (amalgam) ones, take time to set after you leave the dentist’s office. Eating sticky or gummy food can, in rare cases, dislodge a new filling, so it’s best to avoid them in the short-term.
  • Avoid very hot or cold drinks: Moderate temperatures are less likely to trigger pain in sensitive teeth.
  • Pass on the sweets: Sugary foods and soft drinks trigger sensitivity in some and may promote bacterial growth around the edges of, or even under, a new filling.
  • Don’t chew nuts, hard candy, or ice: In addition to causing undue pressure on your teeth while they are still recovering, biting hard foods can dislodge a fresh filling that hasn’t yet properly set. This is especially important for silver (amalgam) fillings, as they take longer to set than composite (tooth-colored) fillings.

Always follow your dentist’s recommendations regarding chewing tips, what foods to avoid after your procedure, and how long you should wait to eat solid foods after receiving softer filling materials, such as amalgam.

If your teeth remain sensitive for several weeks after a filling, or if pain increases rather than decreases over time, consult with your dentist to explore the causes and possible solutions. Sometimes a minor and painless adjustment, such as filing down a raised area, is all that is needed to relieve the pain. In other cases, the sensitivity could be a sign of a more serious issue.

An extremely common question after a dental procedure is “How long should I wait to eat or drink after a dental procedure?” We recommend listening to your dentist’s recommendations, but we put this article together to serve as a guide.

Cleaning / Fluoride

Recommended wait time: 30 minutes

If you received cosmetic dentistry services such as a cleaning/fluoride treatment, eating and drinking immediately after can remove the fluoride treatment. It’s especially important to avoid rough, sticky, or acidic foods as they can cause further damage.

Some people’s teeth are sensitive after a cleaning, so to avoid unnecessary pain they should avoid extreme hot/cold temperatures and hard food, as some people’s teeth begin to hurt after they drink something hot or cold.

Crowns

Recommended wait time: Be careful with eating while you still have your temporary crown in place.

You have to be extremely careful with the foods you eat after being fitted with a temporary crown while waiting for the permanent one.

In the days following your procedure, make sure you avoid the following foods:

1) Nuts. Too crunchy for the temporary crown.

2) Crunchy vegetables. Same problem as the nuts.

3) Sticky foods. Think caramel and candy. You shouldn’t eat this stuff anyway because the sugar causes cavities, but it’s especially important with temporary crowns.

4) Hot / Cold Foods. This can cause discomfort so it’s important to use toothpaste made for sensitive teeth during this time.

5) Soda. They’re high in sugar so it’s bad for dental health anyway.

6) Gum. If it’s gets stuck on the temporary crown it can do damage.

7) Raisins. They’re too sticky so they made do some damage to the crown.

8) Popcorn. The kernels can easily wedge themselves in such a way that damages the temporary crown.

9) Ice. Don’t chew on it!

10) Steak. It’s best to stick to softer foods like chicken or fish.

Fillings

Recommended wait time: If the filling is made of metal it’s best to wait 24 hours for the filling to harden. If the filling is resin-based, it hardens instantly so you can eat or drink immediately.

Whitening

Recommended wait time for a whitening: Wait 48 hours to consume any dark liquids, sauces, or food.

Contact Sninski & Schmitt For All Of Your Dental Health Needs Today

There’s no need to suffer, in fact, it’s better not to! Contact Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry today to make an appointment and successfully rid yourself of tooth sensitivity. Call us at 919-600-6262 (Holly Springs), 919-467-2203 (Cary), or fill out the form below.

What to do before going to the dentist for a cleaning

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