Frequently asked questions about dentistry

Dentistry is a really fascinating field, although I might be a little biased in that regard. Sometimes we get asked, “Are dentists medical doctors?” We’re not medical doctors, but we do complete similar training.

Here are some other frequently asked questions about dentistry.

What does DDS mean?

The letters DDS after a dentist’s name stand for Doctor of Dental Surgery. That involves four years of undergraduate education followed by four years of doctoral training at dental school. Although we go through the same amount of school as a medical doctor, dentists only continue on to residencies to pursue more specialized areas of dentistry.

During our time in school, we practice a lot on plastic teeth and mannequins with teeth. We practice fillings, crowns, and root canals on a mannequin in a simulation lab prior to doing those procedures on patients. Once we move forward from practicing on a mannequin, we start doing very simple procedures on our fellow dental students. Once we’ve reached a certain level of practice, we’re assigned patients to work on.

Can dentists remove wisdom teeth?

Another procedure we are trained on is the extraction of wisdom teeth, although not all dentists regularly remove wisdom teeth. It depends on each dentist’s level of comfort and the specifics of each patient case. Some are more comfortable with removing wisdom teeth than others. In our practice, we do remove the majority of wisdom teeth, but there are some cases that we refer out to oral surgeons with additional training.

Can dentists prescribe medicine for sedation?

If a patient is anxious about their dental cleaning or any other procedure, we offer a range of sedation options to help them relax, including oral sedation. We also offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and try to provide a relaxing environment to help calm the patient’s nerves. We have televisions mounted in the ceiling, and patients can watch a show of their choice on Netflix during their appointment.

What should I expect at a new patient appointment?

When we see patients for the first time, we spend more time with them than at a routine appointment. At the first appointment, we collect diagnostic information and take x-rays to fully evaluate the patient’s oral health. We will check all of the teeth and all of the gums and take photographs. Routine visits after that initial exam and cleaning are usually shorter appointments.

What should I expect at a regular appointment?

During routine appointments, our dental hygienists clean your teeth. They focus on removing all of the stain, buildup, and plaque on your teeth. Following the cleaning, the dentist will review your x-rays and do an exam. If teeth whitening is something of interest, we can use products that are stronger than over-the-counter whiteners after your initial cleaning. These stronger products get results much faster than products you can buy at a store.

Have questions about a dental issue and wondering if our dental office can help? Contact us today for more information.

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How Has Dental Care In America Improved Over 20 Years?

Dental Care In America Has Improved Greatly! (Now that’s something to smile about!)

A forthcoming Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health will document progress in oral health since 2000 and articulate a vision for the future, a move the ADA is commending.

The U.S. Public Health Service’s Oral Health Coordinating Committee is commissioning the report, nearly two decades after a similar one was released.

“The role that dentists play in patients’ oral as well as overall health is greater than what it was almost 20 years ago when the first surgeon general’s report was released,” said ADA President Joseph. P. Crowley. “Dentists are leading the way in scientific advancements and clinical treatments that improve patients’ oral health and by extension their overall health. I am excited to see the progress that has been made and the challenges that remain so the ADA can lead interdisciplinary efforts to address them.”

“In the intervening two decades, oral health has improved for many Americans, but not for all,” said Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak, Ph.D., deputy director of the National Institutes of Health, in a July 27 news release. “Many Americans are retaining more of their natural teeth, complete tooth loss among older adults is at the lowest level ever measured and many younger children have less untreated tooth decay. Over the past two decades, we have learned more about how changes across the lifespan can substantially influence oral health and how health promotion activities and interventions targeted for specific life stages can benefit oral health and quality of life.”

Dr. Tabak continued: “However, many Americans continue to experience unnecessary pain and complications from poor oral health that adversely affect their well-being, adding substantial economic and social costs. Poor oral health also impacts our nation’s ability to recruit young adults for military service and maintain military readiness.”

The new report, Dr. Tabak said, has five objectives:

Underscore the critical nature of poor oral health as a public health issue.
Provide a comprehensive review of the importance of oral health throughout life.
Describe important contemporary issues affecting oral health and the promise of science to transform the oral health of the nation.
Outline a vision for future directions.
Educate, encourage and call upon all Americans to take action.
“The first Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health addressed determinants for oral health and disease,” Dr. Tabak said in the news release. “Twenty years later, the knowledge gained from science and technology has continued to provide a better understanding of the etiology and natural history of oral and craniofacial diseases and conditions and we have gained a better understanding of these determinants.”

“Although we benefit from numerous advances that influence oral health, we still face challenges as we try to reach our goal of oral health for all,” Dr. Tabak added.

“We hope to have the report finalized for release in 2020,” said Dr. Bruce Dye, dental epidemiology officer, office of science policy and analysis with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. “We are still in the early stages of making preparations to initiate work on the report and more information will be forthcoming including outreach efforts to stakeholders.”

The report was commissioned on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Surgeon General, the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Click Here to read the full article on the ADA’s website

Do your gums bleed when you brush? Click Here

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Dental Health Is Important To Start Early

Are parents keeping up with their children’s dental health needs?

The demands of modern society has made it extremely difficult to keep up with our kids’ dental health. We live in such a fast pace of motion that it can easily be missed if we’re not careful. With that said, the ADA is trying to help. Here’s an amazing story about FDI President Dr. Kathryn Kell and how she has made it her mission to reach our kids about dental health.

Here’s some of her story:

Dr. Kell, the ADA’s 10th District trustee from 2004-08, is in the middle of a two-year term as president of the FDI World Dental Federation, the principal representative body for more than 1 million dentists worldwide in more than 130 countries, including the U.S.

With FDI headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Kell has circumnavigated the globe several times since becoming FDI president in September 2017.

“In May, I was home for only three days,” Dr. Kell said.

In June and July alone, Dr. Kell traveled to Switzerland, China, Japan, Columbia, England and Minneapolis, speaking as a unified voice for dentistry in international advocacy and supporting member associations in global oral health promotion activities.

In between, she is in the midst of planning two international events — FDI world congresses later this month in Buenos Aires and San Francisco next year. The latter will be conducted alongside the ADA 2019 – America’s Dental Meeting Sept. 5-9 in the Golden Gate City.

Raising the visibility of the FDI — which in turns increases the organization’s leverage when it comes to advocacy and influence — is a major part of the president’s responsibilities, and Dr. Kell is happy to do it. She said she is constantly reminding members of national dental organizations, including the ADA, that if you are a member of your national association, you are automatically a member of the FDI.

“I like to think of it as a part of the quad-partite,” Dr. Kell said, alluding to the ADA, state and local dental societies having a tripartite membership structure.

The presidency is the culmination of more than two decades of purposeful advocacy for, and in, the FDI.

Dr. Kell is an Iowan through and through, graduating from Davenport West High School then the University of Iowa for both her bachelor’s and dental degrees, with her interest in dentistry spurred by having an uncle and cousin as dentists. She also earned a master’s in health care administration from Davenport’s Saint Ambrose University. She maintained a general dentistry private practice in Davenport until selling her practice and plans on treating patients part-time after her presidency concludes… to read the rest of this article Click Here

Worried about bad breath? Click Here

What is a tooth crown?

Getting a tooth crowned kind of sounds painful, doesn’t it? Just what exactly is a crown, what does it do, and when do you need one?

What is a tooth crown?

Basically, a crown is a tooth shaped cap designed to cover a tooth. It helps to restore the size, shape, strength, and aesthetic value of a tooth. Once the tooth is prepared, the crown covers the existing visible tooth from the gum line, and is cemented in place. Crowns come in a variety of appearances and materials ranging from stainless steel, to porcelain or ceramic. Below are a few of the purposes of crowns:

  • Tooth damage – If a tooth has been damaged by decay, cracked, or worn down, a crown can be added to help protect it. In some places, it can be added to cover a large filling where not much of the tooth remains, to help support it.
  • Bridge Support – A crown can be placed on either side of a gap, if an individual is missing a tooth or teeth, with the missing tooth or teeth in the middle.
  • Cosmetics – Crowns can be used to cover discolored or misshapen teeth. If a person has chipped front teeth from an injury, crowns can be used. They are also used to top off a dental implant.

Remember, if you have any questions regarding crowns or anything regarding dental care, contact Dr. Gray’s office to speak with someone or to schedule an appointment!

How do braces work?

Braces can be an excellent way to help straighten your teeth, and achieve a great smile. But, how do braces work anyway?

How do braces work?

Braces can be dated back to ancient times. In fact, archaeologists have found the mummified remains of people with metal bands stretch across their teeth. Even Cleopatra was known to have worn a type of dental aligners. Braces work by applying constant pressure to the teeth, which over time, will move the teeth to their desired position. As the tooth loosens to move to the new position, new bone will actually grow to support the tooth in its altered position. Today, there are different types of aligners, but we will look at the two most common.

  • Traditional wired metal – These aligners are stainless steel, and sometimes a combination of titanium is used. This traditional method is still the most common. These implement a metal bracket with rubber band ties that hold the wire on to the metal brackets. This method will require more frequent adjustments and cause a bit more tooth discomfort. Another method is self-aligning braces, which do not require the use of rubber bands, as the wire itself will go through the bracket. This method involves less discomfort and fewer adjustments are needed as with the first method.
  • Clear – This system involves clear, plastic aligners that are worn over the teeth to gently direct them into the desired position. Photographs, x-rays, and dental impressions are sent to a lab, where the aligners will be produced. With clear braces, you can remove them whenever you eat, brush, and floss. Since they are virtually invisible, most people will be unaware you have them. These will decrease dentist appointments and your discomfort level!

As always, if you have questions regarding tooth alignment, or are looking for a dentist in the Edmond area, please contact Dr. Gray’s office to schedule an appointment!

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Dentist Edmond: Fluoride for your Teeth

Dentist Edmond: Why Fluoride is great for the teeth

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and some sources of water, and Dentist Edmond recommends it’s daily usage. In the use of your teeth, you lose minerals every day from your tooth’s enamel layer through demineralization. Over the course of eating and drinking, throughout your day you gain minerals back, a process called remineralization. Demineralization happens when your teeth are exposed to acids, these acids are formed when the plaque bacteria and sugars in the food you eat end up in your mouth. Remineralization occurs when fluoride, calcium, and phosphates are redeposited into the enamel layer from the foods that we eat and water we drink. When you have too many minerals leaving your teeth and not enough of those minerals being deposited back into the enamel layer you end up with tooth decay.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening the tooth enamel against the acids produced by the plaque bacteria and the sugars they consume. Fluoride usage can also help repair early decay in the enamel layer. Dentist Edmond recommends that in children under the age of six fluoride be incorporated into the child’s dental routine as fluoride is used in the development of permanent teeth. The stronger these young teeth are they better suited they are to ward off the acids that accompany a lot of sugary food that are targeted at children.

Dentist Edmond: Where can you get Fluoride and in what forms are they available?

As mentioned above Fluoride is present in many foods and most public water in the United States. If you need something more direct fluoride toothpaste can be used each time your brush. There are also fluoride mouth rinses, though these options are a lower strength when you get them over the counter at a drug store.

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Dentist Edmond: The Importance of childhood dental visits

Dentist Edmond: Why get your child in to see the dentist?

Making sure that your child comes in to see the dentist for regular check ups means that their mouth will be healthier and stay healthy throughout their lives. Early check ups in children help catch cavities and tooth decay from things like sugar and bottle rot. Taking your child to the Dentist Edmond early and regularly will ensure your child is more comfortable with going the dentist as they grow up. Children who look after their teeth and come to the dentist will have healthy teeth and be able to chew food easier and will learn to speak clearly and smile with confidence, that’s what Dentist Edmond is all about.

What does the American Dental Associate have to say?

The American Dental Association recommends that every child visit the dentist by the age of 1, or as soon as the first tooth appears. This early visit in your child’s life will help you as a parent or caregiver how to care for children’s teeth and will help them remain without cavities in the future. As an example, letting children fall asleep with a bottle of juice or milk in their mouth can cause decay. Children should be encouraged to drink milk, water, and juice from a cup as they approach their first birthday. Dentist will also recommend that a mother stop on-demand night time breast feeding once a child’s first tooth has come in.

In the United States the most common disease among children is tooth decay, which can be prevented. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 40% of children will have some kind of tooth decay when they reach kindergarten. With states like Washington seeing nearly 60% of this preventable condition in elementary school aged children. Many of these cases are a lack of proper brushing, dental visits, and not using fluoride toothpaste.



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Dentist Edmond: Get rid of that old brush!

Dentist Edmond: You should throw away a toothbrush after the Flu

It’s true that once you’ve contracted a cold you won’t be able to reinfect yourself with the same strain of the disease, your body having developed the right antibodies to fight it off. However, it’s still a good idea to get rid of items that you use once you’ve overcome the illness. The Dentist Edmond recommends that you toss items like lip balm, toothbrushes, and some make-up like mascara once the illness has passed. Things that can commonly live in toothbrushes include the Flu, Staph infections, Strep throat, E-Coli, and yeast, all of those are excellent reasons to toss your brush once you start feeling better. The biggest reason for tossing these items is the potential for infecting others, one drop of saliva is enough to infect someone else that you live with.

Dentist Edmond: Never ever share brushes

The Dentist Edmond recommends that you never share toothbrushes with someone else. Another person’s toothbrush is just an avenue for germs to enter your body that they might not otherwise have and besides it’s just plain gross.


Bodycare products

We use lip balm in the winter month to keep our lips from becoming dry, cracked, and painful. Many lip balms carry some kind of antimicrobial chemicals in them in order to prevent the spread of disease. But even with these precautions in place, the safest way to prevent infection is to never share lip balms and makeup. Sharing in most cases is caring but in these cases your just providing an infection vector to your friends and family during the Flu season.

It’s not directly an issue regarding your oral health but make sure to change your towels and sheet, cleaning them with steam if you can. The Dentist Edmond hopes you make it through this Flu season healthy and happy and we look forward to seeing you all soon.

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Dentist Edmond: Beware the effects of pool water on enamal

Dentist Edmond recommends monitoring pH levels in pools

It’s starting to get hotter outside and the pools are close to opening up for the Summer. One of the best ways to cool off during a hot summers day is to relax by or in the pool! Especially if the pool is in your backyard! You may have never considered that the chlorine levels in the water might not be properly balanced. But if they’re not, they can damage the enamel of your tooth. Dentist Edmond is here to share some more information from the New York University of Dentistry about this subject.

A few years ago, Dr. Leila Jahangiri, the clinical associate professor and the chair of NYUCD’s Department of Prosthodontics, spoke about what was found when homeowners attempted to maintain pools of their own. It’s understandable that homeowners would want to save some money by avoiding having to hire professionals to help maintain their pools, it can be dangerous decision. Not having a professional help maintain your pool can often lead to improper pH levels in your water which can, according to Jahangiri, “result in irreversible damage to one’s teeth.”

She also added that “it is difficult balance to maintain home pools properly” and that “proper pool chlorine and pH levels need to be monitored and maintained on a weekly basis.”

Our dentist Edmond knows you might be wondering what a little lab work research could really prove, but rest assured it was more than an educated guess. Jahangiri observed first-hand, in a 52-year old male patient, the effects of improper pool pH levels. His teeth were extremely sensitive and had dark staining and rapid enamel loss over a short, 5 month period. This was a result of his 90 minute swimming exercise routine.

So, before you go diving into the cold, refreshing water in your backyard pool, the dentist Edmond hopes you’ll consider carefully how you plan to maintain proper pH and chlorine levels, for the sake of your pearly whites!

Should you feel the need to have a dental checkup and ensure that things are on the right track with your teeth, don’t hesitate to come and see our Edmond dentist. You may make an appointment with our Edmond dentist at Wallace Family Dentistry by calling 405-340-0411.

If you need a dental checkup, call Philip Gray, DDS, Dentist Edmond today at 405-330-5458 and schedule an appointment!

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Dentist Edmond and dental myths

Dentist Edmond talks about some common dental myths

There’s a ton of information out there on the internet. So of it’s good, some of it’s not. The dentist Edmond is here to dispel some of the more common ones.

Bad Breath=bad brusher: If you have bad breath, it must be because you don’t take care of your teeth as well as you should, right? Well, bad breath is actually caused by a number of factors. The foods you eat can play a big part in how your breath smells. Foods like garlic, for instance, can take over a mouth no matter how well you brush. Even certain sickness can cause bad breath.

Aspirin directly on a tooth will cure pain: It’s an old at-home remedy….and it doesn’t work. You should always swallow aspirin as it’s the only way it can work to relieve pain in your body. Another reason you shouldn’t put aspirin directly on an aching tooth is that it can react and cause a nasty chemical burn, giving you 2 sources of pain to deal with now!

Don’t brush your bleeding gums: It might make sense at first, if your gums are bleeding don’t agitate them by running a toothbrush over them. But in reality the opposite it true. Whenever your gums are bleeding, it’s a sign that plaque and other germs have gotten into your gums and are starting to cause damage. In order to get the gunk out, you need to keep brushing. If your flossing for the first time in awhile or doing pretty harshly it can also lead to your gums beginning to bleed. It might hurt a little but brushing is the best way to clean up your gums and get them to stop bleeding.

Schedule an appointment with Philip Gray, dentist Edmond, today and get your smile cleaned up!