Questions about Family or Cosmetic Dentistry?

Below you will find some Frequently Asked Questions by our patients, as well as hopefully the answers you are looking for. If the solutions is NOT listed below, please contact Northwood Dental for further assistance.

Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums
How often should I visit the dentist?

Twice yearly dental cleanings and exams are highly recommended. By having an exam done, we can be proactive against conditions that you may not necessarily feel or realize are occurring, before they get any worse. Additionally, a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed.

How often should I brush and floss my teeth?

Brushing twice daily, once in the morning and once at night, preferably after eating meals, is recommended. Flossing once daily to get all the particles your brush could not get out, is also advised.

What is the proper way to brush my teeth?

Follow these steps in order to brush your teeth properly:


1. First, make sure to use a soft instead of hard bristled brush. Hard bristled brushes have been known to wear down the enamel of your teeth.


2. Next, place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. You should be both contacting your gum line and tooth surface with the bristles.


3. Make sure to use back and forth or tiny circular movements, that are no bigger than the size of each tooth.


4. Do not brush too aggressively! Too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth, gentle strokes are quite effective at plaque removal.


5. Make contact with all surfaces. Brush the outer, inner and chewing surface of each tooth.


6. Finally, don't cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes.

What is the proper way to floss?

The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly.


1. Take about 18’’ of floss and wrap it around the middle fingers of both of your hands .You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1-2 inches in between for cleaning.


2. Move the floss up and down the spaces of your teeth gently. Do not snap the floss down onto your gums, as this can be damaging.


3. As you lower the floss into the space between the teeth, slide it up and down against the surface of one tooth and then the other. Gently clean at the gum line as well.


4. Repeat for all of your teeth.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms daily on teeth as the result of food debris and bacteria. If not removed, plaque can lead to cavities and gum disease. Regular dental checkups with Northwood Dental, alongside brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, a balanced diet that avoids sugary snacks can help control plaque.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease
What is periodontal (gum) disease

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occurs as a result of plaque hardening and building up on teeth, often due to poor brushing habits. Gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing, as well as tooth loss can occur. 

What are the signs of periodontal disease?

The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact your dentist at Northwood Dental if you experience any of these:

  • Gums that bleed while brushing
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Bad breath that doesn't go away
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures
How can I prevent periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing daily, alongside keeping regular appointments with Northwood Dental is recommended. Having a healthy diet including the right balance of vitamins and minerals for your teeth is also necessary. 

Teeth Whitening
Why do our teeth turn yellow?

While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow color substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint.

What are the different types of teeth whitening options?

Below are the three most popular teeth whitening options available today:


In-office teeth whitening

In-office teeth whitening works by producing a significant color change in your teeth in short amount of time, usually within an hour. The procedure is done by applying a high-concentration peroxide gel on the teeth after they have been protected with a special shield. Check out our 99$ Whitening for Life offer!


Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits

Kits are purchased from your doctor for home use. The strength of the gel used in these kits is lower than that used for in-office bleaching, so that the gel can be applied for longer periods of time. Usually the trays are worn a few hours a day or overnight for a couple days or weeks, depending on the product.


Over the counter whitening

Over the counter teeth whitening kits offer the lowest concentration of gel compared to in-office and take-home kits, but can be purchased in most stores. While they are cheaper, they typically are less effective than methods that can be performed by Northwood Dental because of the lower concentration gel. The trays you receive in these kits are also NOT custom fit to your teeth, which can result in irritation to the gums while wearing them.

How long does teeth whitening last?

Teeth whitening usually lasts one to three years before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only "touch ups" are required to maintain the whiteness.

Other Common Questions
What can I do about bad breath?

Bad breath may be caused by a variety of factors, such as diet, gum disease, dry mouth and more. Making an appointment with Northwood Dental will help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so that you can take steps to eliminate it.


Good oral hygiene and regular checkups with Northwood Dental will help reduce bad breath, no matter the cause. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth which can emit odors. These habits can also help prevent or treat periodontal disease (gum disease), caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which also leads to bad breath.


Denture wearing patients should make sure to properly clean and soak their appliances overnight in an antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist). Lastly, brushing your tongue regularly could also help prevent bad breath issues. 

Pediatric Dentistry
What is a pediatric dentist?

A pediatric dentist provides top dental and oral health care for children in order to help them have a happy and healthy smile. They have the special ability to handle and properly take care of a child's teeth, gums and mouth through their varies stages of childhood, thanks to their extra years of education and experience in dental school.


With the help of your pediatric dentist, parents are free to ask about the best ways to take care of your child's teeth when you're at home. Without proper dental care for your children at their young age, they can suffer from serious infections, diseases, and injuries for a long time.


Your Eagan MN dentist knows how to properly examine children's teeth so they're comfortable during their appointment, as well as excited at the prospect of having a long-lasting smile!

How important are baby teeth?

A child's primary teeth are important for several reasons. Not only do they help a child learn how to speak properly and chew their food naturally, but they pave the way for the permanent teeth that will show up in the following years.


An epidemic that seems to be occurring in young children is tooth decay, where children are having to get dental crowns and even tooth extractions on their baby teeth from excess damage. This is due to the children eating a lot of sweets, drinking a lot of sodas and juices, and ignoring their everyday dental routine.


When a child's gums are in severe danger, it sets a precedent for the permanent teeth that are coming. It will be uncomfortable and painful when their second set of teeth start to come in.


Call our office at (651) 687-0789 if you have any questions about at-home dental care for your children.

Appointment request
Need an appointment with a dentist in Eagan ? Requesting an appointment at our Eagan, MN family and cosmetic dental office is now easier than ever. Fill out the form below and we'll contact you to find a time that fits your schedule. Start your journey towards a beautiful smile with us today!
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