Dr. Erin Walsh Flood answers your most frequently asked questions.

1. Do you treat adults and children?

Absolutely! I welcome adults and children into my practice, and will work to create a unique oral healthcare plan for each member of your family.

2. What will happen at my first appointment?

At your first appointment in our offices, we will do a complete oral examination of hard and soft tissue. This includes an oral cancer exam. We are looking for any signs of decay, disease, or other problems.

3. How old should my child be for their first dental visit?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry recommend that your child be one year of age at his or her first dental visit.

Why so young? Because dental problems often start at a young age. When your child is one year, I can check for signs of baby bottle tooth decay, teething irritation, and prolonged thumb-sucking, and suggest preventative care.

4. What causes tooth decay?

While there are many circumstances that can cause tooth decay - an extraordinary medical condition or fractured tooth, for instance - the primary cause of tooth decay is bacteria found in the mouth.

These bacteria thrive on foods containing carbohydrates - sugary sodas, desserts, and fruits. These same bacteria release waste products (acids) that breakdown the minerals in our teeth; if enough of the minerals are lost, tooth decay will form.

5. Which toothbrush should I use - manual or electric?

If you have the discipline to brush with your manual toothbrush for a minimum of two minutes, twice a day, a manual toothbrush is an adequate tool for removing plaque; however, most people do not have the discipline.

That being said, the electric toothbrushes available today do remove plaque better.

6. What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root replacement used in prosthetic and cosmetic dentistry. Stronger and more durable than bridges or dentures, dental implants offer a permanent solution to tooth loss. Implants can also be used in concert with crowns, bridges, or dentures to increase stability or reduce irritation.

7. What do you recommend I use to whiten my teeth?

While there are many over-the-counter products available, research shows that the best and longest lasting results are obtained when you use a professional, at-home whitening system. We fabricate bleaching trays custom-made for your mouth, and provide you with the bleach. Normally, you will wear these overnight for 1-2 weeks. With this system, you are able to give yourself a "boost" when you feel like you need one (i.e., a special event, such as a reunion or wedding).

Have a question that isn't listed? Ask Dr. Flood