Finding the perfect dentist can take time. Every dentist has their own unique approach to dental care, patient care, and the technology used in their dental office. Finding a good dentist is great, but finding the best dentist means that your dental visits will be far more enjoyable. Here are seven signs that show you have the best dentist:

Male dentist talking to female patient

They Listen

As a patient, there is nothing more frustrating that voicing concerns to someone who doesn’t appear to be listening. The best dentist will actively listen to patient’s concerns and ensure they are completely comfortable before proceeding with treatment.

They are Respectful

Great dentists are respectful of their patient’s time and needs. They will help their patient determine the best type of treatment and try to offer alternatives if possible. Additionally, they will respect the patient by being on time and having short wait times, as well as working with them on financial constraints.

mccartney dental office florida

Has a Clean Office

An important part of being the best dentist is having a clean, neat dental office. Treatment supplies should be properly stored to prevent contamination and there should be no trash or debris littered about. A clean office is not only aesthetically pleasing, but is essential to prevent infection and the spread of sickness. The best dentist will of course have the best dental office that is both clean and comforting.

Is Personable

Dentists that take the time to get to know their patients can ultimately provide better care because they know how to better address their dental and personal needs. As a patient, it is also comforting to feel that your dentist genuinely cares about your well-being.

Dentist explaining tooth model to patient

Takes Time to Educate You

A great dentist should take the time to educate you on things like your oral health, good dental habits, and treatment options. They should do their best to explain things to you so that you can properly maintain your oral health or make an educated decision regarding treatment.

Contacts You Between Appointments

Great dentists will want to maintain long-term contact with their patients. This means they will follow up when it’s time for dental exams and help you schedule appointments that work with your schedule. They will also check in on you after certain dental treatments to make sure you are recovering with no problems.

Not a Salesperson

Finally, the best dentist will truly be a dentist and not a salesperson. A good dentist will not try to sell you things you don’t need, like certain produces and treatments. Instead, they will be devoted to finding you the best treatment that works for you.

Overall, finding the best dentist can take time. However if you have a dentist that does these things, you are one of the lucky few who has found their perfect dentist.

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Dr. Jonathan McCartney received his doctorate from Case Western Dental School. After a few years of practicing in another dental office, Dr. McCartney’s goal was to create an environment for his patients that combines the most advanced dental technology with gentle, affordable, individualized care. The end result of this goal is McCartney Dental, a state of the art North Port modern dental facility.

Your general dentist is dedicated to preserving your oral health by preventing dental issues. Regular visits to your dentist’s office decreases your risk of developing problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. However, what happens between dental appointments?

The American Dental Association recommends visiting your general dentist at least once every six months. While a good dentist will help improve your oral health with dental checkups and professional teeth cleanings, only you can manage your oral health in between these dental appointments.

No need to fret! Managing your oral health is actually relatively easy once you have a routine in place. Between your dental appointments, here are five ways that you can prevent cavities:

Daily Brushing and Flossing

Of course your daily dental routine is one very important way to prevent cavities. Your daily dental routine should consist of brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time and flossing once a day. Brushing and flossing remove the plaque from your teeth and decrease the amount of cavity-causing bacteria. In order to completely clean the surface of your teeth, you will need to brush AND floss. People who skip flossing are leaving about 40% of their tooth’s surface unclean. Bacteria tend to accumulate in places that are not regularly disturbed, so practicing regular flossing can decrease your risk of cavities.

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Use the Right Dental Supplies

Just as your daily dental routine is important, so are the dental supplies that you use. You should make sure that your toothpaste and toothbrush are both approved by the American Dental Association by looking for the ADA seal of approval. Your toothpaste should also contain fluoride and your toothbrush should have soft, firm bristles. Toothbrushes that are too hard can cause premature enamel wear and gum recession. It is also important to remember to replace your toothbrush about every 3-4 months or after you’ve been sick.

Watch Your Diet

The bacteria that cause cavities love to feed on sugars in the foods and beverages you consume. This means that the more sugar you eat, the more likely you are to develop cavities. An easy way to prevent cavities is to simply decrease your sugar intake and eat foods that will promote your oral health rather than being detrimental.

Man inserting a red mouth guard into his mouth

Wear Prescribed Dental Appliances

If your dentist has recommended or prescribed dental appliances, make sure you actually wear them. One common dental appliance is a mouth guard used to protect teeth from the effects of teeth grinding and clenching. Not wearing your mouth guard can cause your enamel to wear out faster and increase your risk of developing cavities. Another common appliance is a retainer used after orthodontic treatment. Retainers hold your new smile in place and prevent the teeth from shifting back to their previous position. Because straight teeth are easier to keep clean, and cleaner teeth are healthier, it is essential to wear the retainer and maintain your results.

Avoid Dental Emergencies

Teeth that are damaged are more susceptible to developing cavities. Although some dental emergencies cannot be avoided, many types of situations requiring emergency dental care can be prevented. The best ways to prevent dental emergencies include wearing the proper protective equipment and avoiding damaging behaviors. For example, if you play close contact sports, a protective sports mouth guard should be worn to prevent your teeth from being damaged. Dental emergencies can also be prevented by avoiding nail biting, chewing or biting hard foods, and using your teeth to open packages.

In following these five guidelines, you can help manage your oral health in between dental visits. Practicing a daily dental routine with the correct dental supplies, watching your diet, wearing prescribed dental appliances, and taking precautionary measures to prevent the need for emergency dental care are all important steps to preventing dental cavities.

Dr. Jonathan McCartney

Dr. Jonathan McCartney received his doctorate from Case Western Dental School. After a few years of practicing in another dental office, Dr. McCartney’s goal was to create an environment for his patients that combines the most advanced dental technology with gentle, affordable, individualized care. The end result of this goal is McCartney Dental, a state of the art North Port modern dental facility.

General dentists are dedicated to preserving your oral health through preventative dental treatments and patient education. A large part of maintaining your oral health is understanding the types of things that can potentially threaten your oral health.

One of the most common enemies to your oral health is tooth decay. Tooth decay is also known as cavities, or dental caries. Cavities are areas of your teeth that have started to dissolve your enamel. As they progress, cavities will erode through the dentin layer to eventually reach the dental pulp. At this point, you will likely experience tooth pain and require a root canal to save your tooth. For more information on tooth decay, check out our dental videos page.

The best treatment for cavities is simply to prevent them. However, this can be complicated if you do not fully understand what causes them. While most people will likely experience a cavity at some point in their lifetime, learning about the causes of cavities can help you minimize the amount and severity of cavities you endure. Here are five things that have been known to cause cavities:

Bacteria

Our mouths naturally contain bacteria known as streptococcus mutans. These bacteria feed on the same foods and beverages we do and produce harmful waste products. Problems with cavities can occur when there is too much bacteria present. The waste products made by bacteria are extremely acidic. When large amounts of bacteria accumulate in an area, your tooth is regularly exposed to several acid attacks. Over time, this acid will begin to wear down the enamel leading to a cavity.

Giant tooth being attacked by sugar cube, cake, and soda

Sugar

Bacteria’s favorite food is sugar. In fact, they use sugar as their primary food source. It only takes about 15 minutes after you eat for the bacteria to consume and digest the sugars from your meal. This is why it is so important to limit your sugar intake and to immediately brush your teeth after consuming foods and beverages with excess sugar. By limiting their food source, you limit the amount of bacteria.

Plaque

Plaque is a colorless film that sits on the surface of your teeth. If plaque is not removed with brushing and flossing, then it will harden and turn into tartar, also known as calculus. Tartar can only be removed using special dental tools. Bacteria love to live within the dental plaque that accumulates on your tooth’s surface. To minimize the amount of plaque, it is important to brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste for at least two minutes. You also want to floss once a day to remove the bacteria from in between your teeth. Eliminating excess plaque makes it harder for bacteria populations to thrive.

Close up of a woman grinding her teeth

Teeth Grinding

People who grind or clench their teeth are at higher risk for developing cavities because this activity causes the enamel to wear down at a faster rate. Worn enamel is less resistant to the acids from the bacteria and breaks down faster. Depending on how bad the wear is, the dentin layer can even become exposed. To prevent this, your dentist will likely recommend a dental mouth guard.

Certain Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions, as well as the medications used to manage them, can be detrimental to your oral health. For example, acid reflux can cause your teeth to be exposed to even more acid, which weakens your enamel. Dry mouth can also cause problems because your saliva naturally helps control bacteria populations.

Now that you understand the five things that can cause cavities, you are better equipped to preventing them. Daily oral hygiene and regular visits to your dental office are a large part of this.

Dr. Jonathan McCartney

Dr. Jonathan McCartney received his doctorate from Case Western Dental School. After a few years of practicing in another dental office, Dr. McCartney’s goal was to create an environment for his patients that combines the most advanced dental technology with gentle, affordable, individualized care. The end result of this goal is McCartney Dental, a state of the art North Port modern dental facility.

Just as a general practitioner is a medical doctor that provides preventative services, health education, and the treatment of illnesses, a general dentist does the same for your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, out of all the currently practicing dentists, 80% are general dentists, while the other 20% work as dental specialists that focus on a particular dental speciality. 

General dentists offer their patients expertise in a variety of areas as a result of their training. First, general dentists must complete an undergraduate degree before being accepted to an accredited dental school. In the United States, only about 56 dental schools are accredited. During their time in dental school, general dentists will take classes on anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, oral anatomy, oral pathology, and oral histology. They will then also complete about two years of clinical practice where they learn how to work with a variety of patients. 

After dental school, they will be awarded with either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) degree. Although the titles are different, both degrees require the same training and are considered to be equal. Once a general dentist has obtained their degree, they will still need to pass a national board examination, as well as a state or regional board examination to practice dentistry in their area. 

This extensive training allows general dentists to provide their patients with a variety of dental services including preventative services, restorative services, cosmetic dental services, and overall health counseling services. Let’s take a closer look at each type of service: 

Preventative Dentistry: 

Preventative dentistry is centered around services that work to maintain existing oral health and prevent future dental issues from occurring. Preventative services at McCartney Dental include dental consultations, teeth cleanings, dental sealants, fluoride treatments, and patient education. The majority of general dentistry is based on the prevention of dental issues and it is recommended by the American Dental Association that you visit your general dentist at least once every six months. 

Closeup of a man having his teeth cleaned

Restorative Dentistry: 

Restorative dentistry refers to any dental procedure that treats a dental issue to restore the tooth to its previous, healthy state. In some cases, restorative dental services may also be emergency dental services, especially if symptoms come on suddenly or are caused by a traumatic injury. Restorative services at McCartney Dental include dental crowns & bridges, dental implants, dentures, dental fillings, and root canals. 

Dental bridges against a white background

Cosmetic Dentistry: 

Cosmetic dentistry is similar to restorative dentistry with an added emphasis on visual aesthetics. While restorative dentistry focuses on restoring function, cosmetic dentistry works to restore or improve the visual look of your smile. Cosmetic dental services at McCartney Dental include crowns & bridges, composite fillings, dental implants, teeth whitening, and veneers. 

Overall Health Counseling: 

Did you know that your oral health is a window to your overall health? By evaluating your oral health, Dr. McCartney can get a good idea about your overall health and may discuss certain connections between the two. For example, gum disease and diabetes are closely related, as are tooth decay and premature birth weight. Depending on your individual medical history, Dr. McCartney will work with you to design the best treatment plan for both your oral and overall health. 

When you come into McCartney Dental for your semi-annual dental checkup, you can expect to undergo a three-part dental appointment. This appointment will start with dental x-rays, progress with a dental consultation, and end with a professional teeth cleaning. 

Dental X-rays: 

When you come to our office, we will begin your appointment by taking dental x-rays. This process should only take about ten minutes and will be painless. During your dental x-rays, our hygienist may ask you to hold certain positions, bite down on certain plastic pieces, or angle your face a certain way. While some of these positions may seem awkward or slightly uncomfortable, they help us to get the best angles of your underlying bone structure. 

Woman having a dental xray

Dental x-rays are an important diagnostic tool because they allow Dr. McCartney to evaluate the underlying bone structure. This allows for the possible diagnosis of cavities, impacted wisdom teeth, or the need for orthodontics. During your dental consultation, these dental x-rays will be discussed if there is anything to be concerned about. 

Dental Consultation: 

The second part of your general dental appointment is the dental consultation. To start your dental consultation, Dr. McCartney will first ask you about any dental concerns, your medical history, and any medications you are taking. He will then perform an oral evaluation of your teeth, gums, and bite. During the exam, he may use a special probe to test your teeth for signs of cavities or sensitivity, and he may also measure the depth of your gum pockets to check for gum disease. 

After examining your mouth, he will discuss any findings with you and answer any questions you may have. Sometimes it is helpful to write down some questions before your appointment. Some possible questions may want to ask include: 

Professional Teeth Cleaning: 

The final part of your dental appointment is the professional teeth cleaning. To start your professional teeth cleaning, a special dental tool called a scaler will be used to gently scrape debris off the outer surface of your teeth. There are two types of accumulations that reside on your tooth enamel: plaque and tartar. Plaque is a sticky film composed of bacteria and food particles that can be removed during regular brushing and flossing. Tartar is plaque that has been left in place too long and has now hardened onto the tooth’s surface. Unlike plaque, tartar cannot be removed by brushing and flossing, and can only be removed with a scaler tool. 

Once the plaque, tartar, and bacteria have been scraped away, your teeth will be brushed with a gritty toothpaste to ensure that even the smaller particles have been loosened. Then your mouth will be rinsed to remove these smaller particles and any other remaining debris. Once your teeth are clean, a fluoride polish will be brushed onto their surface to help strengthen the enamel and repair any damage caused by bacterial buildup. This polish also makes it harder for future bacteria to adhere to the surface of your teeth. 

Once your professional teeth cleaning is complete, your general dental appointment is complete. On your way out of the office, we will schedule your next appointment about six months out. It is important to keep regular dental appointments to maintain your oral health and keep your smile glowing. For the best dentistry in North Point, FL, schedule a consultation with Dr. McCartney today! McCartney Dental serves residents in North Point, as well as those in Rotunda and Englewood. 

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