Dr. Zainab Mackie shares helpful tips about why and when you should go to a dentist, as well as the latest developments in the profession.
Dr. Zainab Mackie
What motivated you to become a dentist?
My late uncle was always our family dentist. When I was in college I was still trying to decide what career path I wanted to take. I decided to job shadow my uncle. His passion for dentistry sparked my interest in the profession. I loved that a dentist is literally hands-on in helping patients achieve their oral health and even cosmetic goals. It’s a dynamic profession that’s challenging and fun at the same time.
What part of regular oral care do most patients have a problem following?
A lot of patients have trouble with flossing. Either they’re not doing it or if they are, they’re doing it incorrectly. The most important thing to know about flossing is that it’s a method of plaque removal. Once you know that, you’ll be able to see that popping the floss in and out in between your teeth isn’t completely effective. Instead, you have to hug the floss against your tooth and slide it away from your gums. This will remove plaque and significantly reduce the risk of getting a cavity.
How often should patients visit their dentist?
Patients should visit their dentist every 6 months.
What advice do you have for patients who struggle with following an oral health routine at home?
It depends on what the patient is struggling with. If they feel like they don’t have time, then brush while showering. If they don’t like the taste, find toothpaste with a fun flavor. If they feel like they’re constantly getting cavities, use a fluoride mouthwash to help strengthen the enamel. If they have trouble flossing the back teeth, try a floss pick or even water flosser. Simple swaps will help maintain healthy teeth and gums.
What common dental issues come from neglecting regular oral care?
Accumulating plaque on the teeth and gums can result in cavities on the teeth and also gum disease. This can also result in bad breath.
What are you most excited about when it comes to the future of dental care?
Dentistry is constantly changing and evolving. Chair-side computer-aided manufacturing helps us create crowns, bite guards, and occlusal appliances within the same day while the patient is still in the chair. This reduces the need for follow-up appointments, making dental procedures more convenient for patients. Also, 3-D imaging has helped with more accurate diagnosis so that patients get the most appropriate treatment possible. I’m excited to see where these developments take us!