Frequently Asked Questions
Flossing removes plaque from the areas of your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. If you don’t remove this plaque, it canharden into calculus or tartar which can cause infection or disease. Two common issues associated with not flossing includegingivitis (gum infection) and periodontitis (gum disease), both of which can lead to loss of a once-healthy tooth.
Many people go to a dentist only when they have a problem. We call this “problem treatment” as opposed to “preventivetreatment.” Problem treatment usually ends up with more treatments and costing much more. The reason for this is that mostdental problems do not have any symptoms until they start hurting and by which time the problem is in its advanced stages. Anexample is tooth decay. Tooth decay does not hurt until it gets close to the nerve of the tooth. By that time, root canaltreatment followed by a post, buildup, and crown are often necessary, instead your dentist can usually detect a cavity 3-4 yearsbefore it develops any symptoms and a filling which could have been placed several years earlier when the cavity was justbeginning to form. It is not uncommon to see a patient with a huge cavity and who has never felt a thing! This is why regularcheckups are important.Having a healthy set off teeth and gums allows you the opportunity to maintain a healthy diet and enjoy what you eat, therebyincreasing your chance for vitality and longevity.
Begin to take your children to the dentist at an early age. All children should be seen by their 1st birthday or 6 months after theeruption of the first tooth.Make it fun! If you are enthusiastic about brushing your teeth, your children will also be enthusiastic. Children want to do thethings their parents do. If your children see you brushing your teeth and displaying good dental habits, they will follow.
You can certainly minimize the number of cavities you get. Daily spend two to three minutes brushing your teeth. It takes thatlong to get rid of the bacteria which destroy tooth enamel. Do not brush too hard. It takes very little pressure to remove bacteriaand plaque. Floss at least once a day. It is the only way to get bacteria from between your teeth.Watch the sugar you eat. There is sugar in candy, fruits, crackers and chips. These are the foods that the bacteria in your mouthlike best. Be mindful of foods like raisins and peanut butter that stick to your teeth. They can provide a constant supply for thebacteria eating into your teeth. Try to minimize the times during the day when sweet items are eaten and clean your teethafterwards.
Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when your dentist examines your mouth. An X-rayexamination may reveal:
- small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings)
- infections in the bone
- periodontal (gum) disease
- abscesses or cysts
- developmental abnormalities
The American Dental Association points out sealants are an effective weapon in the arsenal against tooth decay. Sealants are athin coating painted on chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting the teeth againstdecay-causing bacteria.
When you are asleep, saliva production in your mouth decreases. Since saliva is the mouth’s natural mouthwash, most peopleexperience morning breath. Bacteria found on teeth, in the crevices and on the taste buds of the tongue, break down the foodparticles, which produce sulfur compounds. It is actually these sulfur compounds which give our breath a bad odor. Duringwaking hours, saliva helps to wash away bacteria and food particles. Saliva also helps to dissolve the foul smelling sulfurcompounds.
Sensitivity toothpaste, which contains strontium chloride or potassium nitrate are very effective in treating sensitive teeth. Aftertwo or three weeks of use you may notice a decrease in sensitivity. Highly acidic foods such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons,as well as tea and soda can increase tooth sensitivity, and work against any sensitivity toothpaste. If you do not get relief bybrushing gently and using a desensitizing toothpaste, see your dentist. There are special compounds that can be applied in officeto the roots of your tooth to reduce—if not eliminate—the sensitivity.
Periodontal disease is inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting bone structure, which if left untreated, can causepermanent jaw bone destruction and possible tooth loss. Untreated periodontal disease has been linked to increased risk forconditions such as heart disease, stroke, low birth weight babies and pre-term delivery, respiratory disease, and prostate cancer.An advanced stage of periodontal disease exhibits inflamed gums pulling away from your bone and teeth. Other signs ofperiodontal disease include:
- Bad breath
- Red or swollen gums
- Loose teeth or teeth that have moved
- Sensitive teeth
- Pus coming from around the teeth
- Pain on chewing
- Tender gums
- Bleeding gums
If you whiten your teeth, the length of time you can expect it to last will vary. If you smoke, drink red wine or coffee, or consumeother acid-containing foods, your bright smile may begin to yellow more quickly than you expect. In general, a teeth whiteningprocedure can last up to a few years. And even though the results can fade, occasional touch-ups can be done to regain luster.
It is important to see your dentist as soon as possible if your gums begin to bleed. Usually, gums that bleed are a symptom of theonset of periodontal disease or gingivitis. But often, people stop brushing frequently and effectively because it may be painful orit may cause the gums to bleed again. Instead, when gums are inflamed, brushing often and effectively is imperative. Moreimportantly, you should see your dentist to have a periodontal screening and recording performed in order to determine thelevel of disease present and the best treatment course to pursue.It is also worth noting that chronic dental pain and discomfort are obvious signs of a problem. Over-the-counter drugs mayprovide some temporary relief. These medications usually only mask the existence of a problem and should be taken on atemporary basis.
A mouthguard can prevent injuries to your face and teeth. Most people benefit from wearing a mouthguard when playing anysport. You should wear one whether you are playing professionally or just on weekends. Do what you can to preserve your smileand your health. The best mouthguards are custom-fitted by your dentist. This is especially important if you wear braces or fixedbridgework.
Research today suggests a link between gum disease and diabetes. Research has established that people with diabetes are moreprone to gum disease. If blood glucose levels are poorly controlled you may be more likely to develop gum disease and couldpotentially lose teeth. Like all infections, gum disease can be a factor in causing blood sugar levels to rise and make diabetesharder to control. Be sure to see your Dentist regularly for check-ups and follow home care recommendations. If you noticeother conditions such as dry mouth or bleeding gums be sure to talk with your dentist, and don’t forget to mention any changesin medications.
About half of women who are pregnant experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. This condition can be uncomfortableand cause swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue. A more advanced oral health condition called periodontaldisease (a serious gum infection that destroys attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold teeth in the mouth) may affectthe health of your baby. Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and preterm, low birth-weight babies.In fact, pregnant women with periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that’s born too early and toosmall. The likely culprit is a labor-inducing chemical found in oral bacteria called prostaglandin. Very high levels of prostaglandinare found in women with severe cases of periodontal disease.
There are certain conditions that require pre-medication with an antibiotic prior to dental treatment to prevent adverse affectsand infection that can be caused by bacteria that enter the blood stream during certain treatment. You will want to consult withyour Dentist about this prior to treatment.
Visits to the Dentist include more than just “checking teeth”. While those patients who wear dentures no longer have to worryabout dental decay, they may have concerns with ill fitting appliances or mouth sores to name a few. Annual visits to the Dentist(or sooner if soreness is present) is recommended. During these visits an oral cancer screening and head and neck exam will beperformed as well as an evaluation of the fit or need for replacement of the existing appliances. Regular visits can help you toavoid more complicated problems down the road even with a denture.
Your smile is the first impression that others have of you, so smile with confidence! According to the American Academy ofCosmetic Dentistry, more than 99 percent of all American adults believe that a smile is an important asset for social situations.Perhaps that is why so many patients are electing cosmetic dental procedures to improve their smiles and boost self-confidence.Cosmetic Dentistry is not just teeth whitening! Our team of doctors and specialists are capable of transforming your smile’sshape, color, alignment, as well as filling in gaps and discreetly restoring decayed or damaged teeth with tooth-colored fillings.With modern advancements in cosmetic dentistry you achieve nearly perfect teeth with cosmetic enhancements andrestorations that are virtually undetectable.