FAQ

This collection of frequently asked questions (FAQ) provides brief answers to many common dental care and dental procedures questions.

Cosmetic Care


I Have A “Gummy” Smile… Can Anything Be Done?

With the advent of laser dentistry, this can be done very easily and painlessly in most cases. Tissue sculpting (gingivectomy) is done in adjunct to any required cosmetic work to achieve beautiful, healthy smile.

If I Require Fillings, What Type Should I Get?

In the past, Silver or amalgam fillings were extensively used. They are not tooth colored, stain teeth over time and healthier tooth structure may have to be removed to retain them since they do not bond to your teeth. Also, since they are a alloy of silver with mercury, there is a risk of mercury poisoning. Now, depending on the extent of decay and amount of tooth structure that is lost, your dentist may advice composite (tooth colored fillings) or porcelain inlays or onlays. Since tooth colored fillings bond to your teeth, there is no need for removal of healthy tooth structure.

I Have A Space Between My Two Front Teeth. How Can It Be Closed?

There are several ways to correct it. Your Dentist may advice Dental Bondings, Veneers or Orthodontics. Again, seek the advice of your dental health professional to choose the procedure that’s best for you.

What’s The Difference Between Dental Bonding And Porcelain Veneers?

Dental bonding is a plastic tooth colored (composite) resin material that is molded onto your teeth and hardened with a blue light. It is usually done in one visit. Little tooth reduction and usually no anesthesia is required.

The disadvantages of dental bonding are:
they stain over time, may chip and may need to be replaced more often. Porcelain veneers are thin layers of stacked porcelain that are fabricated in the lab and bonded to teeth. It usually takes 2 visits. Little tooth reduction and some anesthesia are required. Porcelain veneers are stronger than dental bondings and less prone to staining.

Will My Teeth Be Sensitive Following Bleaching?

Teeth may be sensitive during the week following the in –office bleaching. This can be dramatically reduced by using Sensodyne toothpaste to brush your teeth the week prior to and the week following the bleaching process. Also, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatment following the bleaching process.

I Have One Dark Tooth In The Front. Will Regular At-Home Bleaching Makes It Lighter?

First of all, the cause of the dark tooth must be determined. It could be due to an earlier trauma to the tooth or previous root canal treatment. In such a case external teeth whitening treatments may not help. Your dentist may try internal bleaching which may take several sessions. If not, consider dental bonding, porcelain veneers, or capping the tooth to mask the darkness.

My Old Fillings In The Front Have Turned Dark, Can They Be Bleached?

Unfortunately, dental bondings, composite resin fillings (tooth colored fillings) and old crowns cannot be bleached. Fillings that have discolored indicate that they are either leaking or have secondary decay, so it is best to replace them. A better choice may be to replace them with porcelain laminate/veneers for longer lasting results. Remember; only replace these fillings after bleaching in order to match the new improved color of your teeth. “How long does bleaching or laser teeth whitening really last?” It depends on many factors including your diet, the original color of your teeth, and your personal habits like smoking, drinking red wine, etc. Also darker teeth will need more than one whitening session to achieve the desired result. What’s most important is what you do for maintenance. Professional office visits are not enough. You must incorporate an effective maintenance regimen at home such as using whitening toothpaste which is specifically designed to non-abrasively remove surface stains like coffee, tea, tobacco and red wine, as well as remove plaque and bacteria. Also use the touch up kit given by your dentist to keep bleached teeth at their whitest.

Restorative Care


What Are Dental Implants?

Dental Implants are made of titanium and placed directly into your jawbone surgically. Once they integrate with your bone, a crown, bridge or denture is placed over the implants.

Why Should I Spend A Lot Of Money On A Root Canal? Why Not Just Pull The Tooth?

Losing a tooth can be the beginning of many more lost teeth. Saving the Tooth maintains space, keeps other teeth from shifting, and eliminates the need and cost of a bridge or implant. Although seemingly expensive, it is actually quite cost effective.

Who Is At Risk For Tooth Decay?

The answer is… everyone who has a mouth. We all host bacteria in our mouths which make everyone a potential target for cavities. Risk factors that put a person at a higher risk for tooth decay include: Persons with diets high in sweets, carbohydrates, and sugars
Persons who live in communities with limited or no fluoridated water supplies
Children and senior citizens

What Is Tooth Decay (Caries Or Cavities)?

Tooth decay is the disease known as caries or cavities — a highly Preventable disease caused by many factors.

Periodontal (Gum) Care


Prevention

Proper oral hygiene eliminates many cases of bad breath. Daily brushing and flossing removes the plaque and bacteria that often cause bad breath. While brushing, take special care to thoroughly brush the back of the tongue where bacteria normally collect. Mints and mouthwashes can hide bad breath, but do not eliminate this condition. Avoid foods that have powerful odors and drink lots of water to insure that the mouth is cleansed and full of oxygen (an environment in which bacteria do not thrive). For information on current treatments, contact a dentist in your area regarding current products on the market that can eliminate bad breath

More Serious Causes

More persistent problems with unpleasant breath can indicate diseases such as diabetes, liver dysfunction, pulmonary disease, and respiratory disease. Periodontal pockets, the spaces that form between the teeth and gums, are another source of bad breath. These pockets, which occur in the latter stage of periodontal disease, create spaces for bacteria to grow, and give off a chronic unpleasant odor. Dental work may be required in order to remove these pockets of bacteria. Periodontal disease is detected by the presence of bleeding gums, loose teeth, receding gums, or pain when chewing.

Causes Of Bad Breath?

Bad breath is caused by many factors. Normally, saliva helps wash away the natural buildup of bacteria in the mouth and on the tongue. Yet, when saliva sits on the back of the tongue and is digested by bacteria, it shows up as a white film on the tongue. This is a major source of bad breath. Bad breath is also caused by postnasal drip, a condition where the back of the tongue and throat accumulate high amounts of protein, which bacteria thrive on. Foods that are high in protein or acidity, such as fish, milk, cheese or coffee, also cause bad breath. Dieting or fasting, both of which involve a low intake of calories, causes bad breath by reducing the saliva in the mouth. Contrary to popular belief, stomach problems do not cause bad breath.

How Bad Breath Occurs?

Bad breath occurs when sulfur compounds are produced in the body and released into the air. The most common source of this sulfur is anaerobic (without oxygen) bacteria that live in the grooves or fibers at the back of the tongue. These bacteria produce the sulfur that gives off an unpleasant smell. This frequently occurs when the mouth is dry, creating an ideal environment for anaerobic bacteria to thrive. Sulfur compounds are also produced when certain types of food are consumed. The compounds make their way into the bloodstream and then to the lungs, where they are excreted into the air we exhale.

How Many Times Should I Floss My Teeth?

At least once a day. There’s an old adage among dentists: “Floss only the teeth you want to keep.” If you don’t want to lose your teeth, floss every day. Otherwise, you’ll be 75% more susceptible to periodontal disease that has been documented to have serious health consequences, e.g. a higher likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia and infections. About 45% of American adults have some form of gingivitis, and most adults over 60 have already lost their teeth. Don’t be one of them. Floss at least once a day.

How Often Should I Have My Teeth Cleaned?

People accumulate plaque at different rates. Although most insurance plan coverage is for a twice a year schedule, it’s sensible to get your teeth professionally cleaned as often as your dental health professional advises you, even if it’s every 3 months.

My Gums Bleed When I Brush Or Floss. Is This Normal?

Healthy tissue doesn’t bleed. This is most likely a sign of early gingivitis. If you experience bleeding gums, see your dental health professional to review proper brushing and flossing techniques. Schedule a soft tissue evaluation with your dentist that will include x-rays and prophylaxis cleaning. Gum bleeding must be taken seriously because if left untreated, it will lead to periodontal disease.

What Is ‘Plaque’ And How Does It Affect My Teeth?

Plaque is a colorless, sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. If left undisturbed, it hardens to form tartar. The bacteria in the plaque produce byproducts that can not only irritate the gums and make them bleed, but it can also lead to periodontal disease. A daily regimen of proper brushing, flossing and rinsing (plus, regular dental visits), will help you keep your teeth healthy.