DENTAL FAQ QUESTIONS

PREVENTATIVE

Flossing reduces plaque buildup between teeth that a toothbrush often cannot reach. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that covers the teeth. These bacteria thrive on food particles that get stuck between your teeth and are hard to reach with a toothbrush. Using an interdental cleaner such as floss can help remove those hard to reach areas. For optimal cleaning, you should floss at least once a day.
Composite resins are tooth-colored fillings. They are most effective with small and midsize fillings. Composite resins are becoming the preferred choice by dental patients, mainly for cosmetic reasons. Amalgam fillings are a metal mixture composed of a powdered alloy containing silver, tin, copper, and liquid mercury. The fact that amalgams contain liquid mercury have raised concerns with some critics over possible side effects from mercury exposure, however, studies have continued to show that amalgam fillings are safe. Amalgam fillings are also more affordable and durable than resin composites; these factors may play an important role in choosing the filling that best fit your needs.
It’s important to brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes, spending one minute on the top teeth and one minute on the bottom teeth. Follow these tips to achieve maximum results:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that properly fits your mouth and easily reaches all areas, and always use fluoride toothpaste.
  • When brushing, your toothbrush should be placed at a 45° angle to your gums. Use short, tooth-wide strokes and gently brush back and forth over the tooth.
  • Be sure to brush all areas of the tooth, including the outer and inner surfaces of the teeth, as well as the chewing surfaces. The best method to achieve cleaning the inside surfaces is to tilt your brush vertically, using up-down strokes.
  • Remember to brush your tongue. Doing so not only removes bacteria, but also helps keep breath fresh.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 or 4 months, or as soon as the bristles become frayed or matted. Using a worn toothbrush is not just less effective, it can also damage your gums.
You can care for your teeth by brushing them twice daily for two minutes each time, and by flossing between your teeth once a day. Cutting back on sugary foods and drinks, as well as quitting or avoiding tobacco use and cutting alcohol down intake, can also aid in keeping your teeth and gums healthy between check-ups.
Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 or 4 months, or sooner if the bristles begin to wear down or fray to avoid ineffective brushing and damage to the gums.
Cavities are caused when tooth decay occurs after plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth. The acid in plaque then begins to attack the tooth’s enamel and erode the minerals in the enamel, causing tiny openings in the tooth. These openings then allow for more acid and bacteria from plaque to attack the next layer of the tooth known as dentin. If left untreated, the cavity will continue to attack each layer of the tooth and eventually the gums, causing infection. Sometimes certain cavities cause little to no symptoms such as a toothache, which is why visiting the dentist two times a year is vital to your mouth’s health.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when the tissues surrounding the teeth become infected. The mildest form of gum disease, known as gingivitis, occurs when bacteria from plaque causes inflammation in the gums. When left untreated, gingivitis advances into periodontitis, a much more serious form of gum disease that can lead to tooth loss.
It is imperative to your oral health that you visit a dentist at least twice a year, even if you don’t notice or experience any problems. Many oral health risks begin without any outward or noticeable signs or symptoms and can only be detected by a dentist, who is specially trained to detect less visible signs of problems in the oral cavity.

COSMETIC

Teeth whitening can cause some to feel sensitivity after a treatment. This occurs when peroxide, an ingredient used in whitener, seeps through the enamel to the softer layer of the tooth known as dentin, causing irritation to the nerve of the tooth. Sensitivity is usually temporary, and most users typically try a whitening treatment again after a delayed period. Overuse of whitener, however, can cause damage your gums and the enamel of your teeth, therefore it is important to follow instructions and always consult your dentist before use of a whitening treatment.
Crest White Strips do work, but only when used correctly. However, no over-the-counter product will produce the desired results that a professional whitening will give, and there are less chances of experiencing side effects and being dissatisfied with results when a whitening is performed under supervision of a dentist.
Over time teeth become discolored due to a number of factors including aging and consuming certain foods and beverages. Discoloration usually appears yellow, brown, or gray. In some cases, people may be candidates to undergo a teeth whitening, or “bleaching” treatment. While there are some ADA-approved over-the-counter teeth whitening products, the most effective and safest option is to have a professional whitening performed by your dentist. You should always consult your dentist before beginning any type of whitening treatment. They can determine if you are a candidate for whitening treatment and perform the treatment in the office.
Porcelain veneers are thin layers of porcelain molded to fit over the surface of a tooth. They are used to improve the appearance of your teeth by covering imperfections such as a chip, spacing, or discoloration.
Esthetic, or cosmetic dentistry, focuses on restoring or improving the appearance of your smile using techniques such as dental implants, orthodontics, and even periodontal plastic surgery. For instance, orthodontic treatment such as braces can be used to close in gaps between teeth or improve overbites or underbites. Teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, and dental bridges are other common methods of esthetic dentistry. Some procedures, such as teeth whitening treatment, are used simply for cosmetic purposes while other treatments like tooth-colored fillings are used to treat a dental issue such as tooth decay as well as improve the appearance of the smile.

RESTORATIVE

There is no difference. A “cap” is a term often used to refer to a crown, because of the way the crown “caps” a damaged tooth to restore its former size and shape.
A dental implant is an artificial root inserted into the jaw that is used to hold an artificial tooth or bridge after tooth loss.
There are a few different options for a single tooth or multiple teeth replacement. Most dentists recommend three options–dental implants, removable partial dentures, or fixed bridges. Removable dentures are the most affordable of the three options, however, implants and fixed bridges feel and function most similarly to real teeth. Implants may last for decades if cared for properly.
If you act quickly, there is chance the tooth can be saved. If you have a knocked out tooth, contact your dentist’s office immediately to schedule an emergency appointment, preferably within 30 minutes of the incident that caused the tooth loss. The tooth should also be found immediately, and if possible, try to place the tooth back into its position to preserve it until you reach your dentist’s office. Be sure to rinse it gently with water if the tooth is dirty. If you cannot place the tooth back in the socket, hold the tooth in the mouth next to the cheek or place it in milk if an emergency tooth preservation kit is not available. Even if it’s been longer than thirty minutes since the tooth was knocked out, get to your dentist immediately. In some cases, the tooth can be saved even if it’s been out of place for longer than an hour.

ORTHODONTIC

In addition to improving the appearance of your smile, straight teeth promote better oral health. Crooked teeth can make proper oral hygiene difficult to maintain, and can lead to the development of cavities, gum disease, or even tooth loss.
Yes. Your dentist is still your primary oral health care provider and will check for changes in your mouth and gums such as mineral loss in your enamel, signs of gum disease, and tooth decay.
Your teeth will not straighten on their own, even as you grow. However, there are several options available to help straighten your teeth, including braces and aligners.
No, orthodontic treatment can be given at any age. The overall health of your teeth and gums are the most important factors in determining if you are eligible to receive orthodontic care.
While treatment plans vary from person to person, most people typically wear braces for one to three years.

PEDIATRIC

The recommended age to bring a child to the dentist for the first time is age 1, or 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth. This may seem early to some parents, but one of the main goals of oral health practitioners is to prevent problems before they happen. Through education of the care of your infant’s mouths, preventative measures may be taken to increase a child’s oral health as they grow. At the first visit, dentists will talk to parents about proper hygiene and dietary habits. It also a chance for parents to meet their child’s dentist in case of the event of a dental emergency, such as dental trauma from a fall.
Thumbsucking and pacifier habits are only harmful if the child’s habits last for an extended period of time. Children who suck their thumb or pacifier after the age of three may need the assistance of a mouth appliance to stop the habit. A pediatric dentist can help you determine if your child’s habits are becoming harmful to their oral health and select the right treatment plan.

Generally, a checkup every six months is recommended to stay on top of your child’s oral health. However, your child’s pediatric dentist may recommend a different time period depending on your child’s personal oral health.
A small, soft-bristled toothbrush is suitable for infants, although a toothbrush designed specifically for infants is your best choice.
Dental sealants are protective coatings placed on the chewing surface of teeth to protect teeth from tooth decay. They work by covering crevasses in the chewing surface to keep bits of food from getting stuck in the tooth.
No, fluoride protects teeth from cavities differently than sealants. Rather than serving as a replacement, sealants and fluoride will work together to protect teeth from cavities.

TOPICS

PEDIATRIC
ORTHODONTIC
RESTORATIVE
COSMETIC
PREVENTATIVE