Frequently Asked Questions
Dental care is important because:
- Prevents tooth decay
- Prevents gum (periodontal) disease, which can damage gum tissue and the bones that support teeth, and in the long
term can lead to the loss of teeth.
- Shortens time with the dentist and dental hygienist, and makes the trip more pleasant.
- Saves money. By preventing tooth decay and gum disease you can reduce the need for fillings and other costly
- Helps prevent bad breath. Brushing and flossing rid your mouth of the bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Helps keep teeth white by preventing staining from food, drinks, and tobacco.
- Improves overall health.
- Makes it possible for your teeth to last a lifetime.
Worried about bad breath? You’re not alone bad breath, or halitosis can get in the way of your social life. It can make you self-conscious and embarrassed. Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways to freshen your breath.
- Brush and floss more frequently:One of the prime causes of bad breath is plaque, the sticky build-up on teeth that harbors bacteria. Food left between teeth adds to the problem. All of us should brush at least twice a day and floss daily. If you’re worried about your breath, brush and floss a little more often. But don’t overdo it. Brushing too aggressively can erode enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
- Scrape your tongue:The coating that normally forms on the tongue can harbor foul-smelling bacteria. To eliminate them, gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush. Some people find that toothbrushes are too big to comfortably reach the back of the tongue. In that case, try a tongue scraper. “Tongue scrapers are an essential tool in a proper oral health care routine,” says Pamela L. Quinones, RDH, president of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. “They’re designed specifically to apply even pressure across the surface of the tongue area, removing bacteria, food debris, and dead cells that brushing alone can’t remove.”
- Avoid foods that sour your breath:Onions and garlic are the prime offenders. “Unfortunately, brushing after you eat onions or garlic doesn’t help,” says dentist Richard Price, DMD, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “The volatile substances they contain make their way into your blood stream and travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out.” The only way to avoid the problem is to avoid eating onions and garlic, especially before social or work occasions when you’re concerned about your breath.
- Kick the habit:Bad breath is just one of many reasons not to smoke. Smoking damages gum tissue and stains teeth. It also increases your risk of oral cancer. Over-the-counter nicotine patches can help tame the urge to smoke. If you need a little help, make an appointment to talk to your doctor about prescription medications or smoking cessation programs that can help you give up tobacco for good.
- Rinse your mouth out:In addition to freshening your breath, anti-bacterial mouthwashes add extra protection by reducing plaque causing bacteria. After eating, swishing your mouth with plain water also helps freshen your breath by eliminating food particles.
- Skip after-dinner mints and chew gum instead:Sugary candies promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth and add to bad breath problems. Instead, chew sugarless gum. “Gum stimulates saliva, which is the mouth’s natural defense mechanism against plaque acids which cause tooth decay and bad breath,” Quinones tells WebMD.
Generally speaking, a soft bristled toothbrush is best. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric, anything harder than soft, is too hard. Stiff bristles may give you that clean feeling, but they can also abrade your teeth and cause gum recession.
Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which works to fight cavities. Any toothpaste with fluoride will also clean and polish your tooth enamel. If your teeth are sensitive, opt for a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
As far as mouthwash goes, the product you choose should depend on your reason for using it. Most overthe-counter mouthwashes will do the trick if you’re just looking to temporarily freshen your breath. If you’re looking for extra cavity protection, choose a mouthwash that contains fluoride. If you have a dry mouth, avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol. Antimicrobial mouth rinses reduce the bacteria in your mouth, reduce plaque, and help fight off gingivitis (early gum disease). Ask your dentist whether an antimicrobial mouth rinse might be appropriate for you.
Floss is not very expensive, So tear off about a forearm’s length to start. Wrap one end around the middle finger of one hand to ‘anchor’ it, and pick up the other end about 4-6 inches away with the middle finger of the other hand. This allows you to manipulate the floss with your thumb and fore finger. As you soil a section of floss, ‘reel’ in another 4-6 inches of clean floss with the anchor finger as you release the floss with the other finger. Once you get the floss past the tooth contact, move the floss up and down, perpendicular to the tooth. Never shoe-shine the teeth in a back-and-forth motion! You will either notch your teeth or cut your gums, or both!
For people without any periodontal disease a check up and cleaning every six months is standard protocol. People who have active periodontal disease or who have been treated should have a check up and cleaning every three months.
Tooth decay happens when plaque or bacteria come in contact with the tooth and is allowed to sit. The bacteria, once fed with sugars, will begin eroding the enamel.
Causes for tooth decay include:
- Poor oral hygiene (brushing / flossing)
- Poor diet
Adults tend to get cavities around old fillings, which may be cracked, rough around the edges or loose in the tooth. Another common form of tooth decay in adults is root cavities. These are likely to occur in adults who have receding gums due to age or periodontal disease. As the gum line recedes the tooth root becomes exposed. Since root tissue is softer than enamel, it decays more easily.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is often related to stress and anxiety. Finding ways to reduce stress and to relax can help alleviate teeth grinding and create other long-lasting health benefits. Some techniques to help stop teeth grinding include biofeedback, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, exercise, and professional mental health counseling or psychotherapy. Cutting down on stimulants such as tobacco and caffeine may also help.
If your teeth grinding is caused by dental problems, your dentist can help you with appropriate treatment, including veneers. Your dentist can also make a custom-fitted mouth guard for you to wear at night to prevent you from grinding or clenching your teeth while you’re asleep.
Some steps you can take to prevent tooth sensitivity include:
- Maintain good oral hygiene: Continue to follow proper brushing and flossing techniques to thoroughly clean all parts of your teeth and mouth.
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush: This will result in less toothbrush abrasion to the tooth surface and less irritation to your gums. Brush gently and carefully around the gum line so you do not remove more gum tissue.
- Use desensitizing toothpaste: There are several brands of toothpaste available for sensitive teeth. With regular use you should notice a decrease in sensitivity. You may need to try several different brands to find the product that works best for you. Another tip. spread a thin layer of the toothpaste on the exposed tooth roots with your finger or a Q-tip before you go to bed. Do not use a tartar control toothpaste; rather, use a fluoridated toothpaste.
- Watch what you eat: Frequent consumption of highly acid foods can gradually dissolve tooth enamel and lead to dentin exposure. They may also aggravate the sensitivity and start the pain reaction.
- Use fluoridated dental products: Daily use of a fluoridated mouth rinse can decrease sensitivity. Ask your dentist about available products for home use.
- Avoid teeth grinding: If you grind or clench your teeth, use a mouth guard at night.
- See your dentist at regular intervals: Get professional tooth cleaning, oral hygiene instructions, and fluoride treatments every six months (or sooner depending on your condition).
The purpose of root canal therapy is to clean out the inflamed or infected tooth pulp tissue within the roots. Root canal treatment is required when the nerve of the tooth becomes irreversibly damaged. This damage can occur from decay, trauma, or a crack in the tooth. The treatment involves 3 stages and can take several appointments depending on the complexity
Stage 1 – The canals of the tooth are located and the infected or damaged pulp and tissue is removed.
Stage 2 – The canals of the tooth are cleaned and shaped.
Stage 3 – The canals of the tooth are filled to prevent re-infection.
Between each stage, sedative dressings and temporary fillings will be used to help the tooth settle down and destroy any remaining Bacteria.
Yes, the tooth will require a permanent restoration. The tooth is more brittle after a root canal treatment and therefore is more susceptible to fracture. A crown or onlay is usually advisable to protect the tooth from breaking.
During the actual treatment, your tooth will be numb as it would be for a simple filling. Generally a mild painkiller is enough to keep you comfortable immediately after treatment if necessary.
If something stronger is needed, we will prescribe it. If the tooth is badly infected, an antibiotic may be needed.
Teeth-whitening solution does not remove tooth enamel. Instead, it bleaches the enamel from the outside. Teethwhitening solutions use various concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, and some people experience tooth sensitivity after using it.
Getting your teeth whitened at a dentist’s office will take less time than using an over-the-counter kit from a drugstore, because the dentist uses a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide along with a special light or laser to activate the treatment. If you have any concerns about how your teeth might react to getting whitened, ask your dentist.