FAQ & Resources

Maintenance

What are cavities and how to they occur?


Cavities are a destruction of the tooth enamel. They occur when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as milk, soda, raisins, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in cavities. This process is also called "tooth decay."




Why does the Dentist recommend having two cleanings per year?


Lots of patients share concern about bad breath. As a social embarrassment, it's surely near the top of the list. Since mouthwashes won't eliminate the problem, let's look at some possible reasons for the condition.

Certain foods, such as onions, garlic, and spices will cause temporary bad breath. Some medical and systemic problems, such as sinusitis, can also contribute. But most causes are local in nature. Bacteria, plain and simple, are the culprit. Bacteria do their work in the mouth, lungs, sinuses, and stomach. In the oral cavity, bacteria cause gum disease.

This infection is so prevalent today, it's the first dental problem we suspect when it comes to halitosis. With a thorough hygiene program, including 2 cleanings a year, there is a chance to control gum problems and this particularly awkward side effect. Less-than-pristine dentures or bridgework are also a source of odor. Tooth decay can be another culprit along with "dry mouth" syndrome (a lot of older people are prone to reduced saliva flow).




What causes bad breath?


Bad breath can be caused by such things as certain foods, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, a dry mouth (xerostomia), tobacco products or a medical disorder. When bacteria accumulate because of poor oral hygiene or gum disease, or when saliva is lacking, bad breath can result. Saliva is necessary to wash away food particles and bacteria. Certain medications and disorders can lead to a dry mouth. Sometimes a sinus infection, postnasal drip or other respiratory tract infection can cause bad breath. If bad breath is persistent, contact us to determine whether the cause is of dental origin.




What can I do about bad breath?


Regular checkups will allow your dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease, a dry mouth or other disorders that may be the cause. Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating gum disease and scheduling regular professional cleanings are essential to reducing bad breath.

Regardless of what may be the cause, good oral hygiene is essential. Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners. Brush your tongue, too. If you wear dentures, be sure to remove them at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them the next morning.




Why did I get a dental abscess?


When the pulp of a tooth becomes infected (often from a deep cavity or a deep crack), the infection can spread throughout the pulp. If root canal treatment is not done, the infection may travel into the tissues near the root tip. This can cause the adjacent bone to erode. The pocket of pus that forms is the abscess. If the abscess increases in size, it can become more painful.




Should I be concerned about contracting AIDS when I go to the dentist?


A recent survey of dental patients showed that patient protection was #1 on their list of concerns about dental care. Some patients have even quit going to the dentist because of their fears.

Fortunately, trips to the dentist have never been safer. The case in Florida where the patient was apparently infected with the AIDS virus by her dentist is the only such case out of tens of millions of dental treatments performed since the introduction of the virus. The Center for Disease Control still does not know the method of infection.

However, even one case is too many. We have responded by adopting "universal (or standard) precautions". These involve sterilizing all instruments in dry-heat ovens or steam autoclaves to kill any bacteria. Disposable items are used whenever possible. The chance of contracting an infection in the dental chair is extremely remote, but the chance of losing one's teeth because of lack of proper dental care is extremely likely.





Cosmetic

How can I correct misaligned or stained teeth?


Several modern cosmetic dentistry procedures are now available which can enhance or change the appearance of the smile. Sometimes, simply bonding or whitening the teeth is all the patient needs. In more involved cases, full smile rehabilitation is possible with porcelain veneers. These can correct color and misalignment problems. Occasionally, a combination of orthodontics, straightening, whitening, bonding, and porcelain veneers will be required to produce the cosmetically superior result.




How can I whiten my teeth?


Teeth can be whitened by several methods. Chairside teeth whitening is done in the dental office and usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes. A shield protects the teeth from the oxidizing agent which is “painted” onto the teeth. A special light may be used at five-minute intervals to help activate the agent. Sometimes the teeth may become sensitive following whitening treatments.

With nightguard whitening, a mouthguard is custom-made. The whitening gel is dispensed to the patient by a dentist. The patient places the gel into the mouthguard which is worn up to two hours daily or at night for about two weeks. People with gum recession and certain dental conditions may not be good candidates for this type of whitening. These products are not recommended for habitual tobacco and alcohol users.




How long does whitening last?


You can help your teeth remain white by brushing twice a day, cleaning between the teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners, seeing your dentist for regular professional cleanings along with occasional touch-up treatments.

The surface of your teeth can be stained by tobacco and certain foods and beverages such as coffee, tea and berries and by deposits of calculus or tartar. If you have had your teeth whitened, avoid stain-causing foods for the first several days after the procedure.




Can whitening gels harm my teeth? Will I become more sensitive to hot or cold?


Studies have shown that whitening gels cause no harm to the teeth when used under direct dental supervision. Teeth may feel sensitive for up to 24 hours after the whitening procedure but this almost always dissipates to zero sensitivity after that.




I've heard about laser whitening. Is it safe?


This technique may be safe, but it has not yet been evaluated by the ADA




What criteria would make me a candidate for Cosmetic Dentistry?


Anyone who wants a whiter or straighter smile is a good candidate for cosmetic dentistry. If you have crooked, yellow teeth or are self-conscious of your smile it can be transformed.




How long will my porcelain vineers last?


Porcelain veneers are intended to be long lasting restorations. A reasonable life expectancy would be 10-20 years. They became popular in the 1980s and many patients from that time still have their veneers. In the past fifteen years not only has the technique improved but so has the adhesive bonding process and the porcelain used for veneers. Due to the advancement in this procedure, today's porcelain veneers should last even longer.




I want to whiten my teeth but can't spend a lot of money. Is there any way I can acheive this?


Yes. We recommend Crest White Strips as a safe and cost-effective alternative to in-office teeth whitening.





 
 

Resortative

I have missing teeth. What are my options to fill the empty space?


"Well, you know Doc, it's just a back tooth. No one will see it so I'll just get rid of it. It's not going to make a difference."

The plain truth is that it will make a difference. The loss of just a single tooth can set a course that can destroy an entire mouth. "Well, if that's true, tell me more. I sure don't want to lose the front ones that I smile with." Teeth will drift and tip into a space that is created by missing teeth. Just like two gears of a car that are not properly aligned, pretty soon you've got a whole lot of problems.

"Well, I don't like that. What can I do?" If it sounds like I've heard this conversation a few times, you're right. If I'm going to keep a patient happy, I need to provide options at this point.

One of the options would be an dental implant. This is the replacement of a tooth root with a titanium screw that is surgically placed. It is then followed by the careful construction of an implant crown to replace the missing tooth, to prevent teeth from shifting and thereby causing further tooth loss. If you have any questions about missing teeth and possible dentalimplant treatment, please call our office.





 

General

What are cavities and how to they occur?


Cavities are a destruction of the tooth enamel. They occur when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as milk, soda, raisins, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in cavities. This process is also called "tooth decay."




Why does the Dentist recommend having two cleanings per year?


Lots of patients share concern about bad breath. As a social embarrassment, it's surely near the top of the list. Since mouthwashes won't eliminate the problem, let's look at some possible reasons for the condition.

Certain foods, such as onions, garlic, and spices will cause temporary bad breath. Some medical and systemic problems, such as sinusitis, can also contribute. But most causes are local in nature. Bacteria, plain and simple, are the culprit. Bacteria do their work in the mouth, lungs, sinuses, and stomach. In the oral cavity, bacteria cause gum disease.

This infection is so prevalent today, it's the first dental problem we suspect when it comes to halitosis. With a thorough hygiene program, including 2 cleanings a year, there is a chance to control gum problems and this particularly awkward side effect. Less-than-pristine dentures or bridgework are also a source of odor. Tooth decay can be another culprit along with "dry mouth" syndrome (a lot of older people are prone to reduced saliva flow).




What causes bad breath?


Bad breath can be caused by such things as certain foods, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, a dry mouth (xerostomia), tobacco products or a medical disorder. When bacteria accumulate because of poor oral hygiene or gum disease, or when saliva is lacking, bad breath can result. Saliva is necessary to wash away food particles and bacteria. Certain medications and disorders can lead to a dry mouth. Sometimes a sinus infection, postnasal drip or other respiratory tract infection can cause bad breath. If bad breath is persistent, contact us to determine whether the cause is of dental origin.




What can I do about bad breath?


Regular checkups will allow your dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease, a dry mouth or other disorders that may be the cause. Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating gum disease and scheduling regular professional cleanings are essential to reducing bad breath.

Regardless of what may be the cause, good oral hygiene is essential. Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners. Brush your tongue, too. If you wear dentures, be sure to remove them at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them the next morning.




Why did I get a dental abscess?


When the pulp of a tooth becomes infected (often from a deep cavity or a deep crack), the infection can spread throughout the pulp. If root canal treatment is not done, the infection may travel into the tissues near the root tip. This can cause the adjacent bone to erode. The pocket of pus that forms is the abscess. If the abscess increases in size, it can become more painful.




Should I be concerned about contracting AIDS when I go to the dentist?


A recent survey of dental patients showed that patient protection was #1 on their list of concerns about dental care. Some patients have even quit going to the dentist because of their fears.

Fortunately, trips to the dentist have never been safer. The case in Florida where the patient was apparently infected with the AIDS virus by her dentist is the only such case out of tens of millions of dental treatments performed since the introduction of the virus. The Center for Disease Control still does not know the method of infection.

However, even one case is too many. We have responded by adopting "universal (or standard) precautions". These involve sterilizing all instruments in dry-heat ovens or steam autoclaves to kill any bacteria. Disposable items are used whenever possible. The chance of contracting an infection in the dental chair is extremely remote, but the chance of losing one's teeth because of lack of proper dental care is extremely likely.