Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Silver amalgam fillings, which are composed of 50% mercury and 50% silver alloy ,eventually need to be replaced. It may surprise you to know that the average life span of a silver filling is five to eight years. Your dentist can tell you when they appear to NEED to be replaced due to leakage, breakdown or recurrent decay.
If your concern is strictly COSMETIC, there are many new methods available to replace the fillings with beautiful, functional long lasting restorations.
Such things as white filling materials, porcelain inlays , crowns and veneers may be used to give you the smile you are seeking.
I would like to have my teeth whitened. There are so many products and ads for whiteners that it is hard to decide which is best. what do you recommend?
You are correct. There are many products and techniques available. Some work great and some don’t work at all. The various over the counter products give the least predictable results.
To get a really great result you should probably use one of the products sold through dental offices which utilize custom made trays for home app- lication of a bleaching gel.
I am missing several teeth. A friend told me that she recently had implants to replace her missing teeth and is very happy.What are implants?
Dental implants are a wonderful way to replace missing teeth when certain conditions exist. Such things as your overall general health and the length of time you have been missing your teeth must be considered. The replacement of missing teeth using dental implants frequently requires a team approach.
After your dentist does a thorough examination and treatment plan the surgical phase of treatment takes place. In most cases a periodontist or an oral surgeon will put the implant(s), the artificial root(s) into the jaw. When healing is complete, usually after 4-6 months, The tooth or bridge segment can be placed on top of the healed implants by a general dentist or a prosthodontist . Some dentists are trained to place the surgical part of the implant as well as the prosthetic or tooth part.
You should ask your dentist if you are a good candidate for implants and ask for a referral if he or she doesn’t do them.
There are so many different toothbrushes on the market today. How do I know which one is the right one for me?
This is a good question, which we hear daily. The brand of the toothbrush is not nearly as critical as the type of bristle, the size and shape of the head and how frequently you replace your brush.
We recommend a soft bristled brush with a small head. The soft bristles are most important for the health of your gums. A small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums.Daily frequency of brushing and replacement with a new brush are much more important issues than the brand you choose.It is important to brush your teeth atleast twice a day.
We recommend replacing your brush at least once a month.
When I visited my dentist for my last checkup, she told me that I have impacted wisdom teeth and she wants to remove them. They are not bothering me. Should I see a specialist if I decide to have them removed? What should I do?
Having regular dental checkups with x-rays allows you to learn about potential problems and have them corrected BEFORE they begin to bother you. There are a number of reasons for recommending removal of unerupted or impacted teeth. Your dentist may have seen that these teeth could cause problems for the adjacent teeth if left in place. There is also the possibility that you could develop such things as a cyst or abscess if left in place.
My son is six years old and starting to get his permanent teeth. I am concerned because the teeth are discolored. Some even have a brownish or greenish hue. What caused this and what can be done about it?
From your description, it sounds like a very normal situation and nothing to be concerned about. When the teeth are forming in the jaws, they are surrounded by a soft tissue membrane called Nasmyth’s Membrane (named after Alexander Nasmyth, a Scottish dental surgeon in London who died in 1847).
As the teeth erupt, remnants of this membrane remain on the surface of the enamel. The fibrous nature of the membrane readily picks up coloration from food.
In most cases normal chewing and brushing will remove the remnants with time. If they don’t come off, they can be removed by having a professional cleaning.
Other causes for staining of teeth include high fevers during infancy, too much fluoride in drinking water and certain medications if taken while the teeth are still forming.
Gum disease has several stages. The initial stage is called gingivitis and is an infection of the gingival (gum tissue). In this stage, gums become red, swollen, and prone to bleeding. The underlying bone is unaffected. In later stages, however, gum disease can lead to bone loss and the loosening or even loss of teeth.
Gum disease treatment varies according to the stage of the disease. At its mildest stages, gingivitis can be treated by clearing plaque and tartar deposits from the gum pockets. Severe gum disease, on the other hand, might require treatment that includes bone and gum grafts
Sensitive teeth can be caused by a range of factors. The porous part of the tooth, called dentin, is the region that registers pain, and dentin can become exposed due to:
- Fractured or chipped teeth
- Teeth injured by clenching or grinding
- Receding gums caused by gum disease or improper brushing
Pain from sensitive teeth often comes and goes, but if you experience constant pain, you may have a more serious problem.
There are many effective treatments for sensitive teeth, including:
- A soft-bristle toothbrush to prevent gum irritation
- Toothpaste designed to insulate the nerve that registers pain
- A fluoride gel or rinse.
Teeth grinding can be caused by a range of factors; often, both emotional and physical factors are involved. Causal factors can include stress, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth.
Once the cause or causes of bruxism are determined, your dentist can develop a course of treatment. Treatment methods may include:
- Relaxation techniques if stress is at the root of the problem
- Physical therapy
- Muscle relaxants
- A plastic tooth guard to wear at night during sleep
Bruxism can cause serious pain and headaches, as well as dangerous wear on the teeth. In severe cases, restorative dentistry techniques such as inlays or porcelain crowns are needed to rebuild teeth damaged by bruxism. Therefore, it is crucial to seek treatment for bruxism early to avoid waking up with headaches or jaw pain.
Following a few simple guidelines can help keep your child’s teeth strong and beautiful for life:
Start oral care early
Oral care should start soon after your child is born. After feeding, clean your child’s gums using gauze or a clean, damp cloth. As soon as your child’s teeth appear — as soon as four months after birth — they should be brushed. Each day, brush your child’s teeth with a soft, wet toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
Prevent nursing-bottle mouth
Nursing-bottle mouth, also known as baby-bottle tooth decay or baby-bottle syndrome, can cause a baby’s front teeth to rapidly decay, which can lead to a lifetime of dental difficulties. Preventing nursing bottle mouth is easy: If you give your baby a bottle at nap or bed time, simply fill it with plain water rather than formula, milk, or juice—never let your child fall asleep with a bottle filled with a liquid other than water In addition, check your child for brown spots near the gums because they are a warning sign for tooth decay.
Take your child to the dentist
General, preventative dentistry should start early. A child’s first dental visit should take place at 6 to 12 months after birth. Regular fluoride treatments, administered by a dentist, are especially helpful in strengthening enamel and arresting tooth decay for children. .
Take advantage of dental sealants
Dental sealants are a popular and effective way to protect your child’s teeth against cavities.
Dental sealants are a plastic coating painted on the grooved, hard-to-reach surfaces of the back teeth. Pits and fissures on these surfaces are particularly susceptible to tooth decay. Dental sealants can be used to seal out cavity-causing bacteria from damaging the teeth.