Are dental x-rays harmful? Can't
radiation be dangerous for the body?
with state-of-the-art equipment exposure is minimum. You will be
covered with a lead apron and updated units have filters
decreasing exposure to negligible levels. One thing to remember
is that dental x-rays are never automatically taken. The
decision is based on clinical necessity. Express your concerns
at your next dental visit and ask your dentist to explain the
Why do we have to visit the dentist twice a year? If I take care
of my teeth, shouldn't once a year be enough?
American Dental Association does recommend 2 to 4 visits per
year depending on your particular dental health. Even the
champion brusher/flosser is not able to remove all deposits on
the teeth and below the gum line. Regular preventive oral care
is a wise investment and may actually help you save money in the
long run. Therefore, seeing your dentist as recommended and
adequate oral hygiene will ensure optimal dental health.
What does it mean if my gums bleed when
I brush or floss?
is the first warning sign of gum disease (also called
periodontal disease). Gum disease is the number 1 cause of tooth
loss. In fact, the ADA estimates that 70-80% of all adults will
have it in some form or another. It is caused by plaque, a film
of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Because gum disease is
painless, you may not know you even have it. However, knowing
that bleeding gums are not "normal", make an
appointment to see your dentist right away.
It is really possible to keep my teeth and gums healthy for a
answer is definitely, yes! With routine preventive dental care
in combination with excellent oral hygiene, your teeth could be
with you for life. Be sure you are visiting your dentist as
necessary and are caring for your teeth and gums as recommended.
I have been told I have bad breath. What over the counter
product can I buy to prevent this?
80% of bad breath (a condition called halitosis) comes from
tooth decay, gum disease and bacteria on the tongue. Only about
2% comes from certain stomach conditions. Your best bet is to
talk to your dentist about this. A complete examination of the
teeth and gums is necessary in order to determine the source.
Are drills really becoming
obsolete? I've now heard on several occasions about laser and
sand blasters to remove decay. Do these really work?
Drills, also known as dental handpieces, are not becoming
obsolete but today there are many other good choices as well.
The latest dental handpieces are air turbines many of which have
fiber optics (for illumination). Techniques and products
associated with the use of these instruments have greatly
improved over the past few years - and the use of the dental
handpiece is still a very safe, effective and efficient way to
remove decay. Air Abrasion Units can remove shallow, restricted
areas of decay and are helpful for working with children. Lasers
work well for soft tissue use, but for removing decay and
preparing damaged teeth they are not as effective. With today's
technology- most patients can expect little to no discomfort
during the use of either a dental handpiece, a Dental Laser
and/or an air abrasion unit for removing decay. Discuss with
your dentist the best and most effective technique for your
My dentist told me I need a root canal. Wouldn't it be
easier to just pull the tooth?
In reality, quite the opposite is true.. Many patients are
unaware of complications that exist following the removal of a
natural tooth. Tooth loss can sometimes lead to a domino effect
- causing other teeth to protrude or shift. With the latest
techniques, endodontics (root canal therapy) is far more
predictable and more comfortable for the patient than ever
before. Keeping your natural teeth for a lifetime is generally
the safest and best option to consider. With today's techniques
- Root Canal Therapy can be a comfortable, safe and effective
way of preventing tooth loss - an investment that will help you
to save your teeth - and also actually SAVE you money in the
end! Speak with your dentist about what makes the most sense for
your particular situation.
I don't have insurance, so I haven't been to a dentist in
a few years. Nothing hurts so do I really need a checkup?
Having regular checkups prevents major problems.
Unfortunately, many dental problems occur without any warning.
Nothing hurts until there is a significant problem. Before you
know it, you've got problems. Extensive dental care is often
required for patients who delay, postpone and avoid regularly
scheduled visits. Prevention is the key to avoiding costly,
extensive dental care. Undetected decay, cysts, tumors, and
dental abscesses often lie "silently" below the
surface - causing no pain or swelling. Why wait for these
problems to surface through the onset of a painful experience?
See your dentist today to rest assured that you're in excellent
I currently wear a full upper denture. The six teeth that
I still have on the bottom are in bad shape. I don't want to get
them pulled, because I've heard how bad lower dentures fit. What
can I do?
There are lots of stories out there about the
retention or fit of a lower denture. In some cases, maintenance
of existing natural teeth can provide support and anchorage for
lower dentures. If they are not in good shape, there are other
alternatives available. Your dentist can provide you with a
complete and thorough examination of your teeth and gums to best
determine your options for your dental health.
I've considered getting my teeth bleached. Does bleaching
really work? Also, do the drug store bleaching kits work as good
as ones available through my dentist?
Teeth Whitening (or bleaching) works extremely well
for many patients. As far as the drug store kits go... it might
be wise to remember the old cliche - "If it seems too good
to be true, it probably is!". Drug store remedies and
quick-fix techniques such as "whitening strips" are
often "low cost" and "low power" short term
solutions to achieving a whiter smile! Consumers report that the
drug store whitening products are messier and the results are
not as good as desired. Fast acting, safe and noticeable Teeth
Whitening uses stronger more powerful ingredients, which require
the supervision of a dental professional/expert. Today's dental
professionals are trained experts in helping you to achieve a
righter/whiter smile! New techniques in dentistry can often
allow patients to see amazing results in a period of a few
weeks, days and sometimes as little as 1 hour! Call your dentist
today to discuss what options might be available for a younger,
brighter and whiter smile!
Can bleaching damage your teeth?
Professional teeth whitening solutions are safe when properly
used. Always use caution when attempting the
"bleaching" process without the support and advice of
a dental professional. Your dentist should evaluate low cost
kits promising quick results. He or She will be able to advise
you as to how best to protect yourself and your smile when it
comes to "bleaching" your teeth. In most cases, the
professional Whitening Process is a very safe and effective
means to reaching the results you'd like for a brighter smile.
Allow your dentist to guide you towards the best option.
I must admit that the only reason I don't go to the
dentist is that I'm afraid. I know I should make an appointment
but even if I did, I probably would be so anxious that I
wouldn't show up. What can be done for me?
know this, YOU are not alone with your fear/anxiety of dental
treatment. Millions of people have fear/anxiety related to
dental procedures. Relaxation techniques such as Oral Sedation
(safe, mild, effective "sleepy time" medications) are
available to help patients to ease anxiety and allow them to
"snooze" through the process. In severe cases of
anxiety/fear, IV Sedation (stronger medications given
intravenously and administered by a trained medical/dental
professional) is also available today. You'll be able to openly
discuss Oral Sedation and IV Sedation options with your Dentist.
These procedures have proven to be safe and effective when
administered by a dental professional.
There are so many different kinds of toothpaste on
the market. Does it really matter what kind I use? And what
about grandma's idea that all you need is baking soda?
are right, there are lots of choices on the market today! The
truth is that certain toothpaste options may be better for some
than for others. Everyone has his or her favorites...and yes;
Grandma's idea of baking soda is still in existence today!
Today's dentists and dental hygienists often recommend the use
of fluoride toothpaste with only mild abrasives. During your
next appointment, be sure to talk with your dentist about your
best toothpaste options.
What kind of toothbrush
should I use?
a toothbrush that has a SOFT bristle (scrubbing teeth with HARD
bristle brushes doesn't actually do a better job of cleaning and
can often damage your gums). There are many exciting innovations
taking place with the newest in electronic toothbrushes. When
used properly, electronic toothbrushes do a great job. When used
improperly, they too, can cause damage. It's always a good idea
to make an appointment with your dentist to discuss the use of
an electronic toothbrush and review brushing techniques. Your
dentist will be able to make recommendations as to the best
toothbrush option for you - whether manual or electronic.
dentist told me that I could have a tooth colored filling. I
believe they're more expensive than dark colored silver-mercury
fillings and do they work?
tooth colored filling materials have been around for quite some
time now. In some cases, the investment for tooth colored
restorations can exceed that of the old silver, mercury filled
material and there's a good reason for that. Tooth colored
(composite) fillings require more attention to detail and more
time for actual placement. The materials used in composite
restorations are more costly as well. And yes, tooth colored
fillings do work! Composite fillings bond directly to the tooth
and are light cured making the tooth stronger than it would be
with a silver filling. They bond and strengthen the teeth,
whereas the silver mercury fillings fill the holes, but do not
strengthen the tooth.
I have heard about implants for missing teeth. Do they
really work? How strong are they?
Implants are some of the most exciting options available today
to replace missing teeth. If you're missing teeth - or even if
you're missing only one tooth --dental implants may be an option
for you. Because dental implants are imbedded in bone, they
simulate natural teeth better than a denture or bridge. When
placed by a trained professional, dental implants are durable
and can last for decades. Visit the American Academy of Implant
Dentistry's website at - www.aaid-implant.org to learn more
about dental implants or discuss this option with your own
My teeth don't hurt, but my dentist says I have problems
with them. Is that possible?
with medical problems, many times you are unaware until there is
a significant problem. Undetected dental problems such as decay,
abscesses, wear from misaligned bites, tumors, oral cancer,
cysts, and periodontal disease often lie dormant with no signs
of pain or swelling. Your dentist can often diagnose these
problems before they turn into nightmares! If you are unsure
about the diagnosis you've been given, tell your dentist. In
most cases your dentist will be more than willing to help you to
actually "see" the problems through the use of dental
x-rays, intra oral cameras and digital cameras. If you're still
unsure - ask your dentist about the possibility of seeking a
second opinion. Don't worry about the possibility of your
dentist being offended by your request - most dentists will
welcome your interest and be happy to do whatever it takes to
reassure you of the diagnosis.
I have heard that the old style silver fillings can crack
teeth. Is there any truth to that?
(traditional mercury, silver and other material make up dental
amalgam) fillings do not bond to the tooth. The amalgam filling
material actually just sits in a "pocket" or an area
in the tooth created by your dentist. Healthy parts of your
tooth must often be removed to make a space large enough to hold
an amalgam filling. There is a greater risk that old-style
amalgam fillings can expand sometimes-causing teeth to crack or
break. With newer tooth colored (composite) restorations cracks
or breaks in natural tooth structure are less likely because
they actually bond to the tooth. Have your dentist evaluate the
old amalgam fillings in your mouth. Replacement of an amalgam
filling and restoration of a new tooth colored filling material
is typically easy for the patient and in most cases can be
accomplished in one visit. Replacements of amalgam fillings can
also create a stronger, more long lasting tooth structure with
the appearance of your natural teeth. In most cases, only a
dental professional will be able to tell the difference.
I was told that I should get sealants
on my child's teeth. What are they and are they really
placing a thin clear application of acrylic bonded to the biting
surfaces of a tooth, decay can be prevented. Sealants for
children are recommended for deciduous teeth (primary -
sometimes called "baby teeth") as well as, permanent
teeth. Some parents question this diagnosis due to the fact that
the deciduous teeth will later be lost or removed making room
for the permanent teeth. Placing this protective covering over
primary teeth will help prevent decay and maintain the
"baby tooth" in its position to prevent long-term
problems from occurring with the permanent teeth. Sealants are
recommended for permanent teeth to resist decay (cavities).
Sealants are very affordable and can help preserve your child's
teeth and prevent decay, thus preventing future problems. They
are an excellent investment in your child's dental health!
I have noticed that my teeth are getting shorter. Is
there anything that can be done to stop this?
should see your dentist as soon as possible. Through a
comprehensive evaluation of your teeth and gums, your dentist
can begin to determine what is causing your teeth to become
shorter. In some cases, this situation is caused by poor
occlusion (the way your teeth fit together when they're closed),
how you chew and/or by tooth grinding during sleep. The good
news is that, there are several techniques that are used to
prevent your teeth from becoming shorter. Your dentist will
determine if you are a candidate for Splint Therapy. Splint
Therapy often involves the design of an Occulsal Guard (Night
Guard/Night Appliance) to protect your teeth. The Occulsal Guard
is a removable acrylic appliance usually worn at night to
prevent bruxism (grinding of teeth) or joint problems associated
with TMJ. In some cases Splint Therapy also includes a process
called equilaibration. Equilibration (adjusting the bite through
the process of tooth surface reduction.) Ask your doctor about
the best course of action for you.
My gums don't bleed but my dentist says I have gum
disease? Is that possible?
Disease (gum disease) is often referred to as a "Silent
Disease" which can lead to bone loss and eventual tooth
loss. Although bleeding gums can be an early indication of
Periodontal Disease, bleeding is not always present. A
periodontal charting evaluation can be performed to measure the
depth of detached tissue around the root structure of your
teeth. This measurement will indicate the severity of the gum
disease and help your dentist to monitor improvement as
periodontal treatment is performed. Your Dentist and/or Dental
Hygienist will be happy to provide you with your dental charting
evaluation scores and educate you on the process. If you are a
smoker, the odds are significant that you will have gum disease
and your gums may never bleed. Ask your dentist for an
I have a space between my front teeth and they're a
little crooked also. I have been told that I would need braces.
Is there anything else that can be done, other than braces?
some cases, Cosmetic Dentistry can be an alternative to
Orthodontics (braces). Many patients have been extremely pleased
with the results of cosmetic dental procedures used to close
spaces between teeth and also to make them appear straighter.
Talk to your dentist about the options available for your
specific situation. Ask to see "Before and After"
portfolios/pictures of such cases. Dentists are always happy to
share their patient's "Smiling Success Stories".
I am a smoker. I have heard that smoking can cause me to
have gum disease and possibly lose my teeth. I have noticed that
my front teeth have a space between that wasn't there in the
past. Can I lose my teeth because of smoking?
decreases oxygen flow to gums and bone. Complications can
include infection with bleeding and swelling. This infection can
cause the teeth to shift creating spaces between the teeth. This
condition is call Periodontal Disease and can lead to eventual
tooth loss. Smoking IS a contributing factor to tooth loss.
Through a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth and gums, your
dentist can help you to understand the negative effects that
smoking may have on your dental health. Getting the gum disease
under control is something that the dentist can help you with.
Today's dental professionals are also very involved in helping
their patients to stop smoking. Ask your Dentist about the
support of prescription medications and education available to
help during your "stop smoking" commitment.
My child brushes regularly and doesn't eat a lot of
candy, yet it seems that at every six-month checkup, he has new
cavities. What could be the problem?
Recurrent decay in children is a true concern in today's world.
If your child is brushing and flossing on a regular basis (3-4
times per day and after every meal) and keeping his hands out of
the "candy jar".... look at other causes for recurrent
decay. Since sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay - Look for
hidden forms of sugar in products such as soft drinks or fruit
drinks. Kids favorites such as Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew are
especially high in sugar. Monitor/decrease or stop your child's
intake of such products and see if this makes a difference! In
some cases, your Dentist may also recommend the addition of
fluoride supplements. Involve your children in dental health
education - you're dental hygienist will be happy to spend time
with your children to help them understand their responsibility
in the maintenance of optimum dental health.