Q Are Mouthguards necessary?
A In order to protect your smile during athletic activities a mouthguard is crucial. A properly fitted mouthguard will help cushion an impact to the mouth. Mouthguards can protect you from broken teeth, jaw injuries, or cuts to the lip or tongue. Dental health professionals can fabricate a mouthguard for you or your child which will offer a custom fit. If a custom mouthguard is not feasible, discuss other types of mouthguards with your dentist.
Q Do you think extra fluoride would help prevent cavities, or is there enough fluoride in toothpastes?
A Fluoride has reduced the rate of cavities more than any other method of decay prevention. However, too much ingested fluoride can cause unesthetic spotting on teeth. Most community water supplies in our area are optimally fluoridated, so between using fluoridated toothpastes and using community water supplies, additional fluoride might not be needed for most people. However, for added cavity protection for teens and adults, daily rinsing with fluoride mouthrinses also can be beneficial. If you see a dentist who determines that you are at high risk for development of cavities, he/she might prescribe some prescription dispensed fluoride that is even more concentrated, so consult your dentist to determine how much fluoride is best for you.
Q Is it true that the teeth that have been broken due to an accident can be reattached?
A A frequent trauma related dental injury is a fractured tooth. To increase success with this emergency situation, your dentist should be contacted immediately. If possible the tooth fragments should be found, rinsed with water and kept moist. In some situations, the fragments may be reattached to the tooth. If this is not possible, the tooth often can be restored with resin composite with excellent esthetic results and minimal removal of the tooth structure. If the fracture is severe, root canal treatment and eventual crowning may be necessary. Remember that most sports related dental injuries may be prevented by using a mouthguard.
Q Can I help prevent oral cancer?
A Your dentist should look for signs of oral cancer in your mouth at every routine checkup. You can help your dentist by advising him/her of any unusual color changes in the tissues in your mouth (red or white areas), abnormal growths, ulcerated areas that don’t heal, areas of numbness or pain, or any problems with chewing or swallowing. Oral cancers often are found on the sides of the tongue, under the tongue, and on the soft palate, though they can occur on any soft tissues throughout the mouth. People who drink alcohol or smoke are more likely to get oral cancer, but anyone can get it, which is why early detection is so important.
Q I thought cavities were a problem for kids but not adults. As an adult, can I still get cavities?
A As long as you have teeth, you can get cavities. Cavities result from bacteria in your mouth that feed on carbohydrates in your diet. As the bacteria feed on the carbohydrates, they release acid that dissolves away tooth structure. As people age, they tend to get cavities around old fillings or crowns, or on root surfaces that have become exposed due to receding gums. People with dry mouth tend to have more problems with cavities than other people who have normal salivary flow. Everybody has bacteria in their mouth, so if you still have teeth and still eat carbohydrates, you can still get cavities.
Q How can I close spaces between my front teeth without braces or crowns?
A One of the best ways to close spaces between front teeth is by bonding composite resin to natural tooth structure to change the width of the teeth. This technique requires minimal or no removal of tooth structure, therefore does not affect the strength and vitality of the natural tooth. The dentist can select composite resin from a variety of shades, making sure the restorations blend perfectly with the rest of the dentition. The composite resin becomes an extension of the natural tooth and the distinction between the two is imperceptible. This treatment option provides excellent esthetic results while being very conservative, entirely reversible, fast and economical in comparison to braces or crowns.
Q What does an implant examination and diagnostic work up involve?
A In order to achieve optimal results, treatment with dental implants requires planning. At your initial visit we will assess your suitability for implant treatment by evaluating the volume of your available bone with X-rays; checking your bite; taking impressions of your teeth; and discussing your expectations. Sometimes, more sophisticated imaging procedures such as a cone beam CT may be required to provide more information. We have all equipment and expertise for the necessary imaging procedures located right in our clinics. The information gathered is used to visualize the final result in order to allow for ideal placement of your implant(s).
Q I haven’t been to the dentist in 10 years because nothing hurts. Wouldn’t my teeth hurt if they had a problem?
A Most often, cavities don’t start to hurt until they are very large; most people who have had fillings had them before they knew there was a problem. Also, most often gum disease doesn’t hurt at all, so you would only know there was a problem when a tooth became loose, and by then sometimes it’s too late to deal with. Oral cancer sometimes can hurt but many times it doesn’t. If it’s been a long time since you’ve seen a dentist, it’s a good idea to have a comprehensive oral examination and dental radiographs (x-rays) made, just to be sure you haven’t developed any problems that you don’t know about.
Q I would like to improve my smile. What options do I have?
A Many options are available nowadays to improve people’s smiles, such as braces, whitening or bleaching, crowns and porcelain veneers. Every smile change needs to start with a proper diagnosis to evaluate individual considerations and desires, your bite and your smile. We believe in minimal and conservative intervention to improve your smile. We have all the diagnostic knowledge, experience, and state-of-the-art tools to provide you with an understanding and with realistic treatment options so that we can help you select the best way to achieve the smile you seek.
Q I have heard that Soft drinks can affect my teeth. What problems does it cause and is diet soft drink OK?
A High frequency consumption of soft drinks is one of the major risk factors that cause dental decay. A twelve ounce can of soft drink such as Mountain Dew has eleven teaspoons of sugar and is very acidic. The acid can dissolve enamel and when combined with sugar provides the perfect environment for bacteria which cause decay. Diet Coke does not have the sugar, but has the same acidity and therefore can create erosion. If drinking soft drink, minimize its use, choose diet over regular, and drink it quickly with a meal or snack. It is preferable to select water or other sugar-free non-acidic beverages.
Q Should I have the silver fillings in the back of my mouth replaced with tooth colored ones?
A There are excellent options for placing tooth colored fillings in the teeth in the back of the mouth. These include restoration with directly placed composite resin, porcelain inlays, or crowns. Tooth colored fillings cannot be placed in all situations, however, and may have limitations such as reduced longevity or increased cost. Silver fillings can provide excellent long term service in the mouth. Research studies have not shown silver fillings containing mercury to cause health related problems. Their replacement should be for reasons due to restoration failure, decay or esthetic improvement purposes.
Q I do not like the spaces between my front teeth. What can I do?
A Before we can present you with appropriate options, we first need to determine why you have those spaces. Depending on your individual circumstances, the options may range from braces to bonding. Bonding a tooth colored material to your existing tooth, to close those spaces, is quite often the most conservative and reversible option. In most cases this “Bonding” option does not require removal of any part of your tooth. New materials are capable of imitating natural tooth structure very realistically, so nobody can tell you have had anything done!
Q My teeth are sensitive when I drink something cold. What can I do about it?
A Tooth sensitivity can be due to a variety of causes. These can include decay, faulty fillings, and exposed root structure. It is best to visit your dentist to determine the cause. If it is decay or defective fillings, the problem should be fixed by the dentist. If it is exposed root structure, there are a variety of options including varnishes or solutions that the dentist can apply. There are also other at home options such as fluoride gels and desensitizing toothpastes. Some sensitive situations will resolve and not return, but others may have to be retreated periodically.
Q May I receive dental treatments during pregnancy?
A Recent research has shown that the oral health of pregnant mothers can affect the health of their babies.