Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ)

The American Dental Association’s protocol for a healthy adult calls for a routine cleaning (prophylaxis) and exam every 6 months. However ,everyone’s needs are different so we will tailor your schedule to you. The majority of our patients do come every 6 months. Those with periodontal conditions will often have their teeth cleaned more frequently while others who have never had decay, have excellent homecare, and minimal buildup or inflammation might be on a one year schedule.

Yes. Brushing can only reach 60% of your tooth surface. Flossing gets in between your teeth where your brush can’t reach to remove the plaque and stimulate the gums. Plaque is the sticky film that forms on the teeth and it’s made up of dead cells from the mouth, proteins from the saliva, food particles, and bacteria. It’s these bacteria that produce toxins which lead to inflammation of the gums and destruction of the bone along with causing cavities.
Flossing takes a good amount of manual dexterity and can be very difficult for some people to do. We have several things that can assist or even be alternatives to flossing, such as little brushes that go between the teeth if the spaces are larger, Glide floss for tight teeth and rough areas that shred the floss. We also carry the Sonicare Airfloss. It builds up pressure in the liquid and when released between the teeth, the microbubbles burst, disrupting the plaque.

Healthy gums don’t bleed. Bledding is often one of the first signs of gum disease. It may also be a sign of systemic health issues such as diabetes or leukemia or even pregnancy.

Not really. The best type of floss is the one that you will use because it works best in your hands. If your teeth are really tight together or you have areas that shred the floss, then Glide is a good choice for you. You have to be cautious,though, because you can actually cut the gum if you snap it through too hard. If your teeth are of normal tightness or you don’t have fillings between your teeth, the regular waxed floss is usually the best option. If you have larger spaces, a small brush that goes between the teeth may work best. We will help you find what is best for you.

We’ve come a long way with xrays. Although it is wise to keep radiation exposure to a minimum, xrays are a wonderful diagnostic tool in dentistry. They show us many things that we cannot see with the naked eye. Modern xray machines are very fast, very focused, low output machines. Along with the protective apron and collar, dental xrays are very safe, and the benefits far outweigh any perceived hazard.

A root canal, or endodontics, is a procedure to treat the diseased nerve within a tooth. Not all that many years ago, if you had a tooth with a dying or dead nerve, an abscessed tooth, you would probably lose that tooth. Today with root canal therapy, the nerve can be removed and the tooth can be saved. Inside each tooth is the pulp which provides nutrients(blood supply) and nerves from the bone into the tooth. It runs like a thread inside a hollow canal in the roots of the tooth.When the pulp is diseased or injured, the pulp tissue dies. Root canal therapy  removes that infected or inflamed tissue from the canal, cleans out the inside of the tooth, then seals the the canals with a material. Because the tooth is no longer receiving nutrients, it becomes more brittle so omost often a crown must be placed to help support the tooth. Endodontists, dental root canal specialists, use microscopes and focused cat scan machines to find all the intricacies of the canals to easily and quickly treat the tooth, often with no discomfort. Discomfort usually comes from waiting too long and letting the tooth abscess or get infected, resulting in swelling and pain.

There is no perfect substitute for a natural,healthy tooth.A filling, no matter what the material, may last for many years but eventually will wear out and need replacing. Constant stress from chewing forces and temperature cycling from hot and cold foods affects fillings. Clenching or grinding puts  tremendously more force on fillings as well as tooth enamel.If the filling doesn’t outright crack or break, it chips or pulls away from the tooth enamel next to it. This allows bacteria to enter the crevices and cause the hidden areas to decay over time.

Dental implants eliminate the need to grind down adjacent teeth to accomodate a bridge so your own natural teeth are not compromised.
Dental implants are securely anchored so this eliminates some of the key problems of dentures including poor fit, looseness, gum irritation. The result is increased comfort and improved stability.
If you have missing teeth, your bone will shrink. Dental implants help prevent deterioration of the jawbone so your face retains its natural shape and appearance.
Dental implants function very much like natural teeth.

A child should have their first dental checkup by the age of 1, so that any potential problems can be detected early and so that parents can be helped to know how to best care for their child’s teeth and gums. The child will sit in the parent’s lap,facing them, and then their head will be laid back onto the dentist’s lap.The dentist will inspect the child’s mouth and discuss any problem areas and preventive techniques. A fluoride varnish will then be applied to the teeth.

When the child is very young,never put them down for bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water. Juice,milk, and formula all contain sugar. The liquid pools around the teeth while the child sleeps and causes decay.
After feeding a baby, the gums should be wiped with a clean,damp gauze pad or washcloth. When the teeth begin to erupt, then they can be brushed gently with a child’s soft toothbrush and water only.As soon as the child can spit and not swallow(usually not before age 2), a toothpaste containig fluoride can then be used to brush their teeth.

Decay is caused by bacteria. That bacteria is often transmitted from the mother to the baby by tasting the baby’s food to make sure it is not too hot before feeding it to the child. To help minimize this transfer, keep you own teeth and mouth as healthy as possible. Have your cavities and gum disease treated and have good oral hygiene.

A regular cleaning, or prophylaxis, is the removal of plaque,calculus(tartar), and stain for persons who do not have any bone loss, periodontal disease, or infection around their teeth. It is preventive in nature. In other words ,the mouth should be healthy with no gum or bone problems.
If you have periodontal disease, you may require scaling and root planing to remove diseased deposits from the root surface. An electric device, called an ultrasonic scaler, may be used to get down the full depth. Various types of anesthetic may be used if the teeth and gums are sensitive for your comfort and to facilitate thorough cleaning.

After the disease process is under control, a regular cleaning is not appropriate anymore.You will require special ongoing gum and bone care procedure, known as periodontal maintenance, to keep your mouth healthy.

It’s a natural reflex for babies to suck. As young children, they may suck on their thumb,pacifier, or other object because it gives them a sense of security and is soothing. Children gradually stop sucking  over time and usually  stop by the time they start school. If they haven’t stopped by then, peer pressure will often be the final push. Prolonged sucking can cause problems with the proper growth and development of the palate(or roof of the mouth) and the position of the teeth. This will often show up as an open bite or space between the upper and lower front teeth when the child bites together or as a large space between the edges of the upper and lower teeth(like buck teeth). If a child has not stopped thumb sucking by the time the front upper teeth are starting to erupt (7-9 years old), then an appliance may need to be used to keep their thumbs out.