How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

CLEANING EVERY 6 MONTHS, EXAM ONCE A YEAR.

  • Regular cleanings and exams are one of the best ways to keep a healthy mouth and SAVE MONEY!
  • A highly-trained hygienist will tell you and the dentist that there are some suspicious areas during the cleaning process. If these areas are caught early, then you could stop progress by preventative care which, at the end of the day, SAVES YOU MONEY!
  • If you already have a dentist, ask your dentist for a ‘visual exam’ next time you go in for a cleaning or make an appointment and come see us.

How often should I brush and floss?

  TWO to THREE TIMES A DAY.

  • Depending on your schedule sometimes it’s not realistic to do this three times a day.
  • However, it’s totally realistic to do it TWICE a day! Once in the morning after breakfast (or just when you wake up if you don’t eat breakfast), and once after dinner or before you go to bed.

Is flossing really a big deal?

YES, FLOSSING IS A VERY BIG DEAL.

  • There is no substitute for flossing.
  • Where do you normally get food stuck? Between your teeth! They don’t usually get stuck on the cheek or tongue side because your cheeks and tongue do a natural cleansing throughout the day. And these things that are stuck causes decay!
  • Not to mention, lack of flossing is the leading cause of your largest, most painful and most expensive dental problems.

How come I brush/floss and get cavities while someone else doesn’t do anything and I get cavities while he/she does not?

GENETICS. THEN DIET/HABITS.

  • It has been shown that some people are more likely to have gum disease and some people are more likely to have tooth decay simply based on genetics.
  • The next biggest factor is diet and habits. Someone who eats a diet that is less harmful to the teeth or gums needs less maintenance. How many times does a rabbit brush and floss their teeth?
  • Since you cannot change your genetics, it’s best to get an evaluation of your diet and cleaning habits.

Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe? What’s this talk about mercury?

YES, THEY ARE SAFE.

  • Over the years there has been some concern as to the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. An amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc, bound by elemental mercury.
  • Dentists have used this blended metal to fill teeth for more than 100 YEARS. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), up to 76% of dentists use silver containing mercury to fill teeth.
  • The controversy is due to claims that the exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury can cause a variety of health problems. The ADA also states that silver fillings are safe and that studies have failed to find any link between silver containing mercury and any medical disorder. Along with the ADA’s position, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the FDA, and others support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost effective.
  • The U.S. Public Health Service says that the only reason not to use silver fillings is when a patient has an allergy to any component of this type of filling. The ADA has had fewer than 100 reported incidents of an allergy to components of silver fillings, and this is out of countless millions of silver fillings over the decades.

I know people who got all their silver fillings replaced. Do I need to have my silver fillings replaced?

IT DEPENDS.

  • I usually don’t replace them for the sake of replacing them. I will tell you if there’s anything wrong with them and then go from there. Some patients have replaced them for strictly esthetic purposes.
  • If it’s simply to replace silver ones for white ones, then NO.
  • If it’s for other reasons such as cracking or chipping, then YES.
  • Amalgam is a BRITTLE material (like the concrete sidewalks) which very commonly crack and chip over time leaving spaces for food and bacteria to get into.
  • Amalgam fillings do not need to be replaced because ‘they have mercury’ in them. [read the question: “Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?” above]

What are my options if I have missing teeth?

BRIDGE or IMPLANT.

  • BRIDGE: You can think of this as a literal bridge over water. You have land anchoring both sides and a bridge going over the open water. In the same way, we use two teeth to anchor a THREE UNIT (or sometimes more) bridge. Essentially, it’s three crowns (or more) that are attached.
  • IMPLANT: A dental implant is an artificial root that is surgically placed into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth. They are similar to the ‘screws’ placed in hands and legs for broken bones for many years. After they are placed into your jaw bone, a crown is attached to it.
  • Keep in mind these are not the only options but these are the most common and desirable options.

I grind my teeth, what does it mean and what can I do about it?

BRIDGE or IMPLANT.YOUR BITE IS ‘HIGH’ or ‘OFF’.

  • Historically, grinding teeth has been attributed to stress or habit. However, more recent studies show that grinding is a habit that is created when your bite is ‘high’ or ‘off’.
  • What bite is ‘off’ means is that your teeth are not hitting simultaneously and a certain tooth or teeth are hitting before others. When that happens your body tries to eliminate that ‘high spot’ by rubbing it down or grinding.
  • What needs to be done is a EQUILIBRATION. In more extreme cases a combination therapy may need to be done.
  • Any dentist can grind teeth. I do not grind teeth, I equilibrate. This process can sometimes take up to an hour of careful adjusting of your bite.
  • If you are already seeing a dentist, ask your dentist if he is trained in doing this or make an appointment to come see us.

I heard headaches can come from TMJ problems. How do I know if this is the case for me?

YOU DON’T. YOU NEED AN EVALUATION.

  • This condition is often treatable by a trained dentist.
  • I normally evaluate the oral and facial region followed by a recommendation to see your medical doctor. The recommendation is to get an evaluation from BOTH a medical doctor and a dentist trained in dental oro-facial pain.
  • Some dentists will recommend JUST a nightguard. A treatment plan for a nightguard without an evaluation is incorrect.
  • If you are currently seeing a dentist, ask if he has been trained in dental oro-facial pain or schedule an appointment and come see us.

Why is my jaw clicking and popping?

YOUR BITE IS ‘HIGH’ OR ‘OFF’.

  • The sound comes from the joint ‘popping’ in and out of its correct position (kind of like cracking your knuckles, which is by the way, bad for you!)
  • Clicking and popping of the jaw can be seen when the bite is ‘high’ from natural tooth movement, previous fillings, crowns, even orthodontics (braces).
  • When your teeth keep your jaw from closing correctly and your jaw muscles squeeze your teeth against each other, the jaw joint pops out. The noise you often hear is the joint ‘popping’ back into its correct location.
  • In minor cases I treat my patients with an EQUILIBRATION, in more extreme cases it potentially involves combination therapy.
  • If you are already seeing a dentist, ask him if he is trained to do this. If he isn’t schedule an appointment and come see us.

I have sensitive teeth, what can I do?

  TRY SENSODYNE TOOTHPASTE.

  • You can find this toothpaste at just about any pharmacy. It has special ingredients for sensitive teeth.
  • It is the first thing I recommend when patients have sensitive teeth.
  • If this doesn’t work, then you will need a more thorough investigation and evaluation as to why from your dentist.

It’s going to cost me a lot to save one tooth, should I have my tooth pulled?

NO.

  • Money alone is never a good enough reason to get a tooth pulled.
  • There are very few patients who have pulled a tooth only for monetary reasons and not regretted it later.
  • Before getting the tooth pulled because you cannot afford it, make sure you get a full talk about the benefits and advantages.

There’s all this talk about dental implants. Is it better just to pull my tooth and get an implant or save it?

SOMETIMES. IT DEPENDS.

  • I am a strong believer that the natural tooth is better than anything that is man-made.
  • There are, however, some instances where it’s better to pull a hopeless tooth and place an implant.
  • Because each scenario is different, I cannot give you a blanket statement saying that one is always better than the other.
  • Implants are the last resort. Think about it this way — if the tooth fails, you can always pull it and place an implant. Once an implant fails, there are few backup plans.

Why am I getting food stuck between my teeth?

THE ‘CONTACT’ BETWEEN YOUR TEETH IS INADEQUATE.

  • The ‘contact’ is the area where two teeth are touching. Sometimes it is a small spot, sometimes it’s a large area. Sometimes it’stight, sometimes it’s a space.
  • Although there are many reasons for this to happen, the most common reason is an improperly placed filling. When a filling does not provide a tight enough contact, food is pushed between the teeth when chewing.
  • The contact is difficult to make perfect because it needs to be tight enough to block too much food from getting in there while being loose enough to allow floss to get in there to clean. Dentistry is tough!

Why is my tooth/teeth loose?

GUM / BONE DISEASE (PERIODONTITIS) OR TRAUMATIC OCCLUSION.

  • Periodontitis causes the foundation of the tooth to be weakened. The less support you have the more mobile the tooth becomes.
  • If you lose half or more of the supporting structure, your tooth will start moving.
  • Traumatic occlusion means your bite is ‘high’ on that particular tooth. Constant ‘banging’ on that tooth will knock it loose.
  • Good news is that if you correct traumatic occlusion it will resolve quite rapidly.
  • Ask your dentist or periodontist to consult with you on loose teeth. If you don’t currently have a dentist, schedule an appointment and come see us.

Why do I have bad breath? What can I do?

YOU HAVE FOOD STUCK ON YOUR TEETH OR YOUR TONGUE. BRUSH (YOUR TONGUE) AND FLOSS!

  • FLOSS! Bad breath is more likely to come from lack of flossing than lack of brushing.
  • BRUSH THE BACK OF YOUR TONGUE. Bad breath comes from the back of the tongue. Scrub it with some toothpaste in the morning!

What exactly is a ‘deep cleaning’?

CLEANING DEEP BELOW THE GUMS.

  • Your teeth have ‘moats’ around them we call ‘pockets’. If you hear numbers called out by your dentist or hygienist they are measuring these pockets.
  • Numbers between 1-5 are most common and can go up to 12 or more.• When your pockets are shallow (1-3) you need a regular cleaning. When your pockets are deep (4+) you need a deep cleaning.

It hurts when I chew, what is going on?

MOST LIKELY AN INFECTION.

  • One of the most common reasons is an infection of the area surrounding the roots.
  • Your teeth have rubber band fibers that suspend it in the air and keep it from touching the bone when you chew.
  • When you have an infection, it destroys these rubber band fibers and it begins bouncing on the bone which hurts!
  • Get it checked immediately!

What is the difference between professional whitening trays and ones I can buy from Wal-mart?

  LOTS.

  • Professional whitening trays fit better than the ones from Wal-mart.
  • Professional whitening trays use a gel that continues to whiten up to 24 hours after you stop using it while Wal-mart’s stops working immediately.
  • Professional whitening trays irritate the gums less than the ones from Wal-mart.
  • Professional whitening trays are better, period.

You claim to be painless or near painless, how is this possible?

TECHNIQUE. CAREFUL TECHNIQUE.

  • All dentists use the same needles and anesthetics. The technique is different!
  • The technique that I use at my office has been refined to bring a painless or near-painless experience to the numbing process.
  • Children to adults consistently rate the pain a ‘1-2’ on a scale from 1-10 where 1 is the least and 10 is the highest.

Are dental X-rays safe?

YES. DIGITAL XRAYS ARE EVEN LESS RADIATION THAN BEFORE.

  • We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
  • In addition, the amount of radiation from 20 digital xrays equal approximately 1 analog (film) xray! This is another reason to use digital xrays!

How often should dental x-rays be taken?

ONCE EVERY 3 YEARS FOR FULL SET. ONCE A YEAR FOR CHECKUP XRAYS.

  • A full set is 20 xrays.
  • A checkup set is 6 xrays.