FAQs

DENTURES – NEED TO KNOW MORE?

We wish you the best with your new smile. If you have any questions about your new prosthesis, just ask. Remember, it’s in your best interest to maintain optimal chewing function and a pleasing smile for a lifetime. We are committed to helping you achieve that goal.

DENTURES – HOW OFTEN SHOULD I RETURN FOR CARE?

That depends upon the recommendation of your dentist. After the initial placement and fitting, you may require minor adjustments. After that, you should return for examination of the soft tissue to ensure that your oral tissues are healthy underneath the replacement teeth. If you have some natural teeth remaining, you should return for a routine recall care to ensure that you retain these teeth for a lifetime.

DENTURES – SHOULD I MAKE MINOR DENTURE REPAIRS AT HOME?

Probably not. While many over-the-counter denture repair kits are available, it is best that you return to the office for professional dental care. With today’s advances in dentistry, it is often possible for your dentist to repair, reline or replace a denture tooth at the office while you wait. At this time your denture can also be checked for fit and your mouth can be examined to ensure that all the tissues are healthy.

DENTURES – WHAT ABOUT DENTURE ADHESIVES?

Generally, you shouldn’t need them. A well-fitted appliance will adhere to the oral tissues with the natural aid of saliva. In fact, some denture adhesives actually distort the denture material, which may make the fit worse! Check with your dentist before routinely beginning the practice of using any denture adhesive material.

DENTURES – WHAT’S THE PROPER WAY TO CARE FOR MY NEW TEETH?

You should use a toothbrush specially designed for dentures and also use a denture cleaner, rather than regular toothpaste, which may be too abrasive for denture teeth. After removing and cleaning the prosthesis, rinse it and submerge it in a denture cleaning solution. Avoid soaking it in hot water, as this may distort the denture material. If you wear a partial denture, make certain that it when you floss and brush your natural teeth, that you take special care to clean the area around the clasps, as trapped food particles, combined with salivary acids and bacteria may cause these abutment teeth to be more susceptible to decay.

DENTURES – HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET USED TO REPLACEMENT TEETH?

Every patient is different. Some patients adapt immediately. For others, it takes a little longer. Patients who choose to undergo full extractions and have immediate dentures placed should leave the dentures in until the postoperative appointment scheduled for the following day. Especially while healing takes place, the dentures should be left in most of the time, because immediate acts as a “bandage”, giving support to the oral tissues as they heal. You may also require that the immediate dentures be relined within four to six months. This is to accommodate the space created by shrinkage of the supporting bone tissue during healing. Eventually, patients may choose to remove artificial appliance upon retiring every evening. Remember, that if the appliance is removed, it must not be allowed to dry out, as this causes shrinking or distortion of the material. Always soak the removable teeth until returning them to your mouth.

DENTURES – WHAT ABOUT QUALITY?

It’s true; fees for full and partial dentures may significantly differ from office to office. Only a trained, licensed dentist is legally qualified to design replacement teeth. A reputable dentist will review your health history, make a thorough oral examination and take proper records and measurements before prescribing you prosthesis. Your dentist works only with reputable laboratories trained to fashion custom teeth to compliment your facial features and lifestyle. Beware of tooth replacements offered at a substantially reduced fee. As with anything else, you get what you pay for.

DENTURES – WILL CHEWING AND SPEAKING BE DIFFERENT?

Somewhat. At first you may find that you bite your tongue or cheek occasionally. This is normal, as these spaces have now been filled. At first, you may choose a soft or liquid diet, making sure to avoid sticky or hard foods. Cutting food into smaller bites can be helpful at first. With frill dentures you may find it helpful to chew off bits of food from the side, rather than directly from the front. You may also notice some salivary changes with your replacement teeth. These are to be expected when a new prosthesis is introduced. With time, however, you will adjust to these changes and will be speaking and chewing with a high degree of comfort and confidence.

DENTURES – WHY SHOULD I HAVE MISSING TEETH REPLACED?

Whether you are missing some or all of your natural teeth, you can derive many benefits from replacing them with full or partial dentures. Replacement teeth help fill out your smile by giving support to the cheeks and lips. This creates a more youthful, chewing, swallowing and smiling.

BLEACHING – NEED TO KNOW MORE?

Following the bleaching procedure your teeth may have slightly “chalky” appearance. This is due to dehydration from the hydrogen peroxide, and will gradually disappear. Occasionally patients do experience some sensitivity to cold food and beverages for a day or two following the procedure. Thus, we recommend you avoid enamel staining substances such as coffee, tea and tobacco products for several days following your bleaching appointment. If you have any further questions about tooth bleaching, we are happy to answer them. Those patients in our practice who have undergone cosmetic dental bleaching treatment have acquired not only a more pleasing smile, but have experienced enhanced self esteem and self confidence, as well as increased peace of mind. Ask us how bleaching can benefit you.

BLEACHING – ARE THERE ANY OTHER CONSIDERATIONS?

Yes. Bleaching is somewhat reversible. In order to attain the desired degree of whiteness, the procedure may have to be performed a number of times (normally 3-5 visits). You may also require a simple “touch up” visit once a year to maintain your bright new smile.

BLEACHING – WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE BLEACHING PROCESS?

For bleaching to be most effective, a number of steps are involved to ensure the most esthetic results.

  1. Lubricant is applied to the gums.
  2. A protective material (rubber dam) is placed around the necks of the teeth to protect your gums, tongue and lips.
  3. The teeth are thoroughly cleaned to remove the excess lubricant.
  4. Conditioner is applied; then the teeth are rinsed and dried.
  5. The teeth to be bleached are covered with cotton gauze.
  6. The bleaching solution is applied to the gauze covered teeth and the bleaching light is positioned. (You may be given a special pair of glare reducing eyeglasses to wear during the bleaching procedure.)
  7. When the bleaching process is completed, the gauze and rubber dam material are removed.
  8. The teeth are given a final polish.

BLEACHING – IS DENTAL BLEACHING FOR EVERYONE?

Not necessarily. Bleaching, as mentioned previously, is only one alternative to restoring discolored teeth. Determining whether or not you are a candidate for dental bleaching is largely based upon diagnosing the exact cause of tooth discoloration. A number of factors contribute to discoloration, including:

  1. Tetracycline (antibiotic) staining.
  2. Excessive fluoride
  3. Trauma (injury) to the teeth
  4. Pulp (nerve) degeneration
  5. Restorative materials (silver, gold)
  6. Genetic and Acquired illnesses
  7. Aging
  8. Consumption of staining substances, such as coffee, tea or tobacco

Another consideration in determining if bleaching is for you is the strength and condition of the teeth. Careful clinical examination and x-rays will help determine if bleaching is indicated for your teeth.

BLEACHING – WHAT IS TOOTH BLEACHING?

Bleaching is done in a series of appointments until the desired effect is achieved. While at one time only no vital (root canal treated) teeth were bleaching candidates, the technology is now available to bleach vital teeth, as well. During the procedure a solution of hydrogen peroxide is carefully applied to the specific teeth. The teeth are then exposed to a special light (at a fairly close range) to accelerate the bleaching process.

ROOT CANAL – DO YOU HAVE FURTHER QUESTION

Throughout your root canal treatment you may have questions or concerns not covered in this information. We will make every effort to ensure your comfort during root canal treatment. And we’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Our concern is your comfort and confidence. Our goal is to help preserve your natural teeth for a lifetime. We believe in saving teeth instead of removing them and we will make every effort to save yours!

ROOT CANAL – WHAT CARE SHOULD I GIVE AFTER TREATMENT?

Once the root canal treatment has been completed, you should be aware of the following considerations:

  • Discoloration – You may notice that your endodontically treated tooth (particularly a front tooth) has undergone a change in color. While this is of no great medical concern, you may be interested in having the tooth bleached. Be sure to ask us about tooth bleaching.
  • Brittleness – A non vital (endodontically treated) tooth is more brittle than a vital one and is more susceptible to fracture. Therefore, we recommend that your root canal tooth be crowned (capped) following treatment. Ask us if you are considering having this done.

ROOT CANAL – HOW CAN MY TOOTH BE SAVED WITH ENDODONTIC TREATMENT?

  1. First, the tooth may be isolated with a piece of rubber dam. This confines the treatment area and protects the mouth from bacteria and chemical agents. An opening is made through the crown into the pulp. (Your tooth may be numbed prior to this procedure).
  2. We then carefully remove the diseased pulp. The root canal area inside your tooth is cleaned, enlarged and shaped. Then, depending on your individual case, the root canals and pulp chamber may be permanently filled and sealed. In some cases, however, we place a temporary medication in the tooth to control bacterial growth and reduce infection.
  3. A temporary filling is placed in the opening of the tooth until the next visit. In some cases, however, the tooth may be left open. This allows the infection to drain.
  4. At the next appointment we sterilize the inside of the tooth, to remove the bacteria. Throughout the root canal procedure we take x-rays to ensure that all of the infected pulp is removed and that the walls inside the canal are smooth.
  5. The root canal and pulp chamber are permanently filled and sealed.
  6. Finally, the tooth is fully restored to chewing function.

ROOT CANAL – WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN?

Once it has been determined (with x-rays and clinical examination) that root canal treatment is necessary, you will be scheduled for one or more appointments. It’s important that you keep these appointments, in order to prevent delays in treatment and healing. It’s also essential that you take all antibiotics and medications prescribed to hasten healing and reduce swelling. Should you experience pain that cannot be controlled with the prescribed medication (this is unusual, but a precaution) call our office immediately.

ROOT CANAL – WHY DO I NEED A ROOT CANAL?

There are several reasons. The most common are:

  1. Trauma, a physical blow to a tooth or constant striking of a tooth in the opposite jaw that traumatizes the tooth.
  2. Physical irritation, deep decay or very large filling. Regardless of the initial cause, the tooth pulp becomes irritated and an abscess (infection) occurs. Bacterial from your saliva grow within the tooth pulp, causing pressure and pain. In some cases the face may swell. Eventually the pulp dies, causing the bone around the tooth to be destroyed.

ROOT CANAL – WHAT IS ROOT CANAL THERAPY?

Root canal therapy (endodontic) treats disorders of the nerve (pulp) of the tooth. It used to be that a tooth with a diseased or infected nerve had to be removed. In 95% of these cases today however, this is no longer true. We believe in saving teeth (instead of removing them) and we will make every effort to save yours.

INFECTION CONTROL – WANT TO KNOW MORE?

When you visit our office, you can feel confident that your health and the health of your family are protected. If you have any additional questions, please ask.

What You Can Do At Home

INFECTION CONTROL – WHAT CAN I DO AT HOME?

There are also some precautions that you and your family can take to safeguard your health. In general, here are just a few of them:

  • Wash your hands prior to meal preparation, eating and handling of foods.
  • Wash your hands immediately after using the bathroom.
  • If you use a wooden cutting board, make sure to cleanse it thoroughly after suing, with hot soapy water. Apply a solution of household bleach and water to it for 15 minutes after use, or run it through the dishwasher.
  • Don’t share drinking glasses or toothbrushes with friends or family members
  • Cover your mouth when coughing; cover your mouth and nose when sneezing.
  • When you’re sick, stay home and rest.
  • If you have open sores that look unusual or do not heal within a couple of days, be sure to consult your physician.

INFECTION CONTROL – HOW DO WE PREVENT CROSS INFECTION?

Truthfully, these hygienic measures are nothing new. In fact, we’ve practiced many of them in our office for a long time. We do this to minimize the risk of cross infection from:

  • Dentist to patient
  • Patient to dentist
  • Patient to patient

In doing so, we make every effort to protect you from bacterial and viral infections, such as herpes, hepatitis, tuberculosis, AIDS and even respiratory viruses that cause the common cold.

INFECTION CONTROL – HOW DO WE PROTECT YOUR HEALTH?

Because you are a valued patient, we pledge to do our best to your health by controlling and preventing the spread of diseases and infections.It has always been our policy to provide the utmost in care and cleanliness for our patients.The procedures we have always used as well as new ones may include:

  1. Scrubbing our hands before and after treating each patient.
  2. Wearing disposable gloves and changing them between each patient.
  3. Wearing masks that prevent viruses and bacteria from entering or leaving the nose and mouth.
  4. Wearing protective eyeglasses.
  5. Using the latest proven sterilization methods on instruments; these may include steam autoclave, dry heat, chemical vapor sterilizers and chemical sterilants.
  6. Meticulously cleaning and wiping down counter tops, chairs and other surfaces of the treatment rooms before we treat you.
  7. Using disposable products wherever possible to eliminate cross infection.
  8. Carefully handling all disposable materials by discarding them in plastic bags to minimize human contact.

ORAL HYGIENE – HOW DO I KEEP MY SMILE FOR A LIFETIME?

Good oral hygiene is a great habit to get into! In addition to having routine oral hygiene appointments, you should brush and floss daily and eat a balanced diet.

Keep your smile sparkling for a lifetime.

ORAL HYGIENE – HOW SHOULD I USE THE BRUSH?

  1. Place the head of the toothbrush next to your teeth, with the bristle tip at a 45 degree angle next to the gum line.
  2. Move the brush back and forth in a small circular scrubbing motion.
  3. Brush the outer surfaces of all teeth, upper and lower. Make sure you keep the bristles angled against your gum line.
  4. Now brush the inside tooth surfaces, using the same brush strokes.
  5. To reach the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt your brush vertically and use gentle, up and down stroke with the head of the brush.
  6. Scrub the chewing surfaces of all back teeth.

ORAL HYGIENE – WHAT TOOTHBRUSH SHOULD I USE?

Choose a toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles. The tips of the bristles should be smooth and rounded. We will be happy to recommend a specific brush that best meets your dental need.

ORAL HYGIENE – HOW DOES DAILY FLOSSING REMOVE PLAQUE AND FOOD PARTICLES?

Plaque is the number one cause of tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Here’s how you can remove plaque with dental floss:

  1. Use a piece of dental floss approximately 18” long. Wind each end of the floss around your middle fingers.
  2. Holding the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, leave about an inch of floss. Using a gentle, back and forth motion to guide the floss in between your teeth. Avoid snapping to the gums.
  3. When the floss is at the gum line, curve it into an arc around each tooth until there’s mild resistance.
  4. Holding the floss in the arc design, gently slide it up the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum.
  5. Repeat this procedure on both sides of each tooth.

ORAL HYGIENE – WHERE DOES IT BEGIN?

Once your dentist or hygienist has completed your oral hygiene appointment, there are a few simple things you can do to continue a regimen of good oral hygiene at home. They include proper flossing and brushing, as well as eating a balanced diet.

ORAL HYGIENE – WHAT EDUCATIONAL SERVICES WILL MY ORAL HYGIENE VISIT POSSIBLY INCLUDE?

  • Tooth brushing and flossing instruction
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Case presentation of prescribed dental treatment
  • Recommendation of future treatment (orthodontics, periodontal therapy, etc)

ORAL HYGIENE – WHAT PREVENTIVE SERVICES WILL MY ORAL HYGIENE VISIT POSSIBLY INCLUDE?

  • Oral cancer examination and screening
  • Blood pressure check -Application of fluoride
  • Application of pit and fissure sealant
  • Cleaning and scaling of teeth to remove all plaque and calculus (tartar)
  • Removal of surface stains from the teeth
  • Referral to specialists for specific treatment
  • Polishing your gold, silver or composite resin fillings or crowns

ORAL HYGIENE – WHAT DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES WILL MY DENTAL HYGIENE VISIT POSSIBLY INCLUDE?

  • Examination of your teeth to detect decay
  • Necessary cavity detecting x-rays
  • Evaluation and assessment of your periodontal (gum) tissue
  • Checking your biting, chewing and swallowing patterns
  • Reviewing and updating your medical history
  • Rerecording any changes in your prescribed medications and Physical condition
  • Treatment planning
  • Evaluating possible cosmetic enhancements of your smile

DENTAL SEALANTS – NEED TO KNOW MORE?

If you have any further questions about sealants, please ask us. Sealants are a proven technique that may be suitable for preventing decay. Our goal is to help preserve your smile throughout a lifetime, and sealants help make that possible.

DENTAL SEALANTS – WHAT IS THE FIVE STEP APPROACH?

Preventive dentistry is a five step approach. Maximum decay protection and care include:

  1. Brushing and Flossing
  2. Fluoride
  3. Sealants
  4. Balanced Diet
  5. Regular Checkups

DENTAL SEALANTS – HOW IS FLUORIDE DIFFERENT?

Fluoride may be used to prevent or reduce dental decay on all teeth, and is equally effective on primary, as well as permanent teeth. It’s absorbed most effectively in the bones and teeth during the development states. Once absorbed and retained in tooth enamel, even though it is invisible, fluoride is permanent. If both fluoride and sealant treatments are indicated for your teeth, these two procedures are usually done a separate appointments.

DENTAL SEALANTS – DO SEALANTS TAKE THE PLACE OF FLUORIDE?

Are sealants and fluoride the same thing? No. Both materials are designed to preserve and prolong the life of your teeth through prevention of dental decay. They act quite differently however; sealants are applied topically only to certain areas of individual teeth, and are a visible sign that the tooth is being protected.

Fluoride, however, may be used effectively from prenatal stages through the adolescent period (that’s when kids are at their highest cavity prone age). Unlike sealants, fluoride is supplied in a variety of forms, including:

Topical application to your teeth during a routine dental exam and cleaning (in a gel or solution)
Drinking water where fluoride has been added
Prescribed nutritional supplements (useful in areas where drinking water does not contain fluoride)
Commercially prepared mouth rinses used at home
Numerous toothpastes

DENTAL SEALANTS – HOW LONG DO SEALANTS LAST?

Depending on your chewing patter, the sealant effect can last for a number of years. At recall appointments we always check to make sure the sealant material is intact. Sealant materials are quite durable, but it’s a good idea to occasionally check to make sure it is still in place. (Chewing on ice cubes, hard candy or sticky foods should be avoided). Here are some great snack alternatives that combined with sealants and fluoride, reduce your chances of tooth decay:

Peanut Butter
Popcorn
Fresh vegetables (carrot sticks, celery stalks)
Fruit (unpeeled apples, orange sections, bananas, grapes, raisins)
Fruit yogurt Dry (unsweetened) cereal and sugar free granola
Cheese
Sugar free popsicles

DENTAL SEALANTS – ARE SEALANTS SUITABLE FOR ALL TEETH?

Not really. You see, we apply this material only to the chewing surfaces of back teeth. Sealants aren’t meant for areas between back teeth or front teeth. Also, teeth that already have fillings or detectable decay are not sealed. Adults may also have sealants placed on the chewing surfaces of the non-restored back teeth.

DENTAL SEALANTS – CAN SEALANTS PREVENT DECAY?

Sealant material bonds to the chewing surface of the back teeth, forming a protective barrier covering the pits and fissures (depressions and grooves) of the chewing surfaces. Sealants are an intermediate preventive step in delaying or preventing tooth decay on these areas of back teeth.

DENTAL SEALANTS – HOW ARE SEALANTS APPLIED?

We apply sealant material to a clean tooth. First, a mild acid solution is gently applied to the chewing surface. This prepares the tooth enamel to bond more effectively to the sealant material. Next, the tooth is thoroughly washed and dried. Finally, the sealant material is applied to the tooth. It only takes a few minutes for the sealant to harden. Then we check the bite. That’s all there is to it.

DENTAL SEALANTS – ARE SEALANTS SUITABLE FOR ALL TEETH?

Not really. You see, we apply this material only to the chewing surfaces of back teeth. Sealants aren’t meant for areas between back teeth or front teeth. Also, teeth that already have fillings or detectable decay are not sealed. Adults may also have sealants placed on the chewing surfaces of the non-restored back teeth.

DENTAL SEALANTS – HOW CAN SEALANTS PREVENT DECAY?

Sealant material bonds to the chewing surface of the back teeth, forming a protective barrier covering the pits and fissures (depressions and grooves) of the chewing surfaces. Sealants are an intermediate preventive step in delaying or preventing tooth decay on these areas of back teeth.

DENTAL SEALANTS – WHAT ARE SEALANTS?

Sealants are a clear acrylic like material that helps shield out decay causing bacteria from the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. It is recommended that sealants be applied to a child’s primary (baby) molars by the age of three or four years. Once the six year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear, it’s best to apply sealants as soon as possible. As a child’s most cavity prone years continue until the mid-teens, the premolars should also be sealed as they appear.

GUM DISEASE – NEED TO KNOW MORE?

You need not lose your teeth to gum disease. With today’s state of the art treatment procedures, you can be assured that most teeth can be saved.

Good periodontal health starts with the patient. Here’s what you can do to prevent or control gum disease:

  • Thoroughly brush and floss your teeth every day.
  • Eat well balanced meals and avoid sugary, “junk food” snacks.
  • Examine your mouth for any early signs of gum disease.
  • Visit us at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and oral examination.

GUM DISEASE – WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?

Scaling and root planning. Scaling is removing the calculus deposits from your teeth; root planning is the smoothing of the root surfaces so that the gum tissue can reattach to the tooth.

Curettage removes the soft tissue lining the periodontal pocket. This helps the gum tissue to heal. Gingivectomy is the surgical removal of the periodontal pockets when the disease does not involve the jaw bone.

Flap surgery allows us to gain access to the root diseased tissue. The gum is then secured back into place. Flap surgery is sometimes accompanied by osseous (bone) surgery, in which the bone around the tooth is reshaped or part of it is removed. More than half of all adults ages 35 and over have the early stages of this disease. Three out of four adults are eventually affected by it. Periodontal disease is the primary cause of the lost teeth after age 35. But the good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent periodontal disease in your mouth. If caught in its early states, gum disease can be reversed.

GUM DISEASE – WHAT IS THE DIAGNOSIS?

Of course, the only way to confirm a diagnosis of periodontal disease is to have your mouth thoroughly examined and the necessary oral x-rays taken. We also recommend a thorough prophylaxis (Tooth cleaning) for all adults at least twice a year. At that time we may use a special instrument called a periodontal probe to measure the depth of the crevice (pocket), the space between the tooth and the gum tissue. Pocket depth measurement, clinical examination and x-rays determine the precise extent of gum disease.

GUM DISEASE – WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?

  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth.
  • Red, swollen or tender gums.
  • Gums that have receded or shrunken away from your teeth.
  • Pus between your teeth and gums when you press your gums with your finger.
  • Teeth that seem loose or that change position; often the front teeth tend to fan out.
  • A change in your bite.
  • A change in the way your partial dentures fit.
  • Bad breath or a chronic bad taste in your mouth.

GUM DISEASE – WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?

Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by plaque, a colorless film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Plaque is most harmful when these bacteria form into colonies which take about 24 hours to grow. If not removed daily, plaque mixes with sugars and starches in the diet to form acids and other by-products in the mouth. Plaque irritates the gums, causing them to become red, tender and swollen. It causes the gums to bleed easily. If not removed, plaque hardens to form calculus (tartar) around the necks of the teeth.

Eventually, the tissue that attaches the gums to the teeth is destroyed by the irritants in plaque. The gums pull away from the teeth and small pockets form between the teeth and gums. These pockets become filled with more plaque. Eventually, the jawbone supporting the teeth is destroyed. Periodontal disease is usually a slow, painless, progressive disease. Most adults with gum disease are unaware that they have it. If diagnosed early however, the teeth can be saved.

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