COMMON DENTAL QUESTIONS
In a perfect world everyone would brush and floss twice a day. Plaque builds up over time and this sticky bacterial film can solidify and turn into calculus or tartar. This cement-like substance is removed by the hygienist at your regular cleaning visits. A six-month interval not only serves to keep your mouth healthy and clean, it allows potential problems to be found and diagnosed earlier. It is also very beneficial for some individuals to be seen every 3-4 months if they are at risk for periodontal disease. Your dental hygienist will be able to recommend the appropriate recare intervals which is best for you.
The period when teeth are growing is a major event in the life of an infant, and it can be difficult. The eruption of teeth causes inflammation, which leads to congestion, drooling, and discomfort. While the average time for the appearance of the first teeth is between five and seven months of age, there is a wide range before and after this that can still be considered “normal.” The teeth might come in as early as one month of age, or they may erupt when the child is one-and-a-half years old. Generally the lower front teeth come in first, and girls’ teeth typically erupt earlier than boys.
The American Dental Association recommends that kids receive dental sealants as soon as their adult teeth erupt. Dental sealants are a quick, easy, and relatively cheap solution for preventing cavities. They are thin coatings applied to the biting surfaces that help prevent bacteria and other debris from getting into the deep crevices on the teeth. Young children are great candidates for preventative measures like sealants because in many cases, decay has not set in. Children’s teeth tend to benefit more from sealants because these pits and groves tend to be deeper and less calcified then they are in adults. Kids are notoriously bad brushers and tend to ignore the problem areas in the back of the mouth that lead to cavities and decay.
Digital x-rays are one of the most important new advances that our profession has seen in quite some time. At Arbor Creek Dental we use this new digital technology exclusively. The ability to reduce the exposure of radiation to the patient used by traditional x-ray while increasing the diagnostic proficiency has astounding implications. The reduction of the use of harsh chemicals and other waste materials associated with traditional x-rays is also an added benefit to our environment.
Comparatively, a traditional chest CT-scan exposes a patient to 2,800 times the radiation as a digital dental x-ray. Surprisingly, you can get the same amount of radiation as one of our digital x-rays from eating about 50 bananas.
Tooth discoloration may result from drinking coffee, tea, cola and red wine, or from smoking. The aging process also can stain and darken your teeth. Here are some options to consider when looking for whiter teeth. Before deciding whether in-office teeth whitening is right for you, we conduct a comprehensive examination of your teeth and gums to ensure proper health, and talk with you about your oral hygiene and lifestyle habits to determine if you will benefit from whitening. This helps us agree on the whitening product or technique that’s best for you.
Whitening Toothpastes – Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains only and do not contain bleach. Whitening toothpastes can lighten the tooth’s color by about one shade.
Custom Bleach Trays – Molds of your teeth will be taken to fabricate your own unique, ultra-comfortable Whitening Trays.
Opalescence – Pre-filled bleach trays.
Please bring the following items with you to your appointment:
- Dental Insurance Card (if applicable)
- Identification such as Driver’s License, Military ID or State ID
It varies, but please plan on spending 90-120 minutes for your first visit. As family dentists we can eliminate the need for additional office visits saving busy families time. We make it a point to clearly explain the benefits and fees for each treatment during our initial meeting. We help with forms and insurance and believe an oral education is an important part of preventive dentistry. We honor this in everything we do.
When a tooth is lost, a whole series of events can begin to occur. Chewing on the affected side becomes more difficult and over time the remaining teeth can actually tilt and erupt into the open space.
Depending on the location of the missing tooth, we would most likely recommend either a dental implant, a bridge, or a partial denture. All of these options have their benefits and drawbacks. If you would like more information we can schedule a consultation to go over the specifics of your case.
Tooth decay, also known as a cavity, occurs when bacteria living in your mouth make acid that begins to eat away at your teeth. Untreated tooth decay may cause infection, extreme pain and the loss of tooth. The decay process begins with the unnoticeable damage to the enamel of your teeth and then steadily progresses to deeper layers of the tooth, eventually leading to the pulp. The pulp of your teeth contains highly-sensitive blood vessels and nerves. Proper oral hygiene includes brushing your teeth regularly, flossing regularly and brushing your tongue. If possible brush your teeth twice a day – morning and night.
The top causes of tooth decay include: Poor Oral Hygiene, Improper Nutrition, Sugary Foods, Acidic Foods and Drinks, Dry Mouth Issues, Tooth Grinding, Genetics, Age and Avoiding the Dentist.
The main cause of bleeding gums is the buildup of plaque at the gum line. This will lead to a condition called gingivitis, or inflamed gums. Plaque that is not removed will harden into tartar. This will lead to increased bleeding and a more advanced form of gum and bone disease known as periodontitis. Bleeding gums can happen for a number of reasons, from gingivitis to a side effect of pregnancy. Changing your oral care routine can also make your gums bleed. We recommend brushing and flossing regularly and getting your semiannual dental visit in to stop your gums from bleeding. Certain medicines also increase the likelihood that your gums will bleed. If changing your oral care habits, adjusting your medications, and maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t help your gums stop bleeding, your next step should be to make a dental appointment.
When the hard enamel is worn down or gums have receded, causing the tiny dentinal tubule to be exposed, pain can be caused by touching your teeth with hot or cold foods and beverages, or exposing them to cold air. Exposed areas of the tooth can cause pain and even affect or change your eating, drinking, and breathing habits. Taking a spoonful of ice cream, for example, can be a painful experience for people who have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients. Some toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients that may be too harsh for people who have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity can be reduced by using a desensitizing toothpaste; having your dentist apply sealants and other desensitizing and filling materials, including fluoride; and decreasing the intake of acid-containing foods.
If a tooth is highly sensitive for more than three or four days and reacts to hot and cold temperatures, it’s best to get a diagnostic evaluation from your dentist to determine the extent of the problem.
To relieve your dry mouth try chewing sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva. For some people sugar-free gum or sugar-free candies may cause diarrhea or cramps if consumed in large amounts.
To relieve your dry mouth you can try limiting your caffeine intake because caffeine can make your mouth drier. Also avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying. You could stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco. Sipping plain water regularly can help (and that’s a healthy thing to do) to keep the saliva flowing and has shown to relieve the symptom. There are also some over the counter products made by Biotene that have helped many of our patients with their dry mouth symptoms. Your dentist can also prescribe dry mouth prescription products.
Yes, if diabetes is left untreated, it can take a toll on your mouth. Here’s how:
- You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry (dry mouth is discussed above)
- Because saliva protects your teeth, you’re also at a higher risk of cavities
- Gums may become inflamed and bleed often (gingivitis)
- You may have problems tasting food
- You may experience delayed wound healing
- You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth
- For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical
Regular dental visits are important. Research suggests that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes, decreasing the progression of the disease. Practicing good oral hygiene and having professional deep cleanings done by your dentist can help immensely.
Delta Dental, BCBS of Kansas, BCBS of KC, Aetna, Guardian, MetLife, and most other major dental insurance PPO plans.
Please call your carrier to ensure that we are in network if you are relying on dental insurance for payment.