Frequently Asked Questions

What is with those dark and unsightly silver fillings?

People have had silver fillings placed in their teeth because they’ve had cavities. These silver fillings are called amalgams, and take the place of the decay that was removed. Over time these amalgam fillings will leak and corrode. This will darken the silver and most often the tooth as well. Tooth colored fillings (composites) may be used which bond to the tooth for a tight seal. They are strong and may appear invisible to the naked eye. Please don’t hesitate to call our office about any questions about benefits of replacing amalgam with composite fillings.


Tooth Whitening?

Tooth whitening has become a very popular trend in modern dentistry. Everywhere you look, you’ll see an ad for a product to whiten your teeth. The best and most effective way to whiten your smile is at the dentist’s office. Tooth whitening involves placing a solution on your teeth to remove stains and discoloration. The whitening solution is held in place with customized trays made in the office to fit your teeth. This results in a safe, easy, monitored way of lightening the shade of your teeth. Any sensitive or cracked teeth broken down with cavities should be restored prior to tooth whitening.


When is a crown needed, and what is it?

When damage to a tooth has caused such a loss of structure that it can no longer support a filling, a crown (dental cap) may be needed. A crown is a restoration that replaces the entire top of the tooth above the gumline. A crown is reinforced with metal or a ceramic (tooth colored) strong base to splint the remaining tooth. Crowns can also be used to improve esthetics of existing maligned teeth. With today’s porcelain teeth, we can achieve esthetics that was impossible to get in the past.


Missing teeth?

When a tooth has to be removed, a space is left behind. Teeth are genetically programmed to always move forward and up until they hit something to tell them to stop. So when a tooth is missing, adjacent teeth will attempt to migrate into the space by tilting in from the back, and down from above. This situation can and will lead to periodontal problems and loose teeth. In order to prevent this, a bridge or implant must be placed. A bridge is 3 crowns placed in a row which are connected together. Placing a crown on each adjacent tooth, with a crown in the middle (pontic) “bridging” the gap does it. Another option is the placement of a dental implant. An implant is what replaces the root of the tooth, and is made of a titanium alloy. The implant is surgically placed in the bone. After a period of time needed for the bone and implant to integrate, a crown is placed on the implant.

What is periodontal disease?

It has been stated from the American Dental Association that 75-80% of adults has some form of gum disease. Periodontal disease is a silent problem that can go on for years without pain or detection. It is a disease, which gum tissues become infected and separate from the tooth. This can lead to bone loss without treatment, and result in loose hopeless teeth. Early detection and adequate diagnosis requires a measurement of tissue surrounding the teeth. Other signs for detection are bleeding gums, red swelling tissue, bad breath, and loose teeth.


How can I prevent tooth decay?

For children and adults, tooth decay can be stopped with regular prevention. Regular brushing and flossing starting at a young age is very important. It is vital to have dental exams every six months, with yearly x-rays for maintaining your dental health. Issuing fluoride treatments to young patients, as well as sealing the deep grooves of permanent teeth as they erupt can prevent decay. Sealing the teeth is a quick and painless procedure that prevents bacteria from entering and flourishing in the deep grooves of our teeth.


What can be done about my tooth grinding and joint pain?

The most common reason we grind our teeth is a bite discrepancy. A patient may hit on one tooth first (even very slightly) and then the rest of their teeth hit. In order for this to occur, muscles need to contract to make all the patient’s teeth touch. This cause a back and forth grinding motion wearing teeth, and strain on our jaw joints causing clicking and/or popping. There are different treatments that can be used to help alleviate the symptoms and it’s cause. Please feel free to contact the office about further questions regarding grinding and joint pain.


My dentist can help with snoring?

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous disorder in which one actually stops breathing during sleep. Benign symptoms may be present such as loud snoring, morning headaches, and daytime sleepiness. The breathing cessation can last from seconds to a minute. Our brain will wake us due to the lack of oxygen. Headaches are the results of too much carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. This breathing cessation is caused by the occlusion of the tissue in the upper airway and mouth. A method of treatment for a good deal of patients is wearing an acrylic appliance to help open these areas while we sleep and allow proper breathing. It’s often comfortable and easy to use. Please call us with any further questions.


What is dental bonding?

Dental bonding is applying a composite (tooth colored filling material) to teeth with a chemical bond. Placing a putty like substance on the teeth, and forming it into place does this. A special curing light hardens this putty. Bonding can also be referred to as porcelain veneers. Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are placed over the front surface of minimally prepared teeth, and cemented into place. This is a common procedure done for celebrities.


Bad breath (Halitosis)

Bad breath could be a result of periodontal disease and tooth decay. A complete dental exam is needed to locate the cause of the halitosis, and end the embarrassment of bad breath.