Q: What Are the Biggest Misconceptions about Dental Health?
A: Without a doubt the biggest misconception the public has about dental health is that the effects of dental disease are limited only to the teeth and gums. It can and does negatively impact the overall health of the body. Yet, as destructive as dental disease can be, most people, including many dentists and physicians, still believe that the damage it does is limited to the oral cavity. But the fact is that numerous scientific studies no longer support that long-held assumption. We now know that gum disease can contribute to and increase the risk and severity of
|• heart attack
• low preterm birth weights
|• respiratory disease
• digestive disorders
Q: How safe are dental X-rays?
A:Exposure to all sources of radiation — including the sun, minerals in the soil, appliances in your home, and dental X-rays — can damage the body’s tissues and cells and lead to the development of cancer. Fortunately, the dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of X-rays is extremely small.Advances in dentistry over the years have lead to the low radiation levels emitted by dental X-rays. Some of the improvements are new digital X-ray machines that limit the radiation beam to the small area being X-rayed, higher speed X-ray films that require shorter exposure time compared with older film speeds to get the same results, and the use of film holders that keep the film in place in the mouth (which prevents the film from slipping and the need for repeat X-rays and additional radiation exposure). Also, the use of lead-lined, full-body aprons protects the body from stray radiation (though this is almost nonexistent with the modern dental X-ray machines.) In addition, federal law requires that X-ray machines be checked for accuracy and safety every two years, with some states requiring more frequent checks.
Q: What are dental sealants, who should get them, and how long do they last?
A:Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that is painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth — usually the back teeth (the premolars, and molars) — to prevent tooth decay. The painted on liquid sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and groves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.
Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. In this way, the dental sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.
Sealants can protect the teeth from decay for many years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wear at regular dental check-ups.
Q: I have a terrible fear of going to the dentist. What should I do?
A:If you fear going to the dentist, you are not alone. Between 9% and 15% of Americans state they avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear. The first thing you should do is talk with your dentist. In fact, if your dentist doesn’t take your fear seriously, find another dentist. The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable.
Q: What causes periodontal disease(gum disease)?
A: While there are many factors involved in the development of gum disease, the most
common cause is the buildup of dental plaque. A colorless film of bacteria, plaque
coats teeth and gets between the tooth surface and gum tissue.
Over time, the plaque hardens into tarter (know as calculus) and causes the gums to
become inflamed. If left untreated, the inflammation can develop into a serious
|Q: What is Dental Implant Surgery?
A:Dental implant surgery is a common option for replacing missing teeth. Unlike removable dentures that rest on the gum line,
dental implants are a long-term treatment that is surgically implanted into the jaw. These implanted, artificial teeth look like real teeth and have the same functionality as well. They are a more permanent solution to ordinary dentures and bridgework.
|A:You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.
Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. At these visits, your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities. Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to help detect, prevent, and maintain your dental health. These include:
· Medical history review: Knowing the status of any current medical conditions, new medications, and illnesses, gives us insight to your overall health and also your dental health.
· Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
· Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
· Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
· Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
· Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
· Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line, and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
· Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
· Teeth polishing: Removes stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing.
· Oral hygiene recommendations: Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed (electric dental toothbrushes, special cleaning aids, fluorides, rinses, etc.).
· Review dietary habits: Your eating habits play a very important role in your dental health.
As you can see, a good dental exam and cleaning involves quite a lot more than just checking for cavities and polishing your teeth. We are committed to providing you with the best possible care, and to do so will require regular check-ups and cleanings.
|A:Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrush can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that cause cavities and irritate and inflame the gums. Also, when plaque is not removed above and below the gum line, it hardens and turns into calculus (tartar). This will further irritate and inflame the gums and also slowly destroy the bone. This is the beginning of periodontal disease.
How to floss properly:
· Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
· Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
· Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Q:My dentist recommends a treatment that my plan will not pay for. Does this mean the treatment really isn’t necessary?
A:It is common for dental plans to exclude treatment that is covered under the company’s medical plan. Some plans, however, go on to exclude or discourage necessary dental treatment such as sealants, pre-existing conditions, adult orthodontics, specialist referrals and other dental needs. Some also exclude treatment by family members. Patients need to be aware of the exclusions and limitations in their dental plan but should not let those factors determine their treatment decisions.
Q:Why don’t my dentures seem to fit anymore?
A:If you’ve had your dentures for more than 3-5 years it’s possible that they actually don’t fit anymore.
You are probably aware that the bone of the mouth holds and supports the teeth. But the teeth of our mouth also support the bone. When the teeth are removed the bone looses the support once provided by the teeth and enters into a lifetime of constant shape change and atrophy (shrinkage). As a result, dentures that were made to fit your mouth several years ago don’t fit now People often try to compensate for this by using more and more denture adhesive until the desired fit is achieved. Unfortunately, this can cause faster loss of bone and an even worse fit. We have some options available to treat these problems. In these cases, we may recommend we either reline your existing dentures for a better fit or make a new set of dentures.