Teeth FAQ

Keyword: Antibiotics and Appointments
Question: Do I need to take an antibiotic before my dental appointment?

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Dr. Stodola
Many dental patients need to take a prescribed antibiotic one hour before dental appointments due to heart problems or joint replacements. Dental procedures can cause bleeding gums, allowing bacteria from your mouth to enter the bloodstream and settle at your heart or artificial joint, risking infection. New guidelines were developed in 2007 that recommend prophylactic antibiotic premedication for patients with an artificial heart valve, a previous history of bacterial endocarditis, certain congenital heart defects, or heart transplant recipients. It is also needed for 2 years following joint replacement. The American Heart Association guidelines no longer recommend premedication for heart murmurs, history of rheumatic fever, or aortic stenosis. Your dentist and physician will work together to determine the appropriate course of antibiotic coverage for you.

Keyword: Baby Teeth
Question: Why fill baby teeth?

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Dr. Stodola
Baby or primary teeth have many functions: chewing, phonetics (speech), and holding space for permanent teeth. If decay in baby teeth is left untreated it can lead to pain and infection. This infection can also hurt the permanent tooth underneath. Broken down teeth can lead to a decrease in nutrition, which may affect physical and mental growth and development of the child. Front baby teeth are needed until age 6 while back teeth are needed until age 12. Whether to restore a decayed baby tooth depends on two considerations: the dental age of the child and the condition of the tooth in question. If an x-ray reveals that the cavity is small and the tooth is soon to be lost, treating the tooth would not be necessary. If it appears that the tooth will not be lost for years, removing the decay and placing a filling would be most prudent. If the tooth is severely decayed and/or shows signs of infection, further treatment or removing the tooth should be considered.

Keyword: Bad Breath
Question: What causes bad breath and what can I do about it?

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Dr. Maikon
The major cause of bad breath, halitosis, is food particles remaining in the mouth and on the tongue. Other causes include periodontal (gum) disease, xerostomia (dry mouth) due to disease or medications, tobacco products, diabetes, and nose and throat problems.

To eliminate bad breath you need to limit odor causing foods and tobacco, brush your teeth and floss daily, brush or use a tongue scraper to remove food trapped in the very back of your tongue, remove dentures and partials at night and clean them before replacing in the morning, and see your dentist to treat periodontal disease and the effects of xerostomia. Finally, mouth rinses are generally cosmetic and not long-lasting. Your dentist can prescribe a rinse which will further eliminate the odors that cause bad breath.

Keyword: Burning Mouth
Question: What is burning mouth syndrome?

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Dr. Stodola
Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a complex condition in which a burning pain occurs that may involve your tongue, lips or the entire mouth, without any obvious reason. Other symptoms may include dry mouth, sore tongue, tingling or numb sensation, or a bitter or metallic taste. BMS affects women seven times as often as men and generally occurs in middle-aged or older adults. The disorder has been associated with menopause, psychological problems (anxiety or depression), nutritional deficiencies (iron or B vitamins), oral thrush (yeast) and dry mouth. Treatment for BMS is difficult because a cause is not always known. Treatment may consist of oral thrush medications, B vitamins, and/or antidepressants. You may gain some relief by chewing on ice chips or sugar-free gum and avoiding irritating substances, such as alcohol-based mouthwashes, cinnamon or mint products, and smoking. If you have persistent pain or soreness in your mouth, see your dentist or physician.

Keyword: Canker Sore
Question: What is a canker sore?

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Dr. Stodola
Canker sores, also called aphthous ulcers, are small, round or oval shallow lesions with a white or yellow center and a red border that develop under your tongue, inside your cheeks or lips, and at the base of your gums. Unlike cold sores, canker sores don’t occur on the surface of your lips and aren’t contagious. They can be very painful and can make eating and talking difficult. The cause of canker sores is unclear, but outbreaks may be linked to a minor injury to your mouth, spicy or acidic foods, a faulty immune system, or a diet lacking in vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid or iron. Treatment isn’t necessary for minor canker sores, which tend to clear on their own in a week or two. But large, persistent or unusually painful lesions should be checked by your dentist.

Keyword: Chewing Tobacco
Question: How does chewing tobacco affect my mouth?

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Dr. Maikon
Like cigarettes, smokeless (chewing) tobacco products contain at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals. Smokeless tobacco is known to cause cancers of the mouth, lip, tongue, and pancreas. Users also may be at risk for cancer of the voice box, esophagus, colon and bladder, because they swallow some of the toxins in the juice created by using smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco can irritate your gum tissue, causing periodontal (gum) disease. Sugar is often added to enhance the flavor of smokeless tobacco, increasing the risk for tooth decay. Smokeless tobacco also typically contains sand and grit, which can wear down your teeth. Finally, smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, a very addictive substance. Quitting chewing tobacco can be as difficult as quitting cigarettes. Therefore, think before your chew.

Keyword: Cracked Tooth
Question: Do you have a cracked tooth?

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Dr. Maikon
When you bite down you feel a sharp pain that quickly disappears so you ignore it. You avoid certain foods or chew on one side of your mouth. A cracked tooth can result from a blow to the mouth, clenching or grinding your teeth, or uneven stress on a tooth. Teeth that have lost a large portion of tooth structure through age, wear or large fillings may be susceptible to cracking. A crack may appear as a hairline fracture, running vertically along the tooth that may not be visible to the eye or show on an x-ray thus making diagnosis difficult. You may not even be able to tell which tooth hurts or whether it is on the top or the bottom. Depending on your symptoms, the tooth may be restored with bonding or a crown. A severe crack may irritate the pulp inside the tooth requiring a root canal treatment or the tooth may even need to be removed. Therefore, seek treatment early if you have problems with cold sensitivity or biting on a tooth.

Keyword: Crown
Question: Why should I have a tooth crowned?

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Dr. Maikon
Crowns may be recommended when you have broken a portion of a tooth that has already been filled, to give strength to a tooth with a very large restoration and only a small part of the natural tooth left, to protect a tooth that has been root canal treated, and to prevent further fracture of a tooth with noticeable cracks or sensitivity. Crowns on front teeth can improve the appearance of teeth that are misshaped, broken, discolored, or have multiple fillings.

"Why not wait until the filling or tooth breaks?" The tooth could break beyond repair. If it breaks into the nerve of the tooth, further dental treatment is needed. Preserving the tooth will be less painful, less time consuming, and less costly if you do not wait.

Keyword: Crown Appointments
Question: I heard that a crown can be made in one visit is that true?

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Dr. Maikon
The future of dentistry is using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) in the dental of?ce needing no impression materials or return visits. E4D Dentist system uses hand-held scanning technology to obtain digital "impressions" of the patient’s teeth and smile. A highly intuitive dental software is used to design the patient’s crown which is then sent to a milling unit where a high-speed state-of-the-art instrumentation creates a metal-free, precision crown that ?ts the patient exactly all in the same visit. Thus modern dentistry that ?ts your modern lifestyle. Call today to see if an E4D restoration is right for you.

Keyword: Decay
Question: What causes tooth decay and how can it be prevented?

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Dr. Maikon
Tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is an oral disease that destroys healthy teeth. Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form plaque. The plaque interacts with the sugary and starchy foods left on your teeth and produces acids. These acids dissolve tooth enamel making the teeth weak. These acids can be counteracted by the saliva in your mouth which acts as a buffer. Chewing sugarless gum can stimulate saliva production. However, the best way to prevent cavities is to brush and floss regularly to remove all food that is left on your teeth. Fluoride, a natural substance that helps to remineralize the tooth structure, makes the tooth more resistant to the acid. Fluoride is found in toothpaste and water sources. Higher concentrations can be found in mouth rinses, supplements, and dentist applied gels and varnishes.

Keyword: Dental Emergencies
Question: My child just fell and hurt her tooth, what should I do?

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Dr. Maikon
Dental emergencies may include teeth that have been knocked out, forced out of position, or broken. When a tooth is knocked out, you should attempt to find the tooth, rinse it gently with water, place in milk, and take it to your dentist within a half an hour to see if it can be re-implanted. If the tooth is only pushed out of place it should be repositioned to its normal alignment with very light finger pressure and held in place with a moist tissue or gauze and see the dentist as quickly as possible. Fractured teeth are treated depending on how badly it is broken. Treatment may include smoothing, restoring with a filling material, or a crown. If the pulp is damaged further treatment is required. Sometimes signs of pulpal damage may not be known for years, therefore, continued follow up is needed.

Keyword: Dental Insurance
Question: Why doesn't my dental insurance pay for all of my dental work?

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Dr. Maikon
Your dental plan is designed to share in your dental costs. Dental bene?ts are determined by your employer with an insurance company. They determine the yearly maximum, the amount paid for services, and which services will be excluded. There are no regulations as to how insurance companies determine reimbursement levels. Many patients make decisions based on their coverage; however, this may limit your choices which may not be in your best interest. Your dentist has the knowledge and expertise to determine what is the best treatment for you, not your insurance company. Just because your insurance doesn’t cover it doesn’t mean it is not necessary. Therefore, call your insurance company with any questions and listen to your dentist to receive the best treatment for you.

Keyword: Denture
Question: What is a denture?

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Dr. Maikon
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjoining tissues. Complete dentures replace all of the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from shifting position. Complete dentures are either "conventional" or "immediate". A conventional denture is placed in the mouth after all of the teeth have been removed and the extraction sites have healed. An immediate denture is placed on the day the teeth are removed. New denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their new “teeth”, because even best-fitting dentures will feel awkward at first. For some patients, conventional dentures may need extra retention beyond the patient’s own ridges or denture adhesives. Dental implants can be placed so that the denture is held in by rings, clips, or screws. Not everyone is a candidate for implants so talk to your dentist to learn more.

Keyword: Diabetes
Question: What kind of problems can occur in my mouth due to diabetes?

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Dr. Stodola
The most common oral health problems associated with diabetes are tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, prolonged sores, fungal infections, xerostomia (dry mouth), infections, delayed healing, and problems with taste. When diabetes is not controlled properly, high glucose levels in saliva may help bacteria thrive, causing repeated acid attacks on teeth, causing the tooth enamel to break down and eventually resulting in cavities. Diabetes also reduces the body’s resistance to infection. Patients with inadequate blood sugar control appear to develop periodontal (gum) disease more often and more severely, and they lose more teeth than people who have good control of their diabetes. Practice good oral hygiene at home, follow your physician’s instructions regarding diet and medications, and schedule regular dental checkups to maintain a healthy smile.

Keyword: Dry Mouth
Question: What causes dry mouth and what can I do about it?

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Dr. Stodola
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, happens when salivary glands fail to work properly due to certain medications, aging, radiation or chemotherapy, stress, or diseases like diabetes. This can cause soreness of the mouth and tongue, make it difficult to speak, eat, and swallow, alter the sense of taste, and also cause an increase in tooth decay and infections of the mouth. A decrease in saliva puts people at risk for cavities and gum disease because saliva rinses away food particles and neutralizes harmful acids. Your first line of defense against dry mouth should be good oral hygiene and nutritional habits, drinking plenty of water and using supplemental fluoride. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. Chewing sugarless gum or using artificial saliva may help. If you have any questions about this condition, ask your dentist.

Keyword: Fillings Replaced
Question: Why should a filling be replaced?

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Dr. Maikon
Fillings do not last forever. Cold or hot foods cause the fillings to expand or contract causing the fillings to chip. This leads to open margins or gaps between the tooth and the filling, much like potholes form in streets, allowing bacteria to make a new cavity next to the old filling.

Staining sometimes occurs in tooth-colored fillings. Smoking or drinking coffee or tea can cause discolorations. Replacement with newer tooth-colored materials will improve the function and appearance. You never out grow cavities but you can minimize dental treatment by daily flossing and brushing and regular examinations to catch those fillings which need to be replaced at an early stage.

Keyword: Grinding
Question: I grind my teeth, what can be done?

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Dr. Stodola
Grinding or bruxism, can be caused by stressful situations, problems sleeping, an abnormal bite, crooked or missing teeth, and can occur at any age. Grinding can wear tooth enamel, fracture teeth, and may loosen teeth. Many people are unaware they are grinding because it often happens while they are asleep. Some symptoms of grinding are waking up with a headache, toothache, earache, or sore face. A dentist will recommend a custom-made night guard to fit over the upper teeth and prevents contact with the lower teeth while sleeping. Additional treatment may be needed for an abnormal bite by reducing high spots, crowns, or braces. If you suspect you are grinding your teeth, see your dentist about protecting your smile.

Keyword: Gum Disease
Question: I have been told I have gum disease. What is it?

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Dr. Maikon
Teeth are held in place by surrounding gums and bone. Plaque, a sticky coating of bacteria, is the main threat to teeth and what supports them. If not removed with brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into tartar or calculus. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, starts when tartar or plaque build up at the gum line. The gums become inflamed and irritated, allowing a space or pocket to form between the tooth and the gum tissue. If untreated, bone is lost and the pocket becomes deeper. Signs of this disease include red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums, bad breath, pus between the teeth and gums, loose teeth, or changes in your bite. Gum disease is often silent, similar to high blood pressure. Dental professionals can diagnosis and treat this disease.

Certain factors increase your risk of getting gum disease. Smoking, diabetes, a suppressed immune system, and some medications which cause mouth dryness or overgrowth of the gum tissue. Daily home care and following the advice of your dentist is crucial to a healthy mouth.

Keyword: Laughing Gas
Question: What is laughing gas?

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Dr. Stodola
Laughing gas or nitrous oxide is a sweet smelling gas that is inhaled, along with oxygen, through a nasal mask. It is commonly used dental sedative that produces giddiness or euphoria, which is why people frequently call it “laughing gas”. Dentists often use this with anxious patients to help them relax. It is often used along with local anesthetics and pain medications. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the body and has a calming effect. It may raise a patient’s pain threshold and make the time appear to pass quickly. Normal breathing eliminates this gas from the body. Nitrous oxide can be used with virtually any patient expect pregnant women and patients with certain lung diseases.

Keyword: Minimally Invasive Dentistry
Question: What is minimally invasive dentistry?

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Dr. Maikon
The goal of minimally invasive dentistry is to conserve healthy tooth structure. It focuses on prevention, remineralization, and minimal dentist intervention. Prevention includes sealants and bite splints. Sealants donít require any tooth structure to be removed as a dental coating is placed on the grooves and depressions of the tooth. Many people grind their teeth at night; a bite splint can prevent serious damage to your teeth. Remineralization uses products which contain fluoride and/or calcium phosphate to repair the damage on the surface of the teeth from poor oral hygiene, sugary and acidic foods. Finally, dentists can now detect cavities earlier and use materials that require only a small amount of the tooth to be removed thus preserving strong healthy tooth structure.

Keyword: Mouth Guards
Question: I play sports, do I need a mouth guard?

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Dr. Maikon
Anyone who participates in a contact sport, like football, boxing, hockey, and basketball, should wear a mouth protector. However, baseball, gymnastics, soccer, racquetball, and volleyball should also be considered. Mouth guards usually cover the upper teeth and cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth, jaw injury, and cuts to the lips, tongue or face.

There are three types of mouth guards. A stock protector is preformed, ready to wear. They usually don’t fit well and are bulky. Many sporting goods stores have the boil and bite mouth guards. They fit better than stock ones if you follow the directions closely. Finally, there are custommade protectors that are properly fitted by your dentist. This guard is especially important for those who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. Give your teeth a sporting chance by wearing a mouth guard.

Keyword: Oral Piercing
Question: Oral piercing - is it worth it?

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Dr. Maikon
Before getting an oral piercing, you should consider these notso- glamorous facts about having one. Since your mouth contains millions of bacteria, infections are a common complication, along with bleeding, nerve damage, pain, and swelling. Swelling of the tongue can be so severe that it could close off your airway.

The jewelry causes trouble by hindering your ability to speak, taste, and eat. You can choke on studs, barbells, or hoops that come loose. Some people develop a habit of biting or playing with the balls which can crack teeth requiring emergency dental treatment. Pushing the jewelry against the gums can lead to gum recession and sensitivity.

Don’t pierce on a whim. The piercing will be an added responsibility to your life. It will need constant attention and upkeep. So is it worth it?

Keyword: Root Canal
Question: What is a root canal?

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Dr. Stodola
There are three layers to a tooth: enamel, dentin, and the pulp. When the pulp is damaged, by injury or decay, it slowly dies. This may be painful or cause swelling. Some teeth die silently and only show up as abscessed on a dental x-ray. Root canal treatment is performed to remove this damaged pulp and allows you to keep the tooth for function, bone support, and smiling.

Treatment often involves one to three visits. The procedure is not much different than a filling appointment, you are numbed up and the tooth isolated. First, the pulp tissue is removed using very small instruments. Then, the tooth is cleaned and sealed to prevent bacteria from re-entering the pulp canal. Finally, the biting surface of the tooth will be restored with a permanent filling or crown, as advised by your dentist.

Keyword: Sealants
Question: What are the benefits of sealants?

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Dr. Maikon
Sealants are a thin plastic coating that are easily placed on the biting surface of permanent molars and premolars. The sealant fills the tiny grooves and pits on the chewing surface of our back teeth that may be difficult to clean. Sealants protect against plaque buildup, which may lead to cavities. Sealants are most beneficial if placed when the tooth has just erupted, with first molars erupting around age 6.

Sealants are a preventive treatment, but do wear out. Sealants will last longer if you avoid hard, sugary, or sticky foods, and maintain good cleaning habits and regular dental check-ups.

Keyword: Sensitivity
Question: My teeth are sensitive, what can I do?

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Dr. Maikon
Cavities and fractured teeth can cause sensitive teeth, but if your dentist has ruled these out, then worn tooth enamel or an exposed tooth root may be the cause. When the tooth loses its protective covering air, cold foods, and even tooth brushing can stimulate the nerves inside the tooth causing hypersensitivity or discomfort. Fortunately, this does not cause permanent damage to the tooth.

Sensitive teeth can be treated. Desensitizing toothpaste contain potassium nitrate which blocks the sensations. Fluoride gels that are brushed on or applied in trays may be prescribed or the dentist can place fluoride varnish or a desensitizing agent. All of these products require repeated applications but are an easy and effective way to help you get pain free.

Keyword: Smoking
Question: What can I do to help kick the smoking habit?

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Dr. Stodola
There are many effective methods that can help you kick the smoking habit. For many people, medication can be the key to getting through the first weeks or months without cigarettes. The FDA has approved seven medications to help smokers quit. Five of these medications help you manage withdrawal symptoms and urges by providing small amounts of nicotine. Examples include Nicorette gum, Nicoderm patch, and Commit lozenge. The other two options are the prescription drugs bupropion (Zyban and Wellbutrin), and varenicline (Chantix). Research shows that taking these can help reduce cravings for cigarettes. Studies also show that using one of these scientifically tested treatments could double your success rate for smoking cessation. Ask your dentist or doctor about these medications and other information on how to quit smoking.

Keyword: Snoring
Question: My spouse snores, what can be done?

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Dr. Stodola
Snoring is a sign of strained breathing that can affect your ability to have restful sleep and may be a sign of a more serious problem, sleep apnea. Mouth appliances or jaw advancement splints, have been effective for many snorers. They are usually removable custom devices worn in the mouth during sleep, bringing your lower jaw forward to prevent the throat tissues and/or tongue from closing off the airway. Call our office for further information.

Keyword: Sugarless Gum
Question: Can chewing sugarless gum help prevent cavities?

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Dr. Stodola
Yes, studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay by promoting the production of saliva, a natural mouthrinse, to help neutralize tooth-decaying acids in plaque. Xylitol (a natural sugar-free sweetener) and Recaldent (a milk protein that contains calcium and phosphate) are two speci?c ingredients to look for in a sugarless gum. Gum sweetened with xylitol can reduce and control the amount of bacteria that cause decay. Many sugarless gums contain xylitol, just look for it on the label. Recaldent binds to the plaque layer on the tooth surface and releases calcium and phosphate (the building blocks of tooth enamel) to help remineralize the tooth. At this point, only Trident XtraCare and Trident White have Recaldent. Chewing gum after meals should not replace daily brushing and ?ossing but if you can’t, chewing sugarless gum is an alternative.

Keyword: TMJ
Question: What is Tempormandibular disorder (TMD)?

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Dr. Maikon
TMD, formerly known as TMJ, is a group of problems related to the jaw muscles and jaw joints. When not functioning properly, the muscles spasm (cramp) leading to a cycle of tissue damage, pain, muscle soreness, clicking or popping noises, headaches, and neckaches. Causes include trauma, arthritis, stress, or oral habits such as clenching or grinding the teeth especially when you are unaware during sleep. The repetitive motions of clenching or grinding tires the muscles and makes them spasm. Minor problems like clicking or popping without pain usually do not require treatment. Treatment for TMD vary based on your symptoms. A dentist may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, or muscle relaxants to eliminate the pain. Bite splints will help eliminate the harmful effects of clenching and grinding. Relaxation techniques for stress reduction or physical therapy for muscle spasms may also be recommended.

Keyword: Tooth Replacement
Question: What can be done to replace a tooth that has been removed?

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Dr. Maikon
You have the choice of a removable partial denture, fixed bridges, or implants. A removable partial denture can replace one or more teeth supported by metal or plastic frames. Since it is removable it usually costs less than a fixed replacement. A fixed bridge is made up of two crowns linked by a replacement tooth, requiring a natural tooth on both sides of the space. If the natural teeth have large restorations or cracks, crowning them will be beneficial. If the natural teeth have little or no restorations then it would not be advisable to remove tooth structure for crowns. In that case, implants would be recommended. An implant is an artificial, metal root placed in the space of the missing tooth. This procedure requires the most time, but functions like a natural tooth.

Keyword: Toothpaste
Question: What toothpaste should I use?

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Dr. Stodola
Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel and remineralize tooth decay. Look for a toothpaste with the ADA seal of acceptance because it has undergone testing to insure its safety and effectiveness. Beyond that, it’s a personal choice. Some toothpastes contain ingredients such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride to help reduce tooth sensitivity. Stannous fluoride and triclosan help reduce gingivitis, a mild inflammation of the gum tissue. Pyrophosphates are found in tartar control toothpastes and help prevent tartar from forming above the gumline, but they may cause tooth sensitivity. Modified silica abrasives or enzymes that are found in whitening toothpastes can help brighten teeth by removing surface stains, but have no effect on the color of the teeth themselves.

Keyword: Veneers
Question: What are porcelain veneers?

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Dr. Stodola
Porcelain veneers are ultrathin shells of ceramic material that are bonded to the front of teeth, giving a natural, esthetic look. Veneers are routinely used by dentists to make cosmetic changes to teeth that are discolored, worn, chipped, or misaligned. A thorough discussion with your dentist will determine if veneers are right for you. The next appointment involves some minor contouring of the teeth and taking an impression, which is sent to a dental laboratory for fabrication of the veneers. Upon their return, the veneers are tried in and bonded in place. In just a few visits, you may enhance your smile and your life.

Keyword: White Fillings
Question: I need a filling, can I have a white filling?

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Dr. Maikon
One option to restore a tooth is a tooth-colored material called composite. Composite fillings are a mixture of acrylic resin and finely ground glass-like particles that produce a tooth-colored material. Composites are “bonded” or adhesively held in a cavity, often allowing the dentist to be more conservative in the preparation. Composites provide durability and resistance to fracture in small to mid-sized restorations. Composites may also be used to seal small cracks.

The cost is moderate and depends on the size of the filling and the technique used. The time required to place a composite is usually longer than a silver restoration because the tooth needs to be kept clean and dry during the bonding process. An intense light is used to harden the material thus allowing you to chew on it right away. Ask your dentist if a composite restoration is right for you.

Keyword: Whitening
Question: How can I brighten my smile?

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Dr. Maikon
Whitening or bleaching your teeth is the most common way to brighten your smile. Consider whitening if your teeth are darkened from age, foods, or smoking. Teeth darkened with the color of yellow, brown, or orange respond best. Gray stains, due to tetracycline or heredity, are harder to whiten. If you have sensitive teeth, periodontal disease, or worn enamel, you may not be a candidate for whitening.

Whitening systems have either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide as its active ingredient. The teeth lighten when the peroxide comes in contact with the surface of the tooth. Systems vary in how it is applied to your teeth and for how long. The most predictable system would be one that is custom made for you by a dentist. Whitening does take some time but the results will be a brighter smile.

Keyword: Wisdom Teeth
Question: Why should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

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Dr. Maikon
Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars, the last teeth to develop, and usually erupt in your late teens or early twenties. Most often our jaws are too small to allow these molars to come in and become trapped, or impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to crowding or shifting of your other teeth. They may only come in partially, making it difficult to clean, thus the odds increase for decay or gum infection around these and adjacent teeth. If they don’t come in at all, cysts may form that destroy the surrounding bone.

It is important to have wisdom teeth removed as soon as your dentist advises. Over time, your wisdom teeth become more firmly anchored in your jaw as their roots lengthen and your jaw becomes denser, making them more difficult to remove. You may have better health when you are younger allowing you to heal quicker and have less complications from the surgery. Therefore, to protect your mouth from future problems, your dentist may recommend early removal of your wisdom teeth.

Keyword: X-rays
Question: Why do I need dental x-rays?

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Dr. Stodola
Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when your dentist examines your mouth clinically. An x-ray exam may reveal the presence of small cavities between the teeth, periodontal disease, infections in the bone, abnormal tooth eruption, abscesses, cysts, and tumors. A failure to diagnose and treat these conditions before obvious signs and symptoms have developed can threaten your oral and general health. The frequency of x-ray examinations is based on your dentist’s assessment of your individual needs, including whether you’re a new patient or a follow-up patient, adult or child. X-ray examinations are useful for finding and treating dental problems at an early stage, which can save time and money and avoid unnecessary discomfort.