Click on any question below
dental x-rays harmful? Can't radiation be
dangerous for the body?
do we have to visit the dentist twice a year? If I
take care of my teeth, shouldn't once a year be
does it mean if my gums bleed when I brush or
it really possible to keep my teeth and gums
healthy for a lifetime?
have been told I have bad breath. What over the
counter product can I buy to prevent this?
Q: Are drills really becoming
obsolete? I've now heard on several
occasions about laser and sand blasters to remove
decay. Do these really work?
dentist told me I need a root canal. Wouldn't it
be easier to just pull the tooth?
don't have insurance, so I haven't been to a
dentist in a few years. Nothing hurts so do I
really need a checkup?
currently wear a full upper denture. The six teeth
that I still have on the bottom are in bad shape.
I don't want to get them pulled, because I've
heard how bad lower dentures fit. What can I do?
considered getting my teeth bleached. Does
bleaching really work? Also, do the drug store
bleaching kits work as well as ones available
through my dentist?
bleaching damage your teeth?
must admit that the only reason I don't go to the
dentist is that I'm afraid. I know I should make
an appointment but even if I did, I probably would
be so anxious that I wouldn't show up. What can be
done for me?
are so many different kinds of toothpaste on the
market. Does it really matter what kind I use? And
what about grandma's idea that all you need is
kind of toothbrush should I use?
dentist told me that I could have a tooth colored
filling. I believe they're more expensive than
dark colored silver-mercury fillings but do they
have heard about implants for missing teeth. Do
they really work? How strong are they?
teeth don't hurt, but my dentist says I have
problems with them. Is that possible?
have heard that the old style silver fillings can
crack teeth. Is there any truth to that?
was told that I should get sealants on my child's
teeth. What are they and are they really
have noticed that my teeth are getting shorter. Is
there anything that can be done to stop this?
gums don't bleed but my dentist says I have gum
disease? Is that possible?
have a space between my front teeth and they're a
little crooked also. I have been told that I would
need braces. Is there anything else that can be
done, other than braces?
am a smoker. I have heard that smoking can cause
me to have gum disease and possibly lose my teeth.
I have noticed that my front teeth have a space
between that wasn't there in the past. Can I lose
my teeth because of smoking?
child brushes regularly and doesn't eat a lot of
candy, yet it seems that at every six-month
checkup, he has new cavities. What could be the
Q. Are dental x-rays harmful? Can't
radiation be dangerous for the body?
with state-of-the-art equipment exposure is
minimum. You will be covered with a lead apron and
updated units have filters decreasing exposure to
negligible levels. One thing to remember is that
dental x-rays are never automatically taken. The
decision is based on clinical necessity. Express
your concerns at your next dental visit and ask
your dentist to explain the procedure.
Q: Why do we have to visit the
dentist twice a year? If I take care of my teeth,
shouldn't once a year be enough?
American Dental Association does recommend 2 to 4
visits per year depending on your particular
dental health. Even the champion brusher/flosser
is not able to remove all deposits on the teeth
and below the gum line. Regular preventive oral
care is a wise investment and may actually help
you save money in the long run. Therefore, seeing
your dentist as recommended and adequate oral
hygiene will ensure optimal dental health.
Q: What does it mean if my gums
bleed when I brush or floss?
ANSWER: The bleeding is the first warning sign of gum
disease (also called periodontal disease). Gum
disease is the number 1 cause of tooth loss. In
fact, the ADA estimates that 70-80% of all adults
will have it in some form or another. It is caused
by plaque, a film of bacteria that forms on the
teeth. Because gum disease is painless, you may
not know you even have it. However, knowing that
bleeding gums are not "normal", make an
appointment to see your dentist right away.
Q: It is really possible to keep
my teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime?
answer is definitely, yes! With routine preventive
dental care in combination with excellent oral
hygiene, your teeth could be with you for life. Be
sure you are visiting your dentist as necessary
and are caring for your teeth and gums as
Q: I have been told I have bad
breath. What over the counter product can I buy to
ANSWER: 80% of
bad breath (a condition called halitosis) comes
from tooth decay, gum disease and bacteria on the
tongue. Only about 2% comes from certain stomach
conditions. Your best bet is to talk to your
dentist about this. A complete examination of the
teeth and gums is necessary in order to determine
really becoming obsolete? I've now heard on
several occasions about laser and sand blasters to
remove decay. Do these really work?
Drills, also known as dental handpieces, are not
becoming obsolete but today there are many other
good choices as well. The latest dental handpieces
are air turbines many of which have fiber optics
(for illumination). Techniques and products
associated with the use of these instruments have
greatly improved over the past few years - and the
use of the dental handpiece is still a very safe,
effective and efficient way to remove decay. Air
Abrasion Units can remove shallow, restricted
areas of decay and are helpful for working with
children. Lasers work well for soft tissue use,
but for removing decay and preparing damaged teeth
they are not as effective. With today's
technology- most patients can expect little to no
discomfort during the use of either a dental
handpiece, a Dental Laser and/or an air abrasion
unit for removing decay. Discuss with your dentist
the best and most effective technique for your
Q: My dentist told me I need a
root canal. Wouldn't it be easier to just pull the
In reality, quite the opposite is true.. Many
patients are unaware of complications that exist
following the removal of a natural tooth. Tooth
loss can sometimes lead to a domino effect -
causing other teeth to protrude or shift. With the
latest techniques, endodontics (root canal
therapy) is far more predictable and more
comfortable for the patient than ever before.
Keeping your natural teeth for a lifetime is
generally the safest and best option to consider.
With today's techniques - Root Canal Therapy can
be a comfortable, safe and effective way of
preventing tooth loss - an investment that will
help you to save your teeth - and also actually
SAVE you money in the end! Speak with your dentist
about what makes the most sense for your
Q: I don't have insurance, so I
haven't been to a dentist in a few years. Nothing
hurts so do I really need a checkup?
Having regular checkups prevents major
problems. Unfortunately, many dental problems
occur without any warning. Nothing hurts until
there is a significant problem. Before you know
it, you've got problems. Extensive dental care is
often required for patients who delay, postpone
and avoid regularly scheduled visits. Prevention
is the key to avoiding costly, extensive dental
care. Undetected decay, cysts, tumors, and dental
abscesses often lie "silently" below the surface -
causing no pain or swelling. Why wait for these
problems to surface through the onset of a painful
experience? See your dentist today to rest assured
that you're in excellent dental health!
Q: I currently wear a full upper
denture. The six teeth that I still have on the
bottom are in bad shape. I don't want to get them
pulled, because I've heard how bad lower dentures
fit. What can I do?
There are lots of stories out there
about the retention or fit of a lower denture. In
some cases, maintenance of existing natural teeth
can provide support and anchorage for lower
dentures. If they are not in good shape, there are
other alternatives available. Your dentist can
provide you with a complete and thorough
examination of your teeth and gums to best
determine your options for your dental
Q: I've considered getting my
teeth bleached. Does bleaching really work? Also,
do the drug store bleaching kits work as good as
ones available through my dentist?
Teeth Whitening (or bleaching) works
extremely well for many patients. As far as the
drug store kits go... it might be wise to remember
the old cliche - "If it seems too good to be true,
it probably is!". Drug store remedies and
quick-fix techniques such as "whitening strips"
are often "low cost" and "low power" short term
solutions to achieving a whiter smile! Consumers
report that the drug store whitening products are
messier and the results are not as good as
desired. Fast acting, safe and noticeable Teeth
Whitening uses stronger more powerful ingredients,
which require the supervision of a dental
professional/expert. Today's dental professionals
are trained experts in helping you to achieve a
righter/whiter smile! New techniques in dentistry
can often allow patients to see amazing results in
a period of a few weeks, days and sometimes as
little as 1 hour! Call your dentist today to
discuss what options might be available for a
younger, brighter and whiter smile!
Q: Can bleaching damage your
Professional teeth whitening solutions are safe
when properly used. Always use caution when
attempting the "bleaching" process without the
support and advice of a dental professional. Your
dentist should evaluate low cost kits promising
quick results. He or She will be able to advise
you as to how best to protect yourself and your
smile when it comes to "bleaching" your teeth. In
most cases, the professional Whitening Process is
a very safe and effective means to reaching the
results you'd like for a brighter smile. Allow
your dentist to guide you towards the best option.
Q: I must admit that the only
reason I don't go to the dentist is that I'm
afraid. I know I should make an appointment but
even if I did, I probably would be so anxious that
I wouldn't show up. What can be done for me?
know this, YOU are not alone with your
fear/anxiety of dental treatment. Millions of
people have fear/anxiety related to dental
procedures. Relaxation techniques such as Oral
Sedation (safe, mild, effective "sleepy time"
medications) are available to help patients to
ease anxiety and allow them to "snooze" through
the process. In severe cases of anxiety/fear, IV
Sedation (stronger medications given intravenously
and administered by a trained medical/dental
professional) is also available today. You'll be
able to openly discuss Oral Sedation and IV
Sedation options with your Dentist. These
procedures have proven to be safe and effective
when administered by a dental professional.
Q: There are so many
different kinds of toothpaste on the market. Does
it really matter what kind I use? And what about
grandma's idea that all you need is baking soda?
Answer: You are
right, there are lots of choices on the market
today! The truth is that certain toothpaste
options may be better for some than for others.
Everyone has his or her favorites...and yes;
Grandma's idea of baking soda is still in
existence today! Today's dentists and dental
hygienists often recommend the use of fluoride
toothpaste with only mild abrasives. During your
next appointment, be sure to talk with your
dentist about your best toothpaste options.
Q: What kind of toothbrush should I
a toothbrush that has a SOFT bristle (scrubbing
teeth with HARD bristle brushes doesn't actually
do a better job of cleaning and can often damage
your gums). There are many exciting innovations
taking place with the newest in electronic
toothbrushes. When used properly, electronic
toothbrushes do a great job. When used improperly,
they too, can cause damage. It's always a good
idea to make an appointment with your dentist to
discuss the use of an electronic toothbrush and
review brushing techniques. Your dentist will be
able to make recommendations as to the best
toothbrush option for you - whether manual or
Q: My dentist told me
that I could have a tooth colored filling. I
believe they're more expensive than dark colored
silver-mercury fillings and do they work?
tooth colored filling materials have been around
for quite some time now. In some cases, the
investment for tooth colored restorations can
exceed that of the old silver, mercury filled
material and there's a good reason for that. Tooth
colored (composite) fillings require more
attention to detail and more time for actual
placement. The materials used in composite
restorations are more costly as well. And yes,
tooth colored fillings do work! Composite fillings
bond directly to the tooth and are light cured
making the tooth stronger than it would be with a
silver filling. They bond and strengthen the
teeth, whereas the silver mercury fillings fill
the holes, but do not strengthen the tooth.
Q: I have heard about implants
for missing teeth. Do they really work? How strong
Implants are some of the most exciting options
available today to replace missing teeth. If
you're missing teeth - or even if you're missing
only one tooth --dental implants may be an option
for you. Because dental implants are imbedded in
bone, they simulate natural teeth better than a
denture or bridge. When placed by a trained
professional, dental implants are durable and can
last for decades. Visit the American Academy of
Implant Dentistry's website at -
www.aaid-implant.org to learn more about dental
implants or discuss this option with your own
Q: My teeth don't hurt, but my
dentist says I have problems with them. Is that
Answer: As with
medical problems, many times you are unaware until
there is a significant problem. Undetected dental
problems such as decay, abscesses, wear from
misaligned bites, tumors, oral cancer, cysts, and
periodontal disease often lie dormant with no
signs of pain or swelling. Your dentist can often
diagnose these problems before they turn into
nightmares! If you are unsure about the diagnosis
you've been given, tell your dentist. In most
cases your dentist will be more than willing to
help you to actually "see" the problems through
the use of dental x-rays, intra oral cameras and
digital cameras. If you're still unsure - ask your
dentist about the possibility of seeking a second
opinion. Don't worry about the possibility of your
dentist being offended by your request - most
dentists will welcome your interest and be happy
to do whatever it takes to reassure you of the
Q: I have heard that the old
style silver fillings can crack teeth. Is there
any truth to that?
(traditional mercury, silver and other material
make up dental amalgam) fillings do not bond to
the tooth. The amalgam filling material actually
just sits in a "pocket" or an area in the tooth
created by your dentist. Healthy parts of your
tooth must often be removed to make a space large
enough to hold an amalgam filling. There is a
greater risk that old-style amalgam fillings can
expand sometimes-causing teeth to crack or break.
With newer tooth colored (composite) restorations
cracks or breaks in natural tooth structure are
less likely because they actually bond to the
tooth. Have your dentist evaluate the old amalgam
fillings in your mouth. Replacement of an amalgam
filling and restoration of a new tooth colored
filling material is typically easy for the patient
and in most cases can be accomplished in one
visit. Replacements of amalgam fillings can also
create a stronger, more long lasting tooth
structure with the appearance of your natural
teeth. In most cases, only a dental professional
will be able to tell the difference.
I was told that I should
get sealants on my child's teeth. What are they
and are they really necessary?
placing a thin clear application of acrylic bonded
to the biting surfaces of a tooth, decay can be
prevented. Sealants for children are recommended
for deciduous teeth (primary - sometimes called
"baby teeth") as well as, permanent teeth. Some
parents question this diagnosis due to the fact
that the deciduous teeth will later be lost or
removed making room for the permanent teeth.
Placing this protective covering over primary
teeth will help prevent decay and maintain the
"baby tooth" in its position to prevent long-term
problems from occurring with the permanent teeth.
Sealants are recommended for permanent teeth to
resist decay (cavities). Sealants are very
affordable and can help preserve your child's
teeth and prevent decay, thus preventing future
problems. They are an excellent investment in your
child's dental health!
Q: I have noticed that my teeth
are getting shorter. Is there anything that can be
done to stop this?
should see your dentist as soon as possible.
Through a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth
and gums, your dentist can begin to determine what
is causing your teeth to become shorter. In some
cases, this situation is caused by poor occlusion
(the way your teeth fit together when they're
closed), how you chew and/or by tooth grinding
during sleep. The good news is that, there are
several techniques that are used to prevent your
teeth from becoming shorter. Your dentist will
determine if you are a candidate for Splint
Therapy. Splint Therapy often involves the design
of an Occulsal Guard (Night Guard/Night Appliance)
to protect your teeth. The Occulsal Guard is a
removable acrylic appliance usually worn at night
to prevent bruxism (grinding of teeth) or joint
problems associated with TMJ. In some cases Splint
Therapy also includes a process called
equilaibration. Equilibration (adjusting the bite
through the process of tooth surface reduction.)
Ask your doctor about the best course of action
Q: My gums don't bleed but my
dentist says I have gum disease? Is that possible?
Answer: Periodontal Disease (gum disease) is often
referred to as a "Silent Disease" which can lead
to bone loss and eventual tooth loss. Although
bleeding gums can be an early indication of
Periodontal Disease, bleeding is not always
present. A periodontal charting evaluation can be
performed to measure the depth of detached tissue
around the root structure of your teeth. This
measurement will indicate the severity of the gum
disease and help your dentist to monitor
improvement as periodontal treatment is performed.
Your Dentist and/or Dental Hygienist will be happy
to provide you with your dental charting
evaluation scores and educate you on the process.
If you are a smoker, the odds are significant that
you will have gum disease and your gums may never
bleed. Ask your dentist for an evaluation.
Q: I have a space between my
front teeth and they're a little crooked also. I
have been told that I would need braces. Is there
anything else that can be done, other than braces?
Answer: In some
cases, Cosmetic Dentistry can be an alternative to
Orthodontics (braces). Many patients have been
extremely pleased with the results of cosmetic
dental procedures used to close spaces between
teeth and also to make them appear straighter.
Talk to your dentist about the options available
for your specific situation. Ask to see "Before
and After" portfolios/pictures of such cases.
Dentists are always happy to share their patient's
"Smiling Success Stories".
Q: I am a smoker. I have heard
that smoking can cause me to have gum disease and
possibly lose my teeth. I have noticed that my
front teeth have a space between that wasn't there
in the past. Can I lose my teeth because of
Answer: Nicotine decreases oxygen flow to gums and
bone. Complications can include infection with
bleeding and swelling. This infection can cause
the teeth to shift creating spaces between the
teeth. This condition is call Periodontal Disease
and can lead to eventual tooth loss. Smoking IS a
contributing factor to tooth loss. Through a
comprehensive evaluation of your teeth and gums,
your dentist can help you to understand the
negative effects that smoking may have on your
dental health. Getting the gum disease under
control is something that the dentist can help you
with. Today's dental professionals are also very
involved in helping their patients to stop
smoking. Ask your Dentist about the support of
prescription medications and education available
to help during your "stop smoking" commitment.
Q: My child brushes regularly and
doesn't eat a lot of candy, yet it seems that at
every six-month checkup, he has new cavities. What
could be the problem?
Recurrent decay in children is a true concern in
today's world. If your child is brushing and
flossing on a regular basis (3-4 times per day and
after every meal) and keeping his hands out of the
"candy jar".... look at other causes for recurrent
decay. Since sugar is a leading cause of tooth
decay - Look for hidden forms of sugar in products
such as soft drinks or fruit drinks. Kids
favorites such as Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew are
especially high in sugar. Monitor/decrease or stop
your child's intake of such products and see if
this makes a difference! In some cases, your
Dentist may also recommend the addition of
fluoride supplements. Involve your children in
dental health education - you're dental hygienist
will be happy to spend time with your children to
help them understand their responsibility in the
maintenance of optimum dental health.