Many of my patients often have similar concerns & questions about their oral health. I am happy to answer your questions to the best of my ability & welcome any questions that are not listed below. A well-informed patient is a happy patient that is able to play an active role in their dental care.
I was told that I must have all of my “old silver“ fillings replaced because of health risks or because they are breaking down. Is that true?
Beware of any source that makes such blanket statements. Ask to be shown, or referred to, scientifically documented evidence that addresses true risks vs. benefits of replacing all of your fillings. Just because a filling looks "old" or dark, it doesn't mean it is not still doing it's .iob. According to numerous scientific & long term studies, the American Dental Society and the American Medical Association have never found any evidence that amalgam (silver) fillings cause any type of physical or mental disease or syndrome. Unlike its newer dental composite (tooth colored filling) counterpart, it has withstood the test of time and remains a durable, economical and safe filling material. Newer dental composite materials are, of course, a more acceptable choice where aesthetics are important (i.e., restoring teeth that are readily visible) but are not as durable in molar areas as are full crowns, onlays, inlays or amalgams. There are many articles at ada.org that address more thoroughly any questions regarding the safety of amalgam restorations.
Aren't harder bristle toothbrushes better for cleaning teeth?
You should always use soft, or ultra-soft brushes to clean your teeth. Anything harder can cause an increased incidence of gum recession which can lead to a condition called cervical abrasion. Hard bristle brushes are hard on the gums and can actually end up damaging exposed root surfaces of teeth, making them sensitive to hot or cold, and may increase the risk of tooth decay. Soft tooth brushes do an adequate job of cleaning teeth.
Do my gums bleed because I brush and/or floss too hard?
Bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis and gum disease caused by inflammation and/or infection, caused by bacteria that live in plaque and tartar. Bleeding gums usually mean that one is not brushing frequently enough or adequately enough. If flossing is performed on a regular bassi, bleeding will be reduced and even eliminated, regardless of how hard one does so. Flossing is the only way to eliminate plaque from between your teeth.
Is bleaching bad for my teeth?
Several studies have shown that bleaching is safe and effective. The American Dental Association has granted its seal of approval to some tooth bleaching products. Some patients may experience slight gum irritation or tooth sensitivity, which will resolve when the treatment ends. Your dentist will provide you with instructions for safely using at-home bleaching products. You should always follow these instructions and be careful not to overuse teeth-bleaching products. Over-the-counter bleaching products, while not as concentrated, use similar ingredients as prescribed solutions. Always follow the instructions with any product or method used.
I wear complete dentures, so I never need to go to the dentist, right?
You should see your dentist regularly, even if you have full dentures. Dentures can become loose over time and may need relining. A dentist also performs soft tissue exams of your gums and other tissues in the mouth checking for oral cancer, infections and other conditions. The head, neck glands and structures are also exmamined to detect any abnormal growths and infections.
Aren't dental x-rays dangerous and high in radiation?
All healthcare providers are sensitive to patients' concerns about exposure to radiation. Your dentist has been trained to prescribe radiographs when they are appropriate and to tailor radiographic schedules to each patient's individual needs. When approved equipment and techniques are used, patients are exposed to a minimal amount of radioation. Dental x-rays are focused and very short in duration. Materials such as film are constantly being refined and improved to insure patient safety. Without dental x-rays, many dental conditions such as tooth decay, infections, tumors and periodontal disease would never be detected or discovered until it's too late.
What is a dental implant?
An implant is one method that can be used to replace a missing tooth or several missing teeth. They can be single tooth replacements, anchors for multiple tooth bridges, or serve as anchors to add retention/anchoring for dentures. The are mainly titanuim screws that are anchored into the jawbone that are basically artificial tooth roots. The benefit of the dental implant is that it doesn't rely on neighboring teeth for support (like bridges). Implants are permanent and stable. Implants are an excellent solution for tooth loss because they mostly look and feel like natural teeth more than any type of restoration. Many technological advances have been made in recent years that have greatly improved the lifespan and durability of implants. Implants are the state-of-the-art choice for tooth replacement.
I can't floss so I use a water pick and/or toothpicks. That's just as good, isn't it?
No. Proper flossing is the only proven method that physically and effectively scrapes plaque off of surfaces between teeth, period. Mouthwashes are a good addition to your oral hygiene routine, but never a good substitute for flossing.
My parents lost their teeth and had dentures made, so that means I will, too. It's just a normal part of getting old, right?
While genetics and family history do influence susceptibility to gum disease and tooth loss, good oral hygiene can have a significant influence on how long one keeps their teeth. Plaque control is paramount in preventing and slowing the progress of the disease. Gingivitis and periodontal disease are the result of the body's immune system fighting off infection in the gums and tissues that support the teeth. It stands to reason that if you eliminate the cause (bacteria in plaque) the disease can be slowed or even eliminated.
If you have any questions about any dental-related subject, please fell free to ask and I will make every effort to answer it and include it here (if you'd like). You may also inquire before, during or after your appointment or subnit a message on theContactpage.