Q How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?
According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth twice a day. Brushing your teeth helps to remove plaque which causes tooth decay and can lead to gum disease.
Always use a soft bristled toothbrush with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Make sure that the toothbrush fits inside of your mouth so that you can easily reach all areas. When brushing, use gentle back and forth strokes, brushing all sides of the teeth. Always brush your tongue to remove any bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
Q How Often Should I See the Dentist for a Check Up and Cleaning?
Most children and adults should see their dentist for a regular cleaning and check up every six months. People at a greater risk for oral diseases should have dental check ups more than twice a year. Tobacco and alcohol use, diabetes, pregnancy, periodontal and gum disease, poor oral hygiene and certain medical conditions are some of the many factors that your dentist takes into consideration when deciding how often you need your dental cleaning and check up.
Going to your regular check ups will help to keep your gums and teeth healthy as well as detect any early problems such as gum disease, oral cancer and cavities. The best way to maintain good oral health is to visit your dentist on a regular basis.
Q What is Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects millions of people. Basically, tooth sensitivity means experiencing pain or discomfort to your teeth from sweets, cold air, hot drinks, cold drinks or ice cream. Some people with sensitive teeth even experience discomfort from brushing and flossing. The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated.
Q What is a Cavity?
A cavity is a hole in the tooth that is caused by decay. Decay occurs when plague, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and / or starches of the food we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel. The best way to prevent tooth decay is brushing twice a day, flossing daily and going to your regular dental check ups. Eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are also ways to prevent decay.
Q What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a reversible form of gum disease. Affecting only the attached and free gingival tissue that surrounds your teeth, bacteria that invades the area below your gumline, known as the sulcus or periodontal pocket, causes gingivitis to develop and eventually manifest into periodontitis, if left untreated.
The early warning signs of gingivitis are often mistaken as normal occurrences one should expect when it comes to the mouth. Symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Bad breath
- Red, puffy, and inflamed gums
- Bleeding after brushing and flossing
The causes associate with gingivitis vary, but typically include:
- Improper or infrequent brushing and flossing
- Trapped plaque in hard to reach places, such as around the wisdom teeth, above and below orthodontic bands and brackets, or fixed appliances
- Teeth that are crooked or overlap each other
- Certain medications that cause xerostomia or gingival enlargement
- Tobacco use
- Conditions such as diabetes may cause gingivitis
- Pregnancy and oral contraceptives
Even though you may recognize these early warning signs as gingivitis, it is important that you book an appointment with your dentist for a check up. Why? There is a fine line between gingivitis and periodontitis. It is important to note that gingivitis is a reversible condition that is treated with professional cleanings to remove plaque and calculus build up, along with regular home maintenance that may include a prescribed antibacterial mouth rinse known as chlorhexidine gluconate. Your dentist is able to confirm the extent of your gum disease and plan treatment accordingly. If left untreated or improperly treated, gingivitis will progress into periodontitis, which is irreversible and often leads to tooth loss.
Obtaining regular dental check ups will help keep gum disease under control or eliminated completely. If you are concerned about gingivitis, speak with your dentist or dental hygienist at your next dental appointment.
Q What is a Veneer?
A veneer is a thin shell made out of porcelain or composite material. They are custom made and cemented to the front side of the tooth. A veneer can be used to treat dental conditions such as a slightly crooked tooth, discolored teeth, chipped teeth or they can even be used to cover spaces in between the teeth.
A veneer can be made by the dentist or in a dental laboratory, depending on the materials used and the preference of the dentist.
Q What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a metal device designed to replace missing teeth. The device is usually made out of titanium and is surgically placed into the jawbone where the tooth is missing. Unlike a dental bridge, an implant is permanent.
A dental implant is designed to act as the tooth root and can anchor an artificial tooth or teeth such as a crown, bridge or denture.
Q What is Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous Oxide is a gas that's combined with Oxygen to produce a a calming effect and a sense of well being when inhaled. Many dentists use Nitrous Oxide to help a patient relax during dental treatments.
When the dental procedure is over, the dentist will have the patient breathe only Oxygen for a few minutes to eliminate the effects of the Nitrous Oxide.
Unlike other sedations, the patient should have a clear head within minutes of coming off of the Nitrous Oxide allowing them to function normally with no lingering effects. Nitrous Oxide is also known as laughing gas.
Q What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ, is the ball and socket joint that connects the lower jaw to the bone on each side of the head. The temporomandibular joint is stabilized by muscles that make it possible to open and close the mouth. The pain, discomfort or tenderness in or around these joints are referred to as TMJ disorders.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, TMJ disorders are more common in women than men and over 10 million people are affected by TMJ disorders.
Q What is an Abscessed Tooth?
An abscess of the tooth is an infection. An abscess can include pus and swelling of the soft gum tissues surrounding the tooth. An abscess can develop from tooth decay or tooth trauma, such as a broken tooth. If there is an opening in the enamel of a tooth, such as a cavity, bacteria can get in and infect the pulp (center) of the tooth and cause an abscess.
Once an abscess happens, the infection could spread throughout the mouth and body. A root canal is usually the only option to save a tooth once it has become abscessed. If you suspect that you have an abscessed tooth, you should see your dentist right away.