Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Health
Good oral health relies on proper oral care and regular checkups with your dentist. Educating our patients is one aspect of our total care approach. Understanding the various aspects of your dental health and the issues affecting it are also essential. We hope the following answers to frequently asked questions about dental health will help.
Are you ready for a Cosmetic Smile Makeover?
If you’re considering cosmetic dental treatment, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you hesitate when you smile?
- Would you like to increase your self-confidence?
- Do you want to look your best in social or professional situations?
- Are you ready to reverse any dental imperfections you may have?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, Dr. Perry Danos, a highly qualified Restorative and Cosmetic Dentist can help you achieve these results.
Can I reverse tooth decay?
Tooth decay is progressive, but if caught early enough by your dentist, it can be reversed. Tooth decay is essentially the demineralization of tooth enamel. When fluoride is added to your routine, it combines with calcium and phosphate in your saliva to form a mineral called fluorapatite. The fluorapatite gets into the pores of your teeth and hardens the enamel. The key to successfully reversing tooth decay is catching it early enough to treat it, long before you feel any pain. This is why twice yearly visits to our office are essential.
Are Poor Oral Health and Celiac Disease Linked?
Celiac disease is the body’s inability to process gluten properly, leading to chronic inflammation and damage to the small intestine. Although poor oral health does not cause celiac disease, repeated bouts of dental issues may be an indication of celiac disease. In fact, 85% of people with celiac disease have excessive enamel loss. This leads to a long list of symptoms, including symptoms that involve your teeth and gums. If you frequently suffer canker sores, cavities, or discolored teeth, you may want to get evaluated for celiac disease, particularly if you also experience intestinal problems.
Preventing and Screening for Oral Cancer….What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is often spotted by your dentist or dental hygienist during a routine dental exam or cleaning. At Pro Care Family Dental, we screen for oral cancer at each visit to catch it as early as possible, when treatment is most effective. However, there are symptoms you should bring to the attention of your dentist or doctor, including:
- White or red patches on the gums
- Persistent sores inside the mouth or on the lips that do not heal
- Chronic mouth pain
- Thickening of the cheek or a lump in the cheek
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Feeling like something is stuck in your throat
- Numbness of the tongue or inside of the cheeks
- Persistent sore throat
- Loose teeth not caused by other conditions
- Vocal changes
- Chronic bad breath
- Swollen jaw
- A lump in the neck
- Unexplained weight loss
If you have any of the above symptoms for several weeks, talk to your doctor about testing for oral cancer.
How can I tell if my child is brushing correctly?
Once children learn the right way to brush their teeth, assuming our job is done is tempting. But think back to childhood – you probably skipped brushing your teeth more than a few times, didn’t you? Some kids run water and wet their toothbrushes without actually brushing their teeth. Others even rinse with mouthwash or toothpaste, so their breath smells minty fresh! To stay on top of things, check for signs your child may be “faking” their tooth brushing routine.
A few ways to make sure your child is taking proper care of their teeth include:
- Keep the bathroom door open so you can watch them brush their teeth.
- Maintain a tooth brushing routine after dinner, before they are too tired. If children snack before bed, make sure they brush again.
- Brush your teeth when your kids brush to set an example.
- Talk to them or have them try and sing while brushing. If their voice is too clear, you know they are not brushing.
Mercury-free dentistry eliminates mercury exposure through dental work. It includes abandoning the use of dental amalgam fillings, replacing amalgam fillings, and using composite resin fillings. You can learn more about how ProCare Family Dental ensures mercury-free dentistry on our Mercury-Free Dentistry page.
What is baby bottle tooth decay?
Although the term refers to the use of baby bottles, there are several ways babies can develop tooth decay due to poor feeding habits. When your child is put to bed with a baby bottle, the liquid pools in their mouth, encouraging acid erosion that can lead to cavities. Other forms of baby bottle tooth decay can be triggered by eating too many sweets, dipping their pacifier in anything sweet such as honey, filling their bottle with juice or other sweet drinks, and laxity with brushing.
What causes a gummy smile?
A gummy smile is when too much of your gum tissue shows when you smile. It may be genetic or caused by small teeth, partially erupted teeth, enlarged gums, or overgrowth of the upper jaw.
How can I fix a gummy smile?
If you are self-conscious because too much of your gum tissue shows when you smile, you may want to consider crown lengthening. This surgical procedure removes gum tissue and bone to expose more of your teeth and allow the gums to retract to a better position. Gingivectomy also removes some gum tissue, then reshapes it to expose more of the teeth. It does not involve eliminating bone and is a less invasive option.
Is bottled water bad for your teeth?
Drinking exclusively bottled water can be bad for your teeth, particularly for children. Bottled water does not contain fluoride, which is found in most tap water. If you and your family drink nothing but bottled water, you should ask your dentist about fluoride supplements to protect and strengthen your tooth enamel.
Teeth with white or brown blotches or streaks usually do not have cavities. The spotty patches are caused by dental fluorosis, or overexposure to fluoride when you are a child. Teeth whitening treatments are not always effective and may make any white blotches worse. Dental bonding or porcelain veneers are the best options for treating fluoride stains.
It depends. Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition (NTI) devices are usually worn at night to prevent teeth grinding, clenching, and jaw tension to alleviate chronic jaw pain or headaches. However, using a Night Guard is not a cure-all. In some cases, it may cause more problems than it solves. If you experience chronic headaches or grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about what a night guard is a viable option.
Why is my mouth so dry?
A dry mouth is uncomfortable and contributes to tooth decay because you do not produce enough saliva to flush away food debris and prevent acid erosion of your teeth’s enamel. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, radiation therapy for cancer, recreational drug use, thrush, diabetes, stroke, or aging-related issues. Damage to the salivary glands can also contribute to a dry mouth.
If you have had a dry mouth for more than a few weeks or have thick, pasty saliva, a consultation with your doctor is needed to determine the cause and the best treatment option.
Can children get root canals?
If a baby tooth is damaged, a pulpotomy may be performed. Although often called a “baby root canal,” a pulpotomy does not extend into the tooth’s root. Instead, only the pulp in the crown is removed, treated with antimicrobials, and the tooth is sealed.
How do I get rid of a canker sore?
A canker sore is a small ulcer in the mouth that can last anywhere from one to several weeks, depending on its severity. Several treatments can soothe the pain and hasten healing, including:
- Numbing agents such as Orajel®
- Dabbing on Milk of Magnesia with a cotton swab
- Antimicrobial mouthwashes
- Mild rinses used up to four times daily:
- 50/50 water and hydrogen peroxide
- Four ounces of water with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon baking soda
If your canker sore lasts longer than two weeks, talk to your doctor or dentist about a prescription strength medication to promote healing.
Should I have my amalgam filling removed?
Generally speaking, if your amalgam filling is not loose, it is best to leave it in place. Removing the filling to replace it requires removing more of the tooth. It could expose you to mercury vapor that is not released if the filling is left in place. If you are concerned that your amalgam fillings may be loose or need replacing, schedule an appointment for an evaluation by your dentist.
While fluoride treatments are most commonly recommended for children, there are several reasons why an adult might need fluoride treatment. A topical fluoride treatment may be a good idea if you are prone to cavities, are taking medications that cause dry mouth, or suffer from gum recession. Visit our Fluoride Treatment page to learn more about topical fluoride treatments for adults.
ProCare Family Dental strives to meet all our patients’ dental care needs. If you have questions about your oral health or want an appointment, please get in touch with us at ProCare Family Dental Phone Number (847) 965-6223.
Call us at ProCare Family Dental Phone Number (847) 965-6223 or book online for your appointment. We are confident our personalized, honest approach to general and cosmetic dentistry will be your new standard for dental care.