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Taking Care Of Your Teeth And Gums
How often should I visit the dentist?
How often should I brush and floss my teeth?
What is the proper way to brush my teeth?
What is the proper way to floss?
What is plaque?
How do I prevent tooth decay?
Practice Good Oral/Dental Habits
This means making it a point to brush your teeth at least twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste. Flossing too should become a habit and be done once a day (or more, if necessary). These two simple things can go a long way in preventing plaque—a sticky film that coats your teeth and the same substance that cavity causing bacteria thrive in. If you need a proper demonstration about how to brush and floss your teeth, don’t be afraid to ask your dentist.
Make Necessary Changes to Your Diet
The food you eat and the beverages your drink will first go through your teeth first before it goes to your stomach. Food that contains sugar will make your teeth more susceptible to cavities, so make it a point to avoid them. Common examples are sodas, sports and/or energy drinks, processed foods and so on. If such food items are a regular staple of your diet, consider healthier alternatives such as fruits and vegetables. Be sure to drink a LOT of water too!
Don’t Promote a Cavity
Aside from making changes to your diet, you’ll want to avoid certain medications as well, especially those that can cause dryness in your mouth. Tobacco and alcohol may also increase your risk for cavities. Also, GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, as well as other medical conditions can make you susceptible to cavity. If you’re suffering from GERD, as well as others, you will want to check in with your dentist about what you can do to help improve your chances against cavities.
Regular Checkups and Cleanings
Of course, having a dental professional check your teeth is the best way to prevent cavities. They’re the ones who know a lot more about teeth and dental care than you do. Not only can they help improve your teeth, as well as dental health, but they’ll also help you come up with an individualized plan that will help you maintain the best possible set of teeth that you could ever have.
What is gingivitis?
If your gums are starting to look a bit reddish, or are a bit puffy and bleed easily, then you probably have gingivitis. Healthy looking gums are pale pink and firm to touch
What are the signs and symptoms of gingivitis?
Some of the most common signs and symptoms for gingivitis are:
How do I find out if I have gingivitis?
The best way to find out if you have gingivitis is to have yourself regularly checked. Not only will doing so make it easier to find out if you have gingivitis, but regular dental checkups will also allow your dentist to check if you’re suffering from other dental complications.
What are the main causes of gingivitis?
Gingivitis is often the result of poor oral hygiene as it encourages the forming of plaque.
How can I prevent gingivitis?
Good oral hygiene, of course, is important.
What is a root canal?
Contrary to popular belief, a root canal is a procedure that will preserve a dead tooth—not save it. Think of it as mummification, but only for teeth. Root canals are usually done when it’s already too late to save the tooth because of the infection and that it’s dying already.
What’s having a root canal like?
The dentist will remove the infected pulp, clean it out and slowly shape the insides of the tooth. They’ll then fill and seal the space to help prevent further infection.
How do dentists know that I need a root canal?
There are many signs and symptoms that may point out to you that you need a root canal, namely these are:
If I experience pain in my teeth, do I need a root canal?
Well, it depends, but it’s usually not the case.
How does tooth decay start?
Tooth decay starts off slow, forming from the sticky bacterial plaque that’s naturally found in our teeth. These bacteria feast on sugars from the food eat, which they then use to create acids that, if left unchecked, can easily dissolve the hard enamel protecting the teeth. Eventually, these acids can work its way through all the layers of your tooth, causing major oral complications.
What are the signs of tooth decay?
The main reason why you shouldn’t put tooth decay treatment on hold is that in its earliest stages, pain and sensitivity are rarely felt, if at all. In fact, there won’t be any noticeable pain until the decay has gone through the enamel and into the dentin layer. And, once this happens, it will only be a matter of time before the decay spreads into the roots.
What are the treatments for tooth decay?
If your dentist catches tooth decay early, such as it still being a small area of erosion on your enamel, the said spot can easily be treated. A common approach includes the use of specific mouth rinses, toothpastes and other filling materials that contain fluoride, calcium and phosphates.
Can I postpone my treatment?
While you may not have a significant problem yet, putting tooth decay treatment on hold and delaying it on purpose isn’t exactly a good idea.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
What is periodontal (gum) disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing and tooth loss.
What are the signs of periodontal disease?
The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact your dentist if you experience any of these:
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. Also make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth.
Can periodontal disease be hereditary?
Yes, some people are just genetically inclined to get periodontal disease. Though, this does not spell doom, as proper oral care can still help control and even prevent the disease.
Can tobacco increase my chances of developing periodontal disease?
Chain smokers are at risk of periodontal disease because they tend to collect far more tartar on their teeth. Also, their periodontal pockets are often deeper, which means that the condition hits them far worse than non-smokers.
Can misaligned or crooked teeth increase my chances of developing periodontal disease?
Misaligned and crooked teeth may make flossing difficult, which may encourage the formation of plaque and tartar, which can lead to periodontal disease. It’s best that you ask your dentist for help on how to floss your teeth if ever your teeth are misaligned or crooked. Also, those who have braces or bridgework will need help from their orthodontists so that they can learn how to floss their teeth properly using special tools as they’re also prone to plaque and tartar.
How does my daily routine increase my chances of developing periodontal disease?
Stress can weaken your body’s immune system, making it less effective in fighting off periodontal-disease related infections. Also, being stressed makes you more likely to clench, grind or grit your teeth, which can cause your gums to be inflamed and make you more prone to periodontal disease.
Medicine that can lead to dry mouth or xerostomia can make you more prone to periodontal disease because it can promote the growth of plaque. So, make sure that you keep yourself hydrated at all times.
Poor Eating Habits
Eating right is also important for maintaining good overall health. This then helps ensure that your gums and mouth are healthy, which can help prevent periodontal disease.
Why do our teeth turn yellow?
While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow color substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint.
What can I do about yellowing teeth?
Sustaining from Certain Drinks, as well as Food
Coffee may stain your teeth, but you don’t need to give it up. Rather, what is encouraged is to try to curb the intake of food and beverages that may cause discoloration of your teeth. Do this and you should notice your teeth getting whiter as time passes by.
If you insist on consuming teeth-staining beverages and food, drink a glass of water after. Doing so regularly can help improve the color of your teeth drastically.
Improving your Dental Hygiene
Brushing alone just won’t be enough for your teeth. You have to floss, as well as make it a point to visit a dentist regularly. If you try to develop these habits early on in your life, you’re less likely to have problems not only with teeth discoloration, but dental problems in general.
Teeth Whitening Procedures
Thanks to improvements in dental medicine, there are a lot of things that you can do about your stained teeth. You can opt for our 1 hour in-office treatment called Boost. Or you can try our home tooth whitening kit that is specifically designed for your mouth.
What are the different types of teeth whitening options?
Below are the three most popular teeth whitening options available today:
In-office Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening works by producing a significant color change in your teeth in a short amount of time, usually within an hour. The procedure is done at the dentist’s office, by applying a high-concentration peroxide gel on the teeth after they have been protected with a special shield.
Professionally Dispensed Take-home Whitening Kits
These whitening kits are purchased from your doctor for use at home. The strength of the gel used in these kits is lower than that used for in-office bleaching, and thus the gel can be applied for longer periods of time. Usually the trays are worn a couple hours a day or overnight for a few days or weeks, depending on the product.
Over the Counter Whitening
Over the counter teeth whitening kits are store-bought and use a lower concentration gel than both in-office bleaching and take-home kits purchased from your doctor. While they are cheaper, they typically are less effective than methods that can be performed by your dentist because of the low concentration gel. Additionally, over the counter trays are not custom fit for your teeth, which can result in irritation to your gums while wearing the trays.
How long does teeth whitening last?
Teeth whitening usually lasts from one to three years, before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only “touch ups” are required to maintain the whiteness.
Are implants the right decision for me?
Implants are made of titanium, a biocompatible material. They are used to replace one or more teeth, and can be an attractive option for most people. Some benefits to implants include:
Are implants or bridges a better choice?
A missing tooth would historically be replaced by a bridge. To anchor a bridge, the majority of the external tooth structure of the teeth on either side of the gap must be removed. With an implant, you only need a crown made on top of the implant itself to restore it, leaving the neighboring teeth undisturbed and completely intact.
Can implants be used to restore multiple teeth?
Implants can also be used to restore multiple teeth, a full set of fixed or removable teeth or even a complete denture. If you experience tooth loss, the bony ridges in your mouth start to decrease and be lost as well. Implants are placed and prevent bone from shrinking, leaving you many future options for tooth replacement not available otherwise.
Are implants expensive?
To replace a single tooth an implant is usually less expensive than any alternative in our office. The cost of implant care increases with the complexity of the case, the history of tooth loss and the position of the implant in the mouth.
How long do implants last?
Research has shown that implants are 98% successful: a higher success rate than almost anything else in dentistry! Under professional care, implants have a potential for lifetime durability. Ask us about our warranty.
What if I do not have enough bone in my jaw for implants?
Minor grafting can improve and restore the bone lost from your extraction years ago. We do this in the office frequently where additional bone is required for success of our implant care. It is possible to have an implant for virtually any situation with expert care and planning.
When an implant is surgically placed, how long until I get my new tooth?
For front teeth we strive to place teeth the same day in a temporary form. Posterior teeth are often left to rest 6–8 weeks prior to placing a functional chewing force on them. In cases where there is uncertainty about the strength of the bone, more time may be required to ensure longevity (7–10 months). In every case, clinical experience along with the prevailing research guides our decision to finalize the implant restoration. We always plan for long-term success and we do not rush.
How can I get a full set of teeth in one day?
With the use of CAT scan planning we can plan for immediate teeth replacements and the ultimate in surgical precision. Planning takes all the time in these cases, however we can deliver exceptional care quickly and never leave you without teeth, regardless of your particular need or treatment.
How do I care for my new dental implants?
Dental implants are metal posts or frames that dentists position into the jawbone just under your gums through a surgical procedure. Once placed, dentists can then mouth either a new bridge or replacement tooth/teeth in that same area.
How do dental implants work?
Implants basically fuse to your jawbone, allowing them to provide the most stable possible kind of support for your replacement teeth. They won’t slip or shift, making them less likely to cause speech problems. Also, as a result of their secure fit, dental implants feel far more natural compared to dental bridges and/or dentures.
How do I properly care for my dental implants?
Here are a couple more tips to help make sure that your dental implants last for a very long time.
Maintain a Meticulous Oral Hygiene Routine
If you didn’t have any reason to strictly stick to brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once, you do now. Having implants makes it all the more important to take proper care of your teeth. You may also want to start using interdental brushes. Brushes whose bristles are able to slide between teeth to help it clean areas that are typically hard to reach, especially around your implant.
Smoking has been proven to weaken bone structure, which is not good news for your dental implant. The fact that smoking is also bad for your oral health as it is a risk factor for plenty of dental complications and that it generally is just bad for you should be enough of a reason for you to quit smoking as soon as possible.
Schedule Regular Appointments with Your Dentist
Recent news has made a new dental complication come to light, one that’s a direct result of dental implants. While peri-implantitis have yet to be fully understood, experts agree that it’s always preceded by peri-implant mucositis, which is a much more common condition that’s also easy to treat. Early warning signs include red, swollen and even bleeding gums. And, by visiting the dentist regularly, your teeth and mouth are routinely checked for early warning signs of peri-implant mucositis so as to prevent it from progressing to the more serious peri-implantitis.
Stop Chewing on Hard Food
This has to be one of the hardest adjustments to make, especially since most people tend to chew on hard food almost unconsciously. But, since ice and hard stuff can eventually break down the crown and your natural teeth, such a change is necessary and may also be beneficial, even for those who don’t have dental implants.
What are veneers?
A porcelain veneer is a thin shell of porcelain that covers the front, the edge, and a small portion of the back of an anterior tooth. Veneers are used for cosmetic as well as reconstructive purposes: to cover up stained and worn-down teeth, as a means to straighten slightly crooked teeth, to change the shape and color of your teeth or to restore teeth with failing older, unsightly white or mercury fillings.
How much of my tooth is removed with veneers?
Compared with older fashioned crowns, you don’t have to take away a lot of enamel with veneers, and some veneers don’t require any removal of tooth structure at all! Proper planning and expertise always leads to the optimal aesthetic success and beauty.
Will my veneers change color?
Porcelain doesn’t stain like most other dental materials or even natural teeth, keeping the shade of the veneers stable for their lifetime.
How long does it take to get a set of veneers, or even just one?
We can work quickly if that is your request, or we may take a longer period of time to ensure your satisfaction with the aesthetic result. Cosmetic dentistry is an art as well as a technical exercise. It is not always easy to arrive at the beauty that is in your mind’s eye. We take the time necessary to produce exquisite smiles. We can also work as quickly as one week from start to finish, if that is the request.
How many veneers do I need?
This question is best answered by looking into your own smile. If you check out your upper smile from the side as well as the front, a veneer candidate will frequently count from 8 to 10 teeth that matter in the display of a good smile. The lower teeth may matter less, or even more so to some people. Frequently a full makeover entails 20 teeth. A conservative plan considers 4 to 8 for a moderate change.
How long do veneers last?
Veneers can chip or break under severe conditions, and may have to be replaced. In my experience only the strongest materials we have today are more durable than the teeth they are restoring! We stand by our work unconditionally for 2 years.
Other Common Questions
What can I do about bad breath?
Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, including the types of food you ingest, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and other causes. Going to your dentist will help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so you can take steps to eliminate it.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Are you unhappy with your smile? There are several possible ways to improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry. Options can range from whitening to veneers to crowns, with or without Invisalign® clear aligners preceding your care. Essentially, anything to improve your smile could be considered in this field, however, Dr. Jonathan Ford has studied extensively and committed a large part of the practice to offering exceptional smile transformations, from the most subtle nuanced changes to extreme makeovers televised on the networks and in magazines.
What is the easiest way to improve my smile?
The least invasive route is whitening your teeth. This can be done in the office or at home. Keep in mind, whitening does not work well for tetracycline stained teeth, and does not whiten tooth colored fillings or porcelain very much.
What are composite fillings?
Composite is a tooth colored resin/ceramic filling material of many different forms that can be bonded to your teeth to create an excellent restoration. Resin is used for white fillings and, in some cases, as an in-office veneer material. Resin veneers are less expensive and less invasive than porcelain veneers, but don’t have the some longevity. These materials are not the most ideal since the resin plastic is excellent but not as strong as the porcelain restorative choices available.
Should I get my mercury fillings removed?
Our position on mercury based “amalgam” fillings is that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While we very rarely place amalgam fillings in this office and almost exclusively use white composite fillings, amalgam fillings can last in your mouth for 20-30 plus years without creating issues. The research shows that the only times you are exposed to measurable amounts of mercury are during the placement or removal of the fillings. So, if the filling looks good clinically, it can stay in your mouth unless you have objections to it for other health reasons.
What are the options for mercury replacement?
The answer is a very definite: It depends! The larger the existing filling and defect, the more research shows that reinforcement with stronger materials is necessary. Today’s onlay restorations are frequently made of extremely durable pressed ceramics. Smaller restorations can be replaced with cost effective white fillings. These fillings can last quite some time but, again, size is the limiting factor as they are 1/3 the strength of porcelain or ceramic bonded restorations. We will advise you when we see you as to your options.
Is the mercury dangerous to remove?
For those concerned about the metal debris, we are prepared to use special measures to protect you. Removal is not considered a health risk by the profession.
At what age should I take my child to the dentist?
This is a question asked by many parents, and what probably is the simplest answer is that the first visit should be done on or a few weeks after the child’s first birthday. Surprising, yes, but not exactly unnecessary, considering that lots of children get cavities as early as the age of 2. To prevent your child from suffering from cavities at such an early age, a visit to the dentist can help you with that.
Why do I have bad breath?
Sometimes referred to as halitosis, bad breath is most often caused by poor oral hygiene habits. However, unhealthy food choices, infections in the mouth, regular alcohol intake and smoking are also likely culprits. Other possible suspects include, but are not limited to systemic diseases such as diabetes, acid reflux, stomach digestion problems, dry mouth, and respiratory tract infections.
Signs and Symptoms
While it’s universally known as bad breath, the smell the mouth gives off depends on the source or the underlying cause. There are even cases where people who have no bad breath think that their mouth gives off an undesirable odor. Likewise, there are those who are actually suffering from bad breath, but are oblivious to it.
The best way to tell is to ask a relative, or someone close to you, to smell your breath. While the mouth does always give off a distinct odor, that of bad breath is different and often stands out.
There are many possible causes for bad breath.
For example, if you do not take proper care of your mouth and teeth, as in you don’t brush or floss regularly, the food you eat will stay in your mouth. There, it will collect bacteria and cause bad breath. Even worse is that the food particles that are not cleaned can rot, resulting into an unpleasant odor.
The food you eat is also a huge factor, as onions, and garlic, among many others can cause bad breath. However, the odor can easily be eliminated by regularly brushing and flossing teeth, as well as by using mouthwash.
Skipping meals has also been known to cause bad breath and as such, is often discouraged.
Frequent smoking of tobacco products and regular alcohol intake can also cause bad breath. If you have developed an addiction to any one of these substances, be sure to seek professional help.
The lack of saliva may also cause bad breath, as saliva plays an important role in cleansing the mouth and removing food particles that may possibly cause bad breath. This is why those who have dry mouths often also suffer from halitosis. Fortunately, dry mouth can be remedied by increasing fluid intake and chewing sugarless candy. In worse cases, the dentist may prescribe an artificial saliva.
How To Tell If You Have Bad Breath
For an accurate diagnosis, it is best to go directly to the dentist.
The dentist can check your teeth and mouth for any problems, as well as refer you to another doctor or medical professional if the underlying cause of the undesirable odor in your mouth is not within the scope of his or her expertise.
Can flossing help kill bad breath?
There are plenty of factors that go into why you’re suffering from bad breath or halitosis, and not making a habit out of flossing regularly is chief among them.
How can my health affect my smile?
Proper dental hygiene is important for our teeth. That much we all know. After all, how could we not? There are dozens of commercials and ads that all but rub that nifty piece of information in our face. But, if there’s one thing that most people don’t know about proper dental hygiene is that it’s not just so that your teeth can look sparkly white.
Or, heart disease, if you will. Inflamed gums and periodontal disease are both the results of bacteria buildup in your teeth and sometimes, the same bacteria can enter your bloodstream. From there, it may travel to your heart and may cause the hardening of the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. The said condition causes the development of plaque in the inner walls of your arteries, which will thicken over time and obstruct blood flow throughout your whole body. This then may heighten your risk for stroke or heart attack. There are also cases that where the lining of the heart becomes inflamed and infected, leading to a condition known as endocarditis.
Complications with Diabetes
Inflamed gums and periodontal disease can make life even worse for diabetics, which is very unfortunate since they’re already prone to both. Thus, if you are suffering from diabetes or know someone who is, reminding them to take proper care of their teeth and visit the dentist every once in a while may just be the best thing you can do for them.
Nobody would blame you if you ever thought that your lungs and your teeth have little to no connection whatsoever. Though, it seems that notion is slightly false. Studies have shown that breathing in bacteria from bacteria in your mouth, such as those resulting from gum disease, for a prolonged period of time may result to respiratory infections, like pneumonia.
If, by any chance, the bacteria from Gingivitis don’t end up traveling to your heart and causing heart complications, it may end up going to your head, which is even worse. Traveling either through the nerve channels or through your bloodstream, the said bacteria may cause complications in your brain and may even lead to Alzheimer’s as a result.