Patient Education

Having regular dental checkups with x-rays allows you to learn about potential problems and have them corrected BEFORE they begin to bother you. There are a number of reasons for recommending removal of un-erupted or impacted teeth. Your dentist may have seen that these teeth could cause problems for the adjacent teeth if left in place. There is also the possibility that you could develop such things as a cyst or abscess if left in place. General dentists who provide any specialty service such as root canal treatment, braces, oral surgery (removes teeth with special care) or periodontal surgery are required by law to adhere to the same standard of care provided by a specialist Your dentist should be happy to talk more with you about this. If you still have questions, you might want to see another dentist for a second opinion.

You have just experienced one of a number of common misunderstandings we see in dentistry today. Terminology used in dentistry is not 100% uniform throughout our profession. Both dentists were probably "correct". The word "cap" as used in dentistry by different dentists can refer to a number of different things. A pulp cap refers to a calcium containing dressing placed under a deep filling to stimulate healing. A full crown, made by a dental laboratory which completely covers the outside of your tooth is frequently called a cap. A partly broken tooth may be built up by your dentist in the office with a bonded filling material. This is called a cap or "capping" by some dentists. This sounds like what you probably had done.

From your description, it sounds like a very normal situation and nothing to be concerned about. When the teeth are forming in the jaws, they are surrounded by a soft tissue membrane called Nasmyth's Membrane (named after Alexander Nasmyth, a Scottish dental surgeon in London who died in 1847). As the teeth erupt, remnants of this membrane remain on the surface of the enamel. The fibrous nature of the membrane readily picks up coloration from food. In most cases normal chewing and brushing will remove the remnants with time. If they don't come off, they can be removed by having a professional cleaning. Other causes for staining of teeth include high fevers during infancy, too much fluoride (makes teeth stronger) in drinking water and certain medications if taken while the teeth are still forming.

Dental technology has come a long way in recent years. If you have a new cavity that requires a filling, there is "new" air abrasive equipment which replaces the drill for removing decay. It is quick, silent and in most cases you do not need a shot of anesthetic because there is no heat or vibration to cause pain. Air abrasion theory has been around in dentistry since the fifties but has only recently become practical to use because of downsizing of equipment and the development of filling materials which can be used with the new way of preparing teeth for fillings. Our patients love it. For youngsters who are experiencing their first cavity, it is a great way to go - no noise, no needle, no pain! It won't work for all cavities, but with your dislike of the drill, you should certainly see a dentist who uses this technology.

In a word (or four) PLEASE DON’T DO IT! Fortunately, I have only seen a couple of these in "real life". I have read of numerous cases in our dental journals which have resulted in all sorts of problems. To begin with, the tongue is an extremely vascular organ, which means that it has loads of blood vessels. A tremendous amount of swelling is expected when the tongue is pierced and a large oversized "barbell" is initially placed to accommodate for the expected swelling. This can cause difficulty in breathing and swallowing. Eating, drinking and speech are all impaired. The large barbell flops around and has caused un-restorable fractures of teeth when accidentally bitten. The barbell can come unscrewed and be swallowed or possibly be aspirated, sucked into the lung. Either of these could require surgery. I repeat, PLEASE DON'T DO IT! 

Visiting us for regular scheduled cleanings is essential, because bacteria that you cannot see with your eyes hide in your mouth and need the attention of a trained professional. Oral bacteria can travel through your bloodstream to your heart and even into your brain, causing heart attacks and strokes if not handled with proper dental care. There are many simple steps we can take to prevent bacteria from destroying your teeth and gums. Call us today to schedule your preventive care appointment. We'll help you stop bacteria in its tracks.

When you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria in your mouth spreads from your teeth into your gums and creates a condition called gum disease. Gum disease is not curable. It can only be prevented from worsening. If gum disease is not treated by regular dental visits and home care, you will experience loss of teeth, bad breath, bleeding, puss, and the disease will spread throughout your body, traveling through your bloodstream, arriving at your heart and brain, and possibly causing heart attacks and strokes. Even obesity will occur because of gum disease and failure to floss and brush. If you notice symptoms of gum disease, such as bleeding, sore, or swollen gums, call us today to schedule an appointment so we can begin treatment immediately before the problem gets worse.

An extraction is the removal of a tooth. Removing teeth becomes necessary when a tooth sustains damage that cannot be restored. This can result from decay (cavities), gum disease, or accidental injury. Getting a damaged tooth extracted is important, because the toth can cause a tremendous amount of pain if it is not removed. Pressure builds inside your mouth and bacteria can spread quickly. Our dentists use gentle techniques to ensure your comfort during the procedure.

First of all, you are not alone. An estimated 50% of adults avoid the dentist for various reasons. Many fear pain, lack of control, or have had a bad experience in the past. These feelings are real and justified. Our caring team of professionals wants you to enjoy a lifetime of strong, healthy, comfortable teeth that serve you well and look fantastic. To help you overcome your anxiety, we offer relaxation amenities, such as blankets and foot massages, delivered in an atmosphere of trust and understanding. We can also offer nitrous oxide and sedation dentistry if appropriate.

Silver amalgam fillings are composed of 50% mercury and 50% silver alloy and eventually need to be replaced. It may surprise you to know that the average life span of a silver filling is five to eight years. Your dentist can tell you when they appear to NEED to be replaced due to leakage, breakdown or recurrent decay. If your concern is strictly COSMETIC, there are many new methods available to replace the fillings with beautiful, functional long lasting restorations. Such things as white filling materials, porcelain inlays, crowns(adds strong top to teeth) and veneers may be used to give you the smile you are seeking. There is currently a great deal of interest in new reinforced hybrid materials. These beautiful resin materials may be reinforced with fibers, similar to fiberglass, and used in very conservative inlays and bridges without having to grind away a whole healthy tooth.

You are correct. There are many products and techniques available. Some work great and some don't work at all. The various over the counter products give the least predictable results. To get a really great result you should probably use one of the products sold through dental offices which utilize custom made trays for home application of a bleaching gel. There are several great ones out there. Our favorite is Nite White® Excel. Besides giving a great result, this product has overcome the sensitivity problem seen with some of the other products.

Dental implants (protects teeth from cavities) are a wonderful way to replace missing teeth when certain conditions exist. Such things as your overall general health and the length of time you have been missing your teeth must be considered. The replacement of missing teeth using dental implants (protects teeth from cavities) frequently requires a team approach. After your dentist does a thorough examination and treatment plan the surgical phase of treatment takes place. In most cases a periodontist or an oral surgeon will put the implant(s), the artificial root(s) into the jaw. When healing is complete, usually after 4-6 months, the tooth or bridge segment can be placed on top of the healed implants by a general dentist or a prosthodontist. Some dentists are trained to place the surgical part of the implant as well as the prosthetic or tooth part.

This is a good question, which we hear daily. The brand of the toothbrush is not nearly as critical as the type of bristle, the size and shape of the head and how frequently you replace your brush. We recommend a soft bristled brush with a small head. The soft bristles are most important for the health of your gums. A small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. Daily frequency of brushing and replacement with a new brush are much more important issues than the brand you choose. We recommend replacing your brush at least once a month. My employees and I all brush, on average, 5 times a day. We brush first thing in the morning, after each meal and at the end of the day. If you are not able to do this because of your busy schedule, we recommend brushing twice a day at a bare minimum.