Dentistry Questions & Answers (FAQs)
Preventative and Restorative Dentistry
How to get into the habit of brushing teeth?
Always have a regime. What this means is plan a specific time of the day to brush your teeth. Dentists recommended morning and evening but the MOST important time is always right before bed. The reason is because when we all go to bed, the saliva in our mouth decreases as we sleep. Saliva has enzymes in it that prevent bad bacteria forming cavities. If you let sugars sit on your teeth at night before bed, those bad bacteria will have the best opportunity to cause dental decay.
What is restorative dental care?
Restorative dental care includes many different things. It is a broad range of procedures that restore the function of the tooth, whether it be a dental filling, a dental crown, a partial denture or full complete denture. All are restoring function to the mouth.
How often do adults get dental caries or cavities?
More often than you think! Did you know there is an epidemic of adults with dental caries, which leads to cavities, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)? The statistics are alarming, including:
- 25.9% of adults 20-44 have untreated dental caries.
- 25.3% of adults 45-64 have untreated dental caries.
- 20.2% of adults over 65 have untreated dental caries.
(Source: CDC, 2015-2018)
Part of this can be attributed to a lack of dental care. In 2022, the CDC noted that 64.1% of adults over 18 had a dental cleaning or exam within the past year. That leaves 35.9% of adults without proper dental care, contributing significantly to the number of adults with dental caries.
Does xylitol prevent cavities?
Xylitol does not prevent cavities. It is only a substitute for sugar. The bad bacteria in our mouth’s love to eat sugar which is sucrose. The enzyme in our mouths breakdown sugar by an enzyme called salivary amylase. Once sugars are broken down the bacteria will eat the sugar which causes erosion to the enamel which forms a cavity. Xylitol is a sugar substitute, it only tricks your brain into thinking it tastes like sugar but it is not sugar.
Does chewing gum prevent cavities?
No. Dentists should not recommended chewing gum use too frequently because even though sugar free gum exists, gum has been linked to causing TMJ and or jaw joint dysfunction.
How much does flossing help with bad breath?
Flossing helps with bad breath to remove the soft plaque that sits under the gums. Over time, if this soft plaque is not removed it will cause bad breath and gum swelling and inflammation.
How does a dental implant work?
If a tooth is missing for more than 6 months, we assess the density of the bone for dental implant surgery. We take a CT image so that we can properly place the dental implant in the anatomically correct location. After the surgery, there usually is very little post operative pain. It is less painful than tooth removal. The implant is hidden under the gum and healing for 4-6 months. Once those 4-6 months are up, we will then place a dental crown which is screwed inside the middle of the implant. It is nice and secure and is the safest reliable tooth replacement option.
Are dental implants a long-term solution for missing teeth?
Yes. For many people, dental implants are a permanent solution. The implants in the jawbone can last 30 years or longer, lasting a lifetime for many patients. The visible restorations often last 20-30 years and can easily be replaced or repaired without disturbing the implants.
How often do dental implants fail?
Almost never. The success rate for dental implants is over 98% with proper good dental hygiene. Most patients are thrilled with their implants and keep them for the rest of their lives.
Gum Disease Treatment
Can loose teeth from periodontal disease be fixed?
Yes, we would recommend a procedure called open flap debridement. This is where the dentist exposes the roots of the teeth and cleans any tartar under the gum tissue. We will use bone graft material in defects of the bone as well as dermis to add tissue. We stitch the gums back together, and what is underneath is clean healthy gum tissue with more support from healthy bone and tissue.
Foods to eat after gum graft surgery?
You want to eat soft foods and stay away from hot foods as well as spicy foods. You would want to eat cold foods like yogurt and smoothies and steer clear of rough foods like bagels and sandwiches.
How are dental crowns placed?
A dental crown is placed on an abutment. An abutment is either a smaller version of your natural tooth that will fit a crown over the top or an abutment will fit an implant crown over the top. Abutment is a dental term for placing a crown over top of a supportive structure.