Patient Information

Q & A

 

Q:What is the right age to have your first childhood visit?
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Q:What are some common causes of dental sensitivity?
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Q:Why are regular checkups important?
 A: Regular checkups are important to help early detect problems that may exist in your mouth.  For example if an abscess that is not yet painful is left untreated, the infection could spread causing the loss of teeth.  Also recurrent decay (decay around existing fillings) can be detected during a checkup.  If left untreated, the decay will spread underneath the filling and the tooth may require extensive treatment.

Regular checkups are important to help early detect problems that may exist in your mouth.  For example if an abscess that is not yet painful is left untreated, the infection could spread causing the loss of teeth.  Also recurrent decay (decay around existing fillings) can be detected during a checkup.  If left untreated, the decay will spread underneath the filling and the tooth may require extensive treatment.  

At your checkup the doctor may require that x-rays be taken.  X-rays can help find problems that may not be visible.  For example decay can be found underneath a bridge, crown, or filling that is not normally visible.  In these cases if left untreated, the tooth may be lost or require extensive work.

Also x-rays can detect bone loss around an implant.  Some types of bone loss may not painful, but if left untreated, the implant may be lost.

Q:What causes dental decay?
 A: Dental Decay is caused by bacteria that naturally exists in the mouth. The bacteria flourish in an acidic environment, caused by most foods, especially sugars. The bacteria stick to the teeth and produce acids, which dissolve the surface of the teeth, causing cavities. Dental decay can occur on any teeth, at any age, but especially in the young and the old. It is common in areas where the bacteria are easily trapped, especially around the margins of fillings.

Decay progresses slowly through the outer, harder enamel layer of the tooth, however, once the bacteria reaches the inner, softer dentin layer of the tooth, it progresses rapidly and can totally destroy a tooth. Once teeth have been destroyed by advanced decay, they become difficult to restore and in many cases have a poor long-term prognosis.

Q:What are the consequences of tooth loss?
 A: Teeth are important in maintaining your health and supporting your facial structures. Teeth help you to chew food properly, and keep you healthy. The teeth also help to keep the jaw bone in place, which helps to support the facial muscles. Without teeth, the bone would shrink and the skin would collapse, causing premature aging.

When a tooth is missing, it should be replaced to prevent major problems that occur over time to the surrounding teeth and tissues. Missing teeth can affect the ability to chew. Forces are transferred to the other teeth resulting in compromised support, increased wear and deterioration. Bite problems can also develop with the shifting of teeth and chewing forces.

When a tooth is missing, the tooth behind the space tips forward and the tooth above the space grows down. Crooked teeth cause bite problems and are more susceptible to gum disease. The bone shrinks where the tooth is missing and over time can result in facial collapse. Replacing missing teeth can help prevent many of these consequences, and provides many long term benefits with improved health.

Q:What is Gingivitis?
 A: Bacteria lives in our mouths and if not removed daily through proper brushing and flossing, can cause decay, gum disease and bone disease. Bacteria can also cause bad breath. Healthy gums are firm and pink in appearance, and do not bleed when brushing or flossing. The bone and ligaments around the roots of the teeth are strong, and the teeth are free from decay. Proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits can keep your mouth healthy, and give you a beautiful smile.

Plaque is a sticky substance that accumulates on the teeth, especially around the gum line. Plaque contains bacteria which can not only cause dental decay, but is harmful to the gums and bone around the teeth. Gingivitis is the mildest form of Periodontal Disease and is generally caused by inadequate oral hygiene. The gums become inflamed, are red in appearance and bleed easily. The bone is not affected, and as such, gingivitis can be reversed with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits. If untreated however, gingivitis can lead to more advanced stages of periodontal disease and bone loss

Q:Why you need a Root Canal?
 A: All teeth have three main layers the outer enamel layer on the top of the tooth or the cementum layer on the root, the inner dentin layer and the pulp. The pulp is the innermost layer within the roots of the tooth containing the nerves and blood vessels that supply the tooth. The blood vessels provide nutrients to the tooth, the nerves provide sensation. When the pulp is intact, the tooth is vital and healthy.

When a tooth becomes decayed or fractured, the bacteria eat their way through the enamel and dentin layers until they reach the pulp tissue. Once here, they cause the pulp tissue to break down, causing destruction of the nerves and blood vessels within the pulp. As the tissue breaks down, an infectious process starts within the pulp and eventually the nerves and blood vessels die. Pressure from this infectious process builds up within the tooth, usually causing pain, and eventually an abscess develops at the root tip. Until this degraded tissue is removed from within the tooth, this painful infectious process continues.

Q:Why Crown (cap) a tooth?
 A: In many cases, teeth that have had a root canal treatment will require a crown to reinforce it.  A tooth with a large fracture may also require a crown to prevent further fracture and breakdown, and may also require a root canal and a post and core.  Also when teeth have large fillings within them (generally more than 50% of the tooth), they can commonly fracture. An crown is often recommended to protect and reinforce the remaining tooth structure, and restore its natural appearance.

Q:What are sealants used for?
 A: Sealants are placed on teeth to help prevent dental decay. Teeth that have deep grooves are susceptible to decay because the bacteria that cause decay can hide in the grooves of the teeth and cannot be easily removed with brushing or flossing. Most commonly, sealants are placed on the biting surfaces of molar teeth.

A sealant is a plastic coating which fills the grooves of the tooth and is bonded into place. It seals the tooth and helps to prevent decay. Sealants are recommended for molar teeth in young children and can also benefit teeth in some adults. Generally, sealants are placed once the tooth has erupted into the mouth. It is a simple and quick dental procedure which can help prevent the need for a filling.