Dental FAQs at Triad Cosmetic Dentistry
Dental Check-Up & Cleaning FAQs
Flossing removes bacteria hiding in between your teeth. Flossing massages gum tissue and stimulates circulation to the tissue. Studies show that people who floss have less gum disease and therefore have healthier hearts and pancreases.
Even though you brush and floss every day, the only way to remove tartar (buildup) is to have regular 3-6 month cleanings. We can also prevent and identify a variety of oral health problems during your cleaning.
Following scaling and root planning, a 3-month recall appointment is recommended to debride and irrigate residual pocketing. It takes 90 days for bacteria to reorganize and mature into anaerobic organized dangerous bacteria.
The by-products of this bacterium need to be physically and chemically removed to stop or slow the destruction of bone.
Some patients need a 3-month recall due to the fast build-up of calculus to make the appointment more comfortable.
***Tidbit*** – The idea and protocol of a 6-month recall was started by a dental insurance company in the 1960s. A dentist or dental hygienist wasn’t consulted.
We recommend a full mouth series of x-rays which consists of 18 films which show the dentist an in-depth look at all teeth and the roots. This is so a potential problem can be caught at an earlier stage. This set of x-rays allows us to detect abscesses, decay and even cysts for which the patient had no symptoms. We have saved many teeth due to this set of x-rays!
Our x-rays are digital. We use the latest technology available. Our low dose gives off less radiation than the sun. X-rays allow us to detect a problem before you are in pain and have extensive damage. Read more here.
Clinically the dentist can only see approximately 40% of the tooth. Only digital x-rays can reveal if there is decay in between the teeth or under an existing restoration. It is healthier to do a small filling, and also less expensive for the patient.
There is a major salivary gland behind your lower front teeth that bathe these teeth. Minerals in the saliva harden the plaque into calculus. Calculus can build on a tooth in 13 days. There are also major salivary glands near your upper molars and this area builds calculus quickly. This is not necessarily a brushing issue.
You need deep cleanings because tartar is like having a “splinter” in your gum tissue. It festers, harbors bacteria and pocketing begins. Pocketing leads to bone loss and bone loss leads to tooth loss. There is no cure for periodontal disease, we remove physical irritants at a scaling and root planning appointment, and we recommend you continue 3-month cleaning appointments.
Yes. Studies have shown that the average person brushes for 20 seconds and that they brush on side of the mouth harder and longer than the other. The electric toothbrush that we sell in our office has a 2-minute timer that signals you to brush each quadrant for 30 seconds. It also will slow down if too much pressure is applied to a tooth.
Patients that use an electric toothbrush can tell a difference in the amount of calculus buildup and say their cleanings are “easier”. If you have a family member with braces, it is highly recommended that they use an electric toothbrush because braces are hard to keep clean. Also, remember to change your brush head every 4 to 6 months.
General Dentistry Questions
Our goal is to treat the tooth before it begins to hurt. When the tooth starts to hurt, it usually means that the decay has gotten to the nerve and infected it. Once this happens a root canal may be needed in addition to a filling or crown.
A filling can last anywhere from 5-30 years. Again, homecare, occlusion, sugar habits, and regular dental checkups can influence how long it may last.
A sealant is a thin clear or white plastic coating painted on the chewing surface of the molars. They help protect against cavities in the deep grooves of the teeth.
Extracting a tooth is like pulling a handful of books off a bookshelf; the books above it fall and the books besides that area topple over. Teeth are the same way. The teeth above or below are affected and the teeth beside your missing teeth will topple over, adversely affecting your bite.
Brushing alone simply isn’t enough! I challenge you to floss your teeth and then smell the floss. This will give you an idea of how your breath smells. Bacteria in the mouth give off sulfur compounds (similar to a rotten egg) and make breath smell bad.
Brush and floss daily, also brush your tongue gently. Other causes of bad breath can be cryptic tonsils. Cryptic tonsils have craters in them that harbor bacteria and can even make way for tonsil stores. Other bad breath culprits can be gastric reflux or even a low-grade sinus infection. Dry mouths are more susceptible to bad breath due to a lack of cleansing saliva.
Dry mouth can have many causes; medications, age, hormones. Drink plenty of water and use Biotene or Oasis products which can be found at most drug stores. Sugarless gum or mints may also help. Read labels and make sure you use sugar-free products.
Saliva is cleansing and patients with dry mouth are VERY susceptible to decay. We would recommend having your teeth cleaned every 3 months.
Oftentimes cold sensitivity occurs near the gum line. If there is any root exposure from receding gums, the root of the tooth can become more sensitive to cold. The root of the tooth is covered in cementum, which is not as thick or strong as enamel which covers the crown of the tooth.
In addition, teeth have microscopic holes that send the pain message to the pulp of the tooth. Fluoride will close off those microscopic holes. Sensodyne is an over-the-counter product that may help. In our office, we offer a prescription-strength fluoride paste or varnish that is painted on the teeth. Bonding may also be indicated if topical medicaments do not help.
Brush and floss as usual. Put a “pea” size amount of Clinpro 5000 on brush and brush for one minute, and then spit in the sink. DO NOT RINSE! Let the Clinpro stay on your teeth undisturbed for as long as possible.
Let’s do some nutritional counseling. We do love our sweet tea in the south, but it is really any beverage with sugar…even organic juices that are harmful to our teeth! If you have only a thimble full of a sugary beverage you are cavity-prone for at least 2 hours.
If you sip on sugary drinks all day then you are cavity-prone all day long! This goes for snacking as well. Bottom line…if you eat or drink anything with sugar then you need to brush and floss. Think about what you eat and HOW you consume it. We had a patient lose a tooth snacking on frozen grapes.
FAQs About Dental Crowns
Sometimes an old filling or decayed area can be removed leaving quite a bit of your original tooth structure, which doesn’t really necessitate a crown. In these cases, an onlay is recommended to fill in the missing area where the filling or decay was with a porcelain piece that locks into the area.
A dental crown is a full-coverage restoration, meaning the tooth is ground down leaving a small raised portion that the crown is cemented onto.
On average a crown can last anywhere from 7-30 years. Several factors can influence how long a crown lasts, such as homecare, occlusion, sugar habits and regular dental checkups.
Questions About Dental Implants
When receiving dental implants, you may experience very minimal discomfort during the procedure. Luckily, Dr. MacDonald uses state-of-the-art technology, like our guided dental implant surgery, that reduces your time in the dentist chair, eliminates error, and provides you with a quicker recovery period.
Known as the most durable tooth replacement option and the only restoration that helps protect the jawbone from further bone loss, dental implants offer a plethora of benefits. As they blend perfectly with your natural teeth and allow you to eat and speak with ease, you’ll be eager to shine your smile in no time.
Depending on how many implants you need and the condition of your mouth, the entire process can take anywhere from three-to-nine months. Dr. MacDonald can complete each patient’s procedure entirely at our Archdale dental office within a series of appointments.
The overall cost of a dental implant procedure varies from patient to patient depending on the number of implants needed, any supplementary procedures required, and how much their insurance will cover.
If you have good oral health, you’ll be able to receive dental implants right away. However, if you’ve lost any bone or have advanced periodontitis, we’ll have to rehabilitate the health of your mouth prior to inserted implants.
It’s very possible, but snoring isn’t always a determining factor.
Sleep apnea sufferers snore when there’s a blockage in their airway that’s interfering with their ability to breathe properly. If your snoring is accompanied by large gasps for air, abrupt awakenings, and excessive daytime drowsiness, then we recommend you receive a sleep study.
If you suspect you’re suffering from sleep apnea, or if we believe you have the condition, we will offer a sleep test right away.
During a sleep test, you’ll be carefully evaluated overnight so our team can confirm if you have sleep apnea or not. We will also provide a rhinometer and pharyngometer analysis to measure your nasal capacity and airway size.
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea that most of our patients notice are:
- Sore throat or dry mouth when you wake up
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
- Gasping for air or choking in the middle of the night
- Mood changes
- Memory loss
- Insomnia or recurring awakenings
- Morning headaches
Sleep apnea is typically first treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. However, many patients give up on using their CPAP because its noisy, claustrophobic, and overall inconvenient.
We offer alternative sleep apnea solutions that are easier to use, silent, and small — an oral appliance. These mouthpieces are customized for each patient and help you achieve a well-rested sleep without interruptions.
Children’s Dental Care
When children are young and their teeth are forming, fluoride adheres to the structure of the tooth which makes the enamel harder and more resistant to decay.
Teeth naturally get darker as we age. Also, your canines or “I” teeth are usually the darkest teeth in the mouth. A tooth is naturally darker at the gum line because a tooth is thicker near the gum line. We recommend professional whitening or using whitening trays.
KöR whitening is a quick and easy 30-minute to hour-long in-office treatment. It restores your teeth’s natural ability to absorb oxygen from the whitening gel that we apply as it deeply immerses in your teeth and removes staining. We’ll also provide you with trays and bleaching gel to take home so you can touch up your smile. This is the best, easiest and fastest of both worlds.
Tray teeth whitening is done by the patient at home wearing custom made trays. Bleach is added to the tray and the tray is worn for 1 to 1 ½ hours per day. You should see results in about 2 to 3 weeks.
Bleaching your teeth does not remove or hurt the enamel of your teeth. You may experience some temporary sensitivity, but with our quality products, the discomfort will be minimal.
Dental Anxiety FAQs
We take pride in catering to someone frightened. We understand and many of our staff are reformed “dental phobics” themselves. We use the latest technology and equipment to ensure your comfort. But most of all, we are empathetic to our patients needs. We promise we will baby you if needed and treat you as a family member.
We use the best numbing agents available. Our staff will rub a numbing jelly on your tissue that is so strong that your tissue will get that “asleep” tingle. Most patients don’t feel the injection. Even children are comfortable.