ASK THE DENTIST

 

Do you ever think of the questions you wanted to ask the
dentist only after you have left the dental office? Here are a
few of the most commonly asked questions:



When should I replace my toothbrush?
What is calculus?
What exactly is a root canal?
How successful are root canals?
What are dental implants?

Will tooth whitening damage my teeth?

Why are my gums receding?

What is the difference between a conventional denture and an immediate denture?

 

 When should I replace my toothbrush?

Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 to 4 months or when the bristles are bent or frayed.You should also get a new toothbrush after you have been ill since there will be an accumulation of bacteria on your toothbrush.


 What is calculus?

Soft plaque that is not removed regularly by brushing and flossing can harden into calculus or "tartar".
Once this plaque has mineralized, it can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist. Some people form heavy calculus fairly quickly, and others form little calculus. You can decrease the formation of calculus
by brushing with an ADA approved tartar control toothpaste.


 What exactly is a root canal?

A root canal involves several steps. The first step is to remove the infected nerve tissue from the tooth.
The tooth is accessed from the top of the tooth, and the canals of the tooth are found. The length of the canals is determined, and the nerve tissue is removed.

The second step of the root canal involves cleaning, shaping, and sterilizing the canals.

The final step of a root canal involves filling the canal with a plastic material, gutta percha.
This material seals off the tooth and helps to prevent a future infection.

The steps of a root canal may all be performed in one appointment or may be accomplished in two or three appointments depending on the size of the canals, the number of canals and the amount of infection present in the tooth. After completing the root canal, the tooth will be restored with the appropriate restoration, either a filling or a crown.


 How successful are root canals?

The success rate for root canal treatment is as high as 95%. In some instances, a tooth may need to be retreated. With the proper restoration, the root canal treated tooth should last as long as your other teeth.


 What are dental implants?

Dental implants are sophisticated screws made of titanium which are placed under the gums into the jawbone. Over a few months time, the implant will fuse to the bone and become osseointegrated (integrated to the bone). After the appropriate healing time has lapsed (usually 3-6 months), the implants are uncovered and restored. Implants can replace single or multiple missing teeth.


 Will tooth whitening damage my teeth?

Tooth whitening treatment will not damage tooth structure. There may be some sensitivity
associated with tooth whitening, but it is short term. Tooth whitening will not alter the color
of restorations including fillings, crowns, and veneers, but will not harm them.


 Why are my gums receding?

Your gums can recede for a variety of reasons. Abrasive toothpastes and improper brushing
may wear away your teeth and gums. Accumulation of plaque and calculus can also effectively "push" your gums away from your teeth. Malocclusion can also be a factor in gum recession.


 What is the difference between a conventional denture and an immediate denture?

A conventional denture is a denture made for someone who has no teeth. An immediate denture, however, may be proposed if you currently have teeth, but these teeth cannot be saved. With the immediate denture, your remaining posterior (back) teeth are removed and the tissue is allowed to heal for a few weeks, leaving your front teeth intact.
(If you have no posterior teeth, the denture process can be started right away). After the healing period, an impression is taken. Once measurements have been made and denture teeth have been chosen, the denture is made. After the denture has been fabricated, your teeth are extracted and the denture is placed the same day. With an immediate denture, you are never without front teeth. There are disadvantages to an immediate denture which include:

No ability to try-in the anterior teeth of the denture before it is fabricated.

After a few months, you will need to have your denture relined or maybe even remade due to changes in the bone and tissue after healing is completed.