Frequently Asked Questions

What is dentistry?

Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions, disorders, and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Often considered necessary for complete oral health, dentistry can have an impact on the health of your entire body.

Who is a dentist?

A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Our dentists have completed at least eight years of schooling, and received either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery), or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). If a doctor is a pediatric dentist, this means that he or she specializes in caring for children from infancy through their teen years. A pediatric dentist has received the proper education and training needed to work with young kids. Other specializations include:
  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • Periodontics (gum disease)
  • Prosthodontics (implants)

What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?

Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important, and you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine whether the dentist is right for you. During your appointment, consider the following:

  • Is the appointment schedule convenient?
  • Is the office easy to get to and close by?
  • Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
  • Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
  • Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
  • Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
  • Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?

At What Age Should I Start Taking My Child to See the Dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six-months-old and no later than one-year-old. During this time, your child's baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child's first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.

My teeth feel fine; do I still need to see a dentist?

Your teeth may feel fine, but it’s still important to see a dentist regularly because problems can exist without your knowing. Your smile’s appearance is important, and we can help keep your smile healthy and looking beautiful.

How long will treatment take?

This depends on your age and your bite problem. Most people need to wear their brace for about 12-15 months, but you can make a difference by looking after and wearing your braces properly.

How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.

Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. At these visits, your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities. Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to help detect, prevent, and maintain your dental health.

We are committed to providing you with the best possible care, and to do so will require regular check-ups and cleanings. For more information on exam and checkup, click here.

With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth.

Today’s dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:

  • Professional teeth whitening
  • Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
  • Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:

  • Helps prevent tooth decay
  • Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
  • Prevents bad breath; brushing, flossing, and seeing a dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath
  • Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence
  • Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco
  • Strengthens your teeth so you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!

Why should I go to the dentist regularly? (Crisis treatment vs. preventive treatment)

Many people do not see a dentist on a regular basis. They go only when they have a problem. We call this “crisis treatment” as opposed to “preventive treatment.” While these patients may feel they are saving money, it usually ends up costing much more in both dollars and time. The reason for this is that most dental problems do not have any symptoms until they reach the advanced stages of the disease process. A simple example is tooth decay. We often hear, “Nothing hurts…I don’t have any problems.” But tooth decay does not hurt! Until, that is, it gets close to the nerve of the tooth. By that time, root canal treatment followed by a post, buildup, and crown are often necessary, instead of the filling which could have been placed several years earlier when the cavity was just beginning to form. Your dentist can usually detect a cavity 3-4 years before it develops any symptoms. It is not uncommon to see a patient with a huge cavity and who has never felt a thing! This is why regular checkups are important.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth because of tooth decay. Cavities form when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This produces an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth.

If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss between teeth at least once.

What is a filling?

A filling is a synthetic material that a dentist uses to fill a cavity after all the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because the dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic.

Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure to talk to us about what type is best for you and your teeth.

What are cavity-fighting sealants?

The American Dental Association points out sealants are an effective weapon in the arsenal against tooth decay. Sealants are a thin coating painted on chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting the teeth against decay-causing bacteria.

Sealants have proven effective with both adults and children, but are most commonly used with children. Despite the fact that sealants are about half the cost of fillings, only a small percentage of school-aged children have sealants on their permanent teeth.

Ask your dentist whether sealants are a good choice for you or your children.

What is gum disease?

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics.

Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease. If detected, it is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition.

Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease:

  • Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gum line
  • Abscessed teeth

Treatment of early periodontal disease can be performed in-office. However, advanced stages may require surgery. Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated successfully by seeing your dentist and dental hygienist regularly and following recommended care plans.

What should I do about bleeding gums?

People often respond to bleeding gums with the wrong method of treatment. Usually, gums that bleed are a symptom of the onset of periodontal disease or gingivitis. But often, people stop brushing frequently and effectively because it may be painful or it may cause the gums to bleed again. Instead, when gums are inflamed, brushing often and effectively is imperative. More importantly, you should see your dentist to have a periodontal screening and recording performed in order to determine the level of disease present and the best treatment course to pursue.

It is also worth noting that chronic dental pain and discomfort are obvious signs of a problem. Over-the-counter drugs may provide some temporary relief. These medications usually only mask the existence of a problem and should be taken on a temporary basis.

It is important to see your dentist as soon as possible if your gums begin to bleed.

Why does the dentist take X-rays?

Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when your dentist examines your mouth. An X-ray examination may reveal:

  • small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings)
  • infections in the bone
  • periodontal (gum) disease
  • abscesses or cysts
  • developmental abnormalities
  • some types of tumors

Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and often unnecessary discomfort. Dental radiographs can detect damage to oral structures not visible during a regular exam. If you have a hidden tumor, radiographs may even help save your life. Your dentist will evaluate your need for radiographs based on the conditions present in your mouth. The schedule for radiographs can vary with age, risk for disease or for evaluation of growth and development. There are many benefits to having dental radiographs taken. Any additional questions or concerns should be discussed with your dentist.

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and in water. Some natural sources of fluoride are brewed tea, canned fish, cooked kale and spinach, apples, and skim milk. Some city water contains fluoride, so by drinking tap water you will acquire fluoride. If your drinking water does not have fluoride, supplements are available. The lack of exposure to fluoride places individuals of any age at risk for dental decay. Fluoride is important to dental health because it helps prevent tooth decay by making the enamel outer portion of the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria in the mouth.

Studies have shown that children who consumed fluoridated water from birth had less dental decay. Fluoride can reverse early decay and help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that causes degenerative bone loss. Talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about whether you’re getting the daily amount of fluoride you need.

Why should I use a Mouth Guard?

A Mouth Guard can prevent injuries to your face and teeth. Most people benefit from wearing a Mouth Guard when playing any sport. You should wear one whether you are playing professionally or just on weekends. Do what you can to preserve your smile and your health. The best Mouth Guards are custom-fitted by your dentist. This is especially important if you wear braces or fixed bridgework.

Commercial, ready-made Mouth Guard can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. They are relatively inexpensive but they are also less effective. In either case, rinse your Mouth Guard with water or mouthwash after each use. With proper care, it should last for several months. Ask your dentist which kind of Mouthguard you should use.

Will a visit to the dentists hurt?

Modern dentistry has progressed hugely in the area of pain relief and latest technology equipment. We understand people have a real phobia about the sounds, smells and feelings of dental visits from their childhood, and strive to change perceptions allowing you to enjoy the experience and the patient care at Gainesville Dental Arts.

Do whitening toothpastes work?

Commercial whitening toothpastes vary greatly in their ability to whiten teeth. They work by removing surface stains from the teeth with the use of mild abrasives. However, unlike professional whitening, some whitening toothpastes do not alter the intrinsic color of the teeth. Toothpastes that are effective in removing stains can also destroy tooth enamel in the process. These toothpastes use harsh abrasives. With repeated use, harsh abrasives begin to damage tooth enamel and can contribute to increased tooth sensitivity. If you would like to try a whitening toothpaste, consult with your dentist first.

Does whitening damage the teeth?

It is very important that whitening is done by a registered dentist as this will ensure that it is a safe process. At Gainesville Dental Arts we offer either home bleaching or in-chair whitening and your dentist will explain both processes to you in detail.

How can I prevent cavities?

You can certainly minimize the number of cavities you get. Always spend two to three minutes brushing your teeth. It takes that long to get rid of the bacteria which destroy tooth enamel. Do not brush too hard. It takes very little pressure to remove bacteria and plaque. Floss at least once a day. It is the only way to get bacteria from between your teeth.

Watch the sugar you eat. There is sugar in candy, fruits, crackers and chips. These are the foods that the bacteria in your mouth like best. Be mindful of foods like raisins and peanut butter that stick to your teeth. They can provide a constant supply for the bacteria eating into your teeth. Try to minimize the times during the day when sweet items are eaten and clean your teeth afterwards.

If you cannot brush after a meal, rinse your mouth with water—which can help to remove food from your teeth. Chewing sugarless gum after a meal can also help. Chewing stimulates the flow of saliva which acts as a natural plaque-fighting substance.

Do not forget your regular dental visits. Good dental habits will go a long way toward a no-cavity visit.

How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once!
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask us if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
  • Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, and causes more plaque and potential cavities), and avoid tobacco (which can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).
  • Don’t be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit our office every six months.

How can I tell if I have Periodontitis and/or Gingivitis?

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Having regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important and will help detect if periodontal problems exist.

What can I do about sensitive teeth?

Sensitivity toothpaste, which contains strontium chloride or potassium nitrate are very effective in treating sensitive teeth. After a few weeks of use you may notice a decrease in sensitivity. Highly acidic foods such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons, as well as tea and soda can increase tooth sensitivity, and work against any sensitivity toothpaste. If you do not get relief by brushing gently and using a desensitizing toothpaste, see your dentist. There are special compounds that can be applied in office to the roots of your tooth to reduce—if not eliminate—the sensitivity. High-fluoride containing home care products can also be recommended to help reduce tooth sensitivity.

Ask the friendly staff at Gainesville Dental Arts for more information on sensitive teeth.

How long will the results of teeth whitening last?

Like other investments, if you whiten your teeth, the length of time you can expect it to last will vary. If you smoke, drink red wine or coffee, or consume other acid-containing foods, your bright smile may begin to yellow more quickly than you expect. In general, a teeth whitening procedure can last up to a few years. And even though the results can fade, occasional touch-ups can be done to regain luster.

Ask the experienced staff at Gainesville Dental Arts about the long-term benefits of teeth whitening.

How often should I brush and floss?

Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease. Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar).

If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease. Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.

Brushing

Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA-approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.

  • Brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
  • Brush the outer, inner and biting surfaces of each tooth.
  • Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.

Flossing

Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth and bone.

  • Take 12-16 inches of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches of floss between the hands.
  • Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.

Floss holders are available if you have difficulty using conventional floss.

Rinsing

It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.

How to floss properly?

  • Take 12-16 inches of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches of floss between the hands.
  • Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the sides of each tooth.
  • Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss. Daily flossing will help you keep a healthy, beautiful smile for life!

Is dental floss important?

Brushing your teeth removes food particles, plaque and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrush can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth and bone. Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.

The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that cause cavities and irritate and inflame the gums. Also, when plaque is not removed above and below the gumline, it hardens and turns into calculus (tartar). This will further irritate and inflame the gums and also slowly destroy the bone. This is the beginning of periodontal disease.

Why should I floss, isn’t brushing enough?

You should floss to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth. There are millions of these microscopic creatures feeding on food particles left on your teeth. These bacteria live in plaque which can be removed by flossing. Brushing your teeth gets rid of some of the bacteria in your mouth. Flossing gets rid of the bacteria your toothbrush can’t get to. That’s the bacteria hiding in the tiny spaces between your teeth. Brushing without flossing is like washing only half your face. The other half remains dirty.

If you do not floss, you allow plaque to remain between your teeth. Eventually it hardens into tartar. Plaque can be removed by brushing. Only your dentist can remove tartar.

Ask your dentist to show you the proper way to floss. You will both notice the difference at your next cleaning appointment.

What can I do about bad breath?

Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning. There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduces bad breath by as much as 70 percent!

What can I do to prevent bad breath?

  • Practice good oral hygiene – Brush at least twice a day with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gumline. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning.
  • See your dentist regularly – Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits.
  • Stop smoking/chewing tobacco – Ask your dentist what they recommend to help break the habit.
  • Drink water frequently – Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria.
  • Use mouthwash/rinses – Some over-the-counter products only provide a temporary solution to mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist about antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath, but also kill the germs that cause the problem.

In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.

What causes bad breath?

  • Morning time – Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
  • Certain foods – Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits – Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth.
  • Periodontal (gum) disease – Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums.
  • Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances – May also contribute to bad breath.
  • Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – May be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.
  • Tobacco products – Dry the mouth, causing bad breath.
  • Dieting – Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat.
  • Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals – Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away.
  • Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath.
  • Keeping a record of what you eat may help identify the cause of bad breath. Also, review your current medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with you dentist.

What causes morning breath?

When you are asleep, saliva production in your mouth decreases. Since saliva is the mouth’s natural mouthwash, most people experience morning breath. Bacteria found on teeth, in the crevices and on the taste buds of the tongue, break down the food particles, which produce sulfur compounds. It is actually these sulfur compounds which give our breath a bad odor. During waking hours, saliva helps to wash away bacteria and food particles. Saliva also helps to dissolve the foul smelling sulfur compounds.

Chronic, long-term mouth odor can be a sign of more serious illness. See your dentist if this is a concern.

What is fluoride and why is it important to dental health?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and in water. Some natural sources of fluoride are brewed tea, canned fish, cooked kale and spinach, apples, and skim milk. Some city water contains fluoride, so by drinking tap water you will acquire fluoride. If your drinking water does not have fluoride, supplements are available. The lack of exposure to fluoride places individuals of any age at risk for dental decay. Fluoride is important to dental health because it helps prevent tooth decay by making the enamel outer portion of the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria in the mouth.

Studies have shown that children who consumed fluoridated water from birth had less dental decay. Fluoride can reverse early decay and help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that causes degenerative bone loss. Talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about whether you’re getting the daily amount of fluoride you need.

When should I change my toothbrush?

Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. Dentist recommends that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently.

Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you’ve been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.

When would I need to see a periodontist?

A periodontist is a specialist that treats gum disease. If you have swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath and/or mobile teeth your dentist should recommend you to see a specialist periodontist who will assess you and treat the affected areas preventing the spread of periodontal disease to other healthy teeth. The periodontist works very closely with a hygienist who you will need to see regularly.

Why do my teeth darken?

Many factors work to destroy the naturally white smile we are born with. Tobacco, certain foods we eat, and certain drinks actually stain teeth. These substances continually work on our teeth causing our white smile to gradually fade. Hot coffee and tea are especially hazardous to your smile because they change the temperature of your teeth. This temperature change—hot and cold cycling—causes the teeth to expand and contract allowing stains to penetrate the teeth. Cutting down on coffee and tea can go a long way to creating a great smile. Foods that are slightly acidic are also dangerous to your white smile. These foods open up the pores of the tooth enamel allowing stains to move more easily into the tooth.

Your dentist can help you with more tips on keeping a white smile.

I am undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation for cancer treatment, how can this affect my mouth?

Chemotherapy and Radiation can cause a number of problems in the mouth, some of which might include: mouth sores, infections, dry mouth, bleeding of the gums and lining of the mouth and general soreness and pain of the mouth. It can be harder to control these things while undergoing treatment as the immune system is generally compromised as a result of the treatment. There are some special mouth rinses that can be prescribed to help with discomfort during treatment. It is very important to see your Dentist before treatment begins and then to continue with recommended follow-up care. These treatments can cause dry mouth, and recommendations might be made for additional care both in-office and at home.

I have diabetes. Why is my dentist concerned?

Research today suggests a link between gum disease and diabetes. Research has established that people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. If blood glucose levels are poorly controlled you may be more likely to develop gum disease and could potentially lose teeth. Like all infections, gum disease can be a factor in causing blood sugar levels to rise and make diabetes harder to control. Be sure to see your Dentist regularly for check-ups and follow home care recommendations. If you notice other conditions such as dry mouth or bleeding gums be sure to talk with your dentist, and don’t forget to mention any changes in medications.

I just found out I am pregnant, how can this affect my mouth?

About half of women who are pregnant experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. This condition can be uncomfortable and cause swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue. A more advanced oral health condition called periodontal disease (a serious gum infection that destroys attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold teeth in the mouth) may affect the health of your baby. Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and preterm, low birth-weight babies. In fact, pregnant women with periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that’s born too early and too small. The likely culprit is a labor-inducing chemical found in oral bacteria called prostaglandin. Very high levels of prostaglandin are found in women with severe cases of periodontal disease.

Is smokeless tobacco harmful?

Smokeless tobacco may be smokeless, but it isn’t harmless. These are some of the potential hazards:

  • Tooth abrasion from grit and sand in tobacco can scratch teeth and wear away the enamel
  • The constant irritation caused by chewing tobacco can result in gum recession and other permanent damage to periodontal tissue
  • Increased tooth decay can result from sugar that is added to smokeless tobacco
  • Tooth discoloration and bad breath are common with long term use
  • Nicotine blood levels are similar to those found in cigarettes
  • A diminished sense of taste and smell caused by tobacco use can lead to unhealthy eating habits
  • Cancer can be caused by all forms of smokeless tobacco
  • Watch out for some of these danger signs:

  • A sore that does not heal
  • A lump or white patch
  • A prolonged sore throat
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Restricted movement of the tongue or jaw
  • A feeling of something in the throat
  • Pain is rarely an early symptom. All tobacco users need to see their dentist regularly.

What causes canker sores?

The exact cause of canker sores is not known. Some factors may include genetics, allergies, stress, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Trauma to the inside of the mouth can result in the development of canker sores. Ill-fitting dentures or braces, toothbrush trauma from brushing too hard, or biting your cheek, may produce canker sores. Certain foods may also be a factor. Citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables can trigger a canker sore or make the problem worse. Foods like chips, pretzels and hard candies have sharp edges that can nick and injure the soft tissue of the mouth.

To treat a canker sore, rinse your mouth with antimicrobial mouthwash or warm water and salt. Over the counter treatments are also available.

If the canker sore is present longer than two weeks, see your dentist. Ask the friendly staff at Gainesville Dental Arts for more information about canker sores.

Why do I have to take antibiotics before my dental appointment?

There are certain conditions that require pre-medication with an antibiotic prior to dental treatment to prevent adverse affects and infection that can be caused by bacteria that enter the blood stream during certain treatment. You will want to consult with your Dentist about this prior to treatment.

I have dentures. Is it necessary for me to still see my dentist?

Visits to the Dentist include more than just “checking teeth”. While those patients who wear dentures no longer have to worry about dental decay, they may have concerns with ill fitting appliances or mouth sores to name a few. Annual visits to the Dentist (or sooner if soreness is present) is recommended. During these visits an oral cancer screening and head and neck exam will be performed as well as an evaluation of the fit or need for replacement of the existing appliances. Regular visits can help you to avoid more complicated problems down the road even with a denture.

Are braces uncomfortable?

Quite possibly at first, but do not be discouraged. A few hours after fitting your brace your teeth may well feel uncomfortable. This discomfort may last for three to four days and a mild analgesic, such as paracetamol, may be necessary.

Can anybody be treated using orthodontic braces?

Yes, and at any age too. Orthodontics is most successful when carried out in children whose teeth and bones are still actively growing but there has been a big increase in adult orthodontics in recent years.

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach.

This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. We will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.

What are the different types of orthodontic braces?

There are two types of orthodontic braces, fixed and removable. Different combinations of braces may be used to treat individual cases. Removable braces such as Invisalign are used for simple treatment, and work by exerting gentle pressure. Fixed braces give more precise guidance and have brackets and bands temporarily attached to the teeth- lingual braces have these fixed behind the teeth so that they are completely hidden and nobody can tell you are wearing braces..

What will happen at the first orthodontic appointment?

The first appointment will take approximately 30 minutes. A brace will not be fitted at this session but we will assess your problems, discuss the orthodontic treatment plan that will be necessary and the optimum time to start treatment. We will take into account your own concerns, your dental development and your oral hygiene. For those who are ready to start treatment immediately, we will make an appointment to take dental records which includes dental modelling, photographs and possibly some x-rays.

Why do I need orthodontics?

Orthodontics are the geometry of teeth. A dentist may refer a patient for orthodontic treatment for a variety of reasons: crowding, spacing, profile, impacted, missing or drifted teeth or crossbite – but the common factor is that your teeth need to move position through the use of braces.

Why should I see a specialist orthodontist?

A Specialist Orthodontist has had extra years of training and is the best person to achieve lasting results. It is easier to clean teeth (avoiding decay and gum problems) if they are correctly aligned and it will lead to a more confident, aesthetic smile.

I am still in a lot of pain after having my tooth pulled. Is there something wrong?

If you are still experiencing significant pain a few days following an extraction that doesn’t seem to be getting better with an over-the-counter pain reliever, you may be suffering from a dry socket. This needs treatment, so give us a call and we will schedule an appointment for you.

I knocked out a tooth, can it be saved?

Oral injuries are often painful, and should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.

  • Attempt to find the tooth
  • Rinse, do not scrub, the tooth to remove dirt or debris.
  • Place the clean tooth in your mouth between your cheek and gum or under your tongue.
  • Do not attempt to replace the tooth into the socket as this could cause further damage.
  • Get to the dentist. Successful re-implantation is possible only when treatment is performed promptly.
  • If it is not possible to store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse it in milk.

I recently had a filling and my tooth is still a little sensitive. Should I come in?

Once your tooth has decay it has a certain degree of infection. This means that portion of your tooth has to be removed in order to eliminate the infection. This missing portion is then replaced with a patch or tooth colored filling. You must be aware that this material is only meant to last 5-10 years. The longevity depends on many factors, ones you can control (habits), and others that you can’t (just being in a hot/cold/wet environment).

Because your tooth essentially has had surgery, it will not be unusual if you experience some sensitivity to temperature & pressure for a few days following your appointment. If you feel like your bite has been altered, however, we will need to see you to perform a bite adjustment.

My temporary crown has come off, what do I do?

A temporary crown is placed on your tooth to maintain the adequate space for your final crown and also protect the sensitive exposed portion of your tooth. If your temporary comes off, don’t panic! You can use any store bought temporary material to put it back on, or you can use denture adhesive or even toothpaste. Give our office a call and we will arrange to see you as soon as possible.

What are implants?

Implants can be a single tooth or multiple teeth that are fixed into healthy bone by way of a titanium screw. This is a great permanent solution to missing teeth. Implants can only be provided in patients over 18 years who are fit and healthy non-smokers.

What are the dangers of oral piercing?

The American Dental Association recognizes that piercing is a widely accepted form of self-expression, and that includes piercings in the mouth. However, the potential problems are numerous. Some symptoms after a piercing include pain, swelling, infection, drooling, taste loss, scarring, chipped teeth, tooth loss, and an increased flow of saliva, none of which are particularly pleasant. Tongue piercing can also cause excessive bleeding. Most piercings require some sort of manipulation – putting your or somebody else’s hands in your mouth. Difficulty talking and damage to your teeth are distinct possibilities. So if you’re thinking of some sort of piercing in or around your mouth, talk to your dentist first.

If you already have piercings and are having problems, see your dentist right away.