Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about oral health issues and dentistry. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our dental office.
A: Brushing and flossing help to remove the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Plaque formation is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and use of other dental aids.
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. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus(tartar). Over time, plaque and calculus destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease.
Toothbrushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before bedtime).
Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion.
Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each teeth.
Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth.
Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between your teeth and gumline. Flossing disrupts plaque build up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Take 10-12 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 gimline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water or dental mouth wash after brushing.
A: Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Keeping up with regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important and will help to detect if periodontal problems exists.
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It’s typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque—a sticky film of bacteria—to build up on the teeth and harden. In advanced stages, periodontal disease can lead to sore, bleeding gums; painful chewing problems; and even tooth loss.
Other than poor oral hygiene, there are several other factors that may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco – Tobacco users are more likely to form plaque and tartar on their teeth than nonsmokers.
- Certain tooth or appliance conditions – Bridges that no longer fit properly, crowded teeth, or defective fillings that may trap plaque and bacteria.
- Many medications – Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, and blood pressure meds have side effects that reduce saliva. This causes the mouth to become dry which in return causes plaque to adhere easily to the teeth and gums.
- Pregnancy – Can cause changes in hormone levels, causing gum tissue to become more sensitive to bacteria toxins.
- Systemic diseases – Diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV/AIDS, etc.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
- Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
- Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
- Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth
- New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
- Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers.
- Receding gums – Loss of gum around tooth.
A: You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year.
Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.
Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to help detect, prevent, and maintain your dental health. These include:
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays: Essential for detecting decay, cysts, tumors, and bone loss.
- Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, throat, tongue, tissue, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease examination: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Removal of calculus: Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth. Calculus forms above and below the gum line, and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- Teeth polishing: Removes stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during toothbrushing and scaling.
- Oral hygiene recommendations: Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed (special cleaning aids, rinses, fluorides, etc.).
A good dental cleaning and exam involves quite a lot more than just checking for cavities and polishing your teeth. We are committed to providing you with the best possible care, and to do so will require regular check-ups and cleanings.
A: Dental amalgam contains elemental mercury. It releases low levels of mercury in the form of a vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by the lungs. High levels of mercury vapor exposure are associated with adverse effects in the brain and the kidneys.
The general consensus is that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe. Along with the ADA’s position, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the FDA, and others support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost effective. The U.S Public Health Service says that the only reason not to use silver fillings is when a patient has an allergy to any component of this type of filling.
Although studies indicate that there are no measurable health risks to patients who have silver fillings, we at Newpoint Family Dental do not place amalgam fillings on our patients. Composite resin (tooth colored) fillings have a better molecular profile which aid in the prevention of recurring caries underneath restorations.
There are numerous options to silver fillings, including porcelain, resin, and gold fillings. We encourage you to discuss these options with your dentists so you can determine which is best for you.
A: When a tooth is lost, the jaw bone that helped to support that tooth begins to atrophy, causing the teeth on either side to shift or tip into the open space of the lost tooth. Also, the tooth above or below the open space will start to move towards the open space because there is no opposing tooth to bite on. These movements may create problems such as decay, gum disease, excessive wear on certain teeth, and TMJ problems. These issues do not result immediately, but will eventually appear, compromising your chewing abilities, and the beauty of your smile.
Options for replacement of missing teeth:
Fixed bridges– This type of bridge is generally made of porcelain or composite material and is cemented permanently to a natural tooth adjacent to the missing tooth. The benefit of this type of bridge is that it is fixed and it is very sturdy. The disadvantage is that in order to create a fixed appliance, two healthy, natural teeth will have to be crowned to hold the bridge in place.
Implants – Are a great way to replace one or more missing teeth. They are also great for supporting dentures. A dental implant is an artificial root that is surgically placed into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth. An artificial crown is placed on the implant, giving the appearance and feel of a natural tooth. Implants are very stable, durable, and are the most aesthetically pleasing tooth replacement option.
Dentures – This type of tooth replacement is used when most or all of the natural teeth are missing in one dental arch. Dentures are removable artificial teeth that are made to closely resemble the patients’ original teeth.
A: If you’re feeling self-conscience about your teeth, or just want to improve your smile, cosmetic dental treatments may be the answer to a more beautiful, confident smile.
There are many cosmetic dental procedures available to improve your teeth and smile. Cosmetic dental treatments can change your smile dramatically, from restoring a single tooth to having a full mouth make-over.
Porcelain Veneers – Veneers are thin custom-made, tooth-colored shells that are bonded onto the front of teeth to create a beautiful individual smile. They can help restore or camouflage damaged, discolored, poorly shaped, or misaligned teeth. Unlike crowns, veneers require minimal tooth structure to be removed from the surface of the tooth.
Porcelain Crowns – A crown is a tooth-colored, custom-made covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. They are ideal for teeth that have large, fractured or broken fillings and also for those that are badly decayed.
Teeth Whitening – Bleaching lightens teeth that have been stained by age, food, drink, and smoking. Teeth darkening as a result of injury or taking certain medications can also be bleached, but the effectiveness depends on the degree of staining present.
Dental Implants – Dental implants are artificial roots that are surgically placed into the jaw to replace one or more missing teeth. Porcelain crowns, bridges, and dentures can be made specifically to fit and attach to implants, giving a patient a strong, stable, and durable solution to removable dental appliances.
Composite (tooth-colored fillings – Also known is “bonding”, composite fillings are now widely used instead of amalgam fillings to repair teeth with cavities, and also to replace old defective fillings. Composite fillings are also used to repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth. This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession.
A: At Newpoint Family Dental, we are committed to providing quality care to our community and surrounding towns. By credentialing our providers with most insurance plans, we are able to provide care to many families. Below is a list of most insurance we accept:
- Delta Dental
- United Healthcare
- United Concordia
- Chesapeake Life Insurance
If you have questions regarding your dental plan or if we are in network, please give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.