Patient FAQs Santa Rosa
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions from our patients about dentistry and oral health issues. Please feel free to contact us, as we love to answer your questions. let us know about your needs.
Q. Are X-rays safe? Do I need it?
A. We came across concerns regarding taking x-ray from our patients. Their concerns include: Are x-rays necessary? Are they safe? Now let us address the information related to X-ray to you.
Dental x-rays are necessary for accurate diagnosis of many dental conditions, so that dentists are able to detect decay and diseases of the mouth, bone, face and jaw that may not be visible with an oral examination. As x-rays assist us in detecting early dental conditions, X-ray is valuable to have in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of dental problems.
In regards to safety concerns, Safety Modern equipment filters out unnecessary radiation and focuses the x-ray beam to the area of interest. High-speed x-ray film and lead aprons further reduce a patient’s exposure. With these safeguards, it is believed that the small amount of radiation from dental x-rays generally represents much less risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
Q. What is cosmetic dentistry?
A. Generally cosmetic dentistry is comprehensive oral care that combines art and science to optimally improve dental health, aesthetics and function.
There are various treatments available, and today’s most common cosmetic dental treatments are Whitening, Enamel shaping, Contouring (or Tooth reshaping), Bonding, Dental Bridges, Veneers, and Gum Lift.
Q. What material does cosmetic dental treatment use?
A. In the past, dental fillings and other tooth restorations were made of gold, amalgam and other metals—some of which were veneered with porcelain. Now, dental work can be made entirely of porcelain or composite materials that more closely mimic the appearance of natural tooth structure. These tooth colored materials are bonded to the underlying tooth structure with resin adhesives. Unlike silver fillings (amalgams) they are entirely free of mercury. Many dentists offer procedures to be cosmetic and because their patients prefer natural looking teeth.
Q. What should I do if I have bad breath?
A. 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.
Q. What can cause bad breath?
A. 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.
Q. How often should I brush and floss?
A. 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.
Tooth 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 gumline. 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 (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) 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 side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended 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, its a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.
Q. Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?
A. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), up to 76% of dentists use silver containing mercury to fill teeth. The ADA also states that silver fillings are safe and that studies have failed to find any link between silver containing mercury and any medical disorder.
The general consensus is that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe. Along with the ADAs position, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, 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. The ADA has had fewer than 100 reported incidents of an allergy to components of silver fillings, and this is out of countless millions of silver fillings over the decades.
Q. How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
A. 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. These include:
Medical history review: Knowing the status of any current medical conditions, new medications, and illnesses, gives us insight to your over all health and also your dental health.
Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for sometime and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line, and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
Removal of plaque: 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 (poisons) that inflame the gums.
This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
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 (electric dental toothbrushes, special cleaning aids, fluorides, rinses, etc.).
Review dietary habits: Your eating habits play a very important role in your dental health.
As you can see, a good dental exam and cleaning 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.