Answering your questions is very important to the general and cosmetic dentists at Arnesen, Herbert, & Endean, D.D.S. That is why we have created this FAQs page to answer many of the most frequently asked questions our patients have about dentistry and oral health issues. If you have a question that isn’t answered below, we will gladly assist you if you contact our dental office.
What should I do if I have bad breath?
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition that many of us may not even realize we have. There are various reasons behind bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially near the back. Some studies have shown that simply brushing your tongue can reduce how often you have bad breath by as much as 70%. Additionally, keeping a record of what you eat may assist you in identifying the cause of your bad breath. We also recommend you review your current medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with your dentist to figure out potential causes of bad breath.
How often should I brush and floss?
Brushing and flossing your teeth are the two keys to helping you control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease in your mouth. Made from food debris, bacteria, and saliva, plaque sticks to your teeth and gums and slowly create acids that can cause tooth decay. Furthermore, if left untreated, plaque can turn into calculus, which can destroy the gums and bone in your mouth, which can cause periodontal disease.
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, especially before you go to sleep at night, with an ADA-approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste is the best way to keep plaque at bay. Electric toothbrushes are also very effective at removing plaque from your gums and teeth.
Daily flossing is easily the best way to keep the in-betweens of our teeth and gum line clean. Flossing also helps to disrupt plaque colonies from building up, which further aids you in preventing damage to your teeth, gums, and bone.
How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
It is important to have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though more frequent visit might be recommended if you have additional needs or issues. A regular dental exam and cleaning visit helps you prevent dental problems by assisting you in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. These visits usually include a complete teeth cleaning, cavity checkup, and an oral cancer screening. The team at our dental office is dedicated to providing you with the best possible care when you come in for an exam and cleaning.
How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis?
Most people are not aware of the fact that they have gingivitis or gum disease because it is usually painless in the early stages. However, four out of five people are typically dealing with some form of gum disease. Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations help you detect these problems and take care of them before they become too advanced. Additionally, good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits are what it takes to help you reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. Some signs and symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red & Puffy Gums
- Bleeding Gums
- Persistent Bad Breath
- New Spacing between Teeth
- Loose Teeth
- Pus Around the Teeth & Gums
- Receding Gums
- Tenderness or Discomfort
Why is it important to use dental floss?
Brushing your teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all of the surfaces of your teeth, but it doesn’t help you clean in-between the teeth. Daily flossing is the best way to clean these crevices as well as under the gum line so that you can break apart plaque colonies and remove lodged food, bacteria, and plaque.
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 gum line.
- Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth
- Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?
When you are feeling somewhat self-conscious about your teeth, or just want to improve your smile, cosmetic dentistry can help by giving you a more beautiful, confident smile. Cosmetic dental treatments are very popular thanks to the impressive results they can have on your mouth as well as your overall health. There are many different cosmetic dental procedures available to you, from restoring a single tooth to having a full mouth makeover. We recommend speaking to your dentist to find out which cosmetic dentistry services are best for your smile.
What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?
Porcelain veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted to cover the fronts of teeth. These very durable dental treatments will not stain, which makes them a very popular solution for patients looking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile. Veneers may be used to restore or correct a number of different dental conditions, including:
- Severely Discolored or Stained Teeth
- Unwanted or Uneven Spacing
- Worn or Chipped Teeth
- Slight Tooth Crowding
- Misshapen Teeth
- Teeth That Are Too Small or Large
Veneers are created from a mold of your teeth that is sent to a professional dental laboratory where they are customized to fit your individual smile. With little or no anesthesia, teeth are then prepared by lightly buffing and shaping their front surfaces to allow for the small thickness of these veneers. They are then carefully fitted and bonded onto the surface of the teeth using special bonding cement and, occasionally, a specialized light may be used to harden and set the bond. This is an excellent, two-trip dental treatment that can dramatically improve your smile and teeth.
What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
Teeth whitening has become the number one aesthetic concern for many patients and there are many different products and methods available to help these people achieve a brighter smile. That said; professional teeth whitening is a simple, non-invasive treatment that is proven to change the color of your tooth’s natural enamel and is the most ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are much less effective and may not be approved by the American Dental Association.
It is important to have your teeth evaluated before you begin any teeth whitening services. Some stains or discolorations are difficult to bleach and there might be a better solution available to you, including veneers or crowns. Additionally, you should evaluate replacing any old fillings or crowns before bleaching begins so that the shades of your dental treatments match the new shade of your bleached teeth. Tooth whitening is not permanent, which means you may require a touchup every couple of years to keep your smile looking bright.
What are my options if I am missing teeth?
When you have lost a tooth, the jaw bone that helped support that tooth will begin to atrophy, causing the teeth on either side of the hole to shift or tip into the open space. Additionally, the tooth above or below the open space will begin to move towards the open space because there is no opposing tooth to bite on. These movements can end up causing a number of different problems for you, including tooth decay, gum disease, excessive wear on certain teeth, and TMJ problems. Many of these problems and movements do not result immediately, but will eventually appear, if you do not address your missing tooth quickly enough.
Options for replacing missing teeth include:
- Removable Bridges – This is the most economical option for replacing missing teeth, but also the least aesthetically pleasing.
- Fixed Bridges – This is a very sturdy solution, but requires two healthy, natural teeth to be capped to hold the bridge in place.
- Dentures – These removable, artificial teeth closely resemble your original teeth and are used to replace most or all of your natural teeth.
- Dental Implants – One of the best ways to replace one or more missing teeth. They provide great support and are the most aesthetically pleasing tooth replacement option available.
What does heart disease and other medical conditions have to do with periodontal disease?
Many people are unaware that having periodontal disease can affect their overall health. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that it is capable of producing toxins and acids that can irritate and infect your gums and eventually destroy the jaw bone that supports the teeth. It is also the main reason for people to lose their teeth.
There are numerous studies that have looked into the correlation between periodontal disease and major medical conditions. These studies suggest that if you have gum disease you are at a greater risk of systemic disease and indicate that oral bacteria can enter your bloodstream and travel to major organs and begin new infections. Research suggests that periodontal bacteria in the bloodstream may:
- Contribute to the Development of Heart Disease
- Increase the Risk of Stroke
- Compromise the Health of Those with Diabetes or Respiratory Diseases
- Increase a Women’s Risk of Having a Pre-Term, Low-Birth Weight Baby
When are sealants recommended?
Although brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly is capable of removing most food particles and bacteria, they do not reach the deep grooves on chewing surfaces of teeth. These chewing surfaces are where 75% of most dental decay begins. A sealant is a thin plastic coating designed to cover and protect the grooves of molars, premolars, and any other deep grooves or pits on teeth. This material forms a protective, smooth barrier that makes it much easier for you to clean as well as helps keep these areas free of decay.
What should I do if a tooth is knocked out?
Locating the lost tooth and handling it only by the crown are the two most important things you can do when a tooth is knocked out. It is important for you not to scrub or use soap or chemicals to clean the tooth. If it is dirty, just rinse it gently with your own saliva or whole milk. Additionally, you need to make it to a dentist in around 30 minutes to be able to have a successful re-implantation.
Ways to Transport Your Tooth:
- Try to replace the tooth back in its socket immediately and apply a cold compress to the mouth for pain and swelling as needed.
- If your tooth cannot be placed back into the socket, then place it in a container and cover it with a small amount of saliva or whole milk. You can also place the tooth under your tongue or between your lower lip and gums to keep it moist. Do not transport the tooth in a tissue or cloth.
- Consider buying a ‘Save-a-Tooth’ storage container and keeping it as part of your home first aid kit. This kit is available in many pharmacies and contains a travel case and fluid solution for easy tooth transportation.
The sooner your tooth is replaced back into the socket, the greater the likelihood is that it will survive and last for many years. So be prepared and you will be able to hope for the best. Additionally, you can help avoid losing teeth by wearing a mouth guard when playing sports, wearing a seatbelt when driving, avoiding fights, and avoiding chewing on hard items such as ice, popcorn kernels, or hard beads.
Contact us if you have any additional questions you would like to ask our general and cosmetic dentists. Our team looks forward to providing useful information and services to patients located throughout the Plymouth, Minnesota, area.