At the office of Dorsey W. Baker, we know that dental care can be overwhelming and confusing at times. To help make your dental care more relaxing and enjoyable, we have compiled a list of some of the questions we are asked most often. If you have further questions, and to make an appointment with our caring dentist in Glendale, Arizona, please call our office at 602-942-0623.
What should I do if I have bad breath?
Bad breath (halitosis) can be unpleasant and embarrassing. It is also fairly common, and everyone experiences it from time to time, especially in the morning. Bad breath may be caused by:
- Morning time
- Certain foods
- Poor oral hygiene
- Gum disease
- Dental cavities
- Poorly-fitted dental appliances
- Dry mouth
- Tobacco products
- Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals
- Certain medications and medical conditions or illnesses
In most cases your dentist can treat the cause of your bad breath. Often, you can prevent halitosis by practicing good oral hygiene, visiting the dentist regularly, staying hydrating, avoiding using tobacco products, and using mouthwashes. If your halitosis is persistent, you may need to meet with your medical physician.
How often should I brush and floss?
You should brush your teeth at least twice each day, including before going to bed at night. We recommend that you use an ADA-approved soft-bristle brush and ADA-approved toothpaste. You should floss daily to clean between the teeth and below the gum line.
Are silver fillings safe?
Yes. While there have been concerns over the years about the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings, these fillings are safe for use, and there is no link between silver fillings containing mercury and any medical disorders. The ADA, CDC, WHO, FDA, and other medical, dental, and health organizations support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost-effective dental restorations.
How often should I have a dental cleaning and exam?
You should meet with your dentist at least twice each year for a dental examination and cleaning. These regular visits are essential to preventing dental problems and maintaining your oral health. Depending on your needs, your dentist and hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.
How can I tell if I have gum disease?
Gum disease can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages. For this reason, you should visit the dentist regularly. During your routine dental visits, your dentist and hygienist will check for any signs of periodontal disease and will recommend appropriate actions and precautions that you can take.
Common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Gaps or spacing between the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Pus around the teeth and gums
- Receding gums
- Tenderness and discomfort
You can prevent gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene, maintaining a balanced diet, and visiting the dentist regularly.
Why is flossing important?
Flossing reaches between your teeth and below your gum line to clean areas where your toothbrush cannot reach. This removes the food particles, plaque, and bacteria that cause tooth decay and periodontal disease. You should floss daily to help keep your smile healthy. If you have difficulty using regular dental floss, we recommend that you try using a floss holder.
How can cosmetic dentistry improve my smile?
Cosmetic dentistry works to enhance the beauty of your teeth and give you a more attractive smile. There are a variety of treatments to help you achieve your goals, from restoration a single tooth to dramatic improvements through a full smile makeover. Some cosmetic treatments are:
- Teeth whitening
- Tooth-colored fillings
- Porcelain dental veneers
- Porcelain dental crowns
- Dental implants
For more information, please contact our office.
What are porcelain veneers and how can they help me?
Porcelain dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells. They are individually designed to fit over the front surfaces of your teeth to cover flaws in your smile. Porcelain veneers are highly durable and do not stain, making them a popular and effective solution for enhancing your smile.
What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
Teeth whitening treatments work to lighten and reduce stains and discolorations, brightening your smile. Your teeth may become stained or discolored due to the passage of time, smoking, or drinking beverages that stain (such as coffee, tea, and wine). Professional teeth whitening may be performed in-office or using customized take-home whitening trays.
What are my options for replacing missing teeth?
There are a variety of options available for replacing your teeth. Our dentist will work with you to determine which restorative treatment is most appropriate for your situation. Your treatment options include:
- Dental bridges
- Dental implants
What can you do about old, discolored fillings?
Our dentist offers several options for replacing old, discolored, or broken fillings. These options include:
- Composite dental fillings
- Dental crowns (caps)
- Dental inlays and onlays
- Porcelain dental veneers
How does periodontal disease affect my overall health?
Periodontal disease has been closely linked to a number of systemic health conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
- Pregnancy complications (including premature birth and low-birth weight babies)
Studies indicate that individuals with periodontal disease are more likely to develop other medical conditions, and that the oral bacteria that causes periodontal disease may enter the bloodstream, travel to major organs, and begin or exacerbate new infections.
We strongly encourage you to keep all your regular dental checkups and cleanings, and to maintain good oral health habits at home. For more information, please contact our office.
When are sealants recommended?
Sealants are thin, plastic coatings that work to protect the chewing surfaces of molars, premolars, and deep grooves or pits on the teeth. Children should receive dental sealants as soon as their six-year-old molars come in. Infants may occasionally have their teeth sealed if the child is cavity prone or has teeth with deep grooves. Our dentist may also occasional recommend sealants for adults with tooth surfaces that have deep grooves and depressions that are difficult to keep clean.
What should I do if my tooth is knocked out?
If your tooth is knocked out, contact our office at 602-942-0623 immediately. Time is a factor in successfully replacing the tooth in your mouth.
We recommend that you follow these steps:
- Locate the knocked-out tooth and handle it only by the crown. Do NOT touch the tooth roots.
- Do NOT clean the tooth with soap or chemicals. If it has dirt or debris on it, rinse it gently with your own saliva or with whole milk. If that is not possible, rinse it very gently with water.
- Get to a dentist within 30 minutes
There are several ways you can transport your tooth:
- Place it back in the socket, and gently bite down on gauze, a wet tea bag, or your own teeth to keep it in place. You may apply a cold compress to manage pain and swelling as needed.
- If you cannot keep the tooth in your mouth, place it in a container and cover it with a small amount of your saliva or whole milk. The tooth can also be placed under your tongue or between your lower lip and gums. Keep the tooth moist at all times. Do NOT transport it in a tissue or cloth.
- You may purchase a “Save-A-Tooth” storage container and keep 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.
To help prevent broken and knocked-out teeth, we recommend that you:
- Wear an athletic mouth guard when playing sports
- Wear your seatbelt
- Avoid fights
- Avoid chewing hard items (ice, popcorn kernels, hard breads, etc.)
Why straighten teeth?
When your teeth are straight, they perform everyday functions of chewing, biting, and speaking much more effectively. Additionally, straight teeth prevent uneven wear on your teeth, and help prevent problems such as gum disease, tooth injury, and TMJ disorders from occurring. If you are interested in straightening your teeth, please contact our dentist. We will provide you with additional information and refer you to a trusted specialist.