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Commonly Asked Questions

Is chewing gum bad for my teeth?

According to the American Dental Association Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 (make it 10 minutes) minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. The chewing of sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel.

The only varieties of gum with the ADA Seal are sugarless. They are sweetened by non-cavity causing sweeteners such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol. Of course, chewing sugar-containing gum increases saliva flow too, but it also contains sugar which is used by plaque bacteria to produce decay-causing acids. Further research needs to be done to determine the effects of chewing sugar-containing gum on tooth decay.

Don’t let chewing sugarless gum replace brushing and flossing. It’s not a substitute. The ADA still recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning plaque from between your teeth once a day with dental floss or other interdental cleaners. Look for chewing gum that carries the ADA Seal. The ADA Seal is your assurance that the sugar-free chewing gum has met the ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. You can trust that claims made on packaging and labeling for ADA-accepted products are true. Chewing gum for longer than recommended may aggravate or, lead to TMJ pain and soreness.

When should my child have braces?

An orthodontist or a dentist with additional training evaluation is very important to answer this question case by case. A 4 years young child might need a space maintainer, which is in fact a form of braces. Most of the time orthodontic treatment might be recommended during the mixed dentition stage. That is when the child has lost a bunch of baby (deciduous) teeth, and a number of the permanent teeth have erupted into the mouth. This usually happen between the age of 8-12, girls are normally grow faster than boys.

The early treatment is called phase one, most of the time is accomplished with appliances (retainer like devices) or, with dental braces. The first phase most of the time deal with enhancing jaw growth and, or attempting to intercept potential problems with the permanent teeth. After phase one is completed ,in most cases we observe the kid until all permanent teeth fully erupted to start the second phase. That varies depending on the pace of growth that is normally between the age 12 and 14.

What is the best tooth paste?

One of the most frequent question my patients ask me. My answer is always, tooth paste don’t really matter that much, what is important is the brushing and flossing frequency, duration and reach. The tooth brush should reach properly all surfaces of the teeth, and for long enough time. The recommended brushing time is two minutes for adults and at least one minute for kids. Most of my patients brush the front teeth from the outside properly. However the back teeth and the inside surfaces get shortchanged.

Please remember that the floss is a brush that can be inserted in-between to clean the teeth and the gum tissue. So if you are only brushing, you are not cleaning more than 60% of the tooth surfaces, flossing will take care of the rest. Water picks and proxy-brushes are other nice tools to use when cleaning in between the teeth. Rinsing with a mouth wash will not substitute brushing and flossing.

If you have fillings, crowns, implants your teeth are not immune to decay, and gum disease, as many of my patients think. In fact the brushing and flossing become more important.

Most tooth pastes available over the counter have Sodium Fluoride as their active ingredient, along with some abrasive and base. Parents should pay attention that the little kids would not swallow tooth paste. It’s also worth mentioning that you only need tooth paste the size of a pea when you brush.
During your check ups and cleaning in our office, we routinely give our patients tips, and feed back about ways to improve oral hygiene. Remember the old saying goes”brush and floss only the teeth that you want to keep”.

What is the effect of dry mouth on my teeth?

Dry mouth is one of the most common issues that my patients have, most of whom are not aware of it, or they are but, don’t understand the implication of it on their oral health, and how to deal. From my experience the condition affects all ages. Young patients mostly due to, allergies and airway problems. Older patients have an added reasons for dry mouth, which quite often is a side effect of a lot of medications, and some medical conditions. I would like to share with you some important information from the American Academy of Oral Medicine about dry mouth.

Dry mouth, usually called ‘Xerostomia’ (zeer-oh-stomia). The term is derived from the Greek words xeros, meaning “dry” and stoma, meaning “mouth. Most often caused by a decrease in the amount of saliva or, a change in the quality of saliva. The exact number of people affected by dry mouth is unknown but it appears to be a common condition. Estimates range from 1% to 65%, depending on the types of patient populations studied.

Saliva is an essential body fluid that contributes to the protection and preservation of the oral cavity and plays a major role in maintaining oral health and comfort. It is produced by the three pairs of major salivary glands and hundreds of minor salivary glands. Its value is seldom appreciated until there is not enough. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, to lubricate food for easier swallowing, to protect oral hard and soft tissues, to modulate oral microbial populations, to provide initial digestive enzymes, and to promote soft tissue repair and oral cleansing. Cleary, the lack of adequate saliva can lead to numerous clinical conditions affecting one’s oral and systemic health, comfort and quality of life. As a result, detecting the early signs of dry mouth is critical.

Role of Saliva:
  • Protect, lubricate and cleanse the oral mucosa
  • Aid chewing, swallowing and talking
  • Protect the teeth against decay
  • Protect the mouth, teeth, and throat from infection by bacteria, yeasts, and viruses
  • Support and facilitate our sense of taste
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Dry Mouth:

The dentist and dental hygienist are trained to detect dry mouth and can often identify its presence long before the patient becomes aware of its existence. One of the more common signs of a dry mouth is insufficient pooling of saliva under or around the tongue, a phenomenon easily noted by your dentist or hygienist. Other clues to the presence of a dry mouth are cavities affecting the necks of the teeth near the gum line9see below) or chewing edges of the teeth and a red parched or fissured tongue (see bellow). Common patient complaints or symptoms of dry mouth include difficulty swallowing food (especially dry food) without liquids, changes in the sense of taste, a burning sensation or pain in the mouth, and difficulty talking.

Causes of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is typically caused by a multitude of factors including: medication side effects, various disease states, head & neck irradiation, dehydration, surgery, smoking, and mouth breathing.

Diseases Associated with Dry Mouth:
  • Allergies and airway problems
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Hepatitis C
  • Lymphoma
Diagnosing Dry Mouth:

The diagnosis of dry mouth is usually made after your dentist or physician carefully assesses your medical history and the clinical findings. Your doctor will want to determine if your dry mouth is caused by a change in salivary function, its severity, and its cause. In some cases, they may need to order more specialized tests to assess your particular situation.
General Treatment Strategies

See your dentist regularly:

Due to your increased risk for oral disease, your dentist may recommend you undergo more frequent check-ups, professional cleanings and in-office fluoride applications. It is important to have any necessary dental work done as soon as possible, since oral conditions such as caries, periodontal disease, and yeast infections may progress more rapidly in the patient with a dry mouth.

Perform oral hygiene as instructed:

Your dentist or dental hygienist will reinforce the importance of regular brushing and flossing and may offer additional instructions regarding your daily oral hygiene. He or she may also recommend a prescription strength fluoride to be used in addition to your regular toothpaste. Your ability to consistently accomplish these daily oral hygiene measures, as instructed by your dentist, is one of the most important steps in successfully managing the complications of oral dryness.

Monitor your mouth for oral candidiasis (thrush):

Patients with a dry mouth are at risk for oral candiasis, particularly the erythematous form.If you suspect you may have oral candidiasis, you should promptly see your dentist for an evaluation and management.

Avoid sugary food and drinks:

Decrease your fermentable carbohydrate intake, especially for sticky foods such as cookies, bread, potato chips, gums, candies. Avoid the frequent intake of acidic beverages (such as most carbonated and sports replenishment drinks) and lemon products.

Frequently sip fluids:

Frequent sips of small amounts of fluids, especially water, can be quite helpful in diminishing the effects of oral dryness. Many patients keep a bottle of water handy to moisturize their tissues. However, excessive sipping of water can actually reduce the oral mucus film lining the mouth and worsen your symptoms. Letting chips of ice dissolve in the mouth may also be useful.

Use fluids while eating:

Taking fluids while eating is an essential common sense strategy for dry mouth patients. A useful approach is to take a drink of water or beverage to hydrate the mouth, take a bite of food, and then wash it down with another sip.

Avoid caffeine:

Caffeine is as a mild diuretic which promotes fluid loss and may worsen dry mouth. If possible, one should avoid or limit items which contain significant amounts of caffeine such as coffee, tea, and certain soft drinks.

Protect dry lips:

Dry cracked lips contribute to the annoyance of oral dryness. The regular use of topically applied oil-based balms or lipsticks may provide soothing relief. The use of vitamin E-containing balm may also be helpful. These products should be replenished on regular basis to ensure their effectiveness.

Use a humidifier:

The dry ambient air of most modern homes contributes to one’s sensation of dryness. The use of a humidifier, particularly at night, helps address this concern.

Use sugar-free salivary stimulants:

To the extent that functional salivary tissue remains, the regular use of gums, mints, and candies can help stimulate salivary flow. Mints, lozenges, and candies should be allowed to dissolve slowly in the mouth. Dry mouth patients with natural teeth should avoid agents that contain sugar, due to their increased caries risk, and are encouraged to use products containing xylitol.

Which is better a dental implant or a bridge?

I want to start with an important statement “A bridge is no longer the standard of care”. Dental implants are the proper choice for replacement of teeth that are lost due accident, gum disease, failed root canal or tooth decay. Properly cleaned and maintained Dental implants can last a lot longer than a bridges, removable partials and dentures.

Dental implants don’t rest on your gum tissue, as I a removable partial, which can lead to irritations. Removable partial also have metal clasps that sits on teeth, which could overload teeth with force, cause decay and, be aesthetically challenging.

Dental implants don’t require adjacent anchoring teeth (abutments) grinding and, shaving like a fixed bridge. Your natural teeth are left untouched. Shaved teeth are susceptible to decay. Most of the old bridges are often replaced, due to abutment teeth decay (decay under the bridge). Financially, implants are almost the same price as a bridge. However, due to the implant durability, long term they are much more economical than the other options.

Finally Dental implants have a great impact on the quality of life, especially for denture wearers. No glue, no embarrassing clicking and wobbling, improved food tasting and better phonetics and speech.

Do I need to have dental x-rays?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 100 MILLION dental x-rays are done each year in the United States. These x–rays provide your dentist with a vital tool that shows the condition of your teeth including roots, jaw placements, and the overall composition of your facial bones. X-ray machines only produce radiation during operation and the amount of radiation used is small.

Dental x-rays allow dentists to:
  • Detect problems in the mouth such as tooth decay, damage to the bones supporting the teeth, and dental injuries (such as broken tooth roots)
  • Detect teeth that are abnormally placed or don’t break through the gums properly
  • Evaluate the presence and location of permanent teeth growing in the jaw of a child who still has baby teeth
  • Plan treatment for large or extensive cavities, root canal surgery, placement of dental implants, and difficult tooth removals
  • Plan for orthodontic treatment, like braces
What are dental sealants, who should get them, and how long do they last?

Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that are painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth — usually the back teeth (the premolars, and molars) – to prevent tooth decay. The painted on liquid sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and grooves of the teeth forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. Typically, children are most cavity prone from ages 6 to 14 so the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends they should get sealants on the permanent molars and premolars as these teeth come in. Dental sealants can protect their teeth from decay for up to 10 years.

What's the latest word on the safety of amalgam-type fillings?

FDA Rules Mercury Amalgam Fillings Safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s long-awaited final regulation on the use of mercury amalgam for dental fillings deems the material safe, while at the same time moving the material from the Class I (low risk) medical-device category to Class II (moderate risk). This allows for tighter control over its manufacture and use. Mercury amalgam, or “silver,” fillings have been used for decades to repair cavities. It’s the cheapest filling material available, and the American Dental Association (which supports the new regulation) has long warned that restricting its use would deprive dentists of an important tool and likely move needed dental work beyond the reach of low-income patients. But many people have raised concerns about the potential for mercury to “leak” from fillings into the body and cause neurological damage or diseases such as multiple sclerosis. An FDA press release announcing the decision reports: “While elemental mercury has been associated with adverse health effects at high exposures, the levels released by dental amalgam fillings are not high enough to cause harm in patients.” Still, the agency suggests that amalgam package labels feature a warning to patients about the risk of mercury allergy, a reminder to dental professionals about the risk of working with mercury amalgam without proper ventilation, and “a statement discussing the scientific evidence on the benefits and risk of dental amalgam, including the risks of inhaled mercury vapor. The statement will help dentists and patients make informed decisions about the use of dental amalgam,” according to the press release.

I'm interested in changing the shape of my teeth. What options are available?
  1. Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied to the tooth surface and hardened with a special light, which ultimately “bonds” the material to the tooth.
  2. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped “caps” that are placed over teeth. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
  3. Veneers (also sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials that are designed to cover the front surface of teeth. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth.
  4. Recontouring or reshaping of the teeth (also called odontoplasty, enameloplasty, stripping or slenderizing) is a procedure in which small amounts of tooth enamel are removed to change a tooth’s length, shape or surface.

Each of these options differ with regard to cost, durability, “chair time” necessary to complete the procedure, stain resistant qualities, and best cosmetic approach to resolving a specific problem. Talk to your dentist to see if one is right for you.

What is the difference between silver fillings and white fillings?
  1. Amalgam (silver filling) is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.While questions have arisen about the safety of dental amalgam relating to its mercury content, the major U.S. and international scientific and health bodies, including the National Institute of Health, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, among others have been satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material.Because amalgam fillings can withstand very high chewing loads, they are particularly useful for restoring molars in the back of the mouth where chewing load is greatest. They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line. Amalgam fillings, like other filling materials, are considered biocompatible—they are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.Disadvantages of amalgam include possible short-term sensitivity to hot or cold after the filling is placed. The silver-colored filling is not as natural looking as one that is tooth-colored, especially when the restoration is near the front of the mouth, and shows when the patient laughs or speaks. And to prepare the tooth, the dentist may need to remove more tooth structure to accommodate an amalgam filling than for other types of fillings.
  2. Composite fillings are a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium that produces a tooth-colored filling. They are sometimes referred to as composites or filled resins. Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. Less tooth structure is removed when the dentist prepares the tooth, and this may result in a smaller filling than that of an amalgam. Composites can also be “bonded” or adhesively held in a cavity, often allowing the dentist to make a more conservative repair to the tooth.
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry – your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. This visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

A child’s primary teeth, sometimes called “baby teeth,” are as important as the permanent adult teeth. Primary teeth typically begin to appear when a baby is between age six months and one year and help children chew and speak. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are developing under the gums. The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the first birthday. A dental visit at an early age is a “well baby checkup” for the teeth. Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist can demonstrate how to clean the child’s teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumbsucking.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.

What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?

There are many advantages to dental implants, including:

  • Improved appearance – Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent
  • Improved speech – With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip
  • Improved comfort – Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures
  • Easier eating – Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain
  • Improved self-esteem – Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself
  • Improved oral health – Dental implants don’t require shaving other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene
  • Durability – Implants are very durable and will last many years
  • Convenience – Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place
How Successful Are Dental Implants?

Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care, they last a lot longer than bridges.

Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?

In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders such as diabetes or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. Also patient with auto immune disease have a lower rate of success.

If you are considering a dental implant, please Call us for a free consultation.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath occurs when noticeable unpleasant odor are exhaled in breathing. It is estimated to be the third most frequent reason for seeking dental aid, due to tooth decay, gum tissue and bone inflammation.

In most case 90% of bad breath originates in the mouth. The intensity of the bad breath might change during the day due to eating certain food like onion, garlic, seafood etc. Morning breath is caused due to, the mouth inactivity and reduces oxygen exposure while sleeping. It normally dissipates after eating, brushing and rinsing. Bad breath could also originate from respiratory track and tonsils, or gastrointestinal problems. During dental exam, we can evaluate your teeth, gum tissue and tongue to determine if the source of your problem is oral.

The majority of the cases you can manage bad breath by ; Maintain good oral hygiene, with good brushing, flossing and using a mouthwash (like Listerine). Some research has found that mouthwash could be effective in controlling bad breath producing bacteria for few hours.

Tongue cleaning by using your toothbrush or a tongue blade. This will help the mechanical elimination of germs. Eat healthy, a lot of fruits and vegetables, avoid onions, garlic, alcohol and high sugar diet. Drink a lot of water, avoid sodas and power drinks.

Is chewing gum bad for my teeth?

According to the American Dental Association Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 (make it 10 minutes) minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.
The chewing of sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel.
The only varieties of gum with the ADA Seal are sugarless. They are sweetened by non-cavity causing sweeteners such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol. Of course, chewing sugar-containing gum increases saliva flow too, but it also contains sugar which is used by plaque bacteria to produce decay-causing acids. Further research needs to be done to determine the effects of chewing sugar-containing gum on tooth decay.
Don’t let chewing sugarless gum replace brushing and flossing. It’s not a substitute. The ADA still recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning plaque from between your teeth once a day with dental floss or other interdental cleaners. Look for chewing gum that carries the ADA Seal. The ADA Seal is your assurance that the sugar-free chewing gum has met the ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. You can trust that claims made on packaging and labeling for ADA-accepted products are true.
Chewing gum for longer than recommended may aggravate or, lead to TMJ pain and soreness.

Back to Top…

When should my child have braces?

An orthodontist or a dentist with additional training evaluation is very important to answer this question case by case. A 4 years young child might need a space maintainer, which is in fact a form of braces. Most of the time orthodontic treatment might be recommended during the mixed dentition stage. That is when the child has lost a bunch of baby (deciduous) teeth, and a number of the permanent teeth have erupted into the mouth. This usually happen between the age of 8-12, girls are normally grow faster than boys.
The early treatment is called phase one, most of the time is accomplished with appliances (retainer like devices) or, with dental braces. The first phase most of the time deal with enhancing jaw growth and, or attempting to intercept potential problems with the permanent teeth. After phase one is completed ,in most cases we observe the kid until all permanent teeth fully erupted to start the second phase. That varies depending on the pace of growth that is normally between the age 12 and 14.

Back to Top…

What is the best tooth paste?

One of the most frequent question my patients ask me. My answer is always, tooth paste don’t really matter that much, what is important is the brushing and flossing frequency, duration and reach.
The tooth brush should reach properly all surfaces of the teeth, and for long enough time. The recommended brushing time is two minutes for adults and at least one minute for kids. Most of my patients brush the front teeth from the outside properly. However the back teeth and the inside surfaces get shortchanged.
Please remember that the floss is a brush that can be inserted in-between to clean the teeth and the gum tissue. So if you are only brushing, you are not cleaning more than 60% of the tooth surfaces, flossing will take care of the rest. Water picks and proxy-brushes are other nice tools to use when cleaning in between the teeth. Rinsing with a mouth wash will not substitute brushing and flossing.
If you have fillings, crowns, implants your teeth are not immune to decay, and gum disease, as many of my patients think. In fact the brushing and flossing become more important.
Most tooth pastes available over the counter have Sodium Fluoride as their active ingredient, along with some abrasive and base. Parents should pay attention that the little kids would not swallow tooth paste. It’s also worth mentioning that you only need tooth paste the size of a pea when you brush.
During your check ups and cleaning in our office, we routinely give our patients tips, and feed back about ways to improve oral hygiene. Remember the old saying goes”brush and floss only the teeth that you want to keep”.

Back to Top…

What is the effect of dry mouth on my teeth?

Dry mouth is one of the most common issues that my patients have, most of whom are not aware of it, or they are but, don’t understand the implication of it on their oral health, and how to deal.
From my experience the condition affects all ages. Young patients mostly due to, allergies and airway problems. Older patients have an added reasons for dry mouth, which quite often is a side effect of a lot of medications, and some medical conditions. I would like to share with you some important information from the American Academy of Oral Medicine about dry mouth.
Dry mouth, usually called ‘Xerostomia’ (zeer-oh-stomia). The term is derived from the Greek words xeros, meaning “dry” and stoma, meaning “mouth. Most often caused by a decrease in the amount of saliva or, a change in the quality of saliva. The exact number of people affected by dry mouth is unknown but it appears to be a common condition. Estimates range from 1% to 65%, depending on the types of patient populations studied.
Saliva is an essential body fluid that contributes to the protection and preservation of the oral cavity and plays a major role in maintaining oral health and comfort. It is produced by the three pairs of major salivary glands and hundreds of minor salivary glands. Its value is seldom appreciated until there is not enough. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, to lubricate food for easier swallowing, to protect oral hard and soft tissues, to modulate oral microbial populations, to provide initial digestive enzymes, and to promote soft tissue repair and oral cleansing. Cleary, the lack of adequate saliva can lead to numerous clinical conditions affecting one’s oral and systemic health, comfort and quality of life. As a result, detecting the early signs of dry mouth is critical.
Role of Saliva
• protect, lubricate and cleanse the oral mucosa
• aid chewing, swallowing and talking
• protect the teeth against decay
• protect the mouth, teeth, and throat from infection by bacteria, yeasts, and viruses
• support and facilitate our sense of taste
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Dry Mouth
The dentist and dental hygienist are trained to detect dry mouth and can often identify its presence long before the patient becomes aware of its existence. One of the more common signs of a dry mouth is insufficient pooling of saliva under or around the tongue, a phenomenon easily noted by your dentist or hygienist. Other clues to the presence of a dry mouth are cavities affecting the necks of the teeth near the gum line9see below) or chewing edges of the teeth and a red parched or fissured tongue (see bellow). Common patient complaints or symptoms of dry mouth include difficulty swallowing food (especially dry food) without liquids, changes in the sense of taste, a burning sensation or pain in the mouth, and difficulty talking.

Back to Top…

Causes of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is typically caused by a multitude of factors including: medication side effects, various disease states, head & neck irradiation, dehydration, surgery, smoking, and mouth breathing.
Diseases Associated with Dry Mouth
• Allergies and airway problems
• Sjögren’s syndrome
• HIV / AIDS
• Diabetes
• Hypertension
• Hepatitis C
• Lymphoma
Diagnosing Dry Mouth
The diagnosis of dry mouth is usually made after your dentist or physician carefully assesses your medical history and the clinical findings. Your doctor will want to determine if your dry mouth is caused by a change in salivary function, its severity, and its cause. In some cases, they may need to order more specialized tests to assess your particular situation.
General Treatment Strategies
See your dentist regularly: Due to your increased risk for oral disease, your dentist may recommend you undergo more frequent check-ups, professional cleanings and in-office fluoride applications. It is important to have any necessary dental work done as soon as possible, since oral conditions such as caries, periodontal disease, and yeast infections may progress more rapidly in the patient with a dry mouth.
Perform oral hygiene as instructed: Your dentist or dental hygienist will reinforce the importance of regular brushing and flossing and may offer additional instructions regarding your daily oral hygiene. He or she may also recommend a prescription strength fluoride to be used in addition to your regular toothpaste. Your ability to consistently accomplish these daily oral hygiene measures, as instructed by your dentist, is one of the most important steps in successfully managing the complications of oral dryness.
Monitor your mouth for oral candidiasis (thrush): Patients with a dry mouth are at risk for oral candiasis, particularly the erythematous form.If you suspect you may have oral candidiasis, you should promptly see your dentist for an evaluation and management.
Avoid sugary food and drinks: Decrease your fermentable carbohydrate intake, especially for sticky foods such as cookies, bread, potato chips, gums, candies. Avoid the frequent intake of acidic beverages (such as most carbonated and sports replenishment drinks) and lemon products.
Frequently sip fluids: Frequent sips of small amounts of fluids, especially water, can be quite helpful in diminishing the effects of oral dryness. Many patients keep a bottle of water handy to moisturize their tissues. However, excessive sipping of water can actually reduce the oral mucus film lining the mouth and worsen your symptoms. Letting chips of ice dissolve in the mouth may also be useful.
Use fluids while eating: Taking fluids while eating is an essential common sense strategy for dry mouth patients. A useful approach is to take a drink of water or beverage to hydrate the mouth, take a bite of food, and then wash it down with another sip.
Avoid caffeine: Caffeine is as a mild diuretic which promotes fluid loss and may worsen dry mouth. If possible, one should avoid or limit items which contain significant amounts of caffeine such as coffee, tea, and certain soft drinks.
Protect dry lips: Dry cracked lips contribute to the annoyance of oral dryness. The regular use of topically applied oil-based balms or lipsticks may provide soothing relief. The use of vitamin E-containing balm may also be helpful. These products should be replenished on regular basis to ensure their effectiveness.
Use a humidifier: The dry ambient air of most modern homes contributes to one’s sensation of dryness. The use of a humidifier, particularly at night, helps address this concern.
Use sugar-free salivary stimulants: To the extent that functional salivary tissue remains, the regular use of gums, mints, and candies can help stimulate salivary flow. Mints, lozenges, and candies should be allowed to dissolve slowly in the mouth. Dry mouth patients with natural teeth should avoid agents that contain sugar, due to their increased caries risk, and are encouraged to use products containing xylitol.

Back to Top…

Which is better a dental implant or a bridge?

I want to start with an important statement “A bridge is no longer the standard of care”. Dental implants are the proper choice for replacement of teeth that are lost due accident, gum disease, failed root canal or tooth decay. Properly cleaned and maintained Dental implants can last a lot longer than a bridges, removable partials and dentures.
Dental implants don’t rest on your gum tissue, as I a removable partial, which can lead to irritations. Removable partial also have metal clasps that sits on teeth, which could overload teeth with force, cause decay and, be aesthetically challenging.
Dental implants don’t require adjacent anchoring teeth (abutments) grinding and, shaving like a fixed bridge. Your natural teeth are left untouched. Shaved teeth are susceptible to decay. Most of the old bridges are often replaced, due to abutment teeth decay (decay under the bridge).
Financially, implants are almost the same price as a bridge. However, due to the implant durability, long term they are much more economical than the other options.
Finally Dental implants have a great impact on the quality of life, especially for denture wearers. No glue, no embarrassing clicking and wobbling, improved food tasting and better phonetics and speech.

Do I need to have dental x-rays?

What are dental sealants, who should get them, and how long do they last?
What’s the latest word on the safety of amalgam-type fillings?
I’m interested in changing the shape of my teeth. What options are available?
What is the difference between silver fillings and white fillings?
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
What should I do if my child has a toothache?
Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?

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Do I need to have dental x-rays?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 100 MILLION dental x-rays are done each year in the United States. These x–rays provide your dentist with a vital tool that shows the condition of your teeth including roots, jaw placements, and the overall composition of your facial bones. X-ray machines only produce radiation during operation and the amount of radiation used is small.

Dental x-rays allow dentists to:

Detect problems in the mouth such as tooth decay, damage to the bones supporting the teeth, and dental injuries (such as broken tooth roots).
Detect teeth that are abnormally placed or don’t break through the gums properly.
Evaluate the presence and location of permanent teeth growing in the jaw of a child who still has baby teeth.
Plan treatment for large or extensive cavities, root canal surgery, placement of dental implants, and difficult tooth removals.
Plan for orthodontic treatment, like braces.

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What are dental sealants, who should get them, and how long do they last?

Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that are painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth — usually the back teeth (the premolars, and molars) – to prevent tooth decay. The painted on liquid sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and grooves of the teeth forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. Typically, children are most cavity prone from ages 6 to 14 so the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends they should get sealants on the permanent molars and premolars as these teeth come in. Dental sealants can protect their teeth from decay for up to 10 years.

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What’s the latest word on the safety of amalgam-type fillings?

FDA Rules Mercury Amalgam Fillings Safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s long-awaited final regulation on the use of mercury amalgam for dental fillings deems the material safe, while at the same time moving the material from the Class I (low risk) medical-device category to Class II (moderate risk). This allows for tighter control over its manufacture and use. Mercury amalgam, or “silver,” fillings have been used for decades to repair cavities. It’s the cheapest filling material available, and the American Dental Association (which supports the new regulation) has long warned that restricting its use would deprive dentists of an important tool and likely move needed dental work beyond the reach of low-income patients. But many people have raised concerns about the potential for mercury to “leak” from fillings into the body and cause neurological damage or diseases such as multiple sclerosis. An FDA press release announcing the decision reports: “While elemental mercury has been associated with adverse health effects at high exposures, the levels released by dental amalgam fillings are not high enough to cause harm in patients.” Still, the agency suggests that amalgam package labels feature a warning to patients about the risk of mercury allergy, a reminder to dental professionals about the risk of working with mercury amalgam without proper ventilation, and “a statement discussing the scientific evidence on the benefits and risk of dental amalgam, including the risks of inhaled mercury vapor. The statement will help dentists and patients make informed decisions about the use of dental amalgam,” according to the press release.

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I’m interested in changing the shape of my teeth. What options are available?

1. Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied to the tooth surface and hardened with a special light, which ultimately “bonds” the material to the tooth.
2. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped “caps” that are placed over teeth. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
3. Veneers (also sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials that are designed to cover the front surface of teeth. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth.
4.Recontouring or reshaping of the teeth (also called odontoplasty, enameloplasty, stripping or slenderizing) is a procedure in which small amounts of tooth enamel are removed to change a tooth’s length, shape or surface.

Each of these options differ with regard to cost, durability, “chair time” necessary to complete the procedure, stain resistant qualities, and best cosmetic approach to resolving a specific problem. Talk to your dentist to see if one is right for you.

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What is the difference between silver fillings and white fillings?

1. Amalgam (silver filling) is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.

While questions have arisen about the safety of dental amalgam relating to its mercury content, the major U.S. and international scientific and health bodies, including the National Institute of Health, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, among others have been satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material.

Because amalgam fillings can withstand very high chewing loads, they are particularly useful for restoring molars in the back of the mouth where chewing load is greatest. They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line. Amalgam fillings, like other filling materials, are considered biocompatible—they are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.

Disadvantages of amalgam include possible short-term sensitivity to hot or cold after the filling is placed. The silver-colored filling is not as natural looking as one that is tooth-colored, especially when the restoration is near the front of the mouth, and shows when the patient laughs or speaks. And to prepare the tooth, the dentist may need to remove more tooth structure to accommodate an amalgam filling than for other types of fillings.

2. Composite fillings are a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium that produces a tooth-colored filling. They are sometimes referred to as composites or filled resins. Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. Less tooth structure is removed when the dentist prepares the tooth, and this may result in a smaller filling than that of an amalgam. Composites can also be “bonded” or adhesively held in a cavity, often allowing the dentist to make a more conservative repair to the tooth.

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When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry – your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. This visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.

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Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

A child’s primary teeth, sometimes called “baby teeth,” are as important as the permanent adult teeth. Primary teeth typically begin to appear when a baby is between age six months and one year and help children chew and speak. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are developing under the gums. The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the first birthday. A dental visit at an early age is a “well baby checkup” for the teeth. Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist can demonstrate how to clean the child’s teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumbsucking.

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