What is root canal treatment?
A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.
How safe are dental X-rays?
Exposure to all sources of radiation -- including the sun, minerals in the soil, appliances in your home, and dental X-rays -- can damage the body's tissues and cells. Fortunately, the dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of dental X-rays is extremely small.
How do whitening toothpastes work and how effective are they at whitening teeth?
All toothpastes help remove surface stains through the action of mild abrasives. Some whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains only and do not contain bleach; over-the-counter and professional whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide (a bleaching substance) that helps remove stains on the tooth surface as well as stains deep in the tooth. None of the home use whitening toothpastes can come even close to producing the bleaching effect you get from your dentist's office through chairside bleaching or power bleaching. Whitening toothpastes can lighten your tooth's color by about one shade. In contrast, light-activated whitening conducted in your dentist's office can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter.
There are so many toothpastes to choose from; how do I know which one to use?
Here's some advice. First, when purchasing a toothpaste for you or your child, select one that contains fluoride. Fluoride-containing toothpastes have been shown to prevent cavities. However, one word of caution: check the manufacturer's label; some toothpastes are not recommended in children under age 6. This is because young children swallow toothpaste and swallowing too much fluoride can lead to tooth discoloration in permanent teeth.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically anchored into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. The benefit of using implants is that they don't rely on neighboring teeth for support and they are permanent and stable. Implants are a good solution to tooth loss because they look and feel like natural teeth.
Implant material is made from different types of metallic and bone-like ceramic materials that are compatible with body tissue. There are different types of dental implants: the first is placed directly into the jaw bone, like natural tooth roots; the second is used when the jaw structure is limited; therefore, a custom-made metal framework fits directly on the existing bone.
What is dental caries or tooth decay?
ooth decay is the destruction of tooth structure thereby resulting in a cavity. It can affect both the enamel (the outer coating of the tooth) and the dentin layer of the tooth. It occurs when bacteria in your mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth. If not treated, tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss.
The symptoms vary but the common ones include:
Discoloration of the tooth , sensitivity or pain on taking sweet and cold foods, pain on chewing, pain while sleeping, swelling of the gums(abscess) in relation to the decayed tooth, food getting stuck and causing discomfort, etc.
How does tooth decay occur?
Tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as breads, cereals, milk, soda, fruits, cakes, or candy are left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth digest these foods, turning them into acids. The bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine to form plaque, which clings to the teeth. The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth, creating holes in the teeth called cavities, or caries.
How is the tooth decay treated?
Treatment for tooth decay depends on how bad it is. To fix cavities caused by mild tooth decay, dentist will fill the cavities with another substance (fillings). For more severe tooth decay, you may need a crown or root canal. In extreme cases, dentist may have to remove the tooth.
How to prevent tooth decay?
To prevent tooth decay:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Preferably, brush after each meal and especially before going to bed.
- Clean between your teeth daily with dental floss or interdental brushes.
- Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacks. Avoid carbohydrates such as candy, pretzels and chips, which can remain on the tooth surface. If sticky foods are eaten, brush your teeth soon afterwards.
- Check with dentist about use of supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth.
- Ask dentist about dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (molars) to protect them from decay.
- Visit dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination.
What are dental bridges?
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
A bridge is made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap - these two anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth - or a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called Pontiacs and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.
What is the ideal way of brushing?
Brush at least twice a day. If you can, brush after every meal. Brushing removes plaque, a film of bacteria that clings to teeth. When bacteria in plaque come into contact with food, they produce acids. These acids lead to cavities. To brush:
- Place a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on the head of the toothbrush. (Use a soft toothbrush.)
- Place the toothbrush against the teeth at a 45-degree angle to the gum line.
- Move the brush across the teeth using a small circular motion. Continue with this motion cleaning one tooth at a time. Keep the tips of the bristles against the gum line. Avoid pressing so hard that the bristles lie flat against the teeth. (Only the tips of the toothbrush clean the teeth.) Let the bristles reach into spaces between teeth.
- Brush across the top of the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Make sure the bristles get into the groves and crevices.
- Use the same small circular motion to clean the backside of the upper and lower teeth - the side that faces the tongue.
- To clean the inside of the bottom front teeth, angle the head in an up-and-down position toward the bottom inside of the mouth and move the toothbrush in a small circle.
- For the inside of the top front teeth, angle the brush in an up-and-down position with the tip of the head pointing towards the roof of the mouth. Move the toothbrush in a small circle.
- Give your tongue a few gentle brush strokes, brushing from the back of your tongue forward. Do not scrub. This helps remove bacteria and freshens your breath.
- After brushing your teeth for two to three minutes, rinse your mouth with water.
- Replace your toothbrush with a new one every 3 to 4 months.
What is a dental crown/cap?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth вЂ“ covering the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance.
The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
Are There Alternatives to Dentures?
Yes, dental implants can be used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost is usually greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel of real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the alternative to dentures but not everyone is a candidate for implants. Consult your dentist for advice.
Are there ways to avoid dental problems?
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy requires good nutrition and regular brushing and flossing.
- Brush your teeth twice a day-in the morning and before bed-and floss once a day. This removes plaque, which can lead to damaged teeth, gums, and surrounding bone.
- Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. Ask your dentist if you need a mouthwash that contains fluoride or one with ingredients that fight plaque. Look for toothpastes that have been approved by the American Dental Association.
- Avoid foods that contain a lot of sugar. Sugar helps plaque grow.
- Avoid using tobacco products, which can cause gum disease and oral cancer. Exposure to tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke) also may cause gum disease, as well as other health problems.
- Practice tongue cleaning. You can use a tongue cleaner or a soft-bristle toothbrush, stroking in a back-to-front direction. Tongue cleaning is particularly important for people who smoke or whose tongues are coated or deeply grooved.
- Schedule regular trips to the dentist based on how often you need exams and cleaning.
When should my child start seeing a dentist?
It is recommend that your child's dental care start at 12 months of age.2 If your baby has dental problems caused by injury, disease, or a developmental problem, see your pediatric dentist right away.