FAQs

You probably have a lot of questions, right? To help you find your solutions and answers, please browse through the following options:

Our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ listing has a variety of common questions relating to general dentistry and prosthodontics.

For more detailed questions and answers, look at our ‘Specific Questions and Answers’ section. These items go into depth on specific problems and how one might solve them.

If you can’t seem to find the answer or solution to your problem, use our ‘Ask the Doctor’ form.

You can submit your question, and one of our staff members will respond with an answer as quickly as possible.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Question 1

I am considering cosmetic dental changes, but I’m a bit hesitant because I’m not quite sure what it might look like when I’m finished. What can I do?

Answer 1

Every person who has considered cosmetic surgery has shared this dilemma. Fortunately, dentists and physicians have a tool to help. It’s a computer package that will take a picture of your face and make any of the changes you or your doctor would like to investigate. It has helped thousands of patients across the country in the past couple of years.

With this computer image as a guide, both of you will be able to see exactly the types of changes you might want, and more importantly, the types of changes you don’t want.

You’ve heard the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” With computer imaging, you and your doctor will be able to communicate through pictures, not just words. In the past, many people were displeased with their cosmetic results because language limits communication about visual images.

We’ve included a picture of some of the typical changes you and your doctor would be able to see with computer imaging. We hope these are helpful.

Question 2
My dentist tells me that the dark teeth I have are due to tetracycline staining, and he wants to place crowns on six of my top teeth to improve my looks. I don’t like the idea of cutting all my front teeth down to pegs. Do I have any alternatives?

Answer 2

Certainly you have other alternatives! As with any product or service, whether you are buying a TV or choosing between a surgical procedure or a more conservative therapy, there are always alternatives to consider:

  • Tooth bleaching is more economical than crowns. After the initial procedure, the teeth only need to be touched up with a yearly bleaching treatment. The initial average cost for bleaching is approximately $250 to $500 per treatment. Depending on the degree of discoloration, one or two treatments may be enough to get the color of your teeth to the point where you can be satisfied.
  • Another alternative is porcelain laminate veneers or composite bonding of your teeth. Both procedures involve minimal preparation of your teeth. For a porcelain veneer, the dentist places a thin layer of porcelain over your teeth. Bonding is similar but uses resin material that is hand molded in one visit. Bonding could cost anywhere from $250 to $500 per tooth, and porcelain laminate veneers could cost anywhere from $600 to $2000 per tooth. Laminate veneers are more expensive, but they look better than bonding and should last longer.

Whatever method is best for you, be sure to evaluate your smile to see if your side teeth need to be included in the treatment. Treating only the six front teeth usually will draw more attention to the problem. When most people talk and smile, they show about eight to 12 teeth from the front and side views. To get the most natural result, it’s likely the side teeth will need to be treated too. Be sure to computer image your smile first to be sure you will like the results.

Question 3
I am a 53-year-old mother of two and am a senior vice-president of a large chemical firm. I recently had a face lift and felt that this would give me a younger look. Although my skin now looks beautiful, something is lacking in the overall result. I’m not quite sure whether it’s my teeth, make-up or hairstyle. What is your opinion?

Answer 3

You’re not alone in this experience. Many of our new patients expressed the same doubts. Whether a patient has had cosmetic surgery, cosmetic dentistry, a make-over, or a new hairstyle, many still feel that something is missing. Usually it’s because a combination of these procedures is required for the best results. What’s missing and why does this happen?

Think about the result you want in broad terms. If you wanted to improve the look of your living room, you’d probably need to look at fabric, paint, lighting and the arrangement of furniture. Improving your look works the same way. You should analyze your hair, skin, smile and makeup, and adjust each of them in relation to the other.

So what’s missing for you is a qualified professional or group to analyze your overall look. But how do you find such consultants?

Ask your friends and people you trust for a reference. Who in your area has the best reputation for guiding people who want an esthetic change? When you’ve found a couple of names, go to the doctors or salons for an evaluation and a make-over. Computer imaging helps because it allows you to see the possible final looks without spending a lot of time and money. So treat yourself, and good luck!

Question 4
On my last trip, I had a dental emergency. I felt helpless! How do I prevent this from ever happening again?

Answer 4

Don’t worry. A few simple hints will help all over the world.

  • Carry a small dental emergency kit. For crowns that come out, place them back in with a mixture of Vaseline and powder, denture adhesive or an over-the-counter dental cement. Carry cotton balls to dry the tooth and tweezers to place the crown or filling back in.
  • If you break a tooth and it’s sharp, use an emery board to smooth it. If it doesn’t hurt, wait until you get home to fix it.
  • Abscess? Severe Pain? Swelling?
  • Call the local dental school for a referral
  • Ask your hotel to recommend a dentist
  • Call the best hotel in the city and ask who they can refer
  • Broken denture? Denture repair kits are available.
  • Wire loose on braces or sharp? Use soft wax to cover it or simply cut the wire.
  • Most importantly, see your dentist twice a year to help prevent these problems.

Question 5

I just started dating – how can I be sure I have fresh breath?

Answer 5

I have just two words for you. “Brush” and use the “F” word – “floss”.

Adults should brush a minimum of twice daily – once before bedtime and once in the morning. But people who really care about fresh breath brush as many as four or five times a day – after all meals and snacks.

Check with your dentist about the toothbrush and brushing technique that’s best for you. Many people find – and research is confirming – that some of the electric brushes are more effective than manual brushes for cleaning your teeth.

Your toothbrush will not clean between the teeth, and the bacteria and food particles that collect there are a major cause of bad breath. So, if you don’t floss, don’t count on fresh breath.

Different foods, of course, can affect your breath. Garlic and onions are notorious for giving off offensive odors. But what most people don’t realize is that foods like corn chips, alcoholic beverages and peanuts can cause mouth odors too.

Smoking is one of the worst causes of bad breath. The odor of smoke stays with people longer than any other we know. Brushing, flossing, and mouth rinses cannot hide the odor of smoking, onions or garlic. These must slowly be eliminated by the body before the odor disappears.

Finally, contact Enfresh Company at 1.877.ENFRESH (1.887.363.7374) to order the best breath fresheners around. Also, order one of their tongue brushes and gels. The tongue is a rough surface and must be cleaned. It harbors a lot of bacteria and food particles – so, remember to clean it too.

Question 6
My son started a nasty habit at college – he chews tobacco! What can I do about it?

Answer 6

Send him a copy of the American Dental Association’s pamphlet on smokeless tobacco. The hard-hitting photographs in it will show your son just what can happen to his jaw if he continues to chew tobacco. People who regularly use smokeless tobacco are at a 50% greater risk of getting oral cancer.

The pamphlet is entitled, “Smokeless Tobacco – Think Before Your Chew”, and can be obtained from the American Dental Association, 211 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 or your dentist. Another pamphlet for those who would like to stop chewing is entitled “Smokeless Tobacco Cessation Using Mint Snuff™ All Mint Chew™.” This can be obtained from the Oregon Mint Snuff Company, P.O. Box 2244, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035, 1-800-EAT-MINT.

Question 7
My teeth are sensitive to cold drinks and ice cream – what can I do?

Answer 7

This is a fairly common complaint among our patients. If the pain is sudden and diminishes quickly, you may have a cracked tooth, decay, or an old filling that needs replacing. Other culprits could be a very large metal filling, or a metal crown that is conducting the cold towards the nerves of the tooth or cracks in the tooth. Your dentist can correct all of these with a new filling or crown.

Sometimes sensitivity occurs just around the gum line, where the gum tissue may have receded slightly. In this case, there are chemical solutions that can easily and painlessly correct the problem. In fact, you may want to place a dab of one of the sensitive tooth toothpastes over the sensitive area. Leave it there overnight and repeat the process for 2-3 weeks. Oftentimes, the sensitive area becomes significantly better. If the tooth or gum tissue has been lost, your dentist may need to place a filling or do a surgical procedure to correct it.

If the pain lasts for a minute or more, the problem could be an infection. With an infection, you’ll probably need a root canal.

Question 8
Is it better to floss in the morning or the evening, if I’m only going to floss once a day?

Answer 8

You should floss twice a day. But if you’re only going to do it once, it’s best to floss in the evening. During the night, your body produces less saliva, so your mouth becomes dryer. This allows the bacteria and food particles (plaque) around and between teeth to become more adhesive. Over time, this plaque builds up and helps to cause gum disease.
The new electric plaque removal brushes are an excellent supplement for people who do not floss regularly. The Sonicare, Oral B, and Rotodent brushes have been rated some of the best — ask us which one is best for you.

OTHER HELPFUL TIPS

If your temporary or cap falls out – fill it with toothpaste, Vaseline, or a stiff mixture of Vaseline and baby powder (or a denture adhesive). Then see us as quickly as possible. Your tooth could move or worse break, so let us evaluate it and correct the problem.

If a tooth is severely broken or worse, comes out in an accident, save it! Place it in water and immediately call us to repair it or replace it.

If you have bleached your teeth, be sure to do touch ups every 6 months when you get your teeth cleaned. A touch up means using your bleaching trays for 1-3 nights to maintain the white color.

ASK THE DOCTOR

If you are unable to find an answer to your question on our site, you may Ask the Doctor online. An answer to your question will be emailed to you!