Frequently Asked Questions

What causes tooth decay?

Four things are necessary for cavities to form -- a tooth, bacteria, sugars or carbohydrates. Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. When you eat, the sugars in your food cause the bacteria in plaque to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. With time and repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.

How should I clean my baby's teeth?

A toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head, especially one designed for infants, is the best choice for infants. Brushing at least once a day, at bedtime, will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay.

When should child start using toothpaste?

Do not use fluoridated toothpaste until age 3. Before that clean your child's teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. After age 3, parents should supervise brushing. Use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure children do not swallow excess toothpaste.

When do the first teeth start to erupt?

At about 6 months, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) will erupt, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months but not necessarily in an orderly sequence from front to back. At 2 to 3 years, all of these 20 primary teeth should be present.

How long does Fluoride Varnish last?

Fluoride, often called nature's cavity fighter, helps safely prevent tooth decay. The Fluoride Varnish sticks to the teeth until brushed away the next day, however, the benefits of the Fluoride will last for several months. Fluoride Varnish should be reapplied every 3-4 months for the best results.

How will dental implants improve my life?

Dental implants provide a more stable and natural feeling than loose dentures. You will be able to eat virtually any food with ease, comfort, and confidence. You will notice an improvement in your appearance, and possibly, in your speech. Many patients find these improvements enhance their self-image and self confidence.

How long do implants last?

Long-term studies of implants have shown that implants can last as long as 20 – 25 years. Your own personal success will be influenced by factors related to your general health (including smoking, grinding, and oral hygiene). With an evaluation prior to treatment, the probability of success is high.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are third molars and people generally have three permanent molars in the upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left areas of the mouth. The first molars "grow" at about age 6, the second around age 12 and the third around ages 18-20 – a maturation time when people are considered to be wiser, hence the name.

What to do if there are problems with braces and retainers.

If a wire is causing irritation, cover the end with a small cotton ball, beeswax or a piece of gauze until you can get to the dentist. If a wire gets stuck in the cheek, tongue or gum tissue, do not attempt to remove it. Contact your dentist immediately. If an appliance becomes loose or a piece of it breaks off, contact your dentist.

What to do if a tooth is knocked out.

It's important to retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown, and rinse off the root of the tooth if it's dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, put the tooth back in its socket. If that isn't possible put it in a container with milk or cool water. Immediately contact your dentist. Don't forget to bring the tooth.

What to do if you have a toothache.

Gently rinse the mouth out with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.