Are x-rays safe?
Yes, dental x-rays are safe.
Dental x-rays are very low dose of radiation to produce images. Experts contend that the radiation dose used in dental x-rays is so low that it does not pose a health risk. Dentists and other dental professionals undergo specialized training and use precautions to increase the safety of the procedure.
Our office uses digital radiography which is a newer technique that uses a sensor to record the x-ray instead of film. The recorded image is sent to a computer and displayed on a monitor. The method of taking x-rays required 75% less radiation exposure and will become the standard process for taking x-rays in the future
Dental x-rays are very important in helping dentists diagnose problems at an early stage, when treatments are less painful, less time-consuming and less expensive. In some cases, such as detecting a hidden tumor, dental x-rays can save a persons life.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant has a small post surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw by an oral surgeon. The post functions as the root portion of the lost tooth natural tooth and serves as an anchor for the replacement tooth.
When healing is complete in 3-6 months, patients return to our office to have natural looking implant crowns placed onto the posts.
Advantages of implants are:
1) Permanently fixed
2) Can be brushed and flossed as natural teeth, without special cleaning aids
3) Long lasting since it is impossible to get a cavity around or under them
What are my options for missing teeth?
When a tooth is lost this causes the teeth on either side to shift or tip resulting in possible gun problems, excessive wear on certain teeth and decay. Any or all of these conditions compromise your chewing ability, the health of your bite and the beauty of your smile.
Options for replacement of missing teeth:
Implants- Are a great way to replace one or more missing teeth. They may also be a great support to ill fitting dentures. A dental implant is an artificial root that is surgically placed into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth. An artificial tooth is placed on the implant, giving the appearance and feel of a natural tooth. Implants are very stable, durable and are the most aesthetically replacement option.
Fixed Bridges- A bridge is generally made of porcelain and is cemented permanently to natural teeth adjacent to the missing tooth site. The benefit of a bridge is that it is fixed (not removable) and is very sturdy. The disadvantage is that in order to create a fixed bridge, two healthy, natural teeth will have to be crowned to hold the bridge in place.
Dentures- Are removable artificial teeth that are made to closely resemble the patients’ original teeth. This type of tooth replacement is used when all or a number of natural teeth are missing.
What does heart disease and other medical conditions have to do with periodontal(gum) disease?
Many people are unaware that having periodontal disease (the destruction of gum tissue and bone that hold out teeth in place) can affect your overall health. Periodontal disease is one of the most common infections. Periodontal disease is not only the number one reason people loose their teeth, it can also affect the health of your body.
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection and in its’ earliest stages it’s called gingivitis. It starts when an accumulation of plaque is not regularly removed from the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque produced toxins that irritate and infect the gums and eventually destroy the jaw bone that supports the teeth. When periodontal disease is not treated it can eventually lead to tooth loss.
There are numerous studies that have looked into the correlation between gum disease and major medical conditions. These studies suggest that people with periodontal disease are at a greater risk of systemic disease and indicate that periodontal disease may cause oral bacteria to enter the blood stream and travel to major organs and being new infections.
Research suggests that periodontal bacteria in the blood stream may:
- Contribute to the development of heart disease
- Increase the risk of stroke
- Compromise the health of those that have diabetes or respiratory disease
- Increase a women's risk of having a preterm, low-birth weight baby
To ensure a healthy, disease-free mouth, we recommend the importance of regular dental check-ups and cleanings. Also, diligent home care and proper diet can help reduce the plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
Remember...the mouth body connection. Taking care of your oral health may contribute to your overall health.
What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
Professional teeth whitening (bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment that can change the color of natural toot enamel by removing both surface and deep stains. The degree of color change that occurs during bleaching depends on the type of stains present, the amount of time on the teeth and how frequently it is used.
Several different bleaching options are available. Before bleaching a dental examination is necessary to determine if the patient is a good candidate and what treatments are best. Any existing cavities would need to be filled and any gum disease issues would need to be addressed before proceeding. The dentist will monitor the bleaching process to evaluate success and to check for any tissue irritation or tooth sensitivity.
Having stained or discolored fillings replaced is also an effective method to brighten your smile. Your dentist would advise if this would be a suitable treatment for you.
Veneers may also be used to correct discoloration. They are very thing shells of tooth shaped porcelain that are fitted and bonded onto the front surface of the teeth and can dramatically improve the appearance of your teeth and give you a natural, beautiful smile.
When should I take my child to the dentist for their first check-up?
The goal is to have your child visit the dentist before there is a problem. Your child needs to see the dentist by age 3 when all the baby teeth have come in.
At their first visit they’ll be introduced to the dentist and equipment and may have x-rays(pictures) of their teeth taken. The dentist will carefully inspect your child’s teeth and mouth and:
- Note any cavities or other problems
- Discuss proper home care and provide tips
- Possible clean and fluoridate their teeth
- Answer and questions you may have
What are Porcelain Veneers and how can they improve my smile?
Porcelain Veneers are very thin shells of tooth shape porcelains that fit over the front surfaces of teeth. Veneers have the ability to completely mask unattractive teeth while letting light through to appear entirely real. Veneers are durable and give the appearance of natural teeth.
Veneers can be used to mask stains, chipped, worn, misshapen or slightly crooked teeth and can close gaps or spaces between teeth.
A dental exam is required before a patients gets veneers to determine if they are a good candidate. The patient's teeth must have no decay or gum disease.
Veneers typically require three visits:
1. Initial visit for preliminary work
2. To prepare the teeth and make impressions to have veneers fabricated
3. To bond veneers to teeth