Partial Dentures: Your Questions Answered

Partial Dentures: Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: WILL THE PARTIAL DENTURE CHANGE HOW I SPEAK?

A: It can be difficult to speak when you are missing teeth! And when we replace missing teeth it also takes a little practice to get used to having a new denture in your mouth. As soon as you receive your new partial denture, we recommend reading aloud to yourself or talking as much as possible – practice makes perfect – and you should be speaking normally within a few days.

QUESTION: IS IT DIFFICULT TO EAT WITH A PARTIAL DENTURE?

A: Replacing teeth should make it more pleasant and easier in the long run. We recommend that you start out by eating soft foods and slowly get used to eating a larger variety of foods. It is important to try to avoid foods that are very sticky or hard. Dentures are not replacement for teeth; they are a replacement for nothing.

Common Questions About Periodontal Treatment

Periodontal Therapy: Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION:  HOW IS SCALING AND ROOT PLANING DONE?

A: After numbing you up with local anesthetic we use small ultrasonic instrument that makes very microscopic vibrations while extruding water to clean the pockets around the tooth. We then use hand instruments to clean out any remaining remnants of calculus and or tartar.

QUESTION: WHAT IS ARESTIN?

A: Arestin is an antibiotic gel that can be placed after scaling and root planning in areas that do not respond to treatment. This helps kill any remaining bacteria and aims to make your gums healthy again. Learn more about Arestin here.

Powerprox Six Month Braces – Common Questions

PowerProx Six Months Braces©  FAQ:

QUESTION: DO YOU JUST TIGHTEN THE BRACES MORE OFTEN?

A: This is a very common misconception and the answer is no! Actually stronger forces that over-tighten the braces slow down movement. Lighter forces move the tooth faster than higher forces.  This is because around your tooth there is a layer called the PDL (periodontal ligament) that acts as a shock absorber. If you put too much pressure on your braces they will pull too hard on the PDL and bruise it – causing the movement to stop. If you use a lighter force, you just gently push the PDL in front of the tooth and the movement doesn’t stop. This means there is more continuity to the movement of your teeth and ultimately this means safer, faster, and more comfortable tooth movement.

QUESTION: DO I HAVE TO WEAR BIG METAL BRACES ON MY TEETH?

A: You do not have to wear metal braces on your teeth. We use clear, nearly invisible braces on your teeth. We also do offer braces placed on the lingual side of your teeth but this is at an additional cost.

QUESTION: DO I NEED TO WEAR A RETAINER?

A: With any orthodontic procedure you need to wear a retainer to maintain your final tooth position. We either use a clear retainer that is nearly invisible that you sleep with at night. We also offer to bond (glue) a thin retainer wire on the back of your teeth to avoid you having to wear a retainer at night.

Questions And Answers About Dental Cleanings

Prophylaxis/Dental Cleanings: Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO GET MY TEETH CLEANED?

A: We try to provide individualized care for all of our patients. So it all depends on your oral hygiene and level of disease activity. We see most of our patients every 6 months.  Some of our patients, for example those who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, we see either every 3 or 4 months. It all depends what is best for your specific oral health situation.

QUESTION: DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE X-RAYS WHEN I GET MY TEETH CLEANED?

A: No, we always take x-rays based on an individual risk assessment. The most common x-rays are bitewings, the cavity detection radiographs. They allow us to see in between your teeth and to detect cavities before they potentially turn into root canals. They also enable us to monitor any gum tissue disease (periodontal disease) activity.

Questions And Answers About Root Canals

Root Canal: Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: DOES A ROOT CANAL HURT?

A: Most of us have heard horror stories about the dreaded root canal.  What you may not know is that, with today’s technological advancement, root canal therapy (also known as endodontic therapy) is most often a completely painless and very successful procedure that can save your natural tooth. When you see Smiles of Virginia, there’s no need to fear!

QUESTION: DO I HAVE TO HAVE A ROOT CANAL?

A: Generally you have two options: (1) you have the affected tooth removed (extraction) or (2) you save the tooth through emergency root canal therapy. However, when you extract a decayed or infected tooth, significant and costly dental problems could arise for the adjacent teeth. In the end, extracting your tooth may cause more problems than it will solve. Often root canal therapy is a much more desirable alternative, as it provides full functionality to the tooth and mouth, and will not cause any future problems with adjacent teeth. With modern technology the success rate is also very high.

Sealants: Questions And Answers

Sealants: Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: HOW DO YOU PLACE A SEALANT?

A: The tooth is first cleaned using a 2-step process. Then, while keeping the tooth dry, a thin tooth-colored material is flowed into all the groves to seal the tooth. A special blue light is then placed for 20 seconds to make the material harden.

QUESTION: DOES IT HURT TO GET SEALANTS PLACED?

A: The procedure is very quick and comfortable and we do not have to anesthetize (numb) for this procedure.

QUESTION: AT WHAT AGES DO YOU NORMALLY RECOMMEND SEALANTS?

A: Most often sealants are placed on adult molar teeth as these have the deepest groves and are the hardest to reach. In general, the first adult molars erupt into your child’s mouth at around age 6 and they start getting their second adult molars at around age 12. So, in general, at around age 6 and age 12 we place sealants.

QUESTION: HOW LONG DO SEALANTS LAST FOR?

A: The long term retention of sealants can vary. Certain things can cause sealants to wear faster such as how much your child grinds his/her teeth, how acidic their diet is or how well they brush their teeth.

Common Questions About Sinus Lifts

Sinus Lifts FAQ

QUESTION: WHY CAN’T YOU JUST PLACE THE IMPLANT WITHOUT DOING A SINUS LIFT?

A: If an implant is placed into your sinus with no bone, the implant will have no support. A sinus augmentation is designed to help ensure that your implants are long-lasting, with ample strong and sturdy bone that will allow your new teeth to fit and function like natural teeth.

QUESTION: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HEAL?

A: If you have to have an open sinus lift it can take 4-6 months of healing before we can place the implants. If we can use the new closed/crestal sinus lift technique, then we can often place the implants at the same time that we do the sinus lift.

Bleaching And Teeth Whitening: Common Questions

Questions about Tooth Whitening/Bleaching

Q: DOES TOOTH WHITENING CAUSE PERMANENT TOOTH SENSITIVITY?

A: Sensitivity from tooth whitening is always transient. That means if there is any sensitivity caused by the whitening, it goes away and the patient returns to the state of sensitivity prior to starting the whitening process. However, sometimes the sensitivity can take several weeks to calm down especially after in-office bleaching. We use bleaching materials that contain desensitizers. If you already have very sensitive teeth prior to bleaching, we recommend at home bleaching. Before you start bleaching we will have you use a special desensitizing gel in the custom-fit whitening tray.

Q: IS TOOTH BLEACHING SAFE?

A: Yes, many studies have proven that tooth whitening is safe. Sensitivity is transient and as long as you do not bleach every month, you do not hurt your teeth.

Q: HOW LONG DOES TOOTH WHITENING LAST?

A: Typically, you can expect whitening to last about 2 years. Some studies report results lasting up to 10 years. If you use the at home bleaching trays, we recommend a touch up once a year for a few days for maintenance. Also, if you avoid coffee, red wine, tea and smoking you can help preserve your results.

Q: DOES TOOTH WHITENING AFFECT CROWNS, FILLINGS OR VENEERS?

A: Tooth whitening has little to no effect on your existing dental work. So if you have a lot of existing dental work on your front teeth you might have to have some of that redone after whitening. This is why it’s always a good idea to check with your dentist before beginning any kind of tooth whitening.

Questions And Answers About Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth FAQ:

QUESTION: DO WISDOM TEETH MAKE MY LOWER TEETH GET CROOKED?

A: We used to think this was the case but new evidence shows that the third molars do not affect the position of the lower teeth. A lot of dentists will still tell patients that the wisdom teeth make the other teeth crooked but the newest research does not support that. Patients without wisdom teeth have crowding of their lower teeth just as often as people with wisdom teeth. Researchers have placed sensors to measure how much force your wisdom teeth push with and it was found to be negligible. The reason that lower teeth can become crooked is because the jaw shrinks slightly as we age and teeth have a built-in desire to move toward the midline of your mouth.

QUESTION: IS IT BETTER TO GET MY WISDOM TEETH TAKEN OUT WHEN I AM YOUNG?

A: In general, around age 16-21 is a time to have your wisdom teeth taken out. At that point your roots are likely not fully formed so the teeth are easier to remove and you will heal well. Studies have shown that after the age of 25, the bone seems to not fill in as well for complete healing in some cases.

QUESTION: DO ALL WISDOM TEETH NEED TO BE REMOVED?

A: No. If your wisdom teeth are fully erupted and you can keep them clean, you don’t need your wisdom teeth removed. Also, if your teeth are completely embedded in solid jawbone you don’t necessarily need to have them removed. You will have a slightly higher chance for a cyst/tumor formation around your wisdom tooth but the risk is very small.