Dental education is the most important aspect of our practice, therefore we have put together the most common dental faq’s (frequently asked questions) below.
Unfortunately, your fillings cannot be bleached. This goes for dental bondings, composite fillings, and old crowns. If they have turned dark, it is usually an indicator that they have been compromised with secondary decay or leaking. If either of those issues are the case, it is recommended that they be replaced.
The first thing we will have to determine is why the tooth is dark in the first place. There are many different factors to consider, perhaps the discoloration is due to previous trauma, or maybe it could be from a dental procedure like a root canal. The only way to know for sure is to have Dr. Miranda examine your teeth. She will provide you with the best course of action to make your smile beautiful.
After an in-office bleaching, it is possible that your teeth will be sensitive for a week following the procedure. Brushing your teeth with Sensodyne a week before your bleaching can dramatically reduce the sensitivity. Dr. Miranda might also recommend a fluoride treatment as well.
Dental bonding is when a plastic material is molded onto your teeth and hardened. Veneers are usually made of a porcelain material that is stronger than bondings and less prone to staining.
Dr. Miranda has years of experience in correcting gapped teeth, and she will give you the best solution for your specific needs. Most often, fixing a gap in between teeth will be from dental bondings, veneers, or orthodontics.
We use composite, tooth colored fillings at Texas Dental. In the past, silver or amalgam fillings had been extensively used, but studies have shown them to stain teeth over time and increase the risk of mercury poisoning. They are also not tooth colored and very noticeable. Knowing these things, Dr. Miranda will use a composite filling, or depending on the tooth structure that is lost, a porcelain inlay or onlay. These options will bond to your teeth and will keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
Dr. Miranda can help improve the appearance of your ‘gummy’ smile through laser dentistry. The best part is that the work is painless in most cases!
Tooth decay is a highly preventable disease that comes in the form of cavities or caries. Tooth decay can be caused by many different factors, most of which can be avoided with proper and routine oral hygiene.
Basically, everybody! A dark, warm, and moist human mouth harbors all of the prime conditions for bacteria growth. That being said, there are some factors that could make you more at risk: Children and senior citizens, those who live in areas without fluoridated water, and those whose diets are high in sweets, carbohydrates, and sugars.
At Texas Dental, we believe that nothing is better than the real thing, including our teeth! Losing a tooth can affect many different aspects of your oral health, and could wind up costing a lot of money down the road. A root canal will allow you to keep all of your natural teeth and prevent potential complications later in life.
If you have lost a tooth, dental implants are one of the best ways to replace it! By surgically placing a biocompatible titanium post into your jawbone, the implant will fuse to your jaw when it heals. This implant will act as the root for your new crown.
Gum Care (Periodontal Care)
Plaque is a sticky and colorless film of bacteria that grows on your teeth. It will constantly grow throughout the day until you brush it off with your toothbrush! If plaque isn’t brushed away often enough, it will harden and turn into tartar. Plaque can also cause irritation to your gums and lead to periodontal disease (gingivitis).
If your gums bleed during standard brushing and flossing, it is most likely the early stages of gingivitis. Healthy tissue won’t bleed from the mild abrasion from your toothbrush. Dr. Miranda can help determine the cause of your bleeding gums and put you on a treatment plan to heal them.
Everybody’s mouths are different and the plaque that grows on teeth can accumulate at different rates. Most dental professionals agree that a dental cleaning every 6 months, or twice a year is sufficient for keeping your teeth healthy.
You should floss your teeth at least once a day. If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning about 35% of your teeth and will be much more susceptible to periodontal disease. If you want to keep your teeth healthy and your smile beautiful, make sure you floss every day!
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can cause embarrassment and social anxiety. If you have chronic bad breath, your San Antonio dentists at Texas Dental can help! By pinpointing the cause of your bad breath, we will provide you with a treatment plan to fight against it and prevent it from occurring in the future.
Bad breath can be caused by a lot of different factors. With a healthy amount of saliva, the buildup of bacteria on the tongue will be washed away. If saliva is allowed to sit on the back of the tongue for too long, bacteria will grow in it and leave a white film. This is a major source of bad breath. Postnasal drip can also accumulate high amounts of bacteria in the back of the through, causing stale and foul smelling breath. Foods that are high in protein or acidity like fish, milk, cheese, or coffee is another culprit of bad breath.
Chronic bad breath can sometimes signify something more dangerous to your health than any embarrassing situations. Unpleasant breath can stem from serious diseases like respiratory disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, and liver dysfunction. Sometimes the spaces between your teeth, referred to as periodontal pockets, can be another source of bad breath by harboring bacteria. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.
In most cases, you have the power to stop dental issues with proper oral hygiene and routine checkups and cleanings. Periodontal disease can be prevented with daily brushing and flossing, which removes the plaque and bacteria that often is the cause of bad breath.
Orthodontics / Braces
Everybody has a unique set of teeth, and some may need the assistance of orthodontic care to focus on the development, prevention, and correction of any irregularities. The most common form of orthodontics is from braces.
Orthodontic treatment can provide a huge improvement when teeth are not properly aligned, or have a “bad bite”. If you have teeth that are misaligned, crooked, crowded, missing, have extra teeth, and over bite or an underbite, or have an incorrect jaw position, orthodontic treatment will be the solution!
The ideal treatment age to move and correct improperly aligned teeth are between 10 and 14 years of age. However, the same orthodontic treatment can be applied to anybody, but an adult mouth has to overcome already-positioned facial bones and jaw structure. Since orthodontic treatment becomes much harder for adults, it’s best to treat any issues early on.
Invisalign is a clear plastic aligner that invisibly straightens your teeth! This is a very popular option for adults who don’t want the extra attention to their teeth that can come with traditional braces. Check out our Invisalign page for more information!
Once your have your conventional braces installed, you will learn very quickly that it’s not easy to brush your teeth! Here are some tips for reducing any health problems while your teeth are in braces.
- Brush your teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush after every meal and make sure to remove any food that is lodged in the braces.
- Floss daily between your teeth and your braces.
- Have a professional cleaning performed once every 6 months.
- Limit your sugar and starch intake because these foods quickly turn into damaging acids.
- Avoid hard or sticky candy and snacks that can be difficult to remove from the braces.
Wisdom teeth are the third and last set of molars to arrive, typically between ages 15-25. Most of the time, our mouths are too small to fit those 4 extra teeth and they will cause more damage than good.
Most dentists agree that wisdom teeth should be removed before they can cause any problems and negatively impact your oral health. The longer you wait to remove them, the harder it gets because our jaws will harden over time.
Symptoms may include:
pain infection in the mouth, facial swelling, swelling of the gum line in the back of the mouth. Most oral health specialists will recommend an immediate removal of the wisdom teeth, as early removal will help to eliminate problems, such as an impacted tooth that destroys the second molar.
- Bacteria and plaque build-up.
- Cysts development (a fluid-filled sac).
- Tumor development.
- Jaw and gum disease.
Extracting the wisdom tooth is more complicated than a standard tooth extraction because of the location and whether or not the tooth is fully erupted or not. First, the gum tissue will be removed, the connection between the tooth and the bone will be gently detached, and the tooth will be taken out. Then the opening in the gum line will be sutured closed.
A dry socket is a complication that can occur after the removal of a wisdom tooth. A dry socket can occur when a blood clot is emptied from the socket after an extraction and exposes the bone to the air and anything you eat and drink. It is usually quite painful and if it does happen, usually occurs between 5-6 days after the extraction. The chances of a dry socket are increased if you smoke, do not care for the extraction site as instructed by our staff, or do not follow your homecare instructions.
This condition occurs most commonly:
- In individuals who smoke before their recommended time. Smoking: decreases healing, decrease blood supply to the protective blood clot, brings toxic products to the area, injuries the gum tissue and the negative pressure of sucking removes the blood clot from the surgery site.
- If you do not care for your extraction site as instructed by staff.
- Not following your home care instructions.
- Sucking action from smoking, sneezing, coughing, spitting or sucking, within the first 24 hours.
- Women taking oral contraceptives are more susceptible.
According to the American Dental Association, the difference between saving and losing a knocked out tooth, is the thirty minutes following the incident.
To save the tooth, follow these steps:
- Rinse the tooth in tap water.
- Avoid scrubbing the tooth.
- Insert the tooth into the empty socket quickly.
- If you are uncomfortable inserting the tooth, put the tooth in milk or water Get to the dentist immediately.
Broken tooth/Fractured tooth
Although teeth are the strongest substance in the whole body, they may chip or break due to various reasons. Some of the most common reasons are biting into something hard accidentally, tooth with a large filling, root canal treated tooth that is not capped and tooth undermined due to decay.
What to expect
Depending on the extent of fracture your tooth may be sensitive to temperature and pressure changes.
Rinse your mouth gently with lukewarm water. Take a pain reliever if needed. See your dentist as soon as possible so he can determine the course of treatment.
How is it treated?
Fractures may involve only the superficial outer part of the tooth (enamel). In such a case your dentist may lightly polish the area to smooth the rough surfaces or place a filling and observe the tooth for further changes.
If the fracture involves the enamel and the inner sensitive dentin your dentist may have to place a crown due to the extent of involvement. This will protect the tooth and prevent further damage.
Sometimes fractures may involve the enamel, dentin and the nerve tissue inside the tooth. This will necessitate a root canal treatment and a crown. If the crack extends beyond the gum line it may require a crown lengthening procedure, which involves removal of bone to grasp enough healthy structure for the crown.
However, if the crack extends to the root the tooth cannot be saved and will have to be removed.
Canker sores are shallow, painful sores in your mouth. They are usually red or may sometimes have a white coating over them. You may get them on the inside of your lips, the insides of your cheeks, the base of your gums or under your tongue. Canker sores are different from fever blisters, which usually are on the outside of your lips or the corners of your mouth.
Anyone can get canker sores, but women people in their teens and 20s get them more often. Canker sores may run in families, but they aren’t contagious. Causes of canker sores are unknown but they may be triggered by stress, poor nutrition, food allergies, spicy foods and menstrual periods.
Canker sores usually go away without treatment. However, for pain relief your dentist may recommend medicines such as Anbesol, Oragel, Orabase and Zilactin-B, which may prevent your canker sores from becoming irritated by eating, drinking or brushing your teeth. These medicines can be applied directing on the sore with your finger tip or a Q-tip. Gently dry the sore with a swab before applying. Do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after applying.
Unfortunately, causes of canker sore formation are unknown. However, using toothpaste that does not contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate), avoiding hard, crunchy or spicy foods and chewing gum may help reduce mouth irritation. Brushing your teeth after meals, using a soft toothbrush and flossing every day will also keep your mouth free of food that might cause a canker sore. If you get canker sores often, or if they’re very painful, talk to your dentist.
Operculitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue found over partially erupted teeth. The most frequent site is the mandibular third molar region. The heavy flap of gingival tissues covering portions of the tooth crown of the tooth makes an ideal pocket for debris accumulation and bacterial incubation. In the acute phase, pain and swelling in the area are prominent features. Symptoms of a sore throat and difficulty in swallowing may be present. A partial contraction of muscles of mastication, causing difficulty in opening the mouth (trismus), may also be experienced. Abscess formation in the area may occur, leading to marked systemic symptoms of general malaise and fever.
Treatment involves careful cleaning below the flap and saline irrigation. It may also require antibiotic therapy if the condition warrants. Your dentist may decide to incise the gingival flap to make the area self cleansable. If in the third molar area it may require the extraction of the tooth.
Bruxism is the term that refers to an incessant grinding and clenching of the teeth, unintentionally, and at inappropriate times. Bruxers (persons with bruxism) are often unaware that they have developed this habit, and often do not know that treatment is available until damage to the mouth and teeth have been done. Damage caused by bruxism often includes the following symptoms. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
Symptoms may include:
- Abraded teeth
- Facial pain
- Oversensitive teeth
- Tense facial and jaw muscles
- Dislocation of the jaw
- Damage to the tooth enamel, exposing the inside of the tooth (dentin)
- A popping or clicking in the TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ)
- Tongue indentations
- Damage to the inside of the cheek
The symptoms of bruxism may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a dentist or your physician for a diagnosis.
Although this habit is unintentional, oral health specialists often point to excessive stress and certain personality types as typical causes of bruxism. Bruxism often affects persons with nervous tension such as anger, pain, or frustration, and/or persons with aggressive, hurried, or overly-competitive tendencies.
Treatment for bruxism:
- Behavior modification
- Night Guard – A specially-fitted plastic mouth appliance may be worn at night to absorb the force of biting. This appliance may help to prevent future damage to the teeth.
- Biofeedback – involves an electronic instrument that measures the amount of muscle activity of the mouth and jaw — indicating to the patient when too much muscle activity is taking place so that the behavior can be changed. This is especially helpful for daytime bruxers.
Dental Implants Are a Permanent Alternative to Dentures