CENTER FOR DENTAL EXCELLENCE FAQS
The following selection of frequently asked questions (FAQs) cover a variety of topics related to general dental care. Please feel free to call our office at (920) 662-1440 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Q: How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
A: We recommend getting your teeth cleaned and checked at least twice per year. It may be necessary to schedule more frequent visits if your oral health is in poor condition. Dr. Sebastian and his team will provide recommendations to help you keep your smile healthy and looking its best for life.
Q: What should I do if one of my teeth gets knocked out?
A: We may be able to re-implant your tooth if you’re lucky enough to find it largely intact and you act quickly. Hold the tooth by its crown (not the roots), rinse it with water (no soap), and put it in a glass of whole milk. If you don’t have milk, hold the tooth between your gum and jaw. You can even try sticking it back into the open socket.
Your best chance for saving the lost tooth is seeing a dentist within about 30 minutes. Call our office right away or visit your nearest urgent care location if your issue occurs outside of regular business hours.
Q: What are my options if I’m missing one or more teeth?
A: Of course we will do our best to save your natural teeth, but we have several options available to us when teeth replacements are necessary. Dental implants, dentures, fixed bridges and removable bridges (partial dentures) are all options worth exploring depending on your situation. When appropriate, dental implants have the advantage of being the longest-lasting and most visually appealing dental restoration available.
Q: What are sealants and are they a good idea?
A: A sealant is a thin, plastic coating that helps protect the chewing surfaces of molars, premolars, and any deep grooves or pits on your teeth. Sealants form a protective barrier that makes it easier to keep the natural depressions and grooves in your teeth clean and free of decay.
While we generally recommend sealants only for permanent teeth, we also may apply them to baby teeth for children who are at higher risk for tooth decay. Sealants generally become appropriate as soon as the first permanent back teeth come through, or for any child who is prone to cavities and has teeth with deep grooves.
Q: What does periodontal (gum) disease have to do with heart disease and other medical conditions?
A: Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a common bacterial infection that not only causes tooth loss, it also affects the health of your entire body. Numerous studies have demonstrated a link between this type of infection and other systemic diseases. These diseases likely are caused by bacteria that has entered the bloodstream and traveled throughout the body.
Regular dental cleanings, including a periodontal evaluation, combined with diligent home care and a proper diet, are your best bets for ensuring a healthy, disease-free mouth. It is one less risk factor for the rest of your body to deal with.
Q: Can I do anything about my old, discolored fillings?
A: This can lead to a long discussion, but the short answer is yes. Many of our patients have old fillings that date back to their childhood. In addition to being unattractive, your old fillings may actually be defective by this point and not doing the job they were intended to do.
Some of the most common options for replacing those old fillings include composite resin fillings, crowns, onlays, and porcelain veneers. Call our office today to schedule a consultation about the best options for you.
Q: What can be done to make my discolored teeth look better?
A: There are many products and methods available today that can help your smile look whiter and brighter. Professional teeth whitening is a simple treatment we offer that whitens your natural tooth enamel. It is important to have your teeth evaluated by your dentist to determine if you are a good candidate for the bleaching process. Veneers or crowns to cover up severely stained teeth are another option.
Over-the-counter products tend to be less effective than professional bleaching. They may make your teeth more sensitive and may not be approved by the American Dental Association. Call our office today to schedule a consultation about the best options for you.
Q: How often should I brush and floss?
A: It is important to brush your teeth at least twice per day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. Brushing your teeth after every meal is best practice if your day allows. We recommend using an electric toothbrush because of its efficiency in removing plaque. Philips Sonicare and Braun Oral B are our top choices.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between your teeth and under the gum line. If you can only floss once per day, doing so after your evening meal is your best time to prevent bacteria colonies from building up.
Q: Why is flossing so important?
A: While brushing your teeth regularly is step one in removing food, plaque and bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth, flossing is a necessary step two in cleaning the areas between your teeth that brushing alone can’t reach. The areas between your teeth are even more susceptible to decay than the exposed surfaces, and that is where periodontal (gum) disease tends to begin.
Q: How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontal (gum) disease?
A: The early stages of gingivitis or periodontitis can be difficult to detect if you’re not a dental professional. Red and puffy gums are a sure sign of gum disease, and you need to take immediate action to halt its progress. The good news is you can take steps to slow or even reverse the disease process.
Gum disease begins when bacteria in the plaque left on your teeth and gums produce enzymes and acids that inflame your gums and slowly destroy the underlying bone. Regularly brushing, flossing or water flossing removes that plaque and gets your gums on the road to recovery.
Q: What can I do about my bad breath?
A: Poor oral hygiene, periodontal (gum) disease and even certain foods can cause bad breath. Scraping your tongue when brushing your teeth is a good way to remove bacteria that may be living on your tongue, especially on the back of your tongue. Ask Dr. Sebastian about a special dental tool at your next appointment.