Frequently ask questions about Dental.

Are mini dental implants expensive?

Normal dental implant systems cost approximately $5,000 to $10,000 depending on the system used. MDI’s generally cost fifty to seventy percent less.

Are mini dental implants approved by the FDA?

The Food and Drug Administration approved Mini Dental Implants for denture stabilization in 2003. Having been used by dentists for more than 20 years, enough clinical and technical evidence was accumulated for the FDA to approve mini dental implants for long term public use.

How are mini dental implants put in?

The procedure involves implanting small titanium screws in the lower jaw in four locations approximately five mm apart. The implanting of the screws relatively painless and the procedure can be done by a general dentist. The dentist then adjusts the patients dentures to snap into place onto small balls on the tip of each screw. The dentures will remain firmly secure and feel much more like a patients actual teeth. The patient can remove the dentures easily by popping the dentures off the implanted screws. The whole procedure takes about one hour. Denture wearers have said that the procedure is miraculous especially for lower denture wearers. A patient can feel confident once again in wearing their dentures without fear of them falling out or coming loose.

Can mini dental implants help people who wear dentures?

People who wear dentures often suffer from a lack of confidence that their dentures will stay firmly in place. They always run the risk that they will come loose and either fall out or float freely in the mouth. Mini dental implants prevent this from happening. This procedure alleviates many of the problems inherent with wearing dentures.

What are mini dental implants?

Much like standard dental implants, mini dental implants are made up of posts that are implanted into your jaw and act much like the roots of your teeth and are used to stabilize and hold your dentures in place. The posts each have a small ball that stick slightly above your gums and snap into small rubber O-rings in the underside of your dentures. This prevents the dentures from sliding and falling out. This procedure alleviates many of the problems inherent with wearing dentures.

What if my dentures cause my gums to be sore?

New dentures sometimes need to be adjusted to ensure a perfect comfortable fit. An area of the denture may be causing a pressure point that will need to be filed down. Call the practice to set up an appointment.

How are dentures cleaned?

Dentures should be cleaned every day using a soft brush and cleaning agents such as soap and water or specific denture cleaner. Make sure to clean both the inside and outside of the dentures to eliminate bacterial colonies. It is also recommended to soak the dentures overnight in water or denture cleaning agents such as Efferdent.
To avoid the dentures breaking if they are accidentally dropped while cleaning, it is recommended that they are cleaned over a sink filled with water. In addition, soft cloths should be placed on locations where the dentures may fall.

What if I have a dental emergency?

We are often able to provide same day treatment for patients in pain and need immediate tooth extraction. Although, our ability to provide immediate emergency services depend on your current medical status and what medications you are taking.

How regularly should I visit the dentist while wearing dentures?

You should still visit your dentist once a year for a checkup. Your dentist will be able to check the fit of your dentures, make recommendations for denture care and hygiene, and check for oral cancer.

When should my dentures be replaced?

Because a person’s mouth changes over the years, due to age and denture use, a denture will not fit as well after a few years. It is for this reason that it is recommended to replace dentures every 5-7 years.

What about dental insurance?

We will assist you in filing a dental insurance claim with your insurance company. We do not file the claims ourselves, but will help as much as we can in the filing process.

What can I do if my teeth are discolored or stained?

The whiteness of one’s teeth has become a primary concern for many patients. Fortunately, there are numerous products and procedures available to brighten one’s smile.
Professional teeth whitening, also known as bleaching, is a basic procedure that is non-invasive. It works by whitening the shade of tooth enamel, and is an ideal method for enhancing one’s smile. Over-the-counter products do exist but lack the effectiveness of professional products. In addition, over the counter products may not be sanctioned by the American Dental Association.
There are many circumstances that cause bright white teeth to darken and yellow. Certain activities, such as smoking, drinking coffee, tea, or wine may contribute to discoloration. In addition, taking certain medications such as tetracycline or undergoing procedures, such as excessive fluoridation as a child can lead to teeth discoloration later in life. Even if one were to take care of one’s teeth, the enamel of the teeth will wear with age revealing a darker yellower material underneath.

A dentist will evaluate whether you are a good candidate for bleaching. If your teeth are stained because of tetracycline taken as a child or excessive fluoridation, your dentist may offer veneers or crowns to cover up the stain, as those stains are difficult to bleach. After the bleaching is complete, your dentist will match the new veneers and crowns to match your new whiter teeth. Teeth whitening is not permanent, though, so touch up procedures may be required every few years.

The most widely used whitening systems:

Home systems: These systems are usually gel based. The whitening gel is placed into custom fitted trays that a patient places in their mouths for either a half hour twice a day, or overnight while they sleep. These systems usually take weeks to achieve the desired whitening results, depending on the degree of discoloration and staining on the teeth.

In office systems: In office treatments usually take between thirty to sixty minutes but may require multiple visits. The benefit of this procedures, over the home systems, is that the results are immediate. The patient receives protection for their gums. Then, a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth, in combination with a light that enhances the liquid bleaching agent.
With either method, patients may experience a certain degree of tooth sensitivity. This discomfort is temporary and will subside a brief time after treatment.

How can you afford to have such low fees?

Because we have an on-site denture lab, we eliminate the overhead that comes with using an outside dental lab. The saving we receive are passed onto the patient.

What are porcelain veneers and can they help me?

Porcelain veneers are thin custom tooth-colored shells that are affixed to the front of a patients teeth to aid in restoring damaged, misshapen, misaligned , or discolored teeth. Veneers differ from crowns in that they require a minimal removal of tooth material in their application.

The following conditions may be corrected with dental veneers:

  • Extremely discolored teeth
  • Unacceptable spaces between teeth
  • Worn or damaged teeth
  • Minimally crowded teeth
  • Teeth that are misshapen
  • Oddly sized teeth

Crafting veneers is a two part process. First, a mold is take of a patients teeth. Then a dental laboratory creates the veneers based on the mold and customizes them based on the specific teeth color and shape requirements.
Placing the veneers requires little to no anesthesia. The teeth only require a light buffing and shaping to prepare the front surface of the teeth for bonding and to allow for the thickness of the veneers. They are bonded to the teeth using a special cement and sometimes fixed in place using a special light.
Veneers can dramatically improve the look of your smile.

Can cosmetic dentistry help with the appearance of my smile?

Cosmetic dentistry can help if you are feeling self conscious about the look of your smile or if you just want to improve the appearance of your teeth.

Because of the advances in cosmetic dental materials and procedures and patients becoming more focused on their overall health, cosmetic dentistry has become increasingly popular over the last several years

There is a myriad of ways cosmetic dentistry can improve your teeth and improve your smile. Dentists, today, can repair a single tooth or completely make-over your entire mouth. Ask your dentist how cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile.

Cosmetic Procedures:

Whitening: Teeth can become stained or discolored due to age, drink, food, or smoking. In addition, teeth can become darkened due to an injury or the taking of certain medications. Whitening can help eliminate this discoloration by lightening the teeth. The effectiveness of the whitening process depends on the degree of the staining.

Composite or tooth-colored fillings: Composite fillings, are often used in place of silver or amalgam fillings in a process known as “bonding.” They are preferred over amalgam fillings when used for teeth repair (chipped, broken or discolored teeth), replacing old defective fillings, filling gaps, or protecting roots exposed by gum recession. This is due to their ability to visually blend well with the actual tooth material.

Porcelain Veneers: Porcelain veneers are thin custom tooth-colored shells that are affixed to the front of a patients teeth to aid in restoring damaged, misshapen, misaligned , or discolored teeth. Veneers differ from crowns in that they require a minimal removal of tooth material in their application.

Porcelain Crowns: A crown is a custom made tooth-colored cap that covers the entire tooth restoring its original size and shape. Crowns are ideal for teeth that cannot be restored using fillings or other methods. They are mostly used for broken or fractured fillings in addition to teeth that have experienced significant decay.

Dental Implants: Dental implants are a total replacement for natural teeth. A screw, acting as an artificial root, is surgically implanted into the jaw and affixed with a porcelain crown, or bridge. They also can be used to anchor removable dentures in place. They give patients a very durable and strong permanent alternative to a basic pair of dentures.

Orthodontics: Far from the large bulky braces that were used in the past, modern day braces are much less visible and more appealing to adult patients. In addition, removable, clear, custom made aligners can be used to straighten teeth in place of permanent braces.

Why is using dental floss important?

Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between teeth, a location where normal brushing cannot reach. This makes these area highly suceptible to cavity formation and gum disease.

Flossing not only removes plaque and food particles from between teeth but also helps disrupt the formation of plaque colonies. This helps prevent damage to teeth, gums, and bone.

Flossing – Daily flossing is the most effective way to remove bacterial colonies and food material from between teeth. This helps prevent cavities from forming between teeth.

  • Extract about fourteen inches of floss from the dispenser and wrap a couple inches of each end around the fingers of each of one’s hands.
  • Hold the floss taunt, using your thumb and forefinger on each hand. Gently slide the floss between the teeth using a sawing motion.

Wrap the floss in a “C” shape around each tooth and move the floss up and down the side of the tooth. Make sure to clean the side of every tooth.

How can I tell if I have gun or periodontal disease?

Odds are that you have periodontal disease and do not even know it! Four out of five people have periodontal disease. The early stages of the disease are usually painless so most people are not aware of having it. Tooth decay usually causes discomfort but periodontal disease can occur without any noticeable symptoms. Dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important to detecting if one has periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease happens when plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth and gums. The bacteria, that live in the plaque, produce acid that irritate and inflame the gums and destroy bone matter. Removing the plaque with regular brushing and flossing will help to prevent gum disease.

These are other factors that cause gum disease:

  • Chewing tobacco or smoking – People who use tobacco are more likely to form plaque and tartar on their teeth.
  • The condition of dental appliances and teeth – improperly fitting bridges, teeth that are too crowded, or bacteria and plaque trapped below faulty fillings.
  • Many medications – Certain medication increase the chances of gum disease by reducing saliva production. This, in turn, allows plaque to stick to gums and teeth much easier.
  • Oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and puberty – Change in hormone levels that accompany these events can make the gums far more sensitive to acids produced by bacteria.
  • Certain diseases – Blood cell disorders, diabetes, HIV / AIDS.
  • Genetics – Certain patients may be genetically predisposed to an aggressive type of gum disease. Patients should pay greater attention to their gum health if their families have a history of tooth loss.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

  • Inflammation – Gums should pink not red or swollen.
  • Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
  • Regularly occurring bad breath – Bad breath that is persistent may be an indicator of other dental issues that may cause gum disease.
  • Increasing space between teeth – This can be caused by bone loss.
  • Loosening teeth – Caused by bone loss or weakened fibers that attach teeth to the bone.
  • Pus around teeth – A sure sign of infection.
  • Gum recession – Gum loss around teeth.
  • Tender or uncomfortable gums – Plaque, tartar, and bacteria cause irritation to the gums.

A balanced diet, effective oral hygiene and dental visits can reduce one’s risk of developing gum disease.

How many times a year should I have a dental exam or cleaning?

Your teeth should be examined and cleaned at least twice a year, although more frequent checkups may be recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist.
It is essential that one receive regular dental exams and cleanings to prevent dental problems while ensuring the health of your gums and teeth. Your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities at these visits. In addition, there are numerous other things checked for at these visits.

They include:

  • Review of medical records: A lot of information about a patients dental health and health overall can be obtained by reviewing a patient’s medical history and current medications.
  • Taking diagnostic X-rays or radiographs: The use of X-rays is essential to detecting cavities, bone loss, tumors, and cysts, as well as the position of the teeth and their roots.
  • Check for oral cancer: A check is made of the tongue, neck, face, lips, throat, and gums for any indication of cancer.
  • Check for gum disease: The gums and bone around the teeth are checked for signs of periodontal disease.
  • Cavity examination: Special instruments will be used to check all surfaces of the teeth for tooth decay.
  • Check of existing dental work: Current crowns and fillings will be checked.
  • Tartar removal: Special instruments will be used to remove tartar buildup on teeth and around the gum line.
  • Plaque removal: Special instruments will be used to remove plaque buildup on teeth and around the gum line.
  • Teeth polishing: Polishing helps remove plaque and stains that have not been removed from tooth brushing.
  • Recommendations for oral hygiene: The dentist will make recommendations as to how one can improve overall dental health. They may recommend the use of such aids as fluoride and antiseptic rinses or an electric toothbrush.
  • Dietary habits review: The dentist will make recommendations as to one’s diet to better overall dental health.

Are amalgum or silver fillings safe?

Amalgam fillings, made with a blend of copper, silver, tin, and zinc held together with elemental mercury, have caused some concern over the years. Even though silver fillings have been used for over 100 years, there are claims that exposure to the small amounts of mercury in the fillings are causing numerous health problems.

Seventy-six percent of dentists use silver fillings, according to the American dental association. The organization believe that silver fillings are totally safe due to the lack of any studies linking the use of silver fillings with any medical problem.

In addition to the American Dental Association, numerous organizations, such as the Center for disease control, the world health organization, and the Food and Drug administration state that amalgam fillings are totally safe, in addition to being durable and cost effective. The only reason found not to use amalgam filling is if a person has an allergy to the materials in the filling, according to the U.S. Public Health Service. Out of the millions of amalgam fillings put in, there has been fewer than 100 cases of allergic reaction reported to the American Dental Association.

It has been determined that, although mercury is a very toxic element when ingested, when mercury combines with the other elements in an amalgam filling, the mercury becomes inert and non-toxic.

Other filling options also exist, including gold and tooth-colored porcelain fillings. Please consult with your dentist on which filling choice will work best for you.

How often should I brush and floss?

Flossing and brushing will help control plaque and bacteria buildup that cause dental disease.
Plaque is a material made by bacteria that allows them to stick to teeth and not get washed away by saliva. The bacteria eat the food material in your mouth and the byproducts of this are acids that eat away at your teeth. In addition, tartar or hardened plaque is formed if the plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth. Tartar, if left on the teeth, can cause loss of gum tissue and bone. This is known as periodontal disease.
In order to prevent excessive plaque growth, one must brush and floss regularly.

  • Brushing one’s teeth – Brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day, especially before bed time with a toothpaste approved by the ADA.
    • Brush your teeth holding the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gums. Use a circular motion, making sure to brush along the gum line.
    • Brush all sides of the teeth.
    • Do not brush too hard. This can cause gum loss.
    • Ensure to brush the inside of the front teeth with the tip of the brush.
    • Brush your tongue effectively to remove plaque.
    • It is also recommended to use an electric
  • Flossing – Daily flossing is the most effective way to remove bacterial colonies and food material from between teeth. This helps prevent cavities from forming between teeth.
    • Extract about fourteen inches of floss from the dispenser and wrap a couple inches of each end around the fingers of each of one’s hands.
    • Hold the floss taunt, using your thumb and forefinger on each hand. Gently slide the floss between the teeth using a sawing motion.
    • Wrap the floss in a “C” shape around each tooth and move the floss up and down the side of the tooth. Make sure to clean the side of every tooth.
      Use floss holders if you have difficulty holding and using floss the normal way.
  • Rinsing – Rinsing after meals and brushing your teeth is very important. Rinse with an antiseptic rinse if possible. Consult with your dentist about the right rinse to use.

How can I prevent bad breath?

  • Practice good oral hygiene – Brush at least twice a day. In addition, floss daily to remove food material and plaque from between teeth and under the gum line. Brush your tongue, making sure to reach the back areas. Every two to three months, replace your toothbrush. If dentures or removable bridges are worn, ensure to clean them thoroughly.
  • Regular dental visits – Get dental cleaning at least twice a year. Dentists will recommend more frequent check-ups if you have or have had periodontal disease.
  • Quit smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Frequently drink water – Water helps keep one’s mouth moist and wash away odor causing bacteria.
  • Use mouthwash – Use antiseptic rinses. They will both kill bacteria in the mouth and freshen one’s breath.

A dentist can treat bad breath in most cases.
If your mouth is healthy, but bad breath persists, you may be referred to your doctor to determine the cause of the bad breath.

What are common causes of bad breath?

  • Morning time – Saliva helps prevent bad breath by washing away odor causing bacteria. While one sleeps, saliva production almost stops causing a buildup of that bacteria.
  • Certain foods – Foods, such as garlic and onions, transfer odor-causing compounds to the blood stream. They are then transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits – Food particles that are not removed from the mouth promote the growth of odor causing bacteria.
  • Periodontal disease – Large bacterial growth and food particles can buildup under inflamed gums.
  • Dental cavities and poorly fitting dental appliances – Cavities cause bad breath due to the decaying organic material in one’s tooth releasing odor causing chemicals into one’s mouth. Poorly fitting dental appliances can lead to an increase in cavity formation.
  • Dry mouth or Xerostomia – Saliva helps prevent bad breath by washing away odor causing bacteria. Certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing cause a decrease in saliva in the mouth that limits its ability to prevent bacterial formation.
  • Tobacco products – Tobacco decreases saliva formation, causing bad breath.
  • Dieting – When one’s body burns fat, chemicals called ketones are released in the breath.
  • Low water consumption– Water, like saliva, helps wash away odor causing bacteria. Without it, more odor causing bacteria is allowed to grow.
  • Medical conditions and illnesses –Liver and kidney problems, Diabetes, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are a handful of conditions that contribute to bad breath.

Noting what one eats may help determine the cause of bad breath. In addition, discuss your medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with your dentist.

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath or halitosis is an embarrassing and unpleasant condition. Everyone has had it at one time or another, many of us without realizing it.  There are many causes of bad breath but the biggest reason is bacterial deposits on the tongue. It has been shown that simply brushing the tongue reduces bad breath by seventy percent.

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