General Dentistry Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do to prevent gum disease and decay?
Great teeth and gum care start at home. Brushing and flossing on a daily basis is the best way to take care of your teeth and gums on a continual basis. By keeping to a daily routine you will greatly minimize the risk of gingivitis or tooth decay as you age.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a condition caused when bacteria surrounds the teeth and enters the gums. The gums can become irritated, inflamed and often bleed. In order to prevent the condition from worsening, regular hygiene visits are highly recommended. During your visit, our hygiene team will teach you the proper flossing techniques and oral hygiene protocol for home care will prevent the periodontal disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a quiet disease that begins with little or no symptoms. It is caused by bacteria that surrounds the teeth and enters the gums. The immediate condition is known as ‘gingivitis’. The gums become irritated, inflamed and often bleed. If not properly treated, the condition worsens. Noticeable symptoms now appear. They include:
- Bad Breath
- Gum Recession
- Gum Sensitivity to Acidic Foods
- Tooth Pain
- Tooth Loss
How do you treat periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a chronic condition that needs immediate attention. Through a series of periodontal cleanings, root scaling & planing, and local antibiotics, this condition can be controlled. Periodontal surgery is only necessary for severe cases.
What is the difference between a white filling and a silver filling?
Silver fillings known as amalgam have been around for decades. Made from a metal alloy, it was the best restoration for fillings. The metal expands and contracts with the heat and cold placed in the mouth. This allowed for little bacteria to enter a tooth once filled; keeping the tooth healthy and strong. White fillings, also known as composites are often made of plastic or glass polymers. These cosmetic fillings allow us to fill a cavity with a substance that will look and feel just like your existing tooth structure. This restoration is created with a resin material and fits tightly into a tooth to prevent decay. Rather than a gray or silver material in your mouth, the composite color will match the tooth color.
Crowns & Bridges FAQ
What are Crowns?
Crowns are a permanent cosmetic procedure that covers the entire tooth. It will change the size, shape and color of the teeth in as few as 2 visits.
What are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges can be used to bridge the gap between one or more missing teeth. The bridge is supported by the natural teeth (natural teeth bridge) or implants (implant bridge) on either side. It is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on each part of the gap. The longer the missing teeth gap, the more crowns to support and pontics needed to fill in the gap. The anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth, and the false teeth that lie in between are called pontics.
What are Different Types of Bridges?
This type of bridge is most common one, and it’s usually made of either ceramics or porcelain fused to metal. The bridge is created by a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the gap, and the pontic lies in between.
This type of bridge is not as common as the traditional bridge, and it is not recommended for the back of the mouth where it will receive much force. Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth found on only one side of the gap of missing teeth. Dr. Hanah Pham understands the mechanics of teeth function; this is why she only recommend a cantilever bridges if she feels she can let eliminate the occlusal biting pressure on the cantilever pontic. She usually recommends a cantilever bridge if one adjacent tooth is a virgina tooth that does not needed to be crowned or the missing space is very small.
Maryland Bonded Bridges
With this type of bridge, the resin-bonded bridge is made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth supported by a porcelain or metal framework. The existing teeth on either side of the gap are bonded to the metal or porcelain wings on the bridge. This is a conservative bridge when one adjacent anchor tooth is in good shape and not wanting to be prepped down to be crowned; this a wing is used to span on side of the tooth for support . This is used when the space is larger and a cantilever cannot be used since the bridge will need more support in chewing and function.
Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges
- Simple procedure - Unlike dental implants, bridges don’t require surgery, making bridges a lot less painful. All it takes is a simple dental procedure to get your teeth fixed.
- Faster - It’s much quicker and easier to get dental bridges (only a few weeks at the most), whereas implants may take several months.
- Affordable - most insurances cover a bridge, but some may have preexisting condition) Bridges are generally cheaper (may be 20-30% cheaper) than implants, and they are still strong and supportive for your mouth.
- Replacement of bridge needed if damage due to decay. Statistics shows that the average bridge only last 5-7 years due to decay and being broken from excessive grinding and or clenching (Bruxism). But in Dr. Hanah Pham's practice, her bridges she made for her patients lasts as long as 2 decades. Dentistry, she especially emphasis preventative care and long term maintenance. She said she sees much longer success rate in patients who are compliance with preventative care and wearing an bruxism splint if they are diagnosed with bruxism (grinding and or clenching)
- Damage Natural Teeth - Adjacent teeth undergo a lot of preparation that requires the removal of a considerable amount of tooth structure.