Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to your dental care, you might have questions – and you should!
At Radiant Dentistry of New Port Richey, we believe in providing patient-guided dentistry, so you decide on your goals for your smile and we’ll help get you there! This involves educating you about your oral health so you can make confident decisions about the care that’s right for your needs.
We always welcome your questions and have provided some of those we hear most often for your convenience. If you don’t find the answers to your questions here, feel free to contact our office.
Frequently Asked Questions (General)
Many people do not see a dentist on a regular basis. They only go when they have a problem. This is known as “crisis treatment” versus “preventive treatment.” While these patients may feel they are saving money, it often ends up costing much more in dollars and time. This is because many dental problems do not have symptoms until they reach the advanced stages of the disease process. An example is tooth decay. It is typical to hear, “Nothing hurts… I don’t have any problems.”
Tooth decay often does not hurt until it gets close to the nerve of the tooth. It is not uncommon to see a patient with a huge cavity who has never felt a thing. The dentist can usually detect a cavity 3-4 years before it develops any symptoms. This early detection can help you prevent root canal treatment.
Flossing reduces the number of bacteria in your mouth. There are millions of these microscopic creatures feeding on food particles left on your teeth. These bacteria live in plaque which can be removed by flossing. Brushing your teeth gets rid of some of the bacteria in your mouth. Flossing gets rid of the bacteria the toothbrush can’t get to. That’s the bacteria hiding in the tiny spaces between your teeth. If you do not floss, you allow plaque to remain between your teeth. Eventually it hardens into tartar. Plaque can be removed by brushing. Only the dentist can remove tartar.
Ask your dentist to show you the proper way to floss. You will both notice the difference at the next cleaning appointment.
Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when the dentist examines the mouth. An X-ray examination may reveal:
small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings)
- Infections in the bone
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Abscesses or cysts
- Developmental abnormalities
- Some types of tumors
Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and often unnecessary discomfort. X-rays can detect damage to oral structures not visible during a regular exam. If you have a hidden tumor, X-rays may even help save your life. Dentist will evaluate your need for X-rays based on the conditions present in development. There are many benefits to having X-rays taken. Any additional questions or concerns should be discussed with your dentist.
Always spend two to three minutes brushing your teeth. It takes that long to get rid of the bacteria that destroy tooth enamel. Do not brush too hard. It takes very little pressure to remove bacteria and plaque. Floss at least once a day. Flossing is the only way to get bacteria from between your teeth.
Watch the sugar you eat. There is sugar in candy, fruits, crackers and chips. These are the foods that the bacteria in your mouth like best. Be mindful of foods like raisins and peanut butter that stick to your teeth. They can provide a constant supply for the bacteria eating into your teeth. Try to minimize the times during the day when sweet items are eaten and brush your teeth afterwards.
If you cannot brush after a meal, rinse your mouth with water – which can help to remove food from your teeth. Chewing sugarless gum after a meal can also help. Chewing increases the flow of your saliva which acts as a natural plaque-fighting substance. And do not forget your regular dental visits. Good dental habits will go a long way toward a no-cavity visit.
When you are asleep, production in your mouth decreases. Since your saliva is the mouth’s natural mouthwash, most people experience morning breath. Bacteria found on teeth in the crevices and on the taste buds of the tongue, break down the food particles, which produce sulfur compounds. It is actually these sulfur compounds which give our breath a bad odor. Your saliva helps to wash away bacteria and food particles. Your saliva also helps to dissolve the foul smelling sulfur compounds.
Chronic, long-term mouth odor can be a sign of more serious illness. See your dentist if this is a concern.
Sensitivity toothpaste, which contains strontium chloride or potassium nitrate are very effective in treating sensitive teeth. After a few weeks of use, you may notice a decrease in sensitivity. Highly acidic foods such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons, as well as tea and soda can increase tooth sensitivity, and work against sensitivity toothpaste. If you do not get relief by brushing gently and using desensitizing toothpaste, see your dentist. There are special compounds that can be applied in-office to the roots of your tooth to reduce – if not eliminate – the sensitivity. High-fluoride containing home care products can also be recommended to help reduce tooth sensitivity.
Commercial whitening toothpastes vary greatly in their ability to whiten teeth. They work by removing surface stains from the teeth with the use of mild abrasives. However, unlike professional whitening, some whitening toothpastes do not alter the intrinsic color of the teeth. Toothpastes that are effective in removing stains can also destroy tooth enamel in the process. These toothpastes use harsh abrasives. With repeated use, harsh abrasives begin to damage tooth enamel and can contribute to increased tooth sensitivity. If you would like to try a whitening toothpaste, consult with your dentist first.
Smokeless tobacco may be smokeless, but it isn’t harmless. These are some of the potential hazards:
- A sore that does not heal
- A lump or white patch
- A prolonged sore throat
- Difficulty in chewing
- Restricted movement of the tongue or jaw
- A feeling of something in the throat
- Pain is rarely an early symptom. All tobacco users need to see their dentist regularly.
Research today suggests a link between gum disease and diabetes. Research has established that people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. If blood glucose levels are poorly controlled you may be more likely to develop gum disease and could potentially lose teeth. Like all infections, gum disease can be a factor in causing blood sugar levels to rise and make diabetes harder to control. Be sure to see your dentist regularly for check-ups and follow home care recommendations. If you notice other conditions such as dry mouth or bleeding gums, be sure to talk with your dentist. And don’t forget to mention any changes in medications.
About half of women who are pregnant experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. This condition can be uncomfortable and cause swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue. A more advanced oral health condition called periodontal disease (a serious gum infection that destroys attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold teeth in the mouth) may affect the health of your baby. Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and preterm, low birth-weight babies. In fact, pregnant women with periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that’s born too early and too small. The likely culprit is a labor-inducing chemical found in oral bacteria called prostaglandin. Very high levels of prostaglandin are found in women with severe cases of periodontal disease.
Chemotherapy and Radiation can cause a number of problems in the mouth, some of which might include: mouth sores, infections, dry mouth, bleeding of the gums and lining of the mouth and general soreness and pain of the mouth. It can be harder to control these things while undergoing treatment as the immune system is generally compromised as a result of the treatment. There are some special mouth rinses that can be prescribed to help with discomfort during treatment. It is very important to see your dentist before treatment begins and then to continue with recommended follow-up care. These treatments can cause dry mouth, and recommendations might be made for additional care both in-office and at home.
The brand of the toothbrush is not as critical as the type of bristle and the size of the head. A soft toothbrush with a small head is recommended because medium and hard brushes tend to cause irritation and contribute to recession of the gums. In addition, a small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. It’s unnecessary to “scrub” the teeth as long as you are brushing at least twice a day and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings.
There is no difference as they both refer to the restoration coverings on severely broken teeth after removing old fillings, fractured tooth structures, and any decay. The restoration material is made of gold, porcelain, composites, or even stainless steel. Dentists refer to all of these restorations as “crowns,” while patients often refer to the tooth-colored ones as “caps” and the gold or stainless steel ones as “crowns.”
Generally, no. It is advisable, however, to use a toothpaste containing fluoride to decrease the incidence of dental decay. We recommend our patients use what tastes good to them, as long as it contains fluoride.
Flossing of the teeth once a day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth. It removes food and debris where your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing also helps to keep your gums healthy.
Make it fun! If you are enthusiastic about brushing your teeth, your children will also be enthusiastic. Children want to do the things their parents do. If your children see you brushing your teeth and displaying good dental habits, they will follow. Ask the dentist for other creative ways to get children to brush their teeth. Getting your children to brush starts with taking them to the dentist at an early age. All children should be seen by their first birthday or 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and in water. Some natural sources of fluoride are brewed tea, canned fish, cooked kale and spinach, apples, and skim milk. Some city water contains fluoride, so by drinking tap water you will acquire fluoride. If drinking water does not have fluoride, supplements are available.
The lack of exposure to fluoride places individuals of any age at risk for dental decay. Fluoride is important to dental health because it helps prevent tooth decay by making your tooth enamel more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria in your mouth.
Studies have shown that children who consumed fluoridated water from birth had less dental decay. Fluoride can reverse early decay and help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that causes degenerative bone loss. Talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about whether you’re getting the daily amount of fluoride you need. We offer Fluoride treatments that last 4-6 months to help protect your teeth as well!
The American Dental Association cites sealants as an effective weapon in the arsenal against tooth decay. Sealants are a thin coating painted on chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting your teeth against decay-causing bacteria.
Sealants have proven effective with both adults and children, but are most commonly used with children. Despite the fact that sealants are about half the cost of fillings, only a small percentage of school-aged children have sealants on their permanent teeth. Ask your dentist whether sealants are a good choice for you or your children.
Oral injuries are often painful, and should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible. If you have knocked out a tooth, these tips may be able to save it:
- Rinse, do not scrub, the tooth to remove dirt or debris
- Place the clean tooth in your mouth between your cheek and gum or under your tongue
- Do not attempt to replace the tooth into the socket as this could cause further damage
- Get to the dentist. Successful re-implantation is possible only when treatment is performed promptly
- If it is not possible to store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse it in milk.
Periodontal disease is inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting bone structure, which if left untreated, can cause permanent jaw bone destruction and possible tooth loss. Untreated periodontal disease has been linked to increased risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, low birth weight babies, pre-term delivery, respiratory disease, and prostate cancer. An advanced stage of periodontal disease exhibits inflamed gums pulling away from your bone and teeth. Other signs of periodontal disease include:
- Bad breath
- Red or swollen gums
- Loose teeth or teeth that have moved
- Sensitive teeth
- Pus coming from around the teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Tender gums
- Bleeding gums
Treatment of early periodontal disease can be performed in-office. However, advanced stages may require surgery. Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated successfully by seeing your dentist and dental hygienist regularly and following recommended care plans.
Like other investments, if you whiten your teeth, the length of time you can expect it to last will vary. If you smoke, drink red wine or coffee, or consume other acid-containing foods, your bright smile may begin to yellow more quickly than you expect. In general, a teeth whitening procedure can last up to a few years. And even though the results can fade, occasional touch-ups can be done to regain luster.
seeing your dentist and dental hygienist regularly and following recommended care plans.
The exact cause of canker sores is unknown. Some factors may include genetics, allergies, stress, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Trauma to the inside of the mouth can result in the development of canker sores. Ill-fitting dentures or braces, toothbrush trauma from brushing too hard, or biting your cheek, may produce canker sores. Certain foods may also be a factor. Citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables can trigger a canker sore or make the problem worse. Foods like chips, pretzels and hard candies have sharp edges that can nick and injure the soft tissue of the mouth.
To treat a canker sore, rinse your mouth with antimicrobial mouthwash or warm water and salt. Over the counter treatments are also available. If the canker sore is present longer than two weeks, see your Dentist.
People often respond to bleeding gums with the wrong method of treatment. Usually, gums that bleed are a symptom of the onset of periodontal disease or gingivitis. But often, people stop brushing as frequently and effectively because it may be painful or it may cause the gums to bleed again. However, when gums are inflamed, brushing could help reduce the inflammation. More importantly, you should see your dentist to have a periodontal screening and recording performed in order to determine the level of disease present and the best treatment course to pursue.
It is also worth noting that chronic dental pain and discomfort are obvious signs of a problem. Over-the-counter drugs may provide some temporary relief. These medications usually only mask the existence of a problem and should be taken on a temporary basis.
It is important to see your dentist as soon as possible if your gums begin to bleed.
Many factors work to destroy the naturally white smile you were born with. Tobacco, certain foods, and certain drinks actually stain teeth. These substances continually work on our teeth causing our white smile to gradually fade. Hot coffee and tea are especially hazardous to your smile because they change the temperature of teeth. This temperature change – hot and cold cycling – causes the teeth to expand and contract allowing stains to penetrate the teeth. Cutting down on coffee and tea can go a long way to creating a great smile. Foods that are slightly acidic are also dangerous to your white smile. These foods open up the pores of the tooth enamel allowing stains to move more easily into the tooth.
Your dentist can help you with more tips on keeping a white smile.
There are certain conditions that require pre-medication with an antibiotic prior to dental treatment to prevent adverse effects and infection that can be caused by bacteria that enter the blood stream during certain treatment. You will want to consult with your dentist about this prior to treatment.
Both bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth. A bridge is permanently attached to abutment teeth or, in some cases, implants. A partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and is easily removed by the patient. Patients are usually more satisfied with bridges than with partial dentures.
Visits to the dentist include more than just “checking teeth.” While patients who wear dentures no longer have to worry about dental decay, they may have concerns with ill fitting appliances or mouth sores to name a few. Annual visits to the dentist (or sooner if soreness is present) is recommended. During these visits, an oral cancer screening and head and neck exam will be performed as well as an evaluation of the fit or need for replacement of the existing appliances. Regular visits can help you to avoid more complicated problems down the road.
Although the U.S. Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver fillings), more patients today are requesting “white” or tooth-colored composite fillings. We also prefer tooth-colored fillings because they bond to the tooth structure and therefore help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay. These fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature, and they also look better. “White” fillings cannot be used in every situation, and if a tooth is very badly broken-down, a crown will usually be necessary and provide better overall satisfaction for the patient.
No. While crowns are often needed following root canal treatment to help teeth return to normal form and function, not every tooth requires both a crown and a root canal.
Frequently Asked Questions (Dentures)
Losing your teeth can be painful – in more ways than one. But it’s a problem that can be resolved with excellent results. Our Radiant Dental team can provide you with a comfortable, attractive substitute to your natural teeth that, with proper care, will help you live a healthier, happier life.
Between 5 and 7 years. Just like natural teeth, dentures wear down and stain with age. Your mouth is constantly changing. To make sure your dentures fit properly, they will need adjustments from time to time. We suggest seeing your dentist yearly for a denture check-up. You should always notify your dentist at the first sign of irritation, no matter how minor it may seem. Your health and comfort are important.
Adjusting to dentures takes time and patience, but you’ll get used to them before you know it. Our dentists will be happy to help you work through any challenges and explain the best ways to get used to biting and chewing with your new dentures.
Always clean your dentures over a basin of water or a damp towel to avoid breakage if you drop them. Hold them gently between your thumb and fingers, and brush them using a denture brush and denture cleaner or soap – all readily available at any drugstore. Use only lukewarm water and avoid gritty pastes or powders. You should clean your dentures after every meal.
Every case is different. Your dentist will let you know what’s right for you. There are special precautions to take with your dentures when they are not being used. Your dentist will explain these to you.
Dentures are custom-crafted to suit you – making them incredibly comfortable and natural looking.
At the beginning of the denture process, there is a “try-in” period. Your teeth will be positioned in wax so you and your dentist can see what your dentures will look like. This is a great opportunity to discuss the appearance and make adjustments, so you’ll be happy with the end result.
Many patients notice that once they get dentures, pronounced facial lines are softened, giving them a more youthful look. We want our denture patients to be proud of their smile. Don’t be afraid to show it.
Dentures may feel strange at first. They may seem too big, and you may notice an increase in saliva. This is normal. Once your facial muscles and oral tissues adapt, your dentures should feel very comfortable. Some people adjust to dentures in a week, while others take a little longer.
There may be minor differences at first. Don’t be concerned. Once your mouth is accustomed to the change, this should subside. Reading aloud is an excellent exercise for helping to restore normal speech quickly.
Never attempt to reline your dentures. You could seriously damage your dentures and injure your mouth. If you have any problems, call us. We’re trained to recognize and treat them. Adhesive powders and pastes may be used according to manufacturer’s instructions.
No doubt, dentures are an investment. But the confidence, comfort, and freedom they provide can be invaluable. At Radiant Dentistry, we always offer our patients affordable prices and no surprises – we’ll provide a clear, detailed estimate on the cost of your treatment plan in writing so you know what to expect.
Frequently Asked Questions (Implants)
A dental implant by itself is not a tooth! A dental implant is a prosthesis used to replace missing teeth. Essentially, it is a small titanium post/fixture that is inserted into the jawbone, on top of which a single crown (cap), a fixed bridge, a partial denture, or full denture can be attached. Once the implant integrates to your bone, a structure called an abutment is connected to the implant and then the artificial tooth/teeth are attached. Therefore, there are 3 parts to an “implant tooth”: the dental implant itself, the abutment, and the artificial tooth.
Humans are “blessed” with 2 sets of teeth (baby teeth and adult/permanent teeth). When a single permanent tooth or multiple teeth are lost due to dental decay or gum disease, dental implants can now replace them as the 3rd set of fixed teeth! Dental implants can last a lifetime and can improve your appearance, your confidence, and your ability to eat the foods you like, and participate in an active lifestyle, without worrying about your teeth. Dental implants are made of titanium and can never get dental decay!
Unlike natural teeth, dental implants are not susceptible to dental disease such as decay; however, the health of the gums is vital to maintaining lasting implant success. Conscientious home care by the patient and regular professional cleanings and check-ups are essential elements for dental implant sustainability. Each patient is different, and success relies upon diagnosis and planning, medical history, and a variety of other factors..
Dentures cannot be “made into implants”. Implants are metal screws placed into the jawbone to help anchor and support artificial teeth (dentures). It may be possible to have implants placed beneath existing dentures to aid in the stabilization and support for those dentures. This could only be done if the current dentures were otherwise in excellent condition. You should consult with your Radiant Dental team to have your existing dentures carefully examined.
In general, the cost of replacing a single tooth with a dental implant is almost the same as replacing it with a regular fixed bridge. Dental implant treatment may qualify for some insurance coverage, but situations vary. The cost will vary by patient needs, bone quantity, and region. Your Radiant Dental team will make an assessment based on your unique needs.
Actually implants are most popularly used in patients who wear full dentures or partial dentures. Dental implants can be used to provide retention and support for a removable implant overdenture, which basically snaps on the implants! Therefore the partial or full denture does not move and reduces the dependency on denture adhesives/denture glue. Or, dental implants can be used for a fixed denture, where a patient’s dentures are fixed/bolted to the implants through titanium components. Only the dentist can remove this from the mouth..
There is no such thing as “metal-free” teeth. Almost all materials used for teeth replacements have some sort of metal ions in them. Dental implants are made of titanium alloy (similar to hip implants, shoulder implants, and knee implants), which is highly biocompatible, and an allergy to titanium is extremely rare! Currently, there are no proven alternatives to titanium dental implants.
Like any minor oral surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection, inflammation, and pain, but your prosthodontist will discuss how these can be managed for your specific situation. If there is no available bone to place the implant, then bone and gum grafting procedures may be required, which can increase the cost of your treatment. However, the upfront investment can pay off in the long term.
It varies from individual to individual and with health and habits. For a healthy individual with good oral hygiene and good health, dental implants are predictably successful with reported success rates above 90-95 percent.
No, dental implants are fixed solidly in the bone and allow teeth to be replaced in a manner that is closest to natural teeth.