Dental FAQs - Rockford Dentist - Above & Beyond Dentistry
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Dental FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Above & Beyond Dentistry, Rockford IL

Do adults need fluoride too?

You might think that is something you grow out of after childhood. But these days, we recommend fluoride treatments for adult patients because of its significant benefit for adults who have moderate to high risk for cavities.

Using toothpaste with added fluoride is recommended for daily use, but several circumstances warrant extra fluoride protection among adults.

Reduced Saliva Flow. Many prescription medications, disease such as diabetes, as well as cancer radiation treatments reduce saliva flow or otherwise create a dry mouth condition, which increases cavity risk as bits of food that are fuel for decay-causing bacteria cannot be washed away naturally. If you are experiencing dry mouth, try using a fluoride mouthwash. It can help to moisten your mouth and protect your teeth. Topical fluoride can also help take up the slack where saliva leaves off.

Gum Recession. Exposed tooth root surfaces may occur as an effect of gum recession. These softer areas are more susceptible to decay than parts of the tooth covered with intact enamel. To protect your teeth’s roots, your hygienist can paint a fluoride varnish or gel on them. You can use a fluoride mouthwash or a prescription fluoride gel to get more fluoride.

Restorative Dental Work. Have you had new tooth decay within the last year that has resulted in a new restoration? You probably are in a high-risk category for cavities. Fluoride treatments can help prevent the development of further decay in patients who are already prone to them. Also, when adults have restorative work such as crowns or bridges completed, fluoride treatment can help protect the margins of these restorations, potentially allowing the remnants of the tooth to remineralize, ultimately prolonging the life and value of this financial investment.

Adult Braces. We are seeing more significant numbers of adults with braces, which makes oral hygiene more challenging. Fluoride can get under and in-between the orthodontic appliances where plaque can form to keep teeth healthy and cavity-free.

Sensitive Teeth. There are many causes of tooth sensitivity – diets high in acidic foods, hot/cold beverages, nerve exposure from gum recession, and increased use of whitening products. Fluoride treatments have the capability to re-mineralize tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity.

How often do I need my teeth cleaned?

Patients with a good oral hygiene habit should come in for a checkup or cleaning twice per year.  We can personally examine you and recommend how many visits per year you should have.  Checkups can help find problems that you may be overlooking.  These include issues such as oral cancer, gum disease, and plaque.

Why do my gums bleed when I brush?

Bleeding is a precursor or sign of a problem.  Bleeding gums can usually be the result of brushing too hard or an early sign of gum disease. Gingivitis can cause these symptoms as well. In the early stages of gum disease begin to appear, an in-depth cleaning treatment may be enough to restore the teeth back to good health.  Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss and can correlate with various oral health conditions. If left untreated, this can develop into more of an issue.

Are x-rays really necessary?

X-rays are necessary to detect decay between teeth and areas not visible to the naked eye. Since gum and bone problems happen slowly over time, they are often not felt or identified from the surface. X rays are also necessary for detecting bone loss and infections at root surfaces. Many people are understandably concerned about excessive radiation. Above and Beyond Dentistry takes digital radiographs, which use 80% less radiation than conventional techniques.

What is a cosmetic veneer?

Modern metal-free dentistry has evolved to a point where we can be much more conservative with tooth preparation. A dental veneer is mostly a traditional crown. Rather than encompassing the entire tooth, a cosmetic veneer essentially covers the visible part of a tooth preserving a significant amount of the natural tooth structure. Veneers can straighten, lengthen and whiten teeth to provide the desired smile and bite. Each veneered tooth must be shaped. This means that an outer layer of the natural tooth structure is removed to allow space for veneer placement

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a surgical procedure designed to replace a missing tooth. A dental implant is a titanium cylinder that is placed in the bone and replaces what was once the root of the tooth. A dental crown is attached to the implant to simulate an individual tooth.

How is a dental implant different from a dental bridge?

A dental implant replaces a missing tooth. A dental implant simulates the root of a tooth to which the cosmetic dentist attaches a cosmetic tooth. A dental bridge, on the other hand, is non-surgical and uses the adjacent teeth to support a new cosmetic tooth. A dental implant is not invasive to surrounding teeth (especially desirable if they are healthy and in excellent condition). By simulating the root, it engages the bone and keeps it healthy. Because a dental implant is an individual tooth, it is also easier to floss. A dental bridge can be a good choice if the adjacent teeth are in need of restoration. However, there are other subtle factors such as age, timing, and bone health that you should discuss with Dr. Shick when deciding which options may be best for you.

Why are straight teeth important?

Never underestimate the power of a beautiful smile. A smile is not only beautiful, but it also promotes good health:

  • Teeth that are straight and evenly spaced are easier to keep clean, leading to better oral health. Better oral hygiene can reduce the incidence of heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, and other health conditions.
  • Teeth that are appropriately aligned chew more efficiently, and that aids in proper digestion.
  • Teeth that are straight and properly aligned create a perfect bite, and that avoids excessive stress, headaches, and strain on your supporting bone and tissue.
  • The social benefits of a beautiful smile are also significant:
  • Confidence – in job interviews, public speaking and personal relationships.
  • Clearer speech – teeth play an essential role in your ability to speak.