FAQs

The following are frequently asked questions regarding oral health problems and different practices that may be carried out with the help of a dentist. The following are not recommendations for your specific situation. To learn of the services that pertain to your oral health, you may contact a dentist that is capable of examining the problem and providing solutions. The dentist at the Downey Dentist may be reached at 562-746-0350. Call us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our practices. We are ready to answer any question you may have.

Tooth decay occurs when food particles in the mouth are broken down into acids by bacteria that forms along the gum line. The acid released from fermentable sugars weaken the enamel (the outer portion of the tooth) and eventually, a cavity will form. Some of the early signs of tooth decay include bad breath, the buildup of tartar, cavities, toothache, and swelling of the gums. Individuals who are experiencing some of these symptoms may want to visit a dentist. More often than not, a dentist is able to prevent a cavity from spreading further down to the root of the tooth. Once bacteria reach the root of the tooth, the only option is to remove the tooth. When bacteria infect the root of the tooth, the infection may spread to the surrounding bone structure. At this time, the patient may require oral surgery to remove the tooth. Bacteria may also affect the central portion of the tooth known as the pulp. When bacteria reach the pulp, the tooth will begin to ache and release a white substance known as pus. A dentist may perform a root canal procedure to save the rest of the tooth by removing the pulp and the infected areas. After a root canal treatment, the gap will be permanently closed with a crown.

To prevent tooth decay there are two preventative measures you can take. First and foremost, the most important measure is to brush and floss on a regular basis. Plaque forms on our teeth within hours of our last cleaning session which is why regular maintenance is crucial to remove the naturally developing bacteria. The American Dental Association explains that to prevent tooth decay, plaque must be removed twice a day. To effectively remove plaque, you are required to brush the tooth and gum line twice a day for at least two minutes each session. In addition, it is recommended to floss at least once a day. Flossing removes food particles that stay stuck between the teeth and cause damage to the gums. Furthermore, the ADA recommends that you switch out your toothbrush every three months and that you use ADA approved dental cleaning products.

On top of regular cleaning, it is crucial to visit a dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning. A dentist will take the correct measures to address cavities and/or gum disease. Tooth decay and gum disease are preventable health concerns; however, they remain a global concern. It is important to visit a dentist and receive dental cleaning that ensures the removal of plaque and tartar. In most cases, a dental hygienist will remove all the build-up that is found in the hard to reach places of your mouth. The cleaning procedure prevents further damage to the tooth by removing plaque and tartar. Additionally, after a dental exam, your dentist will advise you on the best way to maintain good oral health.

Plaque is a sticky colorless film that develops on the enamel of the tooth and across the gum line. Plaque develops when carbohydrates (sugar particles) mix with bacteria and saliva in the mouth. The bacteria found in plaque break down the sugars in foods like milk, soft drinks, and sugary foods, and produces an acid that damages the structure of the tooth. Plaque can break through the center of the tooth known as the dentin and reach the center of the tooth known as the pulp. When the bacteria affect the pulp, the pulp will need to be removed to save the rest of the tooth.

Tartar is the plaque that has hardened into a calcified deposit. Unlike plaque, tartar may be yellow or brown in mild cases or green and black in more severe cases. When tartar is treated at an early stage, it can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Since tartar forms between the teeth, it easily damages the surrounding gums which may cause the gums to swell and bleed. Additionally, gum disease causes gum recession and tooth loss. If you notice tartar building up between your teeth, it is crucial to visit a dentist. Tartar will require the attention of a dental hygienist that has the correct tools to remove the build-up.

A cavity is an opening on the tooth and is one of the first signs of tooth decay. To treat a cavity, a dentist will drill the infected area and then cover the opening with a filling to prevent food and bacteria from building up. During a dental visit, your dentist and dental hygienist will take note of any visible cavities and cavities that form beneath the tooth with the help of an x-ray. The best way to prevent a cavity is to watch the types of foods you eat. As mentioned earlier, sugary foods that remain stuck to your teeth will create acids that weaken the structure of the tooth. Furthermore, to prevent a cavity it is important to remove plaque on the surface and between the teeth.

A root canal is appropriate for treating a tooth that has not been fully infected by bacteria. As mentioned above, when bacteria penetrate through to the center of the tooth, the infected pulp will need to be removed. The process of removing the pulp and the infected area of a tooth to save the non-damaged area of the tooth is known as the root canal. A root canal is usually sealed with a filling, however, a crown is later placed as a more permanent solution. A crown will prevent food and bacteria from causing further damage to the tooth.

A family dentist is a general dentist that focuses on all ages as opposed to a single age group. In dentistry, a general dentist may choose to work exclusively with children, adults, or seniors. A family dentist has the capacity to work with family members in different age groups. Parents and caring family members may choose a family dentist to take care of the dental needs of their entire family. Many busy family members see the benefits of having a single point of contact for the family’s dental needs.

It’s time to visit the dentist if you have not had a check-up within the last six months. It is recommended to visit a dentist at least twice a year for cleaning and preventive services. A dental checkup can help prevent a tooth decay and gum disease from becoming a serious problem. Additionally, you may consider a dentist appointment if you have some of the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath is a sign of gum disease and can be caused by tartar
  • Sensitive gums are easily bleeding and may appear swollen and red
  • Swelling of the gums, mouth, face, or neck are signs of infection
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent smoking or other tobacco products like chewing tobacco
  • A toothache or tooth sensitivity may be a sign of a cavity

To prevent serious oral damage, it is important to visit the dentist on a regular basis for cleaning and examination.

A dental implant is a metal piece that is surgically placed on the jawbone and later infuses with the jawbone through a process known as osseointegration. A dental implant consists of three parts, the implant otherwise known as the fixture, the abutment, and the crown. The implant will acts as the root of the tooth while the abutment connects the crown to the implant. Some individuals choose dental implants over crowns and bridges because the procedure does not require adjacent teeth. A crown and bridge require the help of adjacent teeth that are used as anchors. The anchoring teeth are filed to make room from the crown. Individuals that do not want to lose the enamel on their teeth may choose a dental implant. Dental implants do not require the help of adjacent teeth, but it does require that the patient have strong bones and gums.

Crowns are used to cap an opening on the tooth or used to fill a gap left behind by a lost tooth. A crown may be used after a root canal procedure or after an implant is placed. A root canal procedure produces a gap on the tooth that must be capped otherwise bacteria will continue to form on the tooth opening. A cap can help restore a tooth that has undergone a root canal procedure providing all the support as a natural tooth. When a crown is used on an implant, it will also perform all of the functions of the tooth. A crown can be made of different materials depending on the specifics needs of the patient. Crowns may be made of gold, silver, metal alloys, ceramic, or porcelain. In some cases, porcelain and metals are mixed to produce a tougher crown. Before a crown is placed, a dentist will make a mold of the tooth that the crown will replace. It is crucial that the dentist measure the exact dimensions of the tooth in order to ensure comfortability. When a crown is placed you should be able to bite into any dish without worrying about tooth displacement.

A dental bridge can help cover a tooth gap in the same way as a dental implant. The difference with dental implants and bridges are that a bridge requires the help of adjacent teeth that can anchor the pontic (the fake tooth). When a bridge is placed, adjacent teeth to the gapped will have their enamel removed in order to make room for the crown. The tooth in between the two anchoring teeth will be secured with dental cement. Individuals may choose a dental bridge if they are not comfortable with the idea of a dental implant or they simply do not qualify for a dental implant. Individuals with weakened bones and gum may not qualify for a dental implant procedure but may repair their smile through a dental bridge procedure.

When you come to your dental visit you can expect to be greeted by our friendly staff. Shortly after, you will meet with a dental hygienist. The dental hygienist provides cleaning services that aim to remove plaque and tartar from the areas of the mouth. A dental hygienist will ensure that your teeth and gums are cleaned so that a dentist can examine your teeth. After brushing, flossing, and removing building up, a dental hygienist will polish every tooth. Teeth polishing will result in a smooth tooth that will be resistant to bacteria. Once your teeth are cleaned and ready to go, a dentist will proceed with a thorough examination of your oral health. A dentist will look for any signs of osteoporosis (loss of bone) around the jaw, for any signs of tooth decay and gum disease, and for signs of oral cancer. During your visit, you will want to be as open as possible with your dentist and let them know of your eating and smoking habits. The more your dentist knows about your situation they better equipped they will be to address the situation and take the correct preventative measures.

There are to whiten your teeth. First and foremost, you may use over the counter whitening products. Whitening products may include dental strips, whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, and other products that can be used at home. To achieve a certain shade of white, you may be required to repeat the process for a couple of weeks. One advantage of an in-office whitening procedure is that the process takes about 30 to 90 minutes depending on your situation. An in-office procedure includes a dental cleaning to remove stains and bacteria on the surface of the teeth. After the teeth are cleaned, the gums will be covered to prevent the whitening product from causing irritation to the gums. The whitening paste will be placed on the surface of the teeth and light or laser will be shined to your teeth to activate the bleaching product. Before you engage with a whitening procedure, you are advised to consult with your dentist. Some individuals have stains that are coming from within the tooth. Individuals that have stains inside their tooth may not remove the stains through traditional whitening methods. To learn more, you may speak with your dentist.

Dentists recommend that a newborn visit their office for the first time within 6 to 9 months after birth. A dentist will provide a visual examination of the teeth keeping an eye on their growth and any signs of build up. Milk may cause tooth decay at an early age which is why regular visits are essential to maintaining a good oral health.

As mentioned earlier, you should visit a dentist at least twice a year or as recommended by a dentist. A dental visit can help prevent an oral problem from becoming more serious. Visiting a dentist office is like taking our vehicle for a checkup. Sometimes we can replace certain parts of the vehicle to prevent the issue from becoming much worse. You may think of your mouth as an engine that needs regular maintenance to keep up with its performance.

At our office, we provide digital x-rays as part of our examination. X-rays allow us to see beneath the tooth down to the root and jaw bone. An x-ray can help us spot a cavity that is forming at the root of the tooth or in a location that is not easily visible. In addition, an x-ray shows pores that develop on the jaw bone. Osteoporosis is the weakening of the bones and may be spotted at an early stage on the jaw bone.

If you happen to be in Southern California we invite you to visit our dental office in Downey, CA. Our dentist will provide a free tooth examination and will x-ray to examine the inner parts of the tooth and surrounding bone structure. To contact the Downey Dentist, you may reach our office at 562-746-0350

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