# 1. Does whitening have harmful side effects?

The active ingredient in bleaching products is carbon peroxide. This chemical does not damage your teeth.

# 2. Do over-the-counter whitening products work as well as prescribed products?

Although these products work sometime, many of them also can damage your teeth with extended use. The safest and most effective way to whiten your teeth is always through a dentist.

# 3. What are porcelain veneers and what is their use?

These ultra-thin ceramic shells are bonded to the front of the teeth to achieve a beautiful smile. When teeth need to be reshaped or the color needs to be enhanced we use a porcelain veneer.

# 4. Is jaw popping damaging?

Jaw popping can be damaging if left under treated. Treatment is needed when it is painful with popping or clicking of your jaw or if your jaw locks.

# 5. Is grinding your teeth while sleeping harmful?

Grinding can be very damaging to your teeth. In some cases teeth can be worn down to the gumline if proper precautions are not taken. Many times grinding is caused by stress, in which case taking away what causes the stress is the best way to handle the situation. If this is not possible a night guard can be prescribed to prevent grinding damage.

# 6. How can I cure ulcers or canker sores in my mouth?

Ulcers can be treated with a few different medications. To help with the pain, try avoiding acidic foods and eat a more basic (milk, yogurt) diet. Most ulcers will heal within 7 to 10 days.

# 7. What causes tooth decay?

Plaque is the main cause of tooth decay. When sugars and starches from food remain in your mouth for a long time it produces acid which eats away at the teeth over time. Brushing and flossing regularly is important to prevent tooth decay.

# 8. Are dentures the only solution when I lose my teeth?

No, there are a few different options, such as implants and bridges that can be used instead of dentures. These methods give a closer feel of real teeth and are a more desirable alternative to dentures. Consult your dentist to determine if you are a candidate for either of these options.

# 9. Are some things the dentist uses harmful to my health, such as silver fillings, fluoride, or use of x-rays?

Silver fillings and fluoride both have no significant harmful effects to your health. Dental amalgam or silver filling material is used for fillings, and does include mercury. However, the mercury released from silver fillings is much less than that found in air, food and water. There are alternative filling materials, including gold, porcelain, and composite resins.

Fluoride is made from fluorine, which is found everywhere in soil, water and air. Fluoride helps strengthen and protect tooth enamel and even promotes remineralization.

Radiographs, or x-rays release radiation, which can be harmful to your health. The dentist makes uses the most up to date technology to help reduce your exposure to harmful radiation. It is also important to remember that the use of x-rays can help locate disease in your teeth otherwise not detectable by visual examination

# 10. What are dental implants and how do they work?

Dental implants are substitutes for natural tooth roots and rely on the jawbone for support. Strategically placed, implants can now be used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost tends to be greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble real teeth.

# 11. What is a root canal?

When a cavity has grown into the nerve of the tooth or the tooth is dying, a root canal is performed. The diseased pulp is removed and filled with gutta percha, a material similar to rubber. The tooth is then sealed with a core and a crown. This procedure is used to perserve the original tooth.

# 12. When should wisdom teeth be removed?

Wisdom teeth are best removed when the roots are two thirds formed. This way it is easier and there is less risk of nerve damage. A panaromic x-ray can be taken to further determine the correct timing of removal.

# 13. What age should a child first visit the dentist?

The rule of thumb is around age three. Although your child might need more time to be comfortable at his/her dentist visit. However, if there are any problems before this age the child should see a dentist as soon as possible.

# 14. When will the first baby teeth start falling out?

The first teeth will begin falling out at age five or six and continue until around age twelve. The first teeth are usually the front, then the back. However each child is different. The last teeth will be lost around age twelve.

# 15. Is thumb-sucking dangerous? If so, when is it damaging?

If the child has stops sucking his/her thumb by age five there should be no permanent damage. If the child sucks his/her thumb beyond the age of five often there can be moderate to severe unnatural movement of the teeth and/or alteration of normal bone growth.

# 16. Why are mouth guards important while playing sports?

It is always easier, safer, and less expensive to prevent mouth injuries before they happen. It is recommended that mouth guards be worn while playing contact sports. The sooner a child wears a mouth guard, the more comfortable they will be as they age.

# 17. Can anything be done if a tooth is knocked out?

If a tooth is knocked out it can be fixed, but time is very crucial. If the tooth is permanent, stick the tooth back in the socket immediately. If you are uncomfortable sticking it back in, then place it in a glass of milk and see the dentist immediately. If it is a baby tooth, do not stick it back into the socket, instead put in a glass of milk and see the dentist immediately. If you are unsure, place it in the glass of milk and contact the dentist.

# 18. What is the cause of gum disease? What are the treatments?

Bacteria causes gingivitis, also known as gum disease. It starts with bleeding of the gums and can eventually cause the teeth to fall out. If your gums bleed, see a dentist as soon as possible.

A procedure called root planning can help stop and reverse the effects of gum disease. In this process the roots are cleaned and smoothed; allowing for the gum tissue to reattach to the root of the tooth.

# 19. Are water picks systems a substitute for flossing?

Water irrigation systems should not be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing. These devices are effective in removing retained food from hard to reach areas, but do not remove plaque. Dentists frequently recommend these devices with the addition of antibacterial solutions to maintain the oral health of periodontal patients.

# 20. How often should I see my dentist?

You should see your dentist as frequently recommended by your dentist. Annually, a periodontal screening is completed to determine the necessary frequency for preventative care. Following this professional recommendation will help you maintain your beautiful smile.

# 21. What causes bad breath and is there anything that can be done about it?

Halitosis, also known as bad breath, is usually caused by poor oral hygiene. In order to remove bad breath, proper brushing and flossing is required. If halitosis persists see your dentist.