There are many questions when it comes to dental procedures. Why do we need certain treatments?, What does the dentist look for besides cavities?, Are x-rays safe?, etc. While you may know the answers to some of the questions, there are many questions asked by patients on a daily basis that relate to the ones mentioned below.
-Are You Ever Too Old For Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is about more than just looking good. It is not suggested to do cosmetic dentistry until after growth and development have ended, beyond that there is no age limit. Cosmetic dentistry will often repair and restore our teeth’s function along with improving esthetics. Cosmetic dentistry has also been shown to improve self esteem and how others see you. Whether it be the use of porcelain crowns to rebuild lost tooth height from years of use or dental implants to replace missing or badly damaged teeth, cosmetic dentistry can give you the smile you have desired and need to live a full, happy life.
-What Are Dental Sealants?
Sealants are a thin, plastic-like coating that is applied onto the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants are usually placed on the premolars and molars. The sealant flows into the grooves of the teeth and are set using a special dental light so they harden forming a protective shield.
It is generally recommended that children have sealants placed on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as the erupt into the mouth. However, it is also recommended for anyone with deep grooves and pits in the enamel of the biting surfaces of back teeth. Sealants generally last about 2-10 years depending upon wear and seal strength, but they should be routinely checked to ensure they have not fractured or chipped off exposing the tooth structure underneath.
-What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Oral Cancer?
While oral cancer is usually believed to be associated with those who drink and/or smoke, more then 25% of all oral cancer cases are of those who do not smoke and only drink alcohol on occasion. Oral Cancer signs and symptoms include:
-Development of white or red patches in the mouth.
-Development of sores that do not go away within 2 weeks.
-Unexplained pain or tenderness around the face and neck.
-Development of unexplained numbness in the face and neck.
-Chronic sore throat or voice changes.
-Change in the “bite” of your teeth.
It is important to remember that early diagnosis of oral cancer gives you the best chance for full recovery.
-How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?
This has been a hot topic with many in the media and many families. We are exposed to radiation all day long going about our daily lives. This includes radiation from the sun and appliances in our homes. Luckily, these radiation levels are extremely small. A full set of dental x-rays is similar to the normal radiation we are exposed to on a normal day outside.
Dental x-rays have improved dramatically over the years. Modern x-ray units limit radiation to a small area using a single beam and use higher speed film to require a shorter exposure time. It is important to remember that radiation exposure is cumulative over the course of a lifetime. Dental x-rays are a necessary part of maintaining dental health. The ADA has standards of care in regards to acceptable diagnostic radiographs (x-rays) for all dentists to follow.
-I Have A Gap In My Front Teeth. Can That Be Fixed?
The procedure to close a gap between teeth is called dental bonding. Dental bonding is a cosmetic dentistry procedure using a tooth colored material that is applied to your natural teeth to close the space. The final product will look natural and match color perfectly. No one should know but you and your dentist. The procedure can be completed in as little as an hour.
-Are Teeth Whitening Toothpastes Effective?
Toothpastes contain mild abrasives and are generally effective at removing light surface stains. However, over time the staining goes deeper and more difficult for toothpaste alone to remove. Teeth whitening toothpastes are more effective at removing surface stains but the most effective way to whiten teeth is through your dentist using bleaching agents that can go deeper than just the surface. Whitening toothpastes can lighten your tooth’s color by about one shade. In contrast, light-activated whitening conducted in your dentist’s office can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter.
-When Is The Best Time To Remove Wisdom Teeth?
When the removal of wisdom teeth is determined necessary, it is best done when the roots are approximately 2/3rds formed, usually in the teenage years. Removal at this time allows for an easier procedure and decreases the risk of damage to the nerves in that area.
An educated patient armed with dental health knowledge is going to be able to ask good questions regarding their dental care. You should know what options are available to you treatment-wise, why treatment needs to be done, and whether or not it specific treatments will work for you. The next time you are at the dental office, ask questions. Your dentist and hygienist will be happy to answer your questions and help you make informed decisions.