Common Dental Questions and Answers

General Dentistry

What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused by plaque in your mouth reacting with sugary and starchy deposits from food. This reaction produces acid which damages the enamel over time and weakens the tooth.

How often should I see my dentist?

You should visit your dentist at least every six months or more frequently to get your teeth cleaned. In most cases, this schedule is generally covered by dental insurance.  By seeing your dentist twice a year, your dentist can monitor your oral health and help you prevent any problems that may arise before they became uncomfortable or require more comprehensive or expensive treatment. The dentist may suggest more frequent visits, depending on the diagnosis.

What can be done for ulcers or canker sores in the mouth?

Ulcers can be very difficult to treat. There is no proven technique that will immediately eliminate ulcers. There are medications that will give relief from the pain, and there are new prescription anti-viral medications that can also help. Dr. Ross can help you control and diminish these very annoying problems.

Are x-rays a danger to my health?

Radiographs, or x-rays, help your dentist determine the presence or degree of periodontal disease, abscesses, and many abnormal growths such as cysts and tumors. They also help pinpoint the location of cavities and other signs of disease that may not be possible to detect through a visual examination. All health care providers are sensitive to patients’ concerns about exposure to radiation. Your dentist has been trained to prescribe radiographs when they are appropriate and to tailor the radiograph schedule to your individual needs. By using state-of-the-art technology, such as digital radiography, and by staying knowledgeable about recent advances, your dentist knows which techniques, procedures and X-ray films can minimize your exposure to radiation.

How can I stop grinding my teeth at night?

Grinding your teeth can be very damaging to the teeth and jaw joints. If vigorous grinding occurs at night, teeth can be worn down to the gum line because the instinctive reflex to stop does not work while you are sleeping. Grinding can be caused by several different things including; crowded or mal-aligned teeth that do not come together evenly, stress, defective restorations, or certain neurological conditions. Dr. Ross can determine the cause and recommend a treatment to save your teeth.

What causes bad breath and what can be done about it?

Bad breath, or halitosis, is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene, but can also can be caused by retained food particles, gum disease, drainage from sinus dripping or systemic, respiratory or gastrointestinal problems. Proper brushing including brushing the tongue, cheeks, and the roof of the mouth will remove bacteria and food particles. Flossing removes accumulated bacteria, plaque and food that may be trapped between teeth. Mouth rinses are effective in temporary relief of bad breath. Consult Dr. Ross for an individualized therapy to improve your breath.

Children

At what age are my children supposed to see a dentist?

The general rule is between 18 and 24 months. Some children require a bit more time to be comfortable. If an area of concern is noticed, then the child should see a dentist as soon as possible.

Why is it important to fix baby teeth that have decay? Aren’t they going to come out soon anyway?

It is very important to maintain the baby teeth because these teeth hold space for the future eruption of the permanent teeth. If a baby tooth decays or is removed too early, the space necessary for the permanent teeth is lost and can only be regained through orthodontic treatment. Infected baby teeth can cause the permanent teeth to develop improperly resulting in stains, pits and weaker teeth.

When will my child lose his/her baby teeth?

Children will begin losing their teeth at approximately age 5. They will usually lose their front teeth first. Children will continue to lose baby teeth until the age of 12 or 13 when all of the permanent teeth finally erupt.

When does thumb-sucking become damaging to the teeth?

Generally, if the child has stopped sucking his/her thumb by age 5 there is no permanent damage. If the child is a vigorous and constant thumbsucker, however, there can be moderate to severe movement of teeth and prevention of normal bone growth.

Should my child wear a mouthguard while playing sports?

It is strongly recommended that children wear a mouthguard while playing any contact sport. It is always better to prevent an injury than to repair one. The earlier a child begins to wear the mouthguard, the easier it is to become comfortable and continue to wear it as they get older.

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 adolescent years. Removal at this time allows for an easier procedure and decreases the risk of damage to the nerves in that area.

Oral Care

What causes gum disease?

Gum (periodontal) disease is caused by bacteria. These bacteria, if left along the gumline, will irritate the gums and cause an inflammation reaction. The gums then begin to bleed and swell allowing the bacteria to go deeper under the gumline. If the inflammation is allowed to continue, the bone will begin to demineralize and dissolve. As the bone dissolves around the teeth, the teeth become unsupported and will fall out. Unfortunately, pain does not occur until the final stages of the disease and treatment at that time has very little chance of being successful. If your gums bleed regularly, seek treatment as soon as possible.

My gums bleed when I brush, what does it mean?

Bleeding gums is an early indicator of gingivitis, or worse. Swollen gums are usually caused by plaque and/or calculus accumulated under the gumline. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to bone loss and eventual tooth loss. Gingivitis can be reversed by proper dental cleanings with Dr. Ross or his hygenist

Does bleaching damage the teeth?

No. Dr. Ross is experienced at selecting the appropriate technique and proper strength agent so that the teeth are not weakened.

Do over-the-counter bleaching products work?

There is some evidence that over-the-counter bleaching products do whiten teeth, however, many of the products are too abrasive and can damage the teeth with extended use or misuse. Supervision by Dr. Ross is always the safest and most effective way to whiten your teeth.

What are porcelain veneers and why are they used?

Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin shells of ceramic material which are bonded to the front of the teeth. This procedure can be an ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth by masking discolorations, whitening teeth and/or reshaping a smile.

What causes my jaw to pop when I open it?

The Jaw Joint can make a popping or cracking sound for many reasons. Often the teeth are out of alignment and do not chew together evenly. This popping or cracking sound should be evaluated by Dr. Ross even if there is no pain or swelling. Untreated, it can lead to TMJ disease and severe pain.

Are there any alternatives to dentures?

Dentures are no longer the only way to restore a mouth that has few or no teeth left. Strategically placed support, or implants, can now be used to support permanently cemented bridges or crowns. The cost tends to be greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the “feel” of real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the alternative of choice to dentures, but not everyone is a candidate for implants. Call Dr. Ross for advice.

What are dental implants and how do they work?

Dental implants are substitutes for natural tooth roots that can reliably replace missing teeth. They are usually made from titanium, a metal our bodies will not reject. Titanium has been used by orthopedic surgeons to replace other body parts (hips, knees, etc) for many decades, so it is now commonly used by Dentists to replace missing teeth. Patients find it surprising that the surgical placement of a titanium implant/tooth is not anymore painful than a filling.

  • Awards

    2016-KS-Readers-Choice 
  • Message Center

    Now accepting new patients.
    Call us now at 603-357-6767
  • Hours

    Monday: 9:00am - 7pm
    Tuesday: 9:00am - 7pm
    Friday: 9:00am - 5pm
    Saturday: 9:00am - 2pm

  • Appointment Request

    Click to request an appointment
    or call us at 603-357-6767

  • Facebook

    facebook

  • Special Offers

  • For your convenience, we also accept

    Credit-Card-Logos
    care-credit-logo
    LendingClub_logo-01
  • What Your Smile Says About You

    “A smile confuses an approaching frown.”

    by unknown