How can I improve the whiteness of my teeth?

A professional, dental cleaning is a great place to start for a brighter smile. A polishing with a Dental Hygienist can remove some surface stains from the teeth, and after a cleaning, a decision can be made between over-the-counter versus professional whitening products. The active ingredient in many over-the-counter products is often not concentrated enough to produce the amount of whitening people desire. We find our patients often get the best results from custom, fitted whitening trays that utilize a higher concentration of professional grade whitening gel.

Why do my teeth turn yellow?

A yellow color to teeth may have two sources. One is surface stains. Another is the thickening of our dentin as we age. Teeth are composed of two layers of hard material, the enamel and the underlying dentin. As we age, the enamel layer may thin, and the dentin layer becomes thicker. This thicker dentin layer makes the tooth appear more opaque and the color more yellow.

At what age should my child see the dentist for the first time?

The recommended age for a first dental visit is age one or within six months of the eruption of the first tooth.  We love to see little ones smile too!

What is a root canal?

A root canal is the removal of the nerve and all the blood supply from the internal portion of a tooth. The hollow, central chamber of a tooth is then filled with an inert material. Root Canals may be necessary due to a deep cavity, trauma to a tooth, or a fractured tooth.

How often should I have x-rays?

Radiographs, often referred to as x-rays, are an important diagnostic tool used to evaluate the overall health of teeth, gums, and the supporting jawbone. The need for x-rays is determined by a number of risk factors, a few of which include: a history of cavities, presence of crowns and fillings, dry mouth, oral hygiene, and history of periodontal disease.  Many insurance companies have a limit as to the frequency of x-rays.  It is a good idea to check with your carrier about frequencies prior to your appointment.

Which toothpaste should I use?

There a few considerations should be taken when purchasing toothpaste.  First, when selecting a toothpaste for you or your child, choose one that contains fluoride. Fluoride-containing toothpastes have been shown to prevent cavities.  A word of caution when using this toothpaste: Use only a very small amount for children ages 2-6 (the size of their fingernail). Young children tend to swallow toothpaste, and ingesting too much fluoride can lead to tooth discoloration in permanent teeth and an upset stomach.
Toothpaste that contains fluoride will have the American Dental Association Seal of Approval.  Checking for this Seal is important when buying toothpaste. Second, for people who are at high risk for cavities, a prescription-strength, high fluoride toothpaste may be more appropriate. Speak with a hygienist or dentist at Adel Dental Group for additional recommendations for dry mouth or sensitivity.

What is a dry socket?

Dry socket is inflammation of the bone as a postoperative complication of a tooth extraction. This usually happens when a blood clot fails to form or is lost from the socket during the healing process. Without a properly healing blood clot, an empty socket where the bone is exposed to the oral cavity occurs, resulting in increased pain and delayed healing time. A medicated packing procedure may be appropriate to treat dry socket.

How can I relieve a toothache?

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol) can be taken until the cause of the pain can be determined in the office.  When a tooth ache happens, it is important to get a dental appointment as soon as possible to avoid any serious or long-term dental issues.  At Adel Dental Group, we understand emergencies happen and do our best to accommodate patients as quickly as possible.

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are an excellent way to prevent cavities.  They act as a physical barrier to protect teeth. Sealants are a plastic material usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often. Typically, children should receive sealants on their permanent molars as soon as these teeth come in. This application protects the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, but toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.

I'm fearful of going to the dentist. What are my options?

At Adel Dental Group, we recognize people have experienced a wide variety of dental care. We take the time to get to know our patients and work to provide personalized, comfortable, caring dental experiences, in a relaxing environment. Nitrous Oxide gas helps many of our patients relax during their visits. Please visit with anyone from our staff, and we will work to make your visit a pleasant one.

What is scaling?

Scaling is the mechanical removal of plaque, bacteria, and hardened calculus (also known as tartar) from the teeth.  Scaling is performed by the Hygienist during regular cleaning appointments to make the teeth as clean as possible.

Why do my gums bleed when I brush or floss?

Healthy gums have little to no build-up of plaque and tartar, hug the teeth tightly, and do not bleed. Bleeding gums may be a sign of gingivitis or periodontitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease. It develops as plaque and irritates the gums. The gums become red, tender, swollen, and likely to bleed. Gingivitis can usually be reversed with a professional dental cleaning plus improved oral hygiene. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar.

Periodontitis is a more serious condition that can develop if gingivitis is not treated. Periodontitis happens over time as plaque inflames the gums. The gums and bone that support teeth become damaged and left untreated, the affected teeth may become loose and even require removal by a dentist.

Why do I need a crown?

When a tooth is cracked, stained, damaged, or weakened by a large filling, it may detract from overall dental health and appearance. A crown (sometimes referred to as a ‘cap’) is a restoration that covers a tooth to return it to its normal shape and size. A crown’s purpose is to strengthen and/or improve the appearance of a tooth. Crowns can restore teeth when there isn’t enough tooth remaining to provide support for large fillings, protect weak teeth from fracturing, or fix fractured teeth. A crown may also cover badly shaped or discolored teeth. Finally, a crown may be placed on top of a dental implant.

Why do I need my teeth cleaned?

Regular dental cleanings help to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. If left on the teeth, plaque and tartar can lead to gum disease and loss of teeth.  Routine cleanings should occur every 3-12 months, depending upon dental hygiene and health.

What happens if I don't fill my cavity?

Dental cavities are permanently damaged areas of the teeth that often develop into holes in the enamel, the hard outer surface of your teeth. Cavities are also known as tooth decay or caries. Without treatment, cavities will progress deeper into a tooth. Eventually, the decay may reach the nerve of the tooth, which may result in the need for a root canal. Untreated cavities may also lead to tooth loss. Cavities found during routine check-ups, often prior to any symptoms, are often more easily restored with conservative restorations.

What Can I Do to Keep Cavities From Forming?

Taking good care of your teeth is the best way to prevent cavities.  Great cavity prevention starts at home, but regular dental checkups are necessary as well.

Follow these tips for good oral hygiene to prevent cavities:
-Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride can stop and even reverse tooth decay, making it a powerful weapon in the fight against cavities.
-Brush your teeth at least twice per day: once in the morning and once before bed. If you can, brush your teeth after meals too.
-Floss between your teeth daily to remove food particles and prevent plaque buildup.
-Avoid frequent snacking and limit the amount of sweet, sticky foods you eat. Snacking can create a near-constant supply of tooth decay-causing acid in your mouth, and sugary, carbonated foods and beverages can damage enamel. If you do snack, rinse your mouth with an unsweetened beverage afterward to help remove food particles and bacteria from your mouth.

How long will my appointment take?

At Adel Dental Group, we know you are busy, and we value your time. We strive to run an efficient office and save time in our schedule for each of our patients throughout the day.  The time needed for each procedure is different.  A dental cleaning usually requires about 50 minutes.

How often should I go to my dentist for a check-up?

Dental check ups are very important and sometimes can leave patients with an unhealthy view of their dental health. If the dentist does not find something wrong, some people feel their time has been wasted. As a matter of fact, a series of successful visits can discourage them from ever seeing their dentist and hygienist again. The idea that you should only see the dentist when something is wrong is not only out-dated, but can end up costing you a lot of money, comfort, and time.

Your dentist is trained to detect and treat many problems before you are even aware of them. The goal is prevention: prevent disease, decay and tooth loss. Only you, your dentist, and your hygienist can determine how often to make a visit, but most for most people, twice a year is sufficient. Checkups should not be a one-time event. They are necessary for regular assessments of the condition and the well-being of your mouth. Check-up procedures include a review of dental and medical history, an overall examination of the mouth including an oral cancer screening, a professional cleaning, possibly a fluoride treatment, and a general assessment of hygiene at home. Regular checkups are a MUST in the fight against gum disease.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease or periodontal disease or gingivitis, as it is also called, is the number one cause of tooth loss. The reason teeth are lost from gum disease is because this disease attacks the gums as well as the bone, which are the foundation in which your teeth rest. As the bone literally dissolves away from around your teeth, teeth become loose and eventually fall out. Anyone, at any age, is susceptible to gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque. If the plaque is not removed on a daily basis, it will form calculus (tartar), which is the breeding ground for the germs which cause periodontal disease.

Bleeding gums are the first sign that there may be a problem with the gums. Puffy, tender red gums are also a sign that there is an infection present. Bleeding gums however are not always present even in severe cases of gum disease. Routine and regular visits to your dentist are the best way of catching gum disease in its early stages before too much damage has been caused. Gum disease will not go away by itself or with improved home care. The only way of removing plaque deep under the gums is with professional cleanings. Once you have had a gum problem, you will always be susceptible to recurring problems, so be sure to see your dentist on a regular basis – every two to three months, unless recommended otherwise.

What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?

The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then, find the tooth. Hold it by the crown (top) rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of cold milk. Gatorade or saline solution may also be used in the absence of milk. Take your child and the glass immediately to the dentist.