Frequently Asked Question at West Ridgewood Dental Professionals, PA

+ Why do I need Dental X-rays?

We use the theory of ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) when we set our standards for the use of x-rays. With our digital x-rays we have reduced the amount of radiation tremendously because our radiographic sensors are so sensitive to the exposure. Our digital x-rays have instant results. With our system we have the capability to digitally confirm when there is a cavity. This allows us to easily interpret and teach our patients exactly what we are seeing on our digital radiographs.

Fluoride has been one of the most cost effective and safe ways to increase the strength of teeth and prevents cavities. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dental Association (ADA), and the CDC are in agreement that fluoride as an additive in toothpaste will benefit people. Both children and adults will benefit from using fluoride in the right dosage. The correct dosing and usage should be discussed with us at West Ridgewood Dental Professionals.

+ How do fillings fix teeth?

A cavity is weakened and soft tooth structure which continually grow from bacterial infiltration until they are removed and stopped. We gently and comfortably removed this diseased portion of the tooth and replace it with a filling to replicated natural anatomy, functionality and esthetics. Fillings can last an extremely longtime when the best materials are used which may be patient specific. In addition the patient must maintain these fillings like normal tooth structure and come in for routine checkups so we avoid and recurrent cavities.

+ What type of toothbrush and toothpaste should I use?

It is important to use a toothbrush with soft texture and bristles, this is to ensure we do not damage teeth and remove the outer enamel layer. Our recommendation is to brush a minimum of two times/day for two minutes each time. Many powered electric toothbrushes have a built in two minute timer.

Studies show that a powered electric toothbrush can but three times more efficient when brushing your teeth therefore more effective and can be more gentle on the teeth and gums when used properly.

After a four month period, when the bristles on the toothbrush are distorted, we know it is time to replace our toothbrush or brush head. After this period of time the brush is not as effective as it was when brand new.

Toothpaste is a minimal abrasive medium which will clean our teeth from the daily acquired bacteria and food. An American Dental Association (ADA) approved toothpaste will have fluoride contained within it. Fluoride is the only proven addative to strengthen tooth structure and enamel, therefore making it more resistant to cavities.

+ Do I need to floss and how often?

When we brush perfectly, the bristles of the brush cannot get between teeth that are in contact with one another. Cavities between teeth are more common in those who do not floss. Also gum inflammation is much more prevalent in those who are not flossing, removing the bacteria below the gumline. Over time the bacteria under the gumline will cause inflammation and bone loss and gum recession. This bacteria travels through the body and can cause damage to other systems in the body, not just the mouth.

+ What are signs I may have a dental issue?

If you feel or see something that looks unusual, come visit us so we may evaluate your mouth and all surrounding structures to ensure everything is healthy. Early diagnosis of dental issues many times can have a more favorable outcome, meaning less invasive and less costly treatment.

Signs of a dental issue could be some of the following

  • Sores or ulcerations
  • Tooth, gum, muscular, or joint sensitivity or pain
  • Redness, swollen or easily bleeding gums
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • An unpleasant odor from your mouth

+ How often do I need a dental checkup?

Regular exams with a dentist can help to identify early signs of issues which may have minimally invasive treatments and therefore less costly.

We recommend a cleaning and checkup every six months, unless if there has been a history of aggressive gum disease or cavity formation. At West Ridgewood Dental Professionals we stress the importance of prevention, we take our time to educate all of our patients the proper techniques of cleaning their teeth and gums, so that we can continue to have great checkups. If something were to arise we would have the ability to catch it early and simply address it before it has dramatic and costly consequences.

+ What causes tooth pain?

Each tooth has a nerve (pulp) inside of them, and when this nerve is stimulated the result is pain. There are many reasons a nerve can be stimulated. A deep cavity, trauma to a tooth, exposed inner tooth structure from recession or a chip/fracture, infection can all lead to dental nerve pain also known as pulpitis. When you come to the dentist we can help determine if you are experiencing reversible or irreversible tooth pain and recommended the appropriate least invasive treatment. Sometimes we may expeience what we interpret as tooth pain but may actually be sinus inflammation (sinusitis) or jaw TMJ/TMD pain.

+ What is a cavity?

The outer tooth structure called enamel is the strongest substance in the human body. Plaque is a sticky film composed of food debris and bacteria in our mouths. There are both good and bad bacteria in our mouth. When we eat sugar and carbohydrates the bacteria consume these as well, and have a byproduct of acid. This acid over time decays tooth structure causing the enamel to become soft allowing easier penetration of the bacteria deeper into the tooth. When treating a cavity, we remove this weakened layer which is no longer protecting the tooth nerve, and replace it with an artificial layer which is selected by you (the patient) and your dentist.

+ what is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure to remove and clean the nerve chamber inside a tooth. This procedure is needed when this sterile canal becomes contaiminated with bacteria due to a cavity or exposure into the mouth, or irreversible inflammation causing extreme tooth pain.

+ What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is essentially a filling which completely encompasses a tooth 360 degrees around. A crown is indicated when the remaining tooth structure is unable to retain a traditional filling due to size or retention.

+ what is a dental cap?

A dental cap is another name for a dental crown. A dental crown is essentially a filling which completely encompasses a tooth 360 degrees around. A crown is indicated when the remaining tooth structure is unable to retain a traditional filling due to size or retention.

+ What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an orthodontic procedure to move our teeth in a predictable manner. The benefit of Invisalign over traditional metal brackets is that they are clear retainers and they are removable. Having the ability to remove them for cleaning our teeth helps to decreases the possibility of dental cavities causes from foreign objects in our mouth retaining dental plaque.

Do you have your own question? Ask the Dentist!