General question about dentistry? The answer may be on this FAQ list. Please browse through the questions to find answers to your questions. If your question is not listed, please contact Dr. Gore and Dr. Hoover by emailing [email protected] or calling (804) 302-5981.
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Q. What should I do if I have a loose tooth?
A. If a tooth is loose, even extremely so, but is still attached in any way, leave it in place; do not remove it! If it is out of its socket completely and unattached, but still in your mouth, it is best to hold it in place, if possible, until Dr. Gore or Dr. Hoover can attempt re-implantation. If it is out of the mouth, do not let it dry out. Handle it as little as possible.
Do not attempt to disinfect the tooth, scrub it or remove any tissue attached to it.
If the tooth is recovered from the ground or another sort of soiled area, rinse it off in lukewarm water and preserve it in milk until Dr. Gore or Dr. Hoover can examine it. If milk is not available, lukewarm water will suffice.
Q. What causes bad breath?
A. Bad breath might be a symptom of some other disorder, but it is most often caused by dental decay and periodontitis, a gum and bone disease resulting from inadequate tooth brushing and flossing. Periodontitis irritates the gums and pulls them away from the teeth, forming pockets between the teeth and the gums, which fill with bacteria and pus and give off a foul odor.
Q. What are the most common symptoms of endodontic (root canal) disease?
A. Endodontic disease has a wide variety of symptoms. Common symptoms of endodontic disease include:
- Persistent sensitivity to cold liquids;
- Persistent sensitivity to hot liquids;
- Sensitivity to sweets;
- Pain from pressure, such as when biting;
- Pain that transfers to another area, such as the neck, temple, or the ear;
- Spontaneous toothache—when not eating or drinking;
- Constant or recurring pain;
- Severe pain;
- Throbbing pain;
- Pain that occurs in response to atmospheric pressure changes, such as when flying or swimming at low depths; and
- Pain that occurs in response to postural changes, such as transferring weight when standing from a sitting position.
Please discuss any of these symptoms with Dr. Gore or Dr. Hoover, because you might have root canal disease or another dental problem. These symptoms may signify tooth decay, defective fillings, periodontal diseases, cracked teeth, or other tooth and bite-related problems.
Q. Does pregnancy really put me at risk for gum disease?
A. Yes, unfortunately it does. Many mothers experience gum disease, dental pain and/or tooth extraction during or shortly after their pregnancy. This is often seen as being a “normal” side effect of being pregnant, because of three main reasons. First, hormonal changes may make the gums more susceptible to disease. Second, pregnant women often eat small and frequent meals, exposing their gums to acids and bases more often than usual. Third, cravings for junk food—which are always bad for your teeth and gums—seem to plague most pregnant women. Regardless, Midlothian Dental Center feels that, though it may be “normal,” for pregnant women to fall victim to gum disease, it is certainly not healthy for them, or any patient. Pregnant women with gum disease, especially, are seven times more likely to give birth to low-weight or premature babies.
Q. Why should I replace a missing tooth if I can still eat without it?
A. Losing just one tooth can lead other teeth to drift into the empty space, causing a change in the bite, which can result in painful jaw issues and a change in the rest of your smile. Missing teeth also burden the remaining teeth with additional weight from biting and chewing. All-in-all, when one tooth is lost, the remaining teeth are more likely to be lost as well.
Q. How do I know if I have TMJ?
A. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can be recognized by various symptoms ranging from ear pain to simple jaw pain. Listed below are some specific symptoms which may be signs of TMJ. If you think you have TMJ disorder, please contact us at Midlothian Dental Center immediately.
- Jaw pain or soreness, most noticeable in the morning or afternoon
- Jaw pain while chewing, biting or yawning
- Earache without an infection, sometimes spreading into the face
- Soreness in front of the ear
- A clicking or grinding noise while opening and closing your mouth
- Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
- A stiff jaw when eating, talking or yawning
- Sensitive teeth without any signs of dental problems
- Aching on the side of the head and neck pain
- Grinding of your teeth
- Restricted range of jaw movement or “locking” of the jaw in an open or closed position.
Q. Why does my mouth burn?
A. Burning mouth occurs mostly in adults over the age of 50 and has a variety of causes. One common problem is new or poorly fit dentures that irritate your mouth. Another is reduced salivary gland function, and there are saliva substitutes and rinses that can help protect your oral tissues and reduce the burning sensations. Most medications, as well, will dry out the mouth as a side effect and, sometimes, a Vitamin B deficiency may cause your mouth to burn. Lastly, there are candida infections caused by a common oral fungus, which can be treated with a simply anti-fungal agent.
Will I feel any pain?
No. You will feel nothing!
Will I be unconscious?
No, you will be in a deeply relaxed state but responsive.
Will I be monitored?
Yes, a team member is always with you and your vital signs are monitored during the entire visit. You are never alone.
How long will I be relaxing?
Depending on your needs, from two to six hours.
Will someone need to accompany me?
Yes, due to the sedative effects of the medication, you will need someone to drive you to the dentist and home again.
Q. When should I bring my child in for his/her first dental visit?
A. The rule of thumb here is to bring them in around the age of two and a half or three. This early age surprises most parents, but more than one-in-four American children accrue cavities by age 4 and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry agrees that a child’s first visit to the dentist should occur just before his/her first birthday.
Q. What are Baby Bottle Caries?
A. Baby Bottle Caries (also known as Early Childhood Caries, or ECC) is an incredibly common bacterial infection in babies and young children, though it is very unhealthy to the development of teeth and gums. Frequent consumption of liquids containing fermentable carbohydrates (juice, milk, formula, soda) can increase the risk of dental caries, due to the sugars sitting on the teeth and reacting to the natural, cariogenic bacteria on the teeth. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD) is a severe form of ECC and is often caused by bottle feeding at night, when the salivary glands are less active and, thus, do not clean off the residue from the liquids. A mutant form of cariogenic bacteria is Streptococcus (the bacteria which causes strep throat), so it is important to keep this natural tooth bacterium at bay, but it is equally important to keep it from building up and forming plaque residues (and cavities).
Q. Should my child wear a mouthguard?
A. A mouthguard is an important piece of equipment in sports activities. And though it’s not mandatory for most sports, wearing a mouthguard will cushion any blow to the face or neck, protecting your smile. So, even adults should wear mouthguards during athletics. Custom-made mouthguards are the best for athletes with bridges and braces because they are form-fit. However, the less expensive, ready-made mouthguards can be purchased in any sporting goods store and molded to your smile in only minutes.
Q. When should I consider an orthodontic evaluation for my child?
A. It really depends, since each child’s smile develops differently. We have a guideline to which we refer as your child’s permanent teeth come in, but orthodontic treatment depends on the problem and its severity. Over the years of your child’s development, we watch for facial growth, spacing/crowding issues, extra or missing teeth and habits like thumb-sucking, which can all alter the development of your child’s smile.
Q. How does teeth whitening work?
A. The more common “tooth bleaching” involves the placement of a bleaching solution on the teeth to eliminate stains and discoloration. The solution is held in place by a custom-made, see-through tray that fits over the teeth. This mouthpiece is worn at home and takes up to four weeks to completely whiten teeth.
Midlothian Dental Center also offers ZOOM!, the in-office power bleaching treatment with a bright halogen light, which is done in our office and takes only one visit!
Q. Do dentures need to be replaced?
A. We at Midlothian Dental Center find that dentures will need to be relined, remade or rebased due to normal wear over a period of time and normal shrinkage of your gums and bones.
Q. If you wear dentures, are dental adhesives necessary?
A. Dentures that fit properly do not usually require adhesives. However, adhesives may be advised during the time when you acclimate to the presence of dentures in your mouth, because air slips in under the base and moves them when you laugh, smile or cough. The more you wear dentures, the better you will be able to control their movements in these situations. In general, we feel that dentures which do not stay in place are probably not fit correctly.
Q. Will I be awake during a procedure inserting dental implants?
A. Yes, but we will use local anesthetics to numb the area. You can also couple the surgery with sedation dentistry to reduce your anxiety.
Q. How new is dental implant technology?
A. Dental implant technology is relatively new, though it has been around for decades. Some patients in the Midlothian area have had dental implants for as much as 30 years!
Q. How successful are dental implants?
A. Hundreds of thousands of dental implants have been inserted with more than a 90% success rate. Other metal implants in the body, such as hip and knee replacements) are, in fact, the result of dental implant technology!
Q. What are resin fillings made of?
A. Tooth-colored resin fillings are made of glass particles encased in a plastic matrix. It’s a putty-like material which bonds to the tooth and hardens when exposed to high-intensity lights.
Q. Why should I get resin fillings instead of silver fillings like I have?
A. Silver fillings have been a common fix for decayed or broken teeth over the last century, probably because gold fillings were too expensive for most people. But the silver fillings, over time, corrode, blacken and crack teeth as they expand; they seem to do more damage than help. Tooth-colored resin fillings, however, have a much more natural appearance and the adhesive material used to bond the resin to the tooth can make the broken/decayed tooth stronger than before!
Q. Why should I get a crown?
A. If you have a broken or decayed tooth, here are two great reasons to get it capped with a dental crown. First, your teeth affect the appearance of your smile and your face. The teeth in your mouth actually support the muscles in your face; a broken tooth might affect the muscle strength in your face, affecting your appearance. Second, crowns act like your normal teeth. They keep your jaw and bite aligned, and ensure that the rest of your teeth do not shift or carry more than their share of the load during biting and chewing.
Q. Which type of crown should I choose?
A. There are four types of dental crowns: porcelain, gold, stainless steel and ceramic. The crowns used at Midlothian Dental Center are usually made of gold or porcelain because of their sturdiness and cost. Stainless steel crowns, on the other hand, are better for temporary solutions, rather than for the long haul. Ceramic crowns, which are very natural in appearance, have proved successful in short-term studies, though long-term studies are still in operation.
Porcelain crowns are built upon a metal base and fit snugly over your natural tooth. The best part about porcelain crowns is that their color can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Most people choose porcelain crowns because of the cosmetic appearance—they’re barely distinguishable from your natural teeth!
Gold crowns are less aesthetic because of their color. However, they are just as sturdy and are sometimes less expensive. Most people choose gold crowns for their back molars, because they aren’t often seen.
Q. How do I care for my dental crowns?
A. The answer is simple: brush well and floss below the gum line—like you do already, right? The crown protects the remainder of your tooth from further decay, but you must also protect the base of the crown from bacterial growth and gum disease. So, just continue to brush and floss regularly and carefully.