Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to some of frequently asked questions. However, this may not answer all of your specific questions. Please feel free to call our office and we would be happy to answer any of your questions!
You should brush your teeth at least 2-3 minutes twice a day. Most patients only brush for 30-60 seconds twice a day, and that is not long enough to remove all the plaque from your teeth. Get in the habit of starting and ending in the same place. That way you will make sure not to miss any parts of your mouth. Most new electric toothbrushes have built in timers to help you brush the proper length of time.
Always use a soft bristle brush and don’t be afraid to brush your tongue. By brushing your tongue, you will reduce the number of bacteria that causes plaque and bad breath.
If your wire is causing an irritation, cover the wire with cotton or gauze until you can get to the dentist. If the wire gets stuck in your cheek, lip, gum, or tongue don’t attempt to remove it. Go to your dentist immediately. If a piece of your braces or retainer breaks, take the piece to your dentist.
If the tooth is dirty, rinse it gently in running water, then gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If this isn’t working, put the tooth in a cup of milk, or cool water. Please contact Dr. Petron immediately and bring the tooth.
Clean dirt gently from the injured area with warm water. Put cold compress on the face, in the injured tooth area, to decrease swelling. Please contact Dr. Petron immediately!
The American Dental Association recommends that patients replace toothbrushes approximately every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristles become frayed with use. Dr. Petron likes to change his toothbrush every month.
Yes! Brushing alone cannot remove the plaque between your teeth, only flossing can. Over time, if the plaque is not removed, it can cause decay and gum disease between your teeth.
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, may be caused by many different things. The most common cause is the presence of bacteria in your mouth and also on your tongue. In some cases, the cause can be from a gastrointestinal problem.
The brand of toothpaste that you choose does not matter as long as it contains fluoride. Just choose a toothpaste that has a flavor that you like.
Not completely. Whitening toothpaste will reverse some of the surface stains, but will not change the shade of the teeth themselves. The change that you will see is usually very minimal.
There has been some evidence that over the counter bleaching products can whiten teeth. The trays usually sold with these products do not fit as well as the custom trays that Dr. Petron can provide and can result in possible damage to your teeth and gums.
Teeth that have cold sensitivity can be caused by a number of reasons. Abrasions of the teeth, recession of gum tissue, night grinding, large metal fillings or decay. The use of desensitizing toothpaste and fluoride applications may solve the problem. In some cases, dental treatment may be needed.
Your gums bleed as a result of inflammation caused by the presence of plaque (bacteria) in your mouth. When plaque is not properly cleaned off your teeth, the result will be irritation of the gum tissue causing red puffy, bleeding gums. This is called gingivitis untreated it can progress into periodontal disease.
Plaque is the sticky, white or yellow film that constantly forms on your teeth. If plaque is not removed regularly by tooth brushing and flossing, it hardens to create calculus (Also known as tarter). Calculus cannot be removed with a toothbrush: only a dental professional can remove it during a cleaning appointment.
The longer plaque and calculus are on the teeth, the more harmful they become. They can cause inflammation of the gums that is called “gingivitis.” With gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and bleed easily. Gingivitis can usually be reversed with daily brushing, flossing and regular cleanings by a dental professional. This form of early gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontal disease (also called periodontitis) Diseased gums can pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
Not all dental cleanings are created equal. It is important to understand that there is a big difference between these procedures and the implications that each procedure has when it comes to your oral health.
REGULAR CLEANING OR PROPHYLAXIS
When you have your six-month dental checkups, you have a routine cleaning (also called a prophylaxis) to remove plaque & calculus only on the part visible part of the tooth, known as the crown. It usually doesn’t take very long and it is practically painless. Regular cleanings are only recommended for patients who have generally good oral health and do not suffer from bone loss or gum problems (bleeding, recession, infection, etc.)
SCALING & ROOT PLANING OR DEEP CLEANINGS
A deep cleaning is a non-surgical procedure that usually consists of these two different steps:
- SUBGINGIVAL SCALING
A subgingival scaling is concentrates on cleaning the tooth’s surface below the gum line. An ultrasonic scaler is used to remove the infection causing plaque & calculus from the inside of the gum pockets. This is usually performed under local anesthetic to help with the patient’s comfort.
- ROOT PLANING
Following the scaling step, the root surfaces are smoothed out to encourage the regrowth of the gum tissue and inhibit plaque formation.
Similar to other non-surgical procedures, you may experience some mild discomfort and your teeth and gums may be temporarily sensitive to hot and cold following a deep cleaning.
Once you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease & have had a scaling & root planning, periodontal maintenance is what you can think of as taking the place of a regular cleaning. Instead of addressing just the crown of your teeth as in a regular cleaning, periodontal maintenance also cares for your tooth roots, gums and bone. The frequency of your periodontal maintenance appointments will depend on your individual oral health condition. This will be determined by your dentist or hygienist.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends fluoridated toothpaste for all children starting when the teeth first start eruption. They also recommend that teeth have a fluoride varnish every 3-6 months. An August 25, 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics article declares that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children in the U.S.
The American Dental Association stated that more than 70 years of scientific research has consistently shown that an optimal level of fluoride in community drinking water is safe and effective in reducing tooth decay by at least 25% in both children and adults. Simply by drinking water, Americans can benefit from fluoride’s cavity protection whether they are at home, school or work.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when the dentist examines the mouth. Visually an x-ray may reveal:
- Small area of decay between the teeth or below existing fillings or crowns that cannot be seen by just looking.
- Infections in the bone
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Abscesses or cysts
- Developmental abnormalities
- Some types of tumors
Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and often unnecessary discomfort. X-rays can detect damage to oral structures not visible during a regular exam. If you have a hidden tumor, an X-ray may even help save your life.
Dental x-rays are one of the lowest radiation dose studies performed. A routine exam which includes 4 bite-wings has less than one day of natural background radiation. It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure from a short airplane flight. (1-2 hrs.)
Yes! We provide service to many patients without dental insurance. We happily accept the following forms of payment:
- American Express
Alternate Financing Options
We understand everyone has unique financial needs. Some patients may benefit from financing options available through CareCredit, a third-party payment company. Rather than putting off necessary treatment, Care Credit’s affordable payment plans allow patients to begin treatment without delay.
Please contact CareCredit direct or contact our office for more information.
Yes of course! We welcome the opportunity to serve and educate your children. Your children are special so we strive to make your child feel safe calm & carefree. Dr. Petron has been in practice so long that he is now seeing third generation patients and is a big kid himself.
If you or someone you know is in extreme pain or discomfort there is always someone on call after hours