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Oral Hygiene

What is the correct way to brush?

The right toothbrush

There are dozens of different kinds of toothbrushes on the market, but when you choose one, you really want to remember two things: choose one with soft bristles, to protect your tooth enamel, and a head that’s small enough to comfortably reach all of your teeth.

Your brushing technique

Using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, hold the brush along your gum line at a 45 degree angle. Move the brush gently but firmly, with small circular motions. Brush two to three teeth at at time, then move to the next teeth, overlapping slightly.

Clean all surfaces of every tooth

Find a routine that works for you. For example, brush the backsides of every tooth, then brush the front and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Finish by brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth, to remove germs and freshen your breath.

What is the correct way to floss?

Use a piece of dental floss approximately 18 inches long. Wind each end of the floss around your middle fingers.

Holding the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, leave about an inch of floss in between. Use a gentle, back and forth motion to guide the floss in between your teeth. Avoid snapping the floss, which may cause some unnecessary irritation to the gums. When the floss is at the gum line, curve it into an arc around each tooth until there is mild resistance.

Holding the floss in the arc position, gently slide it up the side of the tooth, making sure the floss goes under the gum. Move the floss up and down (not back and forth) several times to remove the plaque from under the gum.

Repeat this procedure on both sides of each tooth.

How does fluoride reduce decay and strengthen your teeth?

Fluoride is vital for dental health

Fluoride combines with your tooth enamel to strengthen it and increase its resistance to attacks from harmful decay-causing acids. Plus, if you already have some decay, fluoride can work to repair damaged tooth structure, often slowing or even stopping the decay process.

Beneficial for all ages

Fluoride is the greatest breakthrough in preventive dentistry in more than 50 years. It has dramatically reduced the incidence of tooth decay in children. Plus, it can reduce root decay and root sensitivity in older adults, and it strengthens and rebuilds tooth enamel in all ages.

Where can you get fluoride?

Most toothpaste contains fluoride, and many cities fluoridate their water. If yours doesn’t, we can prescribe fluoride in the form of a gel, tablets, drops or prescription toothpaste. It’s also helpful to have a fluoride application immediately after a cleaning in our office.

How often should I have my teeth professionally cleaned?

Each person is different…twice a year is based on most insurance coverage, but most patients need to have a professional dental cleaning every 3 to 4 months. Decay and gum disease is caused by bacteria in a colony that takes about 8-10 weeks to become destructive or must be removed or broken up within this base period.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a bacteria-laden white substance, which forms on the teeth and contributes to tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Effective flossing will help remove plaque missed by brushing before it contributes to these harmful effects.

What are Sealants?

Sealants are, without a doubt, the finest, preventive service that we can provide our patients. In this process, the grooves in the teeth are sealed with a thin but hard plastic resin coating that effectively eliminates the potential for tooth decay. With no pain, no shots, no drilling, sealants are radically improving the health of our children and adult patients. That’s great!

Which teeth can have Sealants?

  • Cavity Prevention At Any Age
  • Primary molars
  • Pre-Teens molars
  • Teens bicuspids and molars
  • Adults bicuspids and molars

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, however, you may not know you have it.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.

What is the difference between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?

In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.

In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged. The teeth can become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.

Do you have a cracked tooth?

When you bit down you feel a sharp pain. It quickly disappears and perhaps you ignore it. You avoid certain foods or chew only on one side of your mouth. Does this sound familiar? If so, you may have a cracked tooth.

What causes the tooth to crack?

A tooth may crack due to:

  • chewing on hard objects or foods such as ice, nuts, or hard candy
  • an accident, such as a blow to the mouth
  • grinding and clenching your teeth
  • uneven chewing pressure
  • stress on a tooth
  • loss of significant portion of tooth structure through wear, large fillings, or other restorations
  • exposure of tooth enamel to temperature extremes, such as eating hot food and then drinking ice water
  • brittleness of teeth with root canal

How can you tell if a tooth is cracked?

It could be difficult. You may not even be able to tell which tooth hurts or whether the pain is from an upper or lower tooth. A crack may appear as a hairline fracture, running vertically along the tooth. It often is invisible to the eye and may not show even on an X-ray.

You can help your dentist determine which tooth is causing the problem by noting when and where you have sensitivity to heat or cold, to sweet, sour or sticky food and approximately where the pain is when you are chewing.

Why does a cracked tooth hurt?

A cracked tooth may hurt because the pressure of biting causes the crack to open. When you stop biting, the pressure is released and a sharp pain results as the crack quickly closes.

Even though the crack may be microscopic, when it opens, the pulp inside the tooth may become irritated. The pulp is a soft tissue that contains the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. If the crack irritates the pulp, the tooth may become sensitive to temperature extremes. If the pulp becomes damaged or diseased as a result of the crack, endodontic(root canal) treatment may be necessary to save the tooth.

How is a cracked tooth treated?

Depending on the size and location of the crack, treatment may vary form bonding to crown to hold the crack together. This may include endodontic treatment if pulp is involved. A severely cracked tooth may need extraction if the tooth cannot be saved. Your dentist will determine the best treatment for you.

Tiny cracks are common and usually do not cause problems. Regular dental checkups are important. They allow your dentist to diagnose and treat problems in the early stage. If you continue to have pain, avoid chewing on that side of your mouth and call your dentist.


How do cavities form?

It starts with bacteria.

Thousands of bacteria live in your mouth, and most of them are beneficial. But a few are harmful, including the streptococcus mutans bacterium, the one responsible for tooth decay. These bacteria thrive in plaque, a sticky film that’s constantly forming on your teeth.

Add starches, and the process begins

The streptococcus mutans bacteria feast on starches in your mouth, then produce an acid that dissolves your tooth enamel, until eventually you have a hole on the surface of your tooth(a cavity). The only way to stop the decay process is for us to remove the decay and put in a filling material.

The good news…

When you brush and floss properly, you’re removing the plaque from your teeth, leaving little for bacteria to eat. As a result, there growth is slowed, and they don’t produce the acids that lead to tooth decay. This is why it’s important to remove plaque from your teeth each day.