Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues. Feel free to contact us if you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment.

What are dental veneers?

Dental veneers, sometimes called porcelain laminate veneers, are thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials, designed to cover the front and side surfaces of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth, changing their color, shape, size, and length.

Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or from composite resin materials. Porcelain veneers are more stain-resistant than resin veneers and better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth.

What types of problems do dental veneers fix?

• Teeth that are discolored.
• Teeth that are worn down.
• Teeth that are chipped or broken.
• Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped.
• Teeth with gaps between them.

What’s the procedure for getting a dental veneer?

Getting a dental veneer usually requires three trips to the dentist – one for a consultation and two to make and apply the veneers.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

Sensitive teeth occur when the underlying layer of your teeth -- the dentin -- becomes exposed as the result of receding gum tissue (the protective blanket that covers the tooth roots). The roots, which are not covered by hard enamel, contain thousands of tiny tubules leading to the tooth's nerve center (the pulp). These dentinal tubules (or channels) allow the stimuli -- for example, the hot, cold, or sweet food -- to reach the nerve in your tooth, which results in the pain you feel.

Factors that can contribute to tooth sensitivity include:
Brushing too hard, gum disease (gingivitis, periodontitis), cracked teeth, tooth grinding, tooth whitening products, your age, plaque build-up, long-term use of some mouthwashes, acidic foods, recent routine dental procedures.

What to do to avoid tooth sensitivity:
Maintain good oral hygiene, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, use desensitizing toothpaste, watch what you eat, use fluoridated dental products, avoid grinding your teeth, see your dentist at regular intervals

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is advanced gum disease. Early gum disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. This leaves deep pockets where plaque and bacteria can build up. Periodontitis can progress until the bones that support the teeth are damaged. Teeth may get loose and fall out or need to be removed.

I have bad breath. What is it and what can I do?

Most people have suffered or suffer from bad breath.

Bad breath, or halitosis, can result from poor dental hygiene or could be a sign of other health problems. The food we eat starts its breakdown process in the mouth. As foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, they are eventually carried to your lungs and given off in your breath. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing, flossing and mouthwash will barely begin to cover up the odor. Odors don’t go away until they have fully passed through your body.

Good oral hygiene is very important for your breath.  If you don’t brush and floss daily, food can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around gums, and on the tongue. This same bacteria can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned. Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products also can cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste food, and irritate your gums.

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth that does not go away could be signs of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria causes the formation of toxins which irritate the gums  If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums.

Other causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, dry mouth (xerostomia) and dental caries (cavities).

Other related diseases that may cause bad breath are: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux and liver or kidney problems.

Sixty percent of bad breath is due to plaque that accumulates in the tongue’s folds, particularly towards the back.  Brush, floss and use a tongue scraper twice a day to help reduce your bad breath. Gargling with solutions that contain zinc chloride (intense green or blue colored mouth rinses) will also decrease your bad breath.