Why do I need x-rays?

Dental x-rays are a very useful tool that helps detect dental damage and disease that can’t be seen with the eye. Digital x-rays are typically taken yearly and as needed. These advanced diagnostic tools are known to expose patients to much less radiation when compared with x-ray technology of the past. Also, digital x-rays are a greener option, as the images will be sent to the computer monitor and do not require development in harmful chemicals that can damage the environment.


How often should I get a cleaning?

Every six months, you should schedule a routine dental exam with your dentist to reduce the chance of developing serious oral health problems. Leaving minor dental issues untreated can run the risk for an increase in more serious dental problems in the future. As an example, it is easy to find & treat a small cavity during your dental exam; however, if that same cavity is left untreated, the decay can spread throughout that tooth and also to the surrounding teeth. In the same way, if gum disease is not treated, it can spread causing tooth loss and problems with your overall health. Regularly scheduled dental exams are very important in early detection, treatment, and control of these dental health issues. According to the American Dental Association, checkups should be scheduled twice each year to screen for periodontal disease, oral cancer, cracks in the teeth, tooth decay, or old dental work that needs to be replaced.


What if I don’t have my periodontal disease treated?

Untreated gum infections can lead to gum recession, bleeding gums, tooth movement, tooth loss, and even risks to your overall health.


How can I prevent periodontal disease?

  • Brush your teeth twice each day
  • Floss to remove plaque and food from areas your toothbrush can’t reach
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit snacks
  • Have a dental cleaning every 6 months


How do fluoride treatments work?

Fluoride treatments harden teeth making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth, helping to prevent tooth decay; early decay can also be reversed by remineralizing enamel.  Fluoride is found in our drinking water and our toothpastes, but not in the same amounts as these treatments.  Our dentists can apply fluoride as a gel, varnish or foam to the walls of the teeth providing a rock hard shell of protection.


How do dental sealants work?

Dental sealants prevent cavities by acting like a barrier; thin resin coatings that are applied to the deep cracks and canyons (pits) that are common on the biting surfaces of back teeth.  These pits cannot be thoroughly cleaned with tooth brushing because the toothbrush bristles cannot completely sweep these areas clean.  Dental sealants protect the susceptible areas by “sealing out” food and plaque.


My dentist recommended a night guard. Why should I use one?

Nighttime teeth clenching and grinding can place enormous amounts of destructive force and friction on the teeth, gums, and jaw and are becoming a big problem for many stressed out adults. Signs include flattening of the front teeth, craters on the tops of teeth, or notches in the sides of teeth. By moving forward with your recommended night guard, you can avoid extreme clenching and grinding that can result in:

  • Worn, cracked or broken teeth
  • Gum recession
  • Tooth and jaw pain
  • Tired jaw muscles
  • Headaches


My dentist says I grind my teeth. If left untreated, what could happen?

In many cases, bruxism doesn’t cause any damage. But if the grinding is severe enough, it can:

  • Wear down tooth enamel
  • Chip teeth
  • Increase temperature sensitivity
  • Erode gums and supporting bones
  • Break fillings or other dental work
  • Worsen temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
  • Result in cosmetic damage


What are the symptoms of teeth grinding (bruxism)?

  • Teeth grinding, often very loud, during sleep
  • Jaw pain, headache or earache
  • Frequent contraction of muscles on the side of the face
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Teeth that look flat at the tips
  • Abnormal alignment of teeth


What causes bad breath?

Most causes are fairly simple to treat and involve changes or additions to your oral hygiene routine. Sometimes more extensive care is required to eliminate the source of bad breath. Here are some of the most common causes and how to treat them:

  • Medical Conditions: Sometimes bad breath is the result of conditions present in parts of the body other than your mouth, such as respiratory infection, diabetes or kidney/liver issues.
  • Certain Foods: Very pungent, aromatic or spicy foods like garlic and onions can cause breath odor. Brush your teeth and use mouthwash, chew gum or mints to mask odor until the food metabolizes in your system.
  • Dry Mouth: You may also notice bad breath if you experience dry mouth from medications, allergies or other reasons. Keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water.
  • Inadequate Oral Hygiene: If you are rushing through brushing and flossing, you may be leaving traces of food in between your teeth and along the gums. As these particles age in your mouth they create an unpleasant odor. Be sure to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth too.


I have a toothache, what are common symptoms that I would experience if I need a root canal?

You may experience the following symptoms (or possibly none at all) when you are in need of a root canal:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness during chewing
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Drainage
  • Inflamed lymph nodes
  • Tenderness in the gum tissue and bone surrounding the tooth


What is CEREC?

CEREC is a technology for restoring damaged teeth with tooth-colored ceramic restorations and that can be completed in a single visit to the dentist’s office. It makes your teeth stronger and more beautiful, all while keeping your teeth looking natural.


What are the benefits of using CEREC technology?

By using the CEREC technology, the computer will take a picture of the tooth that is to receive the new crown and its surrounding teeth. Our dentists can design your crown and match its color to the rest of your natural teeth, because of the CAD software that works with this system. This type of crown is also stronger than other types because it is made from a single block of material.


I have a missing tooth. How are implants different than dentures?

We like to explain dental implants as artificial roots that can be permanently placed on the patient’s jaw bone. As the gum tissue and bone grow around the dental implant, they become a permanent anchor.

Dentures and partial dentures are removable appliances that replace teeth when implants and bridges are not an option. They can be supported by remaining healthy teeth, implants, or they can replace all teeth.


What is the difference between a partial and a bridge?

Partials can be secured to hidden clasps or dental implants and, unlike a bridge, they are removable. Bridges are fixed and do not come out.


What are the types of dentures?

  • Conventional: A full removable denture is made and placed in your mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed, which may take several months.
  • Immediate: An immediate denture is inserted on the same day that the remaining teeth are removed. Our team at Adams Dental Group will make models and take measurements of your jaw during a preliminary visit. However, your dentist may need to reline the denture or remake them after your jaw has healed.
  • Overdenture: An overdenture fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth after they have been prepared, if some of your teeth can be saved. This is to preserve your jawbone and provide support and stability for the denture.  Implants can serve the same function.


What should I expect after getting dentures?

For a few weeks, your new dentures may feel awkward, until you become comfortable with them. While your cheek muscles and tongue learn to keep them in place, the dentures may feel loose or may cause minor irritation or soreness. You may find that saliva flow increases temporarily as well. These problems should go away as your mouth gets used to the dentures. You’ll need to schedule follow-up appointments after a denture is inserted, so the fit can be checked and adjusted. Call Adams Dental Group and schedule an appointment with the dentist, if any problems persist.

You still need to practice good dental hygiene, brush your gums, tongue and roof of your mouth every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures to help remove plaque, stimulate circulation in your tissues and keep them from staining.

Continue to schedule regular dental appointments and checkups. And if you have any questions about your dentures, or if they become damaged or stop fitting well, contact our office so we can help.


What are common symptoms of an abscessed or infected tooth?

A toothache that is continuous and severe that results in throbbing, gnawing, sharp or shooting pain are common symptoms of an infected or abscessed tooth. Other symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Feeling ill
  • Bitter taste
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold
  • Foul smell to the breath
  • Redness and swelling of the gums
  • An open, draining sore on the side of the gum
  • Swollen area in the upper or lower jaw
  • Swollen neck glands


What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:

  • Headaches
  • Tenderness or pain of your jaw
  • Aching pain around and in your ear
  • Aching facial pain
  • Discomfort or difficulty while chewing
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
  • Grating or clicking sounds in the jaw joints
  • Ringing in the ears or earaches


What should I do if I suspect TMJ syndrome?

Bite problems associated with the alignment of the jaws, muscles and teeth cause the majority of TMJ disorders. By adjusting your bite (the way your teeth come together), many times we can properly align the teeth, muscles and jaws to be in the most comfortable positions. This alignment correction will often reduce or eliminate your TMJ symptoms. A diagnosis by the dentist is important in order to determine the best course of treatment.


What are the most common reasons to get veneers?

Porcelain veneers can be used to correct several common cosmetic concerns, including:

  • Chipped, cracked, or misshapen teeth
  • Crooked or misaligned teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Stained or discolored teeth
  • Short teeth


I am afraid of going to the dentist. What can they do to help me with anxiety?

Often referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide has been used in dental procedures for decades to help ease anxiety during dental procedures. The gas is breathed in through the nose and you should begin to feel calmer and more relaxed within 30 seconds. Nitrous oxide does not induce sleep, just deep relaxation; however, you may drift off into a light sleep. Nitrous oxide typically does not cause any side effects, and it should wear off almost immediately after treatment is complete. With sedation dentistry techniques, undergoing dental procedures can be a smoother, more relaxing process.