dental faqs

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1).What are Dental Insurance Coverage Types?

According to most dental insurance companies, dental procedures are broken down into three categories:

  1. Preventative

    Most insurance companies consider routine cleanings and examinations as preventative dental care, however, X-rays, sealants and fluoride can be deemed as preventative or basic, depending upon the specific insurance carrier.

  2. Basic or Restorative

    Basic or restorative dental treatment usually consists of fillings and simple extractions.

  3. Major

    Crowns, bridges, dentures, partials, surgical extractions and dental implants are dental procedures that most dental insurance companies consider as a major procedure.

Because all dental insurance carriers are different, it is important to find out what types of dental procedures fall under each type of category. This is important to find out because some insurance plans have waiting periods for certain procedures and others don't cover major procedures.

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2).What is Tooth Erosion?

Tooth erosion is the wearing away of tooth enamel by acid. The enamel is the hard calcified tissue that covers and protects the outside of the tooth. It is the hardest substance in our bodies.

The high amount of acids in the food and drink that you consume can lead to tooth erosion. If you drink soft drinks and pure fruit juices, these can contain a high amount of acid.

The saliva in our mouth contains calcium which helps to strengthen and remineralize the teeth, however, remineralization can not occur when a great deal of acid is present.

Some tooth erosion can also be caused by medical factors such as a decrease in saliva, acid reflux disease, certain gastrointestinal conditions and the eating disorder bulimia.

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3).What is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth, is the reduced flow of saliva in the mouth. Sufficient saliva is needed in the mouth in order to wash away food debris and reduce plaque by neutralizing the acids that plaque produces.

Anyone get dry mouth, and it is a common problem among older adults. It is estimated that 20% of elderly people suffer from dry mouth and this condition is also a hidden cause of tooth loss and gum disease in 30 percent of adults.

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4).Does Teeth Whitening Toothpastes Work?

All toothpastes contain mild abrasives to remove surface stains. Teeth whitening toothpastes may have additional polishing ingredients and chemicals that are more effective against stains than regular toothpastes. Whitening toothpastes can make your teeth look a little lighter over time by getting rid of stains, however, they do not bleach your teeth white.

People who see the best results with teeth whitening toothpastes are people who drink coffee and tea, smoke, and eat certain foods that can stain your teeth. Teeth whitening toothpastes are also good to keep surface stains from building up on your teeth.

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5).What is a Veneer?
A veneer is a thin shell made out of porcelain or composite material. Veneers are custom made for each person and cemented to the front side of the tooth. A veneer can be used to treat a few different dental conditions such as a slightly crooked tooth, chipped teeth, discolored teeth, or they can be used to fix gaps between teeth.

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6).What causes tooth loss?
Tooth decay and periodontal disease are the most common causes of tooth loss. Tooth decay takes place when most of the tooth's mineral makeup has been dissolved away and a hole (cavity) has formed. Tooth decay primarily affects children, periodontal disease, or gum disease, mostly affects adults. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums caused by plaque buildup, it's earliest stage is known as gingivitis.

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7).How many times a day should I brush my teeth?
Most dentists recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day is also a good way to maintain dental health

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8).When should a child have his/her first dental appointment?
A child should have his first dental appointment no later than his third birthday. Dentists recommend a child have his first appointment when his first tooth comes in.

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9).What causes oral cancer?
Tobacco (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff) is the most common cause of oral cancer. Tobacco use with heavy drinking can also foster the development of oral cancer. Bad hygiene, prolonged irritation of the oral cavity, and extended exposure to strong sunlight on the lips are among other causes of the disease.

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10).How can I get the yellow out of my teeth?
The first step is to get a cleaning to remove superficial stains as the last step. This will help your dentist evaluate the type and amount of “real” discoloration present in your teeth. A two-step, in-office bleaching technique using heat/lamp or the new laser approach, is combined with the usual "matrix home bleach”. Subsequent follow-up is recommended to maintain your new tooth color.

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11).How Does Plaque Attack the Gums?
Plaque can produce harmful byproducts that irritate the gums, causing gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal diseases. If plaque isn’t removed daily, it will build up into a hard deposit called calculus. If plaque continues to form on top of the calculus, it irritates the gums, and a pocket may develop between the teeth and gums. Plaque build up can eventually destroy the gums and bone that support the teeth.

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12).How Do You Stop Plaque Attacks?
Plaque attacks can’t be stopped, but you can help to prevent plaque build-up by following a good oral care program of brushing, flossing, rinsing, and regular visits to your oral health care professional.

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13).What kind of toothpaste should I use?
A fluoride toothpaste is essential for optimal oral health. Your dentist can inform you about the other features that make one product more suitable than another for you as an individual.

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14).What is the best way to get my teeth whiter?
Most people have teeth that are naturally darker than "pure" white. If you want whiter teeth, the best thing you can do is talk to your professional oral health care provider about your options. Sometimes all it takes is professional prophylaxis to remove stain and then abstinence from behaviors that stain teeth, such as drinking coffee or tea, or smoking tobacco.

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15).My gums bleed when I brush or floss. Is this normal?
No! A thorough soft tissue evaluation including x-rays, with a prophylaxis (cleaning) and good home care instructions are an essential beginning. Bleeding is a beginning symptom of gingivitis or periodontal disease. Seek a dentist who can do different forms of treatment from simple cleaning of the teeth to antibiotic therapy, and, as a last resort, surgery.

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16).How often should I have my teeth cleaned?
Each person is different...Many dentist suggest at least every 6 months but most patients need to have a professional dental cleaning every 3 to 4 months. Decay and gum disease are 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.

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17).My crown in the front doesn't match my teeth -- it looks fake. What can be done?
This is the hardest thing to do in dentistry-match a single front tooth. Look for an excellent cosmetic dentist who works with a "master ceramist" in his or her office. Sometimes it is necessary to do more than one tooth. Bonding or porcelain laminates might be the answer. Remember, it takes a great deal of artistry involved on the part of the dentist and ceramist.

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18).What's a cap? What's a crown?
Cap and a crown are the same. The entire tooth surface is reduced and usually replaced with artificial material such as porcelain or porcelain bonded to metal.

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19).I've lost a tooth. What can be done?
Dentist's today offer a lot of options. Such as tooth bonded back in place, a removable appliance, fixed bridge or a implant and crown.

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20).What is the difference between bonding and porcelain laminate veneers?
Bonding is a tooth-colored plastic (composite) resin material and is done in one visit with no anesthesia required. Porcelain laminate veneers can mask dark stains better with less long-term chipping than bonding. They are made by a ceramist and they do not stain, offering greater choice in color, shape, and vitality.

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21).How long does a bonding/veneer last?
Bonding last three to eight years. Porcelain laminate veneers lasts four to twelve years or more.

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22).I have a space between my two front teeth. How can it be closed?
There are several ways in which this can be corrected, which includes Crowns, Porcelain laminate veneers or Bonding.

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23).My teeth are too small -- can I have bigger teeth?
Yes. it's possible either with composite resin bonding, porcelain laminate veneers or full crowns if they break or are already broken. Consult your dentist first.

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24).Help I look like a vampire! My "canine" teeth are too pointed. What can be done?
Cosmetic contouring or reshaping your natural teeth would be the best possible procedure for this.

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25).What can be done? My teeth are uneven.
Cosmetic contouring, porcelain laminate veneers, orthodontics, bonding, or crowns can be used to correct this.

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26).I got in an accident a few days ago. My teeth are broken, chipped, and cracked. What can I do?
Translumination or an intraoral camera can be used to determine the extent of the cracks. To corrent the problem, your possible choices would be: Bonding, Porcelain laminate veneers and Porcelain crowns.

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27).I want my dark silver filling removed. Can I change them to something that is more of tooth colored?
Tooth colored replacement choices include: Composite (plastic) resin, Porcelain inlay/onlay and Porcelain crowns.

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28).I want my dark silver filling removed. Can I change them to something that is more of tooth colored?
Tooth colored replacement choices include: Composite (plastic) resin, Porcelain inlay/onlay and Porcelain crowns.

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29).What can I do about bad breath?
It may be coming from your teeth or gums, or from the bacteria colonizing on the back of the tongue. A comprehensive breath evaluation and bacterial culture can determine the best form of treatment. Consult your dentist.

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30).I've heard about dental implants; what are they?
They are an excellent means of replacing missing teeth. The titanium implant, biologically binds to the bone, and a full crown goes on top. The result is a natural-looking, secure tooth replacement.

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31).Are there any age limitations for dental implants?
Any person at any age can have dental implants as long as there is enough bone available in which to place the implants.

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32).How long do implants last?
Statistics indicate that they may last in excess of 35 years. If properly taken care of. Implants have a long-term potential as natural teeth.

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33).Is dental implant surgery painful?
An effective local anesthetic is used during the surgery so that you do not have any discomfort during the placement of the implants.

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34).How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?
You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you've had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to reinfection.

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35).What Is the Right Way to Brush?
Proper brushing takes at least two minutes. Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gum line, hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section as follows:
Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth.
Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth.
Clean the chewing surfaces.
For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue too

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36).What are dentures?
Dentures are a partial or complete set of artificial teeth used to occupy the upper or lower jaw, usually attached to a plate or they are simply what we call false teeth.

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37).Who needs dentures?
If you have lost most or all of your teeth, you are a perfect candidate for complete dentures. A partial denture is recommended If you still have some natural teeth remaining, to help improve chewing ability, speech, and support for facial muscles.

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38).Why is it important to use dental floss?
Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach like under the gum line and between your teeth. Plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease that is why daily flossing is highly recommended.

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39).What is the Right Way to Floss?
Use the following techniques:

Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with.

Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth.

Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue.

Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.

To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth.

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