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Lexington Dental Care | Commonly Asked Questions in Lexington

Lexington Dental Care

922 Waltham Street, Suite 205
Lexington, MA 02421

Brenda Nishimura DDS, FAGD

(781) 861-1444

Commonly Asked Questions

 

 

 

WHAT IS TOOTH EROSION?

Teeth getting thinner, darker and chipping can affect their function and natural beauty.

 

Causes of Tooth Erosion:

Toothpaste has been found to be a leading cause of tooth erosion. Baking soda is the least abrasive.  Whitening or Tartar Control Toothpastes are the most abrasive.

Bruxism (tooth grinding) causes wear on the biting surfaces of your teeth.

Acidic foods and drinks also cause erosion.

 

How Teeth Erode:

The outer most layer of enamel is slightly demineralized from an acidic drink, secondarily an abrasive such as course food, toothpaste or grinding of the teeth abrade the soften tooth structure.

 

Erosion Causes Teeth to Darken:

As the outer layer of the tooth erodes, the darker inner part of the tooth shines through causing the tooth to appear darker and more yellow.

Bruxism stimulates the tooth to produce reparative tooth structure which makes the tooth appear more dense and darker.

 

Recommendations to Prevent Tooth Erosion:

Avoid acidic beverages.  After drinking acidic beverages, do not brush teeth for at least two hours.  This allows your teeth to remineralize from the buffering action of your saliva.

Minimize toothpaste use or brush with just warm water.  Use toothpaste very sparingly, only on the biting surfaces and flat surfaces of the teeth, avoiding the gum line area where the enamel of the tooth is the thinnest.

Wear a night guard, or occlusal splint, if you are grinding your teeth to prevent excessive wear of the enamel.

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that thrive in a low PH mouth.

Raising the PH of your mouth by eating and drinking a well-balanced diet can create an environment in your mouth that encourages the growth of healthy bacteria while inhibiting the growth of decay causing bacteria. Go to Carifree.com for more information.

 

ARE NO PREP VENEERS FOR YOU?

If your enamel has thinned across the entire front surface, then no prep veneers will restore your teeth to their original form.  When teeth have not eroded enough to account for the thickness of a veneer then placing veneers can make them feel and appear bulky.  The thinner the veneer, the less color change can be achieved.

If a big color change is desired, then a thicker veneer will be necessary and some tooth reduction may be needed.

 

WHAT IS TOOTH SENSITIVITY?

A leaky restoration, cavity and gum disease are causes of tooth sensitivity. When these have been ruled out, there are several other reasons for tooth sensitivity.  Bleaching the teeth, erosion, and grinding the teeth also cause tooth sensitivity.

 

Tips to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity

Use low abrasive toothpaste or no toothpaste. Especially avoid use of tartar control or whitening toothpaste. If you do use a toothpaste, avoid use of toothpaste at the gum line or on root surfaces.  Avoid acidic foods and drinks. Wear a night guard if you grind your teeth.

 

WHAT ARE ONE-VISIT CROWNS?

New technology that uses Cad-Cam has made it possible to scan your tooth and make a crown right in the office.  The material is a very durable porcelain that matches the existing enamel.  It can be x-rayed through to monitor the health of the tooth, unlike gold or metallic crowns which hide the underlying tooth structure.

 

WHAT IS ROOT PLANE AND SCALING?

Root plane and scaling is a first step in treating gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss today.  It is a chronic and painless disease that erodes the foundation of your teeth.

The root plane and scaling procedure is one in which the hygienist concentrates on one section of the mouth at a time to thoroughly clean and smooth the teeth.  The procedure is done with local anesthetic. Since plaque does not adhere well to smooth surfaces, complete removal of tartar is necessary.  Once the roots have been smoothed and cleaned, it is most important that the patient keep the teeth plaque free.  Proper brushing and flossing may not be enough to keep the teeth clean, especially if a lot of bone loss is present.  Your hygienist can help you select aids that best suit your needs.

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PLAQUE AND TARTAR?

Plaque is live bacterial colonies that thrive on sugars in your diet.  It continues to form on your teeth regardless of whether you eat or not.  Plaque is tooth-colored, soft and easily removed from the teeth.  Plaque is the only cause for gum disease.  Other factors such as hormonal changes, rough tooth surfaces, grinding habits, and a depressed immune system can increase the effect plaque has on the gums.  Tartar, on the other hand, although not the cause, is definitely a key factor in aggravating the disease.  Tartar is dead and calcified bacteria that makes the root surfaces rough so that more plaque can easily adhere.  Therefore, when treating gum problems, it is necessary to remove both plaque and tartar.  Where plaque can be removed by the patient, tartar cannot.  Tartar is very hard and tenacious calcified deposits that are imbedded into the tooth surface.  Professional removal of tartar involves specially designed tools, knowhow and a little elbow grease.

Remember, plaque continually forms on your teeth so it is a daily battle to remove it.  After 24 hours, plaque dies and forms tartar.  Tartar can only be removed professionally.  So keep the teeth plaque free and keep the tartar to a minimum.  The more you do, the less we have to do!