1. Why do my gums bleed when I brush and floss?

Bleeding gums are not normal. Bleeding gums are a sign of infection (gingivitis). Gingivitis is an infection caused by bacterial plaque. Gingivitis can be cured by proper brushing and flossing on a daily basis. If gingivitis is left untreated it may lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis can worsen and teeth can become loose. You should consider visiting your dental professional for a cleaning and exam on a regular basis.

2. Why does my dentist/dental hygienist want me to have my teeth cleaned every three months?

Some patients need to be monitored more closely and should be seen every three months. These patients either have a history of gingivitis, periodontitis or they have medical risk factors that may cause gum infection. Some medical conditions can make a person more susceptible to periodontal disease. These conditions include diabetes, auto-immune disease, and immuno-suppression. Smoking and high alcohol consumption also contributes to periodontal disease.

3. I am not happy with the color of my teeth, what can I do to whiten them?

Many factors contribute to the yellowing of teeth. They include smoking, coffee, tea, colas, aging, and the environment. At Elm Street Dental, we have three whitening systems available. We offer state-of-the-art in office whitening, using the Zoom system. We also offer take home tray-whitening, and Crest White Strips Supreme (80% stronger than the over-the-counter brand). Call us today to see which whitening system is best for you and your lifestyle.

In addition to whitening, you may be a candidate for porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are thin ceramic shells that adhere to the surfaces of gently prepared teeth, similar to the way that fake fingernails are applied. Veneers can correct severe discoloration, misalignment or poorly shaped teeth in as few as two visits.

4. I recently had a tooth extracted. Why is my dentist recommending a dental implant rather than a bridge?

In many cases a dental implant is the best choice. If you have a missing tooth and want to place a bridge, the dentist will need to grind down the two teeth on either side of the missing tooth and include them in the bridge. Many times these teeth are healthy with little or no restoration; it is not a good idea to drill healthy teeth. A dental implant is a great option in this situation. Dental implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Advances in dental science allow us to offer titanium tooth roots which fuse with the jawbone to form a secure foundation for tooth replacement. Dental implants will improve appearance, comfort, and speech; you will be able to smile with confidence, eat what you want, and maintain healthy adjacent teeth.

5. I had braces as a teen but never wore my retainer, now I notice my teeth are shifting. Is there anything I can do to move them without having to wear those metal braces?

Yes, there probably is. Many people are candidates for Invisalign. Invisalign is an amazing technological advance in orthodontics. It is a series of teeth aligners made of sturdy plastic to effectively move your teeth into proper alignment. Impressions are made of your teeth and aligners are made to fit your teeth. You will need to see us about every six weeks and will change your aligners every two weeks. Call us today for a free consultation.

6. What type of toothbrush should my family use?

You and your family should always use a soft bristled tooth brush, never medium or hard bristles. Medium and hard bristles are too harsh on enamel and gums; they can actually wear away tooth enamel. We recommend brushing two to three times daily for two minutes. In addition to brushing, flossing is encouraged at least once a day.

7. Are baby teeth important?

Yes! Primary teeth are very important. They maintain proper spacing and help with speech and eating. It is important to teach your child proper oral care. The best way to teach your child is by example. You should check your child’s teeth for plaque after they brush. There are many character toothbrushes and battery powered brushes to help make brushing fun. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for children to visit the dentist starting at age one. It is important for your child to feel comfortable with the dental office. You can bring your child in for a “ride in the space chair”, they can meet “Mr. Thirsty”, and will choose a prize from our toy box. We try to make their visit fun and you can prepare them in advance by letting them know it is important to have a healthy mouth.

8. What are sealants and why does my child need them?

Sealants are a safe, painless, and low-cost way to help protect your child’s teeth from decay. Sealants have been used for over 15 years. They are thin plastic coatings that are bonded to the biting surfaces of molars and premolars. Your child needs the sealants because they form shields that help to keep food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth. The bristle of a toothbrush does not always get into the grooves to remove the food and bacteria that become trapped there.

9. What are the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants will improve appearance, improve comfort and speech, maintain bone and healthy adjacent teeth. Implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel, and function like natural teeth.