Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from patients. If you have a question, call us today at (781) 284-1430.
What Causes Tooth Loss?
The most common causes of tooth loss are dental caries, also known as tooth decay, and periodontal disease, which affects the gums and bone structure that supports the teeth. Dental caries is the major cause of tooth loss in children, and periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in adults; however, it too can afflict youngsters.
What Causes Periodontal Diseases?
Plaque, a thin, colorless, sticky film containing bacteria, constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria use carbohydrates—sugars and starches—to produce an acid that attacks the enamel covering the teeth. After repeated acid attacks, the enamel can be broken down and a cavity begins. Continued acid attacks eventually dissolve the enamel and penetrate the softer, inner layer of the tooth, where decay can spread rapidly throughout the tooth’s structure. Acid attacks begin immediately after every meal or snack and last about 20 to 30 minutes.
How Does Plaque Attack the Gums?
Plaque can also 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 can irritate 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.
Which is better: a manual toothbrush or an electric one?
Comparisons have been made between power-assisted (electric) toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes to look at the ability of each to remove plaque and prevent or reduce calculus (tartar) buildup, thus reducing gingivitis (gum disease). These research studies have shown both powered and manual toothbrushes to be equally effective when used correctly. So probably, in practical terms, which brush you use is not the critical factor, but how you use it.
What kind of toothpaste should I use?
There are a lot of products to choose from, and much of the decision depends on individual preference. A fluoride toothpaste is essential for optimal oral health. Beyond that, Dr. Boschetti and our hygienist can alert you to any other features that make one product more suitable than another for you as an individual.
What is the best way to get my teeth whiter?
Most people have teeth that are naturally darker than “pure” white. If you want them whiter, the best thing you can do is talk to Dr. Boschetti about your options. Different people respond differently to different procedures used to whiten teeth, and it will take an in-person consultation to determine what is best for you. 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. Some people respond well to the use of whitening toothpastes while some do not. Other options available include bleaching, at home or in the office, with chemicals or with lasers. Sometimes a combination of options is used.
When should a child have his or her first dental appointment?
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that a child should see a dentist at age one, or within six months of the first baby tooth coming in, whichever comes first.
How do I get rid of bad breath?
That depends on what is causing it. Often, bad breath results from less-than-optimal oral health, and sometimes people are not aware that they are not performing oral hygiene as effectively as they could be. Dr. Boschetti and our hygienist will be able to evaluate your oral health procedures and make recommendations for improvement; also, these professionals will be able to recognize any associated problems that might be contributing to an unpleasant mouth odor. In addition to evaluating and suggesting alterations to your brushing, flossing, and tongue deplaquing regimen, your dental hygienist may recommend products such as a mouth rinse that contains zinc. If it turns out that the problem isn’t in your mouth, a physician appointment is advisable. Sinus problems, stomach problems, certain foods and medications, and other factors can contribute to bad breath.
What do I do if I lose a natural tooth?
If the tooth has been knocked-out, it needs to be cleaned. Carefully and gently hold the tooth by the crown (not the root) under running water. Be sure to close the drain stop so the tooth doesn’t fall down the drain. Properly orientate the tooth and place it in the socket. Gently bite down normally to insure proper positioning, and hold the tooth in place with your finger. The tooth has to be inserted with the first 30 minutes for this to be successful. Call Dr. Boschetti immediately. If the tooth cannot be inserted immediately into the socket, you can transport it in milk or water; don’t let it dry out.