Frequently Asked Questions

What is Periodontal Disease?
What causes Periodontal Disease?
How do I know if I have Periodonal Disease?
When is the best time to start bringing my child to the dentist?
What are sealants and how do they help prevent decay?
How long do sealants last?
Why aren't sealants used on all teeth?
What are crowns and why are they used?
Why do I need a bridge?
What are implants?


  • What is Periodontal Disease?

    The word periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Healthy gums tissue fits like a cuff around each tooth, where the gum line meets the tooth, it forms a slightly v-shaped crevice called a sulcus. In healthy teeth, this space is usually three millimeters or less.

    Periodontal diseases are infections that affect the tissues and bone that support teeth. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket that is greater than three millimeters. Generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the pocket depth and bone loss. The enlarged pockets allow harmful bacteria to grow and make it difficult to practice effective oral hygiene. Left untreated, periodontal diseases may eventually lead to tooth loss. Periodontal Disease has also been linked recently to Heart Disease.

  • What causes Periodontal Disease?

    The mouth is filled with countless bacteria. Periodontal disease begins when certain bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on the teeth and surfaces lining the mount) produce toxins and enzymes that irritate the gums and cause inflammation. The resulting inflammation, which may be painless, can damage the attachment of the gums and bone to the tooth.

    If Plaque is not removed regularly it can harden into rough porous deposits called calculus, or tarter. The tartar's pores hold bacteria and toxins, which are impossible to remove even with regular brushing. The only way to remove the tartar is to have it professionally removed in a dental office.

  • How do I know if I have Periodontal Disease?

    If you notice any of the following:

    • Gums that bleed easily
    • Red, swollen,or tender gums
    • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
    • Persistent bad breath
    • pus between the teeth and gums
    • Loose or separating teeth
    • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
    • A change in the fit of partial dentures

    You need to see your dentist to have your gums evaluated by the dentist or dental hygienist.

  • When is the best time to start bringing my child to the Dentist?

    Usually we like to start seeing Children on a regular basis around the age of 3. We find that at this age they are better able to communicate with us, and understand what we are telling them. We do see children that are younger that 3 if the parent sees something in there mouth that they are concerned about.

    You should start brushing your child's teeth as soon as they come in. Do not give them a bottle with anything but water in it to go to sleep or for naps.

  • What are sealants and how do they help prevent decay?

    A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth - premolars and molars. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pit and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. Sealants do not protect the teeth from decay in between the teeth. The best way to prevent decay from forming between the teeth is to floss daily and brush 2-3 times a day.

  • How long do sealants last?

    As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.

  • Why aren't sealants used on all teeth?

    Though brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. Pits and fissures, however, are places that are extremely difficult to clean. Toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. The normal flow of saliva, which helps clean food particles from other areas of the mouth, cannot "wash out" pits and fissures, so they are places that are especially prone to decay. In fact, most cavities form in pit and fissure areas, and permanent molars are extremely susceptible to this form of decay. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by "sealing out" plaque and food.

  • What are crowns and why are they used?

    A crown is a restoration that covers, or caps, a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size. Its purpose is to strengthen or improve the appearance of a tooth. A crown is placed for a number of reasons.

    • to support a large filling when there is not enough tooth remaining
    • to attach a bridge
    • to protect weak teeth from fracturing
    • to restore fractured or cracked teeth
    • to cover badly shaped or discolored teeth
    • to cover a dental implant

    Several steps are involved in placing a traditional crown. Usually at least two visits are necessary. The dentist will prepare the tooth by removing the outer protion of your tooth to accommodate the thickness of the crown. If the tooth has a filling, part of the material may be left in place to serve as as foundation for the crown. An impression is made to provide and exact model of the prepared tooth. Your dentist or dental laboratory technician, following the written instruction of the dentist, will then make the crown from the model.

  • Why do I need a Bridge?
    After tooth is lost
    After time with tooth gone

    A bridge helps maintain the natural shape of your face and may help support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older. When a tooth is lost, the nearby teeth may move up or down toward the space. The places unusual stress on both the teeth and tissues in your mouth.

    In addition, the gum tissues and the bone that hold teeth in place can break down, increasing the risk of gum disease. Teeth that have tipped are difficult to clean, making them for likely to decay. As a result, even more teeth may be lost.

    A fixed bridge is commonly cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A false tooth (called a pontic) replaces the lost tooth. The pontic is attached to the crowns.


  • What are implants?

    Nothing can take the place of a healthy set of teeth, but when disease or and accident ends in tooth loss, it's good to know you have some options in restoring your smile.

    Implants are metal posts or frames that are surgically placed beneath your gums. After placement the implants0plats fuse to the bone of your jaw and act as artificial tooth roots. Replacement teeth - singularly or grouped on a bridge or denture - are then mounted to the implant.

    Not all patients may be able to have implants as an option to replacing a missing tooth. Candidates need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support an implant. Candidates must be in overall good health.