Coastal Connecticut Dentistry

Common Questions

How often should I get dental checkups?

How often should I get dental checkups?

For people without any periodontal disease, a check up and cleaning every six months is standard protocol. People who have active periodontal disease or who have been treated, should have a check up and cleaning every three months.

How often should I get x-rays?

How often should I get x-rays?

For most people, a complete radiographic survey should be done every 3 years and a "check up" or "recall" set every 6 to 12 months. A complete set of x-rays is estimated to expose you to the same amount of radiation you get on a flight from San Francisco to Seattle.


Doctors use x-rays as an aid in diagnosing problems. Without x-rays, "seeing" the problem will be difficult if not impossible.

What causes tooth decay?

What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused by acids which are produced by bacteria in the presence of sugar. To prevent decay these bacteria, sugar and acids must be periodically removed by way of brushing and flossing.

What is the best kind of toothbrush?

What is the best kind of toothbrush?

Generally speaking, a soft bristled toothbrush is best. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric, anything harder than soft, is too hard. Stiff bristles may give you that clean feeling, but they can also abrade your teeth and cause gum recession.

How do I use dental floss?

How do I use dental floss?

Floss is cheap, so don't be stingy! Tear off about a forearm's length to start. Wrap one end around the middle finger of one hand to 'anchor' it and pick up the other end about 4-6 inches away with the middle finger of the other hand. This allows you to manipulate the floss with your thumb and fore finger. As you soil a section of floss, 'reel' in another 4-6 inches of clean floss with the anchor finger as you release the floss with the other finger. Never shoe-shine the teeth in a back-and-forth motion as you will either notch your teeth and/or cut your gums.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy

We ask that our female patients who are pregnant or think they possibly could be to inform us prior to your x-ray examination and dental treatment.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay or syndrome is a form of tooth decay that can destroy the teeth of an infant. This decay may even enter the underlying bone structure, which can hamper development of the permanent teeth. The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper teeth. Baby bottle decay is caused by frequent and long exposure of a child's teeth to liquids containing sugar such as milk, formula, fruit juices, pop and other sweetened liquids. These liquids fuel the bacteria in a child's mouth, which produces acids that attack enamel.

Oral Piercing

Oral Piercing

Oral piercings can be bad for your health. Because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Pain and swelling are other side effects of piercing. Your tongue (a popular piercing site in the mouth) could swell large enough to close off your airway. Piercings can also cause uncontrollable bleeding or nerve damage. The jewelry itself also presents some hazards. You can choke on any studs, barbells or hoops that come loose in your mouth, and contact with the jewelry can chip or crack your teeth.

Tobacco

You are probably familiar with the links between tobacco use and lung disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Current studies have also established that tobacco smoking not only causes direct damage to your mouth but also makes periodontal diseases more damaging and harder to treat.

There is a greater incidence of calculus formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums and teeth, more gum recession and more loss of the bone that hold teeth in your mouth. In addition, smokeless tobacco greatly increases your chance of developing oral cancer. Any tobacco usage can complicate the placement of dental implants.

Besides smokeless tobacco, cigarette smoking negatively impacts the health of the gums. The healing capacity of the mouth is significantly altered. The healing time from any procedure is always increased. Needless to say smoking creates more tartar, more stain, bad breath and an increased potential for mouth cancer.

Other chemicals impair the function of your white blood cells which are your first line of defense against infection. The tars contain carcinogens which over time induce cell mutations and cancers.

Quitting tobacco use will lower the risk of your developing cancer and improve the health of your teeth and gums, as well as your heart and lungs.

Smokeless tobacco poses very serious problems including:
- Causes tooth decay
- Eats away your gums
- Leads to tooth loss
- Bad breath
- Stains your teeth
- Causes oral sensitivity to hot and cold
- Decreases sense of taste and smell

If oral cancer is left untreated long enough, it may even cause death.

Bruxism

Bruxism, commonly known as "tooth grinding," is the process of clenching together and the grinding of the upper and lower teeth. During sleep, the biting force of clenched jaws can be up to six times greater than during waking hours.

Bruxism can cause complications over the years:

  • Wear down tooth enamel
  • Break fillings or other dental work
  • Worsening of TMJ dysfunction
  • Create jaw pain,toothaches, headaches, or earaches
  • Cause tooth sensitivity
  • Increase tooth mobility
  • Chip Teeth

There is no cure for bruxism; however, the condition can be managed. The most common procedure to help to alleviate pain and discomfort is a Nightguard.