Why are my teeth sensitive?

Sensitive teeth often come from the fact that your gums have slightly receded. This recession of the gum line allows the underlying dentin to show through which allows water and food easier access to the sensitive nerve. To manage this, there are a number of toothpastes, gels and even some dental procedures that can be applied. Generally, a combination of desensitization with our laser and a fluoride treatment will make a dramatic difference. Speak to us in more detail if you have very sensitive teeth.

What should I do to prevent gum disease and tooth decay?

Great teeth and gum care start at home. Brushing and flossing on a daily basis is the best way to take care of your teeth and gums on a continual basis. By keeping to a daily routine you will greatly minimize the risk of gingivitis or tooth decay as you age. Additionally, it is important to remember to follow your prescribed routine for hygiene appointments. Only a hygienist can effectively remove the bacteria in hard to reach area, such as below the gum line or between teeth. Anything you can do to reduce the total amount of bacteria in hte mouth will decrease your risk for decay and gum disease.

How often should I have x-rays taken?

Our office follows the American Dental Association guidelines for taking radiographs. While it varies depending on the health of your teeth, most individuals should have x-rays every 12-18 months.

How often should I have my teeth cleaned?

If you have a healthy mouth and no gingivits or gum disease, you should have your teeth cleaned every six months. For individuals with severe gingivitis, gum disease, heavy buildup of tartar (calculus), many teeth with restorations, compromised health or difficulty cleaning the teeth we recommend more frequent cleanings. This frequency will depend on your specific condition and the health of your teeth, gums and bone.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a condition caused when bacteria surrounds the teeth and enters the gums. The gums can become irritated, inflamed and often bleed. If your gums bleed when you floss or brush, you have gingivits. In order to prevent the condition from worsening, regular hygiene visits are highly recommended. During your visit, our Hygiene team will teach you the proper flossing techniques and Oral Hygiene protocol for Home Care will prevent the Periodontal Disease.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal Disease is a quiet disease that begins with little or no symptoms. It is caused by bacteria that surrounds the teeth and enters the gums. The immediate condition is known as ‘gingivitis’. The gums become irritated, inflamed and often bleed. If not properly treated, the condition worsens. Noticeable symptoms now appear. They include:

  • Bad Breath
  • Gum Recession
  • Gum Sensitivity to Acidic Foods
  • Abscesses
  • Tooth Pain
  • Tooth Loss
  • Increased Tooth Sensitivity

How Do You Treat Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal Disease is a chronic condition that needs immediate attention. Through a series of Periodontal Cleanings, Root Planing & Scaling, Laser Therapy and Local Antibiotics, this condition can be controlled. Periodontal Surgery is only necessary for severe cases.

Is gum disease bad for my body?

Yes. Similar to any disease, it travels throughout the body; it does not stay only in the mouth. Gum disease is an inflammatory disease and has significant affects on the immune system. The bacteria in gum disease have been linked to more than 30 forms of cancer, twice the risk of a stroke, a 25% increased risk in heart attack and even impotence in men. In pregnant women periodontal disease has been associated with stillbirth, low birth weight babies, premature delivery and preeclampsia.

What are the Benefits of Invisalign?

There are many options for straightening teeth.  In complex cases traditional wire braces are still the best method for straightening teeth.  However Invisalign is a great option for easy to moderate tooth straightening.  Many times Invisaign can straighten the teeth faster, less expensively and more comfortably than wire braces.  Since they are removable patients can keep their teeth much cleaner as well.  And because they are virtually invisible nobody will know you have braces unless you tell them!

Are All Clear Aligner Braces the Same?

Absolutely not!!!!!  There are several brands of clear aligners on the market today.  Many can be ordered online without paying a doctor for an office visit.  Online braces have several problems that can lead to disastrous results.  Some of the problems are:
  • Lack of doctor supervision during treatment to prevent or catch problems early
  • If no x-rays or exam are performed before treatment the teeth, bone or gums may not be healthy enough to survive braces.
  • Teeth may become slightly loose during orthodontic treatment.  If unmonitored by a dentist, teeth may be moving too fast and become overly loose and fall out.  Frequently gums will recede and roots dissolve and shorten if movements are too fast.
  • Invisalign uses attachments on teeth to give ultimate control of tooth movement.  These attachments give better results in less time.  Only a dentist can place these attachments.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!  Online clear aligners can straighten teeth.  But without a dentist to evaluate your unique bite and how your jaws come together your teeth may be straight but your bite will not be correct.  This is the most common problem with online braces.  Bad bites (malocclusion) will cause tooth fractures, abfractions, wear on teeth, jaw muscle and joint pain, recession, clicking and popping of the jaws, and headaches.  This will require you to redo braces to correct the bad bite.

Invisalign requires a licensed doctor to pass a training before they are allowed to treat patients.  Doctor supervision allows for constant monitoring and changes can easily be made at no charge when necessary.  Invisalign gives vastly superior control on tooth movements, shortening treatment time and yielding better, longer lasting smiles you will love!

What’s Digital Scanning and Why Should I Care?

Digital scanning replaces the messy, gooey impressions of the past.  Using a camera taking 6000 frames per second a computer creates a 3-D image of your teeth.  This color 3-D image can be printed or used by laboratories to make crowns, bridges, veneers, dentures, Invisalign clear braces and more.  The benefit to you is no more gagging on impressions and improved accuracy in the laboratory made restorations.

What is the Difference Between a White Filling and a Silver Filling?

Silver Fillings known as Amalgam have been around for decades. Made from a metal alloy, it was the best restoration for fillings. The metal expands and contracts with the heat and cold placed in the mouth. This allowed for little bacteria to enter a tooth once filled; keeping the tooth healthy and strong.

White Fillings, also known as composites are often made of plastic or glass polymers. These cosmetic fillings allow us to fill a cavity with a substance that will look and feel just like your existing tooth structure. This restoration is created with a resin material and fits tightly into a tooth to prevent decay. Rather than a gray or silver material in your mouth, the composite color will match the tooth color.

How Can I Improve My Smile?

There are several ways in today’s Dental World to enhance your smile. Certain procedures include:

  • Tooth Whitening
  • Bonding
  • Porcelain Veneers
  • Porcelain Crowns

We have the capability to improve your smile using all or some of these procedures. For an exact consultation, please contact our office so that we may provide you with a customized treatment plan.

What is Tooth Whitening?

Tooth Whitening is a cost effective and safe procedure to create a beautiful, healthy smile. Over the years, flouride is has been added to the whitening product. This reduces the risk of tooth and gum sensitivity. Tooth Whitening must be monitored by your dentist and only done after a comprehensive exam and hygiene cleaning.

The whitening process can last for a number of years if maintained properly. Beverages such as coffee, tea, cola and wine will reduce the lasting effect. Remember, if it could stain a white shirt, it will stain your smile!

Bitterroot Dental offers three types of tooth whitening. Our office offers take home whitening trays, the in office whitening using low level light, and the renowned KOR Whitening system. Contact us to discuss which whitening system is best for you.

What is Bonding?

Bonding is a cost effective procedure used to fill gaps in front teeth and to change a tooth’s color. The immediate results are amazing. Within a few hours, you will have a great smile! Bonding, like Tooth Whitening, may change color over time due to coffee, tea, cola and wine.

What are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that go directly on your natural teeth. . This entire procedure can take as few as two visits. Veneers change the size, shape and color of a patient’s teeth. This procedure is used to repair fractured teeth, whiten teeth darkened by age or medication, realign a crooked smile, close spaces between teeth or make teeth appear the correct size. Many times, patients ask for Porcelain Veneers to simply feel and look younger with a straighter, whiter smile!

What are Crowns?

Crowns are a cosmetic procedure that covers the entire tooth. It will change the size, shape and color of the teeth in 2 visits.

What is a Dental Implant?

A Dental Implant is a “man-made” replacement for a missing tooth or tooth root. Made from titanium, this screw-like object is inserted under the gum and directly into the upper or lower jaw bone. There is usually minimal discomfort involved with this procedure. After a period of a few months, the Dental Implant and the bone fuse together. This creates an anchor for the new tooth to be placed onto the dental implant. Using several implants, a denture can also be secured so it doesn’t move.

What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

  • Dental Implants look and function like your natural tooth.
  • Dental Implants are usually a permanent solution for missing teeth.
  • Dental Implants are maintained by routine hygiene visits to your dental office.
  • Dental Implants decrease the possibility of bone loss, periodontal disease, tooth movement, and further tooth loss.
  • Dental Implants replace the need for a Removable Full or Partial Denture.
  • Dental Implants can be used to stabilize a denture
  • Dental Implants focus only on the tooth or teeth that are missing. A traditional bridge would involve the two or more adjacent teeth being compromised to create a false tooth in between.

Who is a candidate for Dental Implants?

With major advancements in Dentistry and Dental Implants, most people are candidates for Dental Implants. There may be exceptions due to chronic illness, heart disease, and severe osteoporosis.

What does the Dental Implant Procedure Involve?

The average Dental Implant Procedure takes 3 – 4 visits. The first visit is to x-ray the area and take an impression for a surgical guide and a temporary prosthesis to cover the Implant.

The next visit is to place the Implant. A local anesthesia is applied to the area. (Any additional sedation is no longer necessary unless deemed by the dentist). The dentist will then make a minor incision to place the implant. The implant is placed into the jaw bone. The area may then be covered with sutures. The procedure is usually completed with minor pain.

You will next return in 3-6 months to begin creating the crown to place over the Implant.

What material is used for a bone graft?

There are any types of bone grafts and each type requires a different material. Some grafts may use your own bone, but most will use either a synthetic bone substitute, freeze dried human bone or animal bone. All bone grafting materials are processed to be safe. These processes may include freeze drying, acid demineralization, and irradiation. We use only the highest quality bone grafting materials from reputable sources. Over time, the bone grafting material will be replaced with your own bone.

Why do I need a bone graft?

Just like exercise stimulates muscles, tooth roots stimulate bone growth. When a tooth is removed, the bone in the area loses stimultion and gets smaller. This leaves a concavity where the tooth once was. Immediately following an extraction, the loss of bone is fastest but slows as time goes on. In most individuals, the bone loss never stops until almost all bone is lost. In the maxilla, the pressure from the sinus will cause expansion of the sinus. Combined with the loss of bone from no stimulation, total bone loss on the top back teeth can be very fast. A bone graft can be done at the time of extraction to avoid this loss of bone temporarily, but only an implant can maintain the bone volueme and health for a lifetime.

How Much Does a Dental Implant Cost?

Fees from Dental Implants vary from dentist to dentist. In our office, you will be presented a plan with all associated fees after the Implant Consultation is completed. After gathering all the necessary information we will discuss the procedure and all fees involved.

How long does a Dental Implant last?

With routine dental hygiene scheduled and proper home care, a Dental Implant can last approximately 30 years to a lifetime.

How old should my child be for their first dental visit?

It is recommended a child see a dentist at 12 months of age or when their first tooth erupts. At this appointment, Dr. Duke will spend the majority of the time discussing nutrition, habits that affect the teeth and growth of the jaws and proper tooth care. Having your child frequently visit the dentist when they are young helps them learn the importance of regular dental visits and helps them become familiar with the environment and Dr. Duke.

Can I get dental work done when I am pregnant?

While you are pregnant, it is encouraged to get your teeth cleaned, preferably during the second trimester when it is the safest. This is because the bacteria found in the mouth have been associated with increased risks of increased chance of stillbirth, low birth weight babies, premature delivery and preeclampsia. During the second trimester is the ideal time to perform necessary work. All unnecessary work should be postponed until the baby is born. If emergency dental care is necesary, most procedures can be performed with minimal risks to the mother and baby.

What is the difference between a night guard and a therapeutic appliance?

A night guard is a popular device made for patients to wear, usually at night, to protect teeth against the wear of grinding or clenching. It covers all the teeth and is usually flat. A therapeutic appliance is designed to treat a condition, such as sore muscles, a painful jaw joint or a misaligned bite. They may or may not cover all the teeh, and may or may not be flat. There are many types of therapeutic appliances. Frequently, dentists incorrectly use the term night guard for all removable devices given to patients. In fact, they are two very different designs with two very different purposes. Please bring your appliance to your appointment and we can discuss which device you have and if it is the right appliance for you.