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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Does whitening damage the teeth?

No. Once the active whitening agent, carbamide peroxide, contacts water, it releases hydrogen peroxide which will whiten the teeth. Whitening will not demineralize, soften, or weaken the teeth.

Do over-the-counter whitening products work?

They do have some whitening effects; however, many OTC whitening products are too abrasive, causing damage to the teeth if misused or used extensively. The most effective and safest way to whiten your teeth is under the supervision of a dentist such as Dr. Huynh.

What are porcelain veneers and what do they do?

Porcelain veneers are thin shells of ceramic that Dr. Huynh bonds to the front of the teeth. Veneers can be ideal for improving the appearance of your front teeth. You may want to consider veneers if you would like to whiten your teeth, hide discolorations, or create a more uniform smile.

What causes my jaw to pop when I open it?

There is a disk/pad that separates the base of the skull and the jawbone. Jaws primarily “pop” if you open your mouth too wide and the jawbone “pops” off the disk. Generally treatment is not necessary unless the jaw locks or causes pain when it “pops.”

What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused by the plaque in your mouth. When the plaque reacts with starchy and sugary deposits from food, it produces acid that can weaken the tooth and damage enamel over time.

What can be done for canker sores or ulcers in the mouth?

Ulcers can be extremely difficult to treat. While there is no proven technique to eliminate ulcers or speed their recovery, there are a few available medications to give pain relief. These medications should be started as soon as any symptoms appear. In most cases, ulcers will fade away in a week or two.

How can I stop grinding my teeth at night?

Teeth grinding can be very damaging to your teeth. If forceful teeth grinding occurs during the night, the teeth can become extremely worn down because the instinctive “stop” reflex is not triggered while you are asleep. Teeth grinding due to stress will only be stopped when the stress trigger is removed. If necessary, a night guard can be prescribed to prevent additional damage to the teeth.

Are there any alternatives to dentures?

Implants can be strategically placed in the jawbone to support permanent bridges, thus eliminating the need for a denture. While implants tend to be more costly, they also more closely resemble the look and feel of natural teeth. To find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, please call our office today.

Are silver fillings, fluoride, or X-rays, harmful to my health? What are the alternatives?

Dental amalgam, or the material used for silver fillings, is a mixture of mercury, silver, copper, and tin. The mercury release in silver fillings is so tiny that it is much less than what we are exposed to every day in food, water, and air. We can use other materials, such as porcelain, gold, and composite resin for restorations.

Fluoride is a compound of fluorine, a natural element. Fluorine is found in soil, air, water, and most foods. Fluoride is absorbed easily into the tooth enamel, especially in children’s developing teeth, absorbs fluoride easily and can help tooth structure resist decay as well as prepare early decay.

Radiographs, better known as X-rays, help Dr. Huynh determine whether there is any present cysts, tumors, abscesses, or periodontal disease.  X-rays can also give us the location of cavities and other signs of disease not visible to the naked eye. Dr. Huynh has been trained to prescribe X-rays when necessary and to personalize the radiograph schedule to your individual needs. With digital radiography we can minimize your exposure to radiation and keep you and your family completely safe.

What are dental implants and how do they work?

Dental implants are man-made screws that are replacement for natural tooth roots. These implants rely on your natural jawbone for support. Implants are strategically placed in the jawbone and can support bridges and dental crowns, eliminating the need for dentures. While implants are an investment, they also provide exceptional security, stability, and aesthetics.

What is a root canal?

Root canal therapy is a restorative procedure performed to save a damaged or decayed tooth by cleaning out the infected tooth and reshaping the root canals. The root canal is filled with gutta percha, a special material, to prevent future infection of the tooth. At that point, the tooth is permanently sealed with a post and a dental crown.

When is the best time to have the wisdom teeth removed?

When it is deemed necessary to remove the wisdom teeth, it should be done when the roots are 2/3rds formed. This usually occurs in the adolescent years. Having the wisdom teeth removed at this time makes for an easier procedure and reduced risk for damage to the nerves of the area.

What is the difference between a crown and a dental cap?

There is no difference; they are the same thing.

At what age should my children supposed to see a dentist?

Generally, between the ages of 18 and 24 months. Some children may need more time than that to feel comfortable. However, if you notice an area of concern, visit the dentist as soon as possible.

Why is it important to fix baby teeth that have decay? Aren’t they going to come out soon anyway?

It is important because these baby teeth reserve space for the permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is removed too early or decays, the necessary space for the permanent teeth is lost and will only be restored through braces or other orthodontic treatment. Baby teeth that are infected can cause the permanent teeth to improperly develop. This may result in pits, stains, and weaker teeth.

When will my child start losing baby teeth?

Children typically begin losing their baby teeth around the age of five years old. The front teeth are usually the first to go. The baby teeth will continue to fall out until the ages of 12 or 13 when all the permanent teeth erupt.

When does thumb-sucking become damaging to the teeth?

In most cases, if the thumb-sucking stops by the age of five years old, there is no permanent damage. Vigorous and/or constant thumb-sucking can cause unnatural movement of teeth and prevent the bone from growing normally.

Should my child wear a mouth guard while playing sports?

We recommend that everyone wear a mouth guard will playing contact supports. It is always better in the long run to prevent an injury instead of repair one. The earlier your child starts wearing a mouth guard, the better accustomed they will be to wearing it later in life.

What should I do if my child gets a tooth knocked out?

If a permanent tooth is knocked, time is extremely crucial to saving the tooth. Immediately stick the displaced tooth back into its socket. Don’t fret about the straightness of the tooth, just place it back in the socket and contact our office as soon as possible. If the tooth won’t fit back in the socket or you are uncomfortable placing it in the socket, place the tooth in a glass of milk. Still visit our office as soon as possible. If the knocked out tooth is a baby tooth, do not put it in the socket as it may damage the permanent tooth. You can place the baby tooth in milk. Visit our dentist immediately.

What causes gum disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by bacteria from plaque and calculus. If the bacteria are left along the gum line, they will irritate the gums and cause inflammation. Gums will then begin to swell and bleed, which in turn allows the bacteria to go further under the gum line. If this process is allowed to continue, the bacteria will begin to destroy the supporting bone. As the bone is destroyed, the teeth will fall out. Pain is not common until the final stages of gum disease when treatment is not as successful. If you experience bleeding gums, contact Puget Sound Dental Clinic as soon as possible to receive the care you need.

Do water irrigation systems replace the need for flossing?

No. Water irrigation systems can be used as a supplement, but they should not be used as a substitute for flossing or brushing. Water irrigation systems can effectively remove lodged food from hard-to-reach areas of the mouth, but they will not remove plaque. Many dentists recommend water irrigation systems in addition to antibacterial solutions so periodontal patients can maintain their oral health.

What is root planing and why is it done?

Root planing is a deep cleaning procedure that our hygienist or dentist will perform to reverse the effects of periodontal disease. During the treatment, we will clean below the gum line and smooth the tooth roots. After the roots have been smoothed, your gums will reattached to them and prevent the bacteria from spreading. This can stop and, in some cases, reverse the damage caused by gum disease.

My gums bleed when I brush; what does that mean?

Bleeding gums is one of the early signs of gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease. When left untreated, gingivitis will progress to advanced periodontal disease and cause bone and tooth loss. With proper flossing and brushing, gingivitis can be reversed in just a few weeks. Contact Dr. Huynh immediately if your gums bleed to receive the care you need.

How often should I see the dentist?

We recommend visiting the dentist at least once every six months for your cleanings and exams and more often if you have periodontal disease. During these visits, we can monitor your oral health and work together to prevent any potential problems from getting worse or requiring more extensive treatment.

What causes bad breath and what can I do to stop it?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is usually caused by poor oral hygiene. However, it can also be caused by periodontal disease, retained food particles, drainage from sinus dripping, or respiratory, systemic, or gastrointestinal problems. You can remove bacteria and food particles by practicing proper brushing. This includes brushing the cheeks, tongue, and roof of the mouth. Through flossing, you can also remove bacteria, food, and plaque that could be trapped between the teeth. For a temporary fix, mouth rinses are ideal and effective. Call us as soon as possible if your bad breath persists.

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