Frequently asked Questions.

1. What causes tooth loss?

Tooth decay and periodontal disease are the most common causes of tooth loss. Tooth decay takes place when most of the tooth's mineral makeup has been dissolved away and a hole (cavity) has formed. While tooth decay primarily affects children, periodontal disease, or gum disease, affects mostly adults. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums caused by the buildup of plaque, and its earliest stage is known as gingivitis.


2. How many times a day should I brush my teeth?

Most dental professionals recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing after every meal (and flossing at least once a day) is also a good way to maintain dental health.


3. When should a child have their first dental appointment?

A child should have their first dental appointment no later than their third birthday. Many dentists recommend a child have their first appointment when their first tooth comes in.


4. What causes oral cancer?

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the most common cause of oral cancer. Tobacco (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff) are also major contributors to the development of oral cancer.  Combining tobacco use with heavy alcohol consumption can also foster the development of oral cancer. Bad hygiene, prolonged irritation of the oral cavity, and extended exposure to strong sunlight on the lips are among other causes of the disease. Many dentists believe vitamins A and E can help prevent the development and/or progression of oral cancer.


5. What are the warning signs of oral cancer?

Early symptoms of oral cancer include: a sore on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat that does not heal; a lump on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat; a red or white patch found anywhere in the mouth; unusual pain or bleeding in the mouth; swelling of the mouth; and any difficulty or discomfort felt in chewing or swallowing. Our VELscope system can detect oral cancer at it's earliest stages.


6. How do I choose a dental office?

First, you must decide what type of dental specialist will fit your needs. Visit the Dental FAQ homepage to figure out what type of dentist you want to see. Next, go to Dental Directory and click under the appropriate link in the "Find a Dentist" section to locate a qualified professional near you.


7. What is an endodontist?

An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in root canal procedures. Endodontists have two or more years of education in this kind of treatment.


8. What is a root canal?

A root canal is necessary when the nerve or blood supply of the tooth (also known as the pulp) is infected due to injury or decay. Root canal treatment involves removal of the diseased pulp, followed by the cleaning and sealing of the pulp chamber and root canal.


9. Can existing porcelain crowns or veneers be whitened?

No, porcelain does not change color when exposed to dental whitening products.


10. How do you get rid of spaces between teeth?

You can get rid of spaces between the teeth with porcelain veneer or bonding. Crowns may be used to fix more severe gaps between teeth.


11. Does it hurt to have teeth prepared for veneers?

No. Preparing teeth for veneers is a painless, two-visit procedure. Local anesthesia can be given to highly sensitive patients, but is usually not necessary.


12. What are the advantages of veneers versus orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment takes 18 months to 2 years and often requires braces, while porcelain veneers correct crooked teeth in just two visits. Veneers are also an option for whitening, as well as straightening, the teeth.