Q: Why do your teeth seem darker as you age?
A: Your teeth may seem darker because plaque can build up faster and in larger amounts as you age. Changes in dentin can cause your teeth to appear a little darker as well.
Q: How do you clean your dentures?
A: In cleaning your dentures you should first rinse away loose food particles thoroughly. Then moisten your toothbrush and apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage.
Q: Why does your mouth seem dry?
A: Dry mouth is a common problem among seniors. It is caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of some medications.
Q: Are seniors more susceptible to gum disease?
A: Yes. The severity of gum disease may be increased due to ill-fitting dentures or bridges, poor diets, poor oral hygiene, other medical diseases, and even some medications.
Q: Why do seniors lose their sense of taste?
A: Seniors tend to lose their sense of taste because age decreases the sense of taste and smell. Certain diseases, medications and dentures can also contribute to the decrease of your sense of taste.
Q: Should seniors be worried about cavities?
A: Yes. The majority of seniors have tooth-root decay and are more susceptible to cavities
Q: Why should women be more careful with their oral health?
A: For many women, dental care depends on their different stages of life that are directly related to surges in sex hormone levels. Your dentist may request to see you more frequently during hormonal surges.
Q: How do oral contraceptives affect women’s oral health?
A: Gingivitis may occur with long-term use of oral contraceptives because they contain estrogen or progesterone. Women who use oral contraceptives are two times as likely to develop dry sockets and require dental care more often
Q: How does morning sickness affect oral health?
A: The acid in vomit causes tooth erosion. Women can neutralize the acid by using a baking soda and water paste and rubbing it on their teeth. Rinse the paste off after 30 seconds and then brush and floss.
Q: What are intraoral cameras?
A: An intraoral camera is a miniature video camera that the dentist places in the patient’s mouth so that together they can view any dental problems that the patient is having. The image from the camera is enlarged and sent to a monitor for viewing.
Q: How does one care for primary teeth?
A: As soon as the first tooth erupts, primary teeth may be cleaned with a clean, wet wash cloth or wet gauze. The gums should also be gently wiped. If a toothbrush is used, it should be an appropriate size.
Q: What is a dental implant?
A: A dental implant is a permanent artificial tooth replacement.
Q: What is the procedure for receiving dental implants?
A: Dental implants are inserted surgically in two steps. The first step is to insert a “post” into or onto the jawbone. This post will then become the “anchor” for the artificial tooth that will be placed over the “post”.
Q: How long is the procedure for dental implants?
A: Getting a dental implant is a two step process. Once the “post” is inserted into the jawbone, the patient will have between three and six months with a temporary restoration. During this period, the bone and gum area around the post will heal to create a strong and healthy bond. Once this bond is complete, an additional set of smaller posts is attached to the original post and then the artificial tooth is secured to the posts. The entire procedure could take anywhere from three to ten months.
Q: Can I eat regularly while the implants are bonding?
A: While the “post” is bonding with your jaw and gums, your dentist will place a temporary artificial tooth on the post. During the bonding period, you will need to eat soft foods.
Q: Do implants require special care?
A: Yes and No. Dental implants need to be brushed, flossed and checked regularly by a dentist, just as you would do with your regular teeth. But dental implants don’t need special brushes or pastes.
Q: Can you eat and chew normally with dental implants?
A: Yes. Consider that natural teeth can absorb up to approximately 540 lbs. per square inch of biting pressure and properly placed dental implants can withstand up to approximately 450 lbs. per square inch of the same pressure.
Q: How long should a dental implant last?
A: With proper placement, excellent home care, regular dental visits, and good overall health, dental implants should be permanent.
Q: What are wisdom teeth?
A: Wisdom teeth are the third molars.
Q: Why is it necessary to remove wisdom teeth?
A: It is necessary to remove wisdom teeth to avoid problems, such as an impacted tooth destroying the second molar.
Q: Why do wisdom teeth cause problems?
A: Wisdom teeth generate problems because the shape of the modern human mouth is too small to accommodate these teeth, and they become impacted or unable to come in or move into their proper place.
Q: What problems occur from impacted third molars?
A: Partially erupted wisdom teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs that may cause infection. Cysts and tumors may grow on trapped wisdom teeth.
Q: How is a wisdom tooth removed?
A: Wisdom teeth are remove by surgery. The gum tissue over the tooth is removed, the connective tissue is stripped gently away from the tooth and bone, the tooth is removed, and the gum sutured.
Q: Why do you need to have regular dental care check-ups?
A: Regular check-ups are needed to monitor your overall oral health. In addition to checking for cavities, your dentist examines the health of your entire mouth and surrounding soft tissues, checking for pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions, oral sores, and gum disease.
Your oral health is connected with your general health. Dental care check-ups can alert the dentist to other medical conditions that have symptoms in the mouth such as diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, and hormonal irregularities. Regular dental care visits are vital to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other conditions affecting your mouth.
Q: What can you do to feel more relaxed during a dental care appointment?
A: With the combination of modern anesthetics and new conscious sedation dentistry technology and techniques, many procedures only have minimal discomfort or are now entirely painless. Dental care providers want their patients to have maximum comfort and approach their treatments with a relaxed attitude and less dental anxiety.
- 1. There are a number of ways to decrease dental anxiety: Tell the dental care staff your concerns. Studies have shown that talking about your fears of possible discomfort actually reduces pain.
- 2. Use visualization to picture yourself relaxed, or repeat messages that have a calming effect.
- 3. Play your favorite music on a walkman you bring with you (some dental offices are equipped with walkmans, too.)
- 4. Arrange a signal with the dental care staff, such as raising your hand, if you need a break or feel discomfort.
Some dental care offices are now offering patients new options for stress-relief: hypnosis, self-hypnosis instructions, relaxation tapes, soft lighting, warm gel-filled eye masks, scented candles, and massaging pillows. These are helpful in reducing stress in patients that suffer from dental anxiety. Be sure to avoid the use of stimulants such as caffeine prior to your visit.
Q: Are dental patients who are considered at risk for bacterial infections advised to take antibiotic medication prior to their appointments?
A: Certain medical conditions, such as heart valve problems or a recent total joint replacement, are considered at risk for infection at the site of the cardiac abnormality or joint replacement. This infection results from bacteria from the mouth entering the bloodstream and working its way to these vulnerable areas.
Consequently, dental care procedures likely to result in bleeding from the gums or mucous membranes will require patients to take antibiotics prior to that procedure. Such procedures could include, but are not limited to, extractions, implant surgery, incision and drainage for oral infection, and professional teeth cleaning.
Guidelines have been established by the American Heart Association and the American Dental Association to provide dentists and physicians with information regarding appropriate regimens for antibiotic therapy. It also outlines those situations when antibiotic therapy is or is not indicated.
There also are other medical conditions warranting antibiotic therapy prior to dental procedures. Be sure to update your dentist regarding your medical history. Your dentist and/or physician will advise you of any special needs.