I have always had what I considered good teeth, since I have never had any pain with them. I finally went to the dentist for the first time a few weeks ago and he told me I have gum disease and some cavities. Why was there no warning?
Regular dental visits are essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. For maximum benefit, a good home care regimen must be supplemented with a professional examination at least every six months. Depending on the status of your oral health, your dentist may recommend more frequent visits. Being pain free usually gives us a false sense of security about the status of our teeth. However, the truth is, when teeth or gums starts hurting, it usually signals very severe oral health issues. That is why it is very important to have regular visits to the dentist in order to catch and treat problems before they become serious. There are some warning signs you may notice that might indicate your gums need extra care. They include:
Healthy gums start at home, so pay attention to the signs that your gums may need extra care.
If I brush my teeth 3 times a day and floss daily, will that guarantee healthy teeth for as long as I continue that routine?
Most people think that if they take good care of their teeth, they’ll keep them for a lifetime. That’s only partially true — good gum care is just as important. The fact is, the leading cause of tooth loss isn’t cavities, its gum disease. Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease, and if left untreated, it can lead to the more serious condition periodontitis. The result of periodontitis can be tooth loss. To help you keep that smile — not to mention the ability to bite and chew — it’s essential to keep your gums healthy.
How do I know when it is time to come in for a checkup?
We recommend that patients with good oral health schedule a checkup and hygiene visit twice each year. If you need more frequent visits, we’ll let you know. Checkups are important because, even if you don’t notice any pain or problems with your teeth, we may find signs of potential problems. For instance, demineralization is a precursor to decay, oral cancer often goes undetected until the later stages, and gum disease can be very stealthy. At your hygiene appointment, we’ll clean plaque, tartar, and hardened food particles from your teeth. We’ll also make sure your gums are healthy and strong.
At what age should my children first see the dentist?
Preventive dental care is so important – thank you for considering your child’s dental health early. We enjoy meeting young patients by their third birthday. This allows us to intercept any dental growth abnormalities and place sealants that prevent cavities, if necessary.
My teeth seem more visibly yellow than other peoples'. I have been told my coffee drinking contributes to a large part of the yellowing, is that true? I have heard a lot about teeth whitening, can you tell me how that works?
Just as people have different skin and hair color, people also have different tooth color. Some teeth are more yellow, and some teeth become yellow with aging. Natural tooth color can be discolored by a number of causes. The surface of the tooth can be stained by tobacco, certain foods and beverages—such as coffee, tea and berries—and by deposits of calculus or tartar. Internal discoloration of the tooth can result from aging, injury, excessive fluoride, certain illnesses, and taking the antibiotic tetracycline during early childhood. Although teeth whitening successfully lightens most discolorations, certain types (such as those caused by tetracycline) are more difficult to remove. There are two types of teeth whitening procedures: (1) Teeth whitening is done safely and completely in the dental office (known as chairside bleaching) or (2) a system is dispensed by the dentist for use at home (nightguard teeth whitening).
My child has had an accident and his/her tooth has been entirely knocked out. What do I do?
Find the tooth and rinse it gently in cool water. (Do not scrub it or clean it with soap — use just water!) If possible, replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze or a wash cloth. If you can’t put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk, saliva, or water. Get to your dental office immediately. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth. Then contact us immediately to see one of our dentists. Tell us what happened and our office staff will help you determine the safest and most appropriate plan.
How can I safely whiten my teeth?
We offer Zoom! teeth whitening that is fast, safe and effective, as well as take-home teeth whitening kits. Contact us for an appointment to discuss what teeth whitening options might be best for you.
I brush every day, but my breath just isn't fresh. Is there anything I can do?
Our first suggestion would be for you to contact us so we can further talk with you about your specific concerns. Many factors, from diet to gum disease to tooth decay, can play a part in bad breath. We understand that few things are as embarrassing and frustrating as perpetual bad breath so, when appropriate, we introduce patients to the BreathRx solution. We look forward to exploring the best options for overcoming your challenges.
What precautions do you take to ensure patient safety?
We follow strict guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and OSHA. Our practices include sterilizing reusable instruments in an autoclave, then sealing them for the next use; disinfecting treatment rooms between patient visits; and using disposable products when possible. We always wear disposable gloves during exams and treatment, for your safety.
How do Drs. Donian Shen Angela Nguyen, and Jeff Yoshihara keep up-to-date on all of the current techniques and materials?
Drs. Donian Shen, Angela Nguyen, and Jeff Yoshihara continually pursue expert training in all aspects of cosmetic and esthetic dentistry. They have spent countless hours in seminars, study clubs, and other continuing education courses to stay aware of the latest advancements for patient benefit.
What payment methods do you accept?
We understand there are multiple factors in your life affecting your feelings about finances—so, our pricing is realistically structured to reflect the premium quality of care, actual time, materials, and laboratory work required for treatments. We accept a variety of payment methods, which include cash, checks, and credit cards (e.g. Visa, Master Card, and American Express.) If you are considering financing your dental care, CareCredit patient payment plans may allow you to finance 100% of your treatment with no initial payment, no pre-payment penalties, low monthly payments, and an easy application process. Interest-free options are also available. So, you can begin your treatment today and conveniently pay with low, monthly payments
We also accept most major dental insurance plans and will assist you in obtaining the maximum benefits offered by your plan. Our patients are informed of estimated insurance benefits prior to starting any treatment. We are pleased to process your insurance claim for you and will also estimate the portion that is not covered by insurance. Our fee estimates are based on the information you provide regarding the benefits of the insurance plan you or your company has chosen.
My gums bleed after I brush—is this something to be concerned about?
Bleeding is usually a sign of a problem. When gums bleed, the cause usually stems from the patient brushing too hard or from early-stage gum disease, called gingivitis. We can consult with you on the proper toothbrush and degree of pressure for safe, effective daily oral care. If your gums show signs of gum disease, we may recommend a deep hygiene treatment to stop the disease and return your gums to good health. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for American adults, and it has been linked to many overall health conditions, including strokes, heart attacks, and respiratory problems. Untreated, gum disease can escalate to create significant damage to your health, so call for an assessment now. We will help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for life!
Who makes a good candidate for dental implants?
Most patients are candidates for dental implants; however, an ideal implant patient has good oral health, adequate bone structure, and doesn’t smoke or drink. Dr. Shen will evaluate your unique case to determine if implants are right for you.
What are the benefits of a digital X-ray over traditional radiographs?
Digital X-rays offer unparalleled benefits over traditional radiographs: they’re convenient, safe for the environment, provide a great opportunity for patient education, can be transferred and copied accurately, and best of all, they’re safer for our patients. Digital X-rays emit about 80% less radiation than traditional methods.
Please note that our dental implant, reconstructive, and surgical procedures - as well as any urgent dental care services - are performed at our Mountain View location, which is less than 15 minutes away from Alpine Dental Care. Smile by Design has a state-of-the-art facility that features all the latest technology. Dr. Donian Shen is extensively trained in the placement of dental implants, has many years of advanced dentistry experience, and is a sustaining member of the International Congress of Oral Implantology.
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