Here are some of the most commonly asked questions we are asked by patients, as well as excerpts from Dr. Gladnick's column in the Wilmington News Journal's "Ask the Dentist".
What is the difference between bonding and veneers?
Bonding is a technique that restores chipped, cracked, misaligned, or discolored teeth. An enamel-like resin is sculpted to the tooth to rebuild it. In this way, gaps in teeth can be closed, chips can be built up, and your tooth can be restored to enhance your smile. With the proper care a bonded tooth can last three to five years before it needs to be touched up to correct wear or discoloration. Veneers are thin sheets of ceramic that are also bonded to the teeth but last much longer, usually eight to twelve years. They look like your natural teeth without the imperfections. Your existing tooth surface will need to be prepared, or etched, to accept the veneers which will be extremely durable. The final result is one of a natural, beautiful translucency that will give you a perfect smile.
Do you think that tongue piercings can cause problems?
In addition to an increased risk of infection on the tongue as a result of someone having a tongue piercing, I have seen many instances of chipped and broken teeth from biting on a barbell or from a metal ball banging against the front teeth. I have also seen instances of gum recession and bone resorption from the constant trauma. This damage is usually irreversible and may result in tooth loss.
Why do I get frequent head or neck aches and hear a click when I open my mouth?
You may share a common problem with many other people who have TMJ/TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder. There is a complex system of ligaments, muscles, and bones that if not allowed to work together properly can result in pain around the ear, tenderness, clicking or popping when you open your mouth, jaws that "get stuck" or "go out" and certain types of head or neck aches. Your dentist can determine the cause and recommend treatment appropriate for you. Treatment often includes an occlusal guard, an appliance you wear while sleeping. It fits on your upper or lower teeth and relieves the muscular spasms associated with this disorder.
How can I change the appearance of my teeth that are without orthodontics?
The appearance of teeth can be improved in several ways. One of them is cosmetic resin bonding. It will give you immediate results but it may chip and stain over time and it has a limited life expectancy. Veneers are a better option. They are fabricated from porcelain and are securely bonded. The finished results are beautiful and extremely durable. Though veneers are not suitable for every patient , they are a cosmetic alternative for a variety of dental conditions affecting the front teeth including: closing spaces between the teeth; restoring broken or chipped teeth ; covering stains or discolored teeth ; and correcting uneven or crooked teeth.
How can my dentist find illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes?
Your dentist doesn't diagnose these conditions but is an important screening person in your health care team. The lips, tongue, gums, salivary glands and oral tissues can warn of trouble in your overall health. Regular dental checkups can identify symptoms associated with heart disease, oral cancer, diabetes, and pregnancy complications. Always remember the adage: " Want a healthy body, start with a healthy mouth" .
What can I do to get rid of those chalky white spots of my teeth?
These are a common phenomenom that can otheriwse mar a great smile and are caused by enamel demineralization. Patients can do two things to help these white areas to blend with the rest of the tooth. First, they should brush with a toothpaste containing amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP.) Secondly, they can apply floride daily to teeth in low concentrations in the form of toothpaste, home rinses (such as ACT) and a dental varish applied directly by the dentist. These remedies can take awhile to produce the desired changes. However, for a more immediate and instantaneous solution, dental bonding produces an excellent result.
How do I know whether to get a bridge or an implant?
The advantage of getting an implant is that you are able to floss between your teeth, just as you do with your own teeth. An implant will also help to preserve the bone supporting the tooth. The other advantage is that the teeth on either side of the missing tooth will not have to be prepared as they would to accept the bridge.
However, this is not a good option for everyone. Implants require surgery, and patients must be in good overal health and have healthy gums. Patients must also have adequate bone to support the implant. When you see the dentiest, you can be fully ecaluated to see which option is best for you.
How do I know if my dental pain will go away on its own? When is it time to call the dentist?
If you have piercing pain that is sensitive to hot or cold foods, or chewing pain that travels to the ear or eye, you should call the dentist immediately as you may have an infection or an abscess. This can be treated with an antibiotic or it may require a root canal. However, I first perform a series of diagnostic tests which will confirm this daignosis.
On the other hand, if you are experieincing a dull toothache that comes and goes, it may be alleviated by following these simple steps: Make sure you brush and floss carefully, at least twice a day. You should follow this with a warm salt water rinse. After a few days of this regimen, your ache may simply disappear! If not, call the dental office immediately to make an appointment. Dr. Gladnick can be reached anytime, even after hours for emergencies.
I am not sure it is worth spending the money on a nightguard; what is the real benefit?
Besides protecting your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), eliminating muscle pain, relieving headaches, and protecting the enamel on your teeth, there is a sizable saving s to using a nightguard versus taking care of dental problems that may arise from not using one. Let's do the math. A nightguard will cost about $650. The cost of a sigle crown that will be needed to protect a tooth which has lost its enamel because of constant grinding is about $1200. Multiply this by six (or more) teeth and you are approaching $10,000. If there is damage to the joint itself, an operation to repair the joint can cost about $30,000. The decision to simply protect your teeth and joints with an inexpesive night guard seems like a good decision both economically and medically.
- I have unexplained headaches and neck aches. Can you help?
- I have one dark front tooth that I want fixed. What are my options?
- I have two grade school aged children. How do I keep their teeth cavity free?
- I am 8 months pregnant and would like to know what I need to do to keep my babys teeth healthy.
- I have had headaches repeatedly. Could they be related to my teeth?
- What is the difference between sealants and PRR’s (preventive resin restoration?)
- What is best – Base Metal Crowns, Porcelain or Gold?
- Adult Braces and Other Options
- Are implants really as good as a bridge?
- Do you put on “temporary” teeth while the veneers are being made? I’ve had temporaries that did not look good and I don’t want to walk around with ugly teeth for 2 weeks.
- I am 33 years old and my dentist has suggested that I have braces. He says it is not just for my appearance. He tells me that it will be easier to keep my teeth clean and will mean less chances of developing gum disease. Is this right?
- How do you get the new teeth to match the natural teeth?
- I am concerned about getting too many x-rays. Are they all really necessary?
- Veneers for Teeth Grinding
- How can I change my appearance without braces?
- Can I change my smile by just changing the front four or six teeth?
- When I bite down I have a sharp pain in my tooth. What could be wrong?
- What are digital x-rays, and are they better than conventional dental x-rays?
- How will a woman’s hormonal changes affect oral health?
- Does the whitening solution I buy at the store give the same results as the solution I would buy from my dentist?
- How does a sealant help prevent decay?
- I wanted to get my teeth cleaned and my dentist said I needed to have a scalingand root planning first? Why?
- I’m so embarrassed about my worn teeth- I never smile anymore. Is there anything I can do about?
- Can my teeth ever look natural again?
- My child swallows funny. Her tongue comes out between the lips on every swallow. Is this a problem?
- Why should I replace a missing back tooth?
- How can I Find a Great Dentist?
- What is the best age to bring my child to see the dentist?
- Does my child need supplemental fluoride?
- I often awaken with an earache? Could grinding be the problem?
- What about whitening strips...do they do a good job?
- Does thumb sucking or using a pacifier hurt my baby’s teeth?
- What can I do about these canker sores?
- What is the difference between bonding and veneers?
- My dentist said I have gum disease and I am only twenty! I thought that only elderly people get gum disease - is that not true?
- What about diabetes and gum disease?
- How should I care for my infant's gums and newly erupted teeth?
- What are the advantages of having Invisalign braces over conventional braces?
- I am not sure it is worth spending the money on a nightguard; what is the real benefit?