Frequently Asked Questions

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How often should I schedule check-ups?

Generally, check-ups should be completed twice a year. For most people in good dental health, this is adequate for the removal of plaque and tartar, which defy even the most thorough brushing and flossing. The longer plaque and tartar builds, the greater the risk of cavities and gum problems. Twice yearly checkups allow for detection of developing troubles in their early stages, when effective treatment can be less complicated than at later stages.

Some patients do need checkups and cleanings more often than twice a year. This applies to those who experience tartar accumulation at a greater rate than others and those with a history of tooth decay, gum problems or other conditions that require periodic monitoring. A regular schedule of checkups and cleanings is a must for keeping teeth and gums healthy.

How will pregnancy affect my oral health?

Proper prenatal dental hygiene, including preventative care by a dentist, discourages any oral infections that can lead to systemic infections. Systemic infections can adversely affect the health of an unborn baby. Pregnant women who have gum disease may be at increased risk for pre-term labor, which also increases their risk for having a low-birth-weight baby. Dental examinations and cleanings can be safely performed throughout a mother’s pregnancy. If restorative treatment (i.e. fillings, crowns, root canals) is needed, the second trimester is considered to be the safest time. While x-rays are generally avoided during pregnancy, there is no single diagnostic x-ray that has a significant enough dose of radiation to cause adverse effects in a fetus.

If a tooth is cracked, what are my options?

Teeth can develop cracks for a number of reasons:

  • Biting on hard objects or foods like ice, nuts and hard candy
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Loss of significant amount of tooth structure, like a very large filling
  • Exposure of teeth to rapid swings in temperature (i.e. eating coffee and ice cream)
  • The brittleness of a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy and has not been restored with a crown

How a cracked tooth is treated depends on the extent of the fracture. If it is very severely fractured, it can only be extracted. If it can be retained, it will likely need a crown. If the pulp is exposed by the fracture, it will also require root canal therapy. Unfortunately, cracked teeth cannot repair themselves (like bones can). The cracks get deeper and longer, eventually causing the loss of a tooth. Don’t ignore symptoms of a cracked tooth. See your dentist immediately to have the best chance of keeping your tooth.

Is it always necessary to extract an impacted wisdom tooth?

The four wisdom teeth are the final permanent teeth and usually make their appearance between the ages of 17 and 25. Not all teeth that fail to grow into their proper positions cause serious problems, though many do. They are susceptible to impaction. Occasionally, a wisdom tooth that shows up in X-rays as poorly angled may right itself by the time it erupts. A tooth that remains embedded or progresses at an angle can create problems.

Removal of the tooth is in order when there is severe infection, a cyst develops, the roots of adjacent teeth are in danger, or if partial eruption fosters tooth decay and gum disease. Impacted teeth are not removed if they show no sign of causing problems. Regular checkups during the teen years allow the dentist to monitor progress of wisdom teeth.

Why are teeth sometimes sensitive to hot and cold foods and liquids?

There are a number of reasons for such sensitivity. Some people who have received new fillings might experience this sensitivity for a few days, weeks or even months before it disappears. In other cases, pain from hot or cold is a signal that dental work is needed.

Examination by a dentist will help to discover the cause. The problem may be a new cavity, a cracked tooth or filling, the effects of tooth grinding, or nerve problems. In older adults or for people who brush their teeth too hard, hot or cold sensitivity may result from gum recession exposing part of a tooth’s roots. Drs. Hoover & Yanda can find the cause of hot/cold sensitivity and treat it.

Why are older patients at a greater risk for root problems?

Principally, receding gums expose surfaces to decay-causing bacteria in plaque. The part of a tooth ordinarily below the gum is not protected by enamel and thus becomes more vulnerable to surface decay.

Gum recession is common among older patients, in turn accounting for this increased risk. In some cases, it is exacerbated by the grinding of teeth or by routinely applying too much force in brushing. To guard against decay of exposed roots surfaces, one should brush and floss thoroughly every day. Get regular dental checkups and talk to us about the most effective choices in fluoride mouthwashes and fluoride toothpastes that  are nonabrasive.

When teeth are lost, what methods of replacement are available?

There are several choices for the replacement process. Determining the most appropriate in each case depends on various factors.

Replacement is most often done with a fixed bridge, meaning it is fixed in place. This is accomplished by preparing the teeth on each side of the gap to accept crowns. The bridge consists of natural looking substitute teeth between crowns. The crowns are cemented over the abutment teeth. A variation is maryland bridge, in which the substitute teeth are bonded to abutment teeth with metal clasps instead of using crowns. A final variation, called a cantilevered bridge, is suitable for replacement of a single, narrower tooth. In such cases, a replacement tooth is anchored by crowning only one abutment tooth.

The most ideal way to replace a missing tooth is with a dental implant. It looks and feels much more like a natural tooth and does not require any attachment to neighboring teeth. It is permanently anchored to the jawbone.

Is there a way to detect gum disease before it spreads?

Gum disease does not announce its arrival with immediate, painful symptoms. Many people are unaware that they have periodontal disease until brushing or flossing causes bleeding of the gums. Gums appear to be reddened or puffy and feel tender. Others learn they have gum disease before bleeding or other symptoms through regular checkups. Drs. Hoover and Yanda examine the gums for the first signs of periodontal infection.

If treated early, the effects of gum disease are reversible. If not, the gums will continue to deteriorate and the condition can threaten loss of teeth. On your own, be sure to look for puffiness, reddening, or bleeding. The only way to diagnose gum disease early is to come see us in Hudson for regular cleanings and checkups at least twice a year.

When do I need a crown?

Crowns, also referred to as caps, are used to cover teeth weakened by decay, damaged by injury, misaligned, chipped or discolored. Crowns may also be an integral part of root canal treatment. A crown should not need to be replaced for at least five years. Many last 25 years or more, depending on the material used and the patient’s personal approach to dental care.

Two of my teeth are much shorter than the teeth on either side of them. I feel very self-conscious every time I smile. Is there anything I can do to change how they look?

Bonding is a very quick and easy solution. In the process, a solution is applied to the tooth to make the surface slightly more porous. Then, the dentist applies a liquid bonding resin and follows it with a composite resin to get the desired shape. It is then solidified with a curing light or a chemical process. The procedure can take place during one dental visit and it is less expensive than a laboratory fabricated restoration.

Bonded teeth that are well maintained can last for several years. It’s important to treat bonded teeth as you do your permanent teeth, including regular brushing and flossing.

When is a good time to get a dental check-up?

If it’s been awhile, how about this week? Tooth decay begins and continues without noticeable effects over a long period of time. A cavity begins as a tiny fissure of deterioration and continues without producing noticeable symptoms for many months or years. If you wait until you feel pain, the problem has gone unchecked for too long and the decay may have reached the nerve of your tooth.

The same consequences apply to periodontal problems. Gum disease attacks below the gum line long before you notice your gums have become tender, reddened or bleeding when you brush. A routine dental checkup can reveal problems at an early stage, allowing for successful results with far less treatment. See Drs. Hoover & Yanda now for a cleaning to remove the plaque and tartar that escapes brushing and flossing.

Why are sealants recommended for children?

Sealants protect teeth especially vulnerable to decay. They are placed on hard to reach chewing surfaces, like pits and grooves. These irregularities are so tiny that toothbrush bristles don’t penetrate to remove the bacteria that lead to decay. According to the Institute of Dental Research, nearly 90 percent of cavities in school children occur in surfaces of teeth with pits and grooves, which are usually the back teeth.

A sealant prevents decay by forming a shield that keeps decay-causing bacteria from entering the pits and grooves. The technique for applying the sealant involves no discomfort for the patient. First, the dentist applies a mild solution to roughen the tooth surface so the sealant adheres well. Then, the liquid plastic sealant, is “painted” onto the tooth and allowed to harden into a strong, clear protective film.

In time, the sealant might wear away, but a new coating can be applied easily. While sealants are used mainly for young children, some adolescents and adults also can benefit from sealant treatment.

Can baby bottles damage teeth?

Prolonged exposure to milk, formula, fruit juice, and other liquids containing sugars can cause “baby bottle mouth,” defined as a deterioration of young teeth. This often occurs when children fall asleep with their nursing bottles. Usually, some of the liquid remains around the teeth during sleep and the acids in the liquids eat away at tooth enamel. Severe tooth decay can result if this continues over a long period of time. While primary teeth are temporary, it is important to keep them in sound condition because their health can influence the future of permanent teeth. Water is a good choice for a bedtime bottle.

What can a parent do to help children form good dental habits?

The most important step any parent can take is to evaluate their children’s dental habits. Chances are parents can exert the strongest influence on their children’s approach to teeth and gum care. Protecting teeth from decay begins with a trip to the supermarket. You will find the shelves with many bite-sized snacks that are both nutritious and delicious, such as carrots and mixed vegetables. Apples and oranges are a healthy alternative to caramels, sweetened juice drinks, cakes and candy bars. If sugary snacking is unavoidable, frequent brushing with a fluoride toothpaste can help rid teeth of decay-causing plaque.

What should I do if one of my children or I accidentally lose a tooth?

First, locate the tooth. Pick it up by the crown (the top), not by the root (bottom), because that contains tiny fibers essential for reimplantation. If the tooth has become soiled, rinse it carefully in water and place in milk, then find your dentist. Time is a critical factor. If you can see a dentist within 30 minutes of losing a tooth, you probably have a 90 percent chance of successful reimplantation. Also, seek a dentist immediately if a tooth is loosened by injury, but not dislodged. If the tooth becomes discolored in the days or weeks following the injury, it may require root canal treatment.

Is there another permanent way to replace a missing tooth other than with a bridge?

Yes, conventional restorative dentistry has traditionally replaced missing teeth with either removable or fixed bridgework. While those treatment options still exist and can work for years, there are stresses placed on the adjacent natural teeth. Those stresses can lead to the loss of otherwise healthy teeth. Dental implants offer a way to replace missing teeth without involving natural teeth.

An implant restoration typically involves three components: the implant, an abutment and a crown. The dental implant itself replaces the root portion of a missing tooth. You never see that portion of the restoration because it is beneath the gum and within the jawbone. It is placed surgically and is left to heal for a few months. This means two to three months (lower implants) and four to six months (upper implants) are required before the procedure can continue. Full restoration involves creating impressions to custom-make the abutment and crown. The abutment attaches to the implant with an internal screw. The crown is then cemented onto the abutment.

Once a tooth is replaced with an implant, abutment and a crown, it becomes a freestanding tooth. It is not reliant upon any other tooth. You can floss between it and the adjacent teeth just as you can between any other teeth. Additionally, it is forever resistant to tooth decay.

How can very small cavities be detected?

One of the most important services we provide for our patients is the identification and restoration of cavities. Sometimes, decay can be elusive. If the decay remains hidden, it can threaten the health of the entire tooth. Traditionally, most cavities on the biting surfaces of teeth are diagnosed by using a dental pick. Unfortunately, that does not detect cavities until they have become at least the size of the end of the pick. Now, there is a new technology Drs. Hoover and Yanda use to detect decay when it is much smaller and, therefore, easier to treat.

A Diagnodent is an instrument that utilizes a painless, red laser to inspect teeth. First, the laser is aimed towards a tooth we know is healthy. That records a healthy baseline. Then, we can compare any tooth to that one. As the laser pulses into grooves, pits and fissures it reflects fluorescent light, which is measured by receptors and converted into a numerical reading, as well as a sound that changes pitch.

Early diagnosis with the Diagnodent can prevent the spread of decay and catch decay early. This means fillings are smaller, preserving more of your teeth. The Diagnodent is for use on the chewing surfaces of teeth as well as the lip and tongue sides of teeth. It does not work between teeth very well. Those surfaces are best seen on radiographs.

What is digital radiography?

Digital Radiography is an exciting, new technology, offering many advantages over traditional x-rays. Traditionally, dentists explore the inner workings of your mouth by taking a series of x-rays needing development in a darkroom using strong chemicals. After they dry out, these small (about 1 square inch) films are viewed on a special lighted screen. This time-consuming process can now be avoided, thanks to digital radiography.

Instead of film, a tiny sensor is positioned briefly inside your mouth. The sensor acts as a miniature camera sensitive to x-rays rather than light. The images are instantly transmitted to a computer monitor, where they are easily viewed by both the patients and dentists. The images can be magnified, the contrast and brightness can be adjusted, and any areas of concern can be enlarged, making diagnosis much more accurate. The radiation levels are less than one-third of traditional x-rays. The chemicals once required are no more, eliminating pollution to the water. Images can be more easily stored and transmitted electronically to insurance companies or specialists. Lastly, the concern of slowly fading x-ray images is eliminated

What is an intraoral camera?

Now, we have small cameras able to be used inside of your mouth. They make visible areas hard for even us to see! The pictures taken are enlarged and viewed on a computer monitor right in the treatment room. We can see even the smallest and most well hidden areas of your mouth.

Intraoral cameras can reveal early stages of potentially serious problems, aiding you in making informed decisions about your treatment options. These can be especially valuable for noticing small cracks in teeth, seeing gaps forming around old fillings, showing gum disease signs and assisting with oral cancer examinations. The images can be printed or emailed to specialists or insurance companies as needed. Since the images are stored electronically, they don’t degrade over time. Intraoral cameras are just another way our Hudson office uses technology to provide you with “state of the art” dentistry.

How Can I Make My Teeth Whiter?

Tooth bleaching can be a very effective way to remove stains and restore a whiter, more youthful appearance to your teeth. There are three main ways to bleach teeth. Over-the-counter products is the first. They can work, but since the concentration level is lower than prescription products, it will generally take longer – several weeks or even months – to achieve the amount of lightening desired It is the least expensive method.

A second method is done solely in the dental office. It uses bright lights (often a laser) and a professional strength bleaching solution. This method is done generally in one or two appointments, lasting an hour or two each. It is the most expensive method.

The third method is a combination of “in office” and “at home” procedures. It involves making impressions of your teeth. From those impressions, custom trays are made and fitted for your teeth. Then, professional strength bleaching solution is dispensed to you. That is placed into your trays and worn for between 5 and 30 minutes a day, until you achieve your goals. Drs. Hoover and Yanda endorse this method. This is because all bleaching fades over time and patients often want to “touch up” their smiles from time to time. If you already have the custom bleaching trays made, all you need is bleaching gel. This is a MUCH lower cost than starting all over from scratch, with the solely “in office” laser bleaching method. Occasionally, we “jump start” this method with an in-office bleaching treatment. This takes about 45 minutes.

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