Dental medical clinic. Dr. Carole Zammarie


The answers

Do I really have to go to the dentist every six months?

How often you go for dental exams depends on your oral health needs. The goal is to catch small problems early. For many people, this means a dental exam every six months. Your dentist may suggest that you visit more or less often depending on how well you care for your teeth and gums, problems you have that need to be checked or treated, how fast tartar builds up on your teeth, and so on.

Do I need x-rays at each visit?

How often you need to have x-rays also depends on your oral health. A healthy adult who has not had cavities or other problems for a couple of years probably won't need x-rays at every appointment. If your dental situation is less stable and your dentist is monitoring your progress, you may require more frequent x-rays.

If you are not sure why a particular x-ray is being taken, ask your dentist. Remember that dental x-rays deliver very little radiation; they are a vital tool for your dentist to ensure that small problems don't develop into bigger ones.

I'm interested in changing the shape of my teeth. What options are available?

Several different options are available to change the shape of teeth, make teeth look longer, close spaces between teeth or repair chipped or cracked teeth. Among the options are bonding (resin material), crowns, veneers, and recontouring.

What is a dental veneer?

Dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length.

How much time does Hollywood smile require?

Porcelain veneers (used for Hollywood smile) can be completed in two visits spaced one to two weeks apart. The first visit includes a lengthy consultation where the dental plan is formed based on what the patient wants to achieve. Then the teeth are shaped and prepared for the veneers. An impression is taken of the teeth and temporary veneers are placed.

The second visit permanently places the veneers that have been prepared by the lab. Before they are bonded, patients have an opportunity to have further adjustments made to color or shape as after they are bonded, they are permanently affixed

Is a Hollywood smile reversible?

Because a very thin layer of tooth enamel must be removed to accommodate the thickness of the veneer, the process isn’t considered reversible. If you don’t like your previous veneers, you will hve to replace them by new ones.

How strong are veneers? Are there restrictions on what I can eat?

Porcelain veneers are very strong. However porcelain is a glass and can crack if very strong forces are applied. It is advised to avoid chewing ice, hard nuts, candy apples, popcorn kernels as well as avoiding using the teeth to open packages, etc.

The natural teeth are often damaged by these same foods and practices and while porcelain veneers are very strong, they aren’t invincible.

How long will porcelain veneers last?

Porcelain veneers last a long time. Most patients get ten to twenty years use from their veneers before they need to be replaced. The aging is derived from the natural teeth as gums recede and teeth become brittle. If a veneer comes off we can re-bond it to the tooth or replace it if it has become damaged.

Note: do not try to re-bond the veneer yourself. If you are away from home, your best option is to find a qualified cosmetic veneers dentist who can properly re-bond your veneer.

Why Do Poor Habits Cause Bad Breath?

If you don't brush and floss teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This causes bad breath. Antibacterial mouth rinses also can help reduce bacteria.

In addition, odor-causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned.

Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products also can cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods, and irritate your gums.

What does it mean when my gums bleed when I brush and floss?

This is a warning sign that gum disease is present and needs to be treated by a dental hygienist. Gum disease is what leads to tooth loss and failure of dental treatment. This frequently occurs in the absence of pain, making it an important first symptom in detecting the disease.

There are so many different toothbrushes on the market today. How do I know which one is the right one for me?

The brand of the toothbrush is not nearly as critical as the type of bristle, the size and shape of the head and how frequently you replace your brush. We recommend a soft bristled brush with a small head. The soft bristles are most important for the health of your gums. A small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. We recommend replacing your brush at least once a month, and brushing twice a day at a bare minimum.

Can whitening your teeth damage them?

A large body of research on bleaching has determined that low concentrations of peroxide, from a reputable source, are safe if used as directed, after a proper dental examination. However, tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of bleaching. Sensitivity is only temporary.

How long does it last laser teeth whitening?

This will vary among individuals. No bleaching method can whiten teeth permanently. Typical results vary from six months to two years. However, some people's teeth remain white for over 10 years with no touch-up treatment.

Will bleaching gel whiten my veneers, caps (crowns) and bonding?

All bleaching agents used to whiten teeth will only work on natural tooth structure. This means that all dental work including but not limited to bonding, veneers, crowns (caps) and bridges will NOT bleach or whiten. All dental work would need to be replaced to match the newly whitened teeth.

Is teeth whitening painful?

It is most certainly not. We apply a protection gel on gums and lips before the procedure. This gel protects soft-tissue from the bleach as well as from the blue light lamp. However, patients might experience some sensitivity during first 24 hours after whitening. One way to prevent this is to apply colorless fluoride polish on the teeth right after whitening procedure.

How to prevent dental caries?

The cause of teeth decay occurring is a combination of several factors affecting the teeth for sufficient time, such as sugar and bacteria in your mouth. It is necessary not only to brush your teeth properly at least twice a day, but also to use dental floss and go-between brushes daily. We recommend applying fluoride dental products which improves decay resistance.

What can I do with old or badly-looking fillings?

If the filling is done well, it can look as new after a simple polishing procedure. Badly done or damaged fillings can be replaced with better-looking materials such as white composite filling or porcelain inlay. With severely damaged tooth, a crown can be used to cover and protect the whole tooth.

What to do with broken, cracked or worn front teeth?

We use custom-made thin ceramic facets which look just as normal teeth. Another options are white resin fillings or crowns (treating severely damaged teeth).

What to do with missing teeth?

Missing teeth could be replaced with removable dentures, fixed bridges or implants.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or a bridge. Shaped as a screw, implants are mostly made of titanium. Implants are placed into the bone, providing a firm base for one or more artificial teeth called crowns or bridges. Unlike a denture, dental implants provide permanent solution and have all the attributes of natural teeth.

How long do the implants last?

With taking good care of your implants (and assuming they were done well), implants are a permanent solution. Also, you should respect the effect of correct dental hygiene and scheduling cleaning appointment every 6 months.

Do wisdom teeth have to be removed?

No, wisdom teeth do not always have to be removed; healthy wisdom teeth that fit in the mouth are usually not extracted. Wisdom teeth that have not erupted and are in a good position can also be left in the mouth. However, wisdom teeth will be removed if they cause repeated symptoms or show signs of disease on examination, or if removal is required by some other dental or general condition.

Do wisdom teeth cause crowding of other teeth?

No. Changes in dental occlusion and tooth position take place during the entire lifespan; these changes are most often seen as crowding, especially of the lower front teeth. Wisdom tooth eruption takes place around the same time as the crowding of lower front teeth begins.

How are wisdom teeth removed? Does it involve surgery or can they be just ‘pulled’ out?

The need for a specific removal technique is evaluated separately each time; the choice is affected by tooth position, root shape and how much room there is in the mouth.

How long does the place of removal tooth bleed?

While the bleeding usually stops on the day of the removal, you may experience slight bleeding and a taste of blood in the mouth for several days. If the wound bleeds, cover the wound with a tightly wrapped gauze bandage or some other clean compress and bite down on it for about 30 minutes. A cold pack over the cheek may also be helpful. Repeat the procedure if the bleeding continues. Please note that spit will be stained red even by a small amount of blood in the mouth.

When can I eat again after a tooth extraction?

You must not eat or drink for two hours after the removal. If your mouth feels very numb you should not eat or drink until the local anaesthesia has worn off somewhat; otherwise you may accidentally bite your cheek or tongue while your mouth is still numb. It is also possible that the corner of your mouth may not hold food or drink very well, and hot food may cause burns in the mouth.

Can I smoke after a tooth extraction?

You must not smoke for two hours after the removal, so that the healing process can begin properly.

How long does recovery take after removal or surgery?

Symptoms may appear seven to ten days after a surgical removal. The ache and the swelling are at their worst three to five days after the procedure. The recovery is normal if painkillers alleviate the ache. However, if there are any general symptoms, such as fever or increasing swelling, you have an inflammation that requires treatment. In that case contact your dentist.

After a tooth extraction or a surgery when can I exercise again?

After a normal removal you should avoid exercise or other physical strain for at least a day; after more complex procedures you should wait two to three days.