Common Questions About Dental Care

Hello, Advantage Dental members! We've put together some helpful answers to questions about taking care of your oral health. Let's dive in and learn more.

    Can Drinking Milk Prevent Tooth Decay?

    Not by itself. Drinking milk is an important part of a healthy diet. It is a source of calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals that help to keep gums teeth and jawbones healthy. However, no matter how much milk (or other dairy products) you consume, teeth may still break down and decay unless you consistently practice good oral hygiene and receive regular care from a dentist.

    Should We Treat Cavities in Baby Teeth?

    Cavities in baby teeth should usually be fixed. Even though these teeth will fall out later, they play a big role in helping you eat, talk, and make space for your adult teeth. Talk to your dentist about what's best for your child.

    Why Do Baby Teeth Matter?

    Baby teeth help you chew, speak, and keep room for adult teeth. If a baby tooth falls out too early, before the adult tooth is set to come in, (usually due to injury or decay) it might make the space close before the adult tooth gets a chance to grow. This could lead to the adult tooth coming in crooked or not coming in at all. When this happens, it can create problems like the need for braces or other treatments, and may cause toothaches or infections. It's best to take good care of baby teeth to avoid these issues.

    Do Teeth and Sinuses Have a Connection?

    Teeth and sinuses are close neighbors. When one has problems, it can affect the other. For instance, pain in your teeth might be linked to a sinus issue, and vice versa. X-rays from your dentist can help figure this out. If you often have sinus issues, let your dentist know.

    Are Dentures a Good Choice?

    Keeping your real teeth is best, but sometimes dentures are needed. If your teeth are very damaged or you've lost too much bone, dentures might be the solution. They may feel awkward at first and will take time to get used to them, until your cheek muscles and tongue learn to keep them in place. You may also feel minor soreness or irritation, but these problems should go away. Follow-up appointments with your dentist may be needed so the fit can be checked and adjusted.

    If you have lost a lot of supporting bone in your mouth, you may find adhesives helpful to keep the dentures in place. Adhesives come in many forms: creams, powders, pads/wafers, strips or liquid. If you choose to use one of these products, be sure to read and follow the instructions provided.

    Continuing to have good oral health practices is important even if you have dentures. Remember to brush your gums, tongue and roof of your mouth every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you wear your dentures. This encourages circulation in your tissues, helps to remove plaque and keep your breath fresh. When you are not wearing your dentures, put them in a safe place covered in water (or a denture cleanser) to keep them from warping (changing their shape).

    What's a Dental Crown?

    If a dentist suggests you need a crown, they are referring to a synthetic (artificial/fake) cap that will restore the natural crown of the tooth that is likely compromised due to decay or being worn down over time. A crown is like a cap for a tooth that's been hurt. It's made to fit on top of your tooth and protect it. Crowns are usually made of porcelain, composite or metal and is cemented (dental glue) on top of the damaged tooth.

    Why Do Some Teeth Need Fillings, and Others Need Crowns?

    Whether you need a filling or a crown depends on how strong your tooth is. A small cavity might just need a filling, but a bigger one could need a crown for more strength.

    Do All Root Canal Teeth Need Crowns?

    Not always. After a root canal, you might need a crown to protect the tooth. But it's not a rule for every tooth. Your dentist will decide what's right for your tooth.

    Do Crowned Teeth Always Need Root Canals?

    No, not always. A crowned tooth might not need a root canal treatment. The decision depends on how strong your tooth is and the health of its inside part.

    Are Yellow Teeth a Sign of Bad Cleaning?

    Some people naturally have slightly yellow teeth. It doesn't mean they're not clean. White teeth don't always mean they're healthier. If you want whiter teeth, talk to your dentist about safe options.

    Are Dental Whiteners Safe?

    Whiteners might be okay sometimes, but using them too much can hurt your teeth. They might scratch your enamel and gums. Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste is better.

    How Much Toothpaste Should I Use?

    Using a small amount, like the size of a pea, is enough for brushing. It keeps your teeth strong and helps prevent cavities.

    What's Different Between Fluoride Rinse and Tablets?

    Fluoride helps your teeth stay strong. You can put it on your teeth or swallow it. They both help, but in different ways.

    Fluoride rinse, toothpaste, or application in the dental office help to harden the tooth enamel, but wear off over time and need to be replaced frequently.

    Fluoride tablets provide systemic protection. This means it is swallowed and processed through the body. This is a more permanent and effective method of fluoride protection, but it is not possible to achieve this type of protection after the teeth are formed -- Fluoride tablets are better for children 12 years and younger because most teeth are formed by age 12.

    What's a Tooth Abscess?

    An abscess is a sore filled with pus on the tip of a tooth's root. It happens when a tooth gets really damaged. It can be painful and needs care from a dentist. If not taken care of, the abscess could spread, potentially causing swelling and even a fever. Treatment for an abscess is usually antibiotics, drainage and a root canal.

    Why Use Sealants for Kids’ Teeth?

    Sealants protect kids' teeth from cavities. They're like shields for back teeth, which can trap food. They're easy to put on and help keep teeth healthy. Sealants can last up to 5 years. This type of protection is said to give nearly 100% protection against dental decay/cavities.

    Taking Care of Teeth During Pregnancy

    Even before your baby arrives, you're starting their healthy smile. Your baby's teeth begin forming when you're about four months pregnant. Remember to eat well, brush, and see your dentist – a mother’s healthy mouth is the first step to keeping a baby’s mouth healthy.

    What If My Child Gets a Mouth Injury?

    If you or your child hurts a tooth while playing, act fast. You have about thirty minutes to save the tooth. Here are some tips for saving a tooth that has fallen or been knocked out:

    • Locate the tooth and put it back in its space immediately, if possible. The tooth should only be picked up by the crown – do NOT touch the root!
    • If the tooth is dirty, rinse with cool water. Do NOT scrub or remove any tissue.
    • If replanting or putting it back in the mouth is not possible, place the tooth in a cup of milk or cool water.
    • Contact your dentist immediately or go to the emergency room if your dentist is not available.
    • Stay calm, knowing what to do can mean the difference between losing and saving a tooth.

    Dental Tips for Young Kids

    For babies to 3-year-olds:

    • Hold them when feeding, don't prop the bottle.
    • Feed before bed, don't put them in bed with a bottle.
    • Wipe their mouth daily.
    • Start brushing their teeth as they come in.
    • Use a little fluoride toothpaste.
    • Check for spots on their front teeth.
    • Ask the dentist about toothpaste.
    • Use a cup for liquids at 6 months.
    • Stop using a bottle around 1 year.
    • Visit the dentist by age 1.

    Remember, taking care of your teeth keeps you smiling and feeling good!