Dental FAQs

Educational Videos

Have A Question?

Below is a list of some of the questions our patients most frequently ask. If you have a question that isn't answered below, feel free to give us a call and our team at Ford Dental Group will be happy to assist you.


Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums
Root Canals
Tooth Decay
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Teeth Whitening
Dental Implants
Porcelain Veneers
Other Common Questions

Taking Care Of Your Teeth And Gums

How often should I visit the dentist?

You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before they get worse and harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach.

How often should I brush and floss my teeth?

You should brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. You should floss once a day as well.

What is the proper way to brush my teeth?

The following guidelines are important to brushing correctly:

Make sure to use a soft bristled brush. Hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth
Place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gum line
Use short back and forth strokes or tiny circular movements to brush your teeth. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth
Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth
Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth
Don't cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes

What is the proper way to floss?

The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly:

Take 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand. You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1–2 inches in between for cleaning
Gently move the floss up and down in the spaces around your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage
As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it up and down against the surface of one tooth. Gently clean at the gum line as well. Repeat this for the other tooth
Repeat this process for all of your teeth

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth, from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.

How do I prevent tooth decay?

It is possible to prevent tooth decay. But first we need to understand that causes tooth decay. There are four factors involved in the forming of a cavity, namely:

An acidic diet
Vulnerable teeth

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to focus on the first three areas, as the last one (vulnerable teeth/genetics) is out of one's control.

Practice Good Oral/Dental Habits
This means making it a point to brush your teeth at least twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste. Flossing too should become a habit and be done once a day (or more, if necessary). These two simple things can go a long way in preventing plaque—a sticky film that coats your teeth and the same substance that cavity causing bacteria thrive in. If you need a proper demonstration about how to brush and floss your teeth, don't be afraid to ask your dentist.

Make Necessary Changes to Your Diet
The food you eat and the beverages your drink will first go through your teeth first before it goes to your stomach. Food that contains sugar will make your teeth more susceptible to cavities, so make it a point to avoid them. Common examples are sodas, sports and/or energy drinks, processed foods and so on. If such food items are a regular staple of your diet, consider healthier alternatives such as fruits and vegetables. Be sure to drink a LOT of water too!

Don't Promote a Cavity
Aside from making changes to your diet, you'll want to avoid certain medications as well, especially those that can cause dryness in your mouth. Tobacco and alcohol may also increase your risk for cavities. Also, GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, as well as other medical conditions can make you susceptible to cavity. If you're suffering from GERD, as well as others, you will want to check in with your dentist about what you can do to help improve your chances against cavities.

Regular Checkups and Cleanings
Of course, having a dental professional check your teeth is the best way to prevent cavities. They're the ones who know a lot more about teeth and dental care than you do. Not only can they help improve your teeth, as well as dental health, but they'll also help you come up with an individualized plan that will help you maintain the best possible set of teeth that you could ever have.


What is gingivitis?

If your gums are starting to look a bit reddish, or are a bit puffy and bleed easily, then you probably have gingivitis. Healthy looking gums are pale pink and firm to touch

What are the signs and symptoms of gingivitis?

Some of the most common signs and symptoms for gingivitis are:

Receding, tender, soft and/or puffy, as well as swollen gums
Gums that easily turn reddish or bleed whenever you brush your teeth or floss
A sudden change in the color of your gums, going from a healthy-looking pink into something a bit more reddish
Halitosis or bad breath

How do I find out if I have gingivitis?

The best way to find out if you have gingivitis is to have yourself regularly checked. Not only will doing so make it easier to find out if you have gingivitis, but regular dental checkups will also allow your dentist to check if you're suffering from other dental complications.

If you havent made setting appointments a habit yet, now is a good time to do so. The sooner you seek professional help, the better the chances that your teeth have of suffering less from the effects of gingivitis, as well as other dental problems.

In gingivitis' case, leaving it to worsen may lead it to becoming periodontitis, which is a whole lot worse compared to gingivitis.

What are the main causes of gingivitis?

Gingivitis is often the result of poor oral hygiene as it encourages the forming of plaque.

Plaque is a sticky film that's mainly composed of bacteria. It usually forms on teeth when the bacteria normally found in your mouth interact with sugars, as well as starches. By brushing your teeth twice a day or even more, as well as flossing, you help remove plaque and prevent its built up. This is important as plaque re-forms quickly, so it requires constant removal. If you let plaque form in your teeth for longer than two days, they will harden and hide under your gum line. This is when they turn into tartar, a substance that could also be the result of your saliva's mineral content. Once tartar has formed, it's even more difficult to remove plaque and by this time, the intervention of a dentist may be necessary. As such, never let tartar form and remain in your teeth. Even if dentists can remove them, the damage that they do to your teeth may end up becoming irreversible.

How can I prevent gingivitis?

Good oral hygiene, of course, is important.

You can also prevent gingivitis by doing the following things:

Improving your dental habits by brushing more than twice a day and flossing almost as often
Avoiding the use of tobacco and regular over consumption of alcohol
Keeping yourself hydrated at all times as a dry mouth encourages the development of bacteria in your mouth, which may lead to plaque buildup and eventually, tartar
Eat well so that your teeth get the proper nutrition that it needs

Of course, the best tip is to schedule regular checkups with your dentist, even if you “feel” that your teeth are in good condition as it is.

Root Canals

What is a root canal?

Contrary to popular belief, a root canal is a procedure that will preserve a dead tooth—not save it. Think of it as mummification, but only for teeth. Root canals are usually done when it's already too late to save the tooth because of the infection and that it's dying already.

Now, you may wonder, why not just take the tooth out? After all, it's dead, right? Well, you can actually choose to have the tooth or teeth pulled. There are also procedures where dentists can simply replace the teeth using implants and a new, artificial tooth. Such a choice is actually becoming much more common these days.

If that's the case, then why exactly are people still getting a root canal instead of an implant? The answer is that it's just simpler to keep your old tooth, even if it's already dead. The tooth can simply just be there and not be a hindrance to you. By having a root canal, you cut out the infected tissue inside the tooth, preventing it from infecting the rest of your teeth.

Though, having a root canal done on a tooth makes it weak and prone to fractures. This is where a crown comes in.

Crowns are rigid coverings stronger than tooth enamel that helps prevent the root canaled tooth from breaking. Think of it as the tomb that mummies are encased in.

What's having a root canal like?

The dentist will remove the infected pulp, clean it out and slowly shape the insides of the tooth. They’ll then fill and seal the space to help prevent further infection.

After it’s all over, you’ll be asked to come back at a later time to get a crown placed on your tooth to help protect it. This way, you can use your “mummified” tooth just like the rest of your teeth.

How do dentists know that I need a root canal?

There are many signs and symptoms that may point out to you that you need a root canal, namely these are:

Lingering pain
Positional pain
Spontaneous pain
Fistula on the gum
Abscess on the x-ray

More importantly, though, dentists will have to check thoroughly the inside of the tooth first to see if it’s already dead, or near death, or if it’s still even possible to restore the pulp.

If I experience pain in my teeth, do I need a root canal?

Well, it depends, but it’s usually not the case.

Pain can sometimes be caused by other problems, some more minor than an infected tooth root, while some may be more severe. Either way, if you’re experiencing pain in your teeth, it’s important to have it checked by your dentist.

Tooth Decay

How does tooth decay start?

Tooth decay starts off slow, forming from the sticky bacterial plaque that’s naturally found in our teeth. These bacteria feast on sugars from the food eat, which they then use to create acids that, if left unchecked, can easily dissolve the hard enamel protecting the teeth. Eventually, these acids can work its way through all the layers of your tooth, causing major oral complications.

What are the signs of tooth decay?

The main reason why you shouldn’t put tooth decay treatment on hold is that in its earliest stages, pain and sensitivity are rarely felt, if at all. In fact, there won’t be any noticeable pain until the decay has gone through the enamel and into the dentin layer. And, once this happens, it will only be a matter of time before the decay spreads into the roots.

It’s important to keep in mind that once the decay and bacteria reaches the pulp of your tooth—the part with all the nerves and blood vessels—infection and what’s known as an abscessed tooth likely to be the result. The pain from an abscessed tooth is often described as persistent, serious and will likely prevent you from sleeping at night.

Other symptoms of an abscessed tooth include facial swelling, a bad taste in your mouth and occasionally, a fever.

Now, if the seriousness of tooth decay still has not dawned on you, you may want to know that an abscessed tooth is just the start.

If left untreated, severe tooth decay can not only cause tooth abscess, but also spread throughout your whole body.

What are the treatments for tooth decay?

If your dentist catches tooth decay early, such as it still being a small area of erosion on your enamel, the said spot can easily be treated. A common approach includes the use of specific mouth rinses, toothpastes and other filling materials that contain fluoride, calcium and phosphates.

Once the decay has reached the dentin, however, the cavity will have to be repaired using an amalgam filling or a tooth-colored resin material. Crowns may also be necessary to help restore the shape and function of teeth that have lost much of their structure.

An abscessed tooth is the worst possible thing that can happen and it indicates that you’ve severely neglected your oral health. Treatment options are limited. You can opt for either a root canal treatment or an extraction, though the latter is often only recommended if the tooth is already beyond saving.

As you can see, the longer you put off treatment of tooth decay, the worse and more expensive it gets. Not to mention, the more pain you have to endure.

The lesson here is to have your tooth decay taken care of at the first sign of trouble. Better yet, do yourself, your teeth and your wallet a favor by practicing good oral hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing daily, as well as regular visits to the dentist for checkups and thorough cleanings.

Can I postpone my treatment?

While you may not have a significant problem yet, putting tooth decay treatment on hold and delaying it on purpose isn’t exactly a good idea.

For starters, your teeth are defenseless against tooth decay and it will remain there until you choose to have it treated. Also, postponing treatment could easily make the problem worse in just a few months!

Periodontal (Gum) Disease

What is periodontal (gum) disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing and tooth loss.

What are the signs of periodontal disease?

The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact your dentist if you experience any of these:

Gums that bleed while brushing
Red, swollen or tender gums
Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
Bad breath that doesn't go away
Pus between your teeth and gums
Loose teeth
A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
A change in the fit of partial dentures

How can I prevent periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. Also make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth.

Can periodontal disease be hereditary?

Yes, some people are just genetically inclined to get periodontal disease. Though, this does not spell doom, as proper oral care can still help control and even prevent the disease.

Can tobacco increase my chances of developing periodontal disease?

Chain smokers are at risk of periodontal disease because they tend to collect far more tartar on their teeth. Also, their periodontal pockets are often deeper, which means that the condition hits them far worse than non-smokers.

Can misaligned or crooked teeth increase my chances of developing periodontal disease?

Misaligned and crooked teeth may make flossing difficult, which may encourage the formation of plaque and tartar, which can lead to periodontal disease. It’s best that you ask your dentist for help on how to floss your teeth if ever your teeth are misaligned or crooked. Also, those who have braces or bridgework will need help from their orthodontists so that they can learn how to floss their teeth properly using special tools as they’re also prone to plaque and tartar.

How does my daily routine increase my chances of developing periodontal disease?

Stress can weaken your body’s immune system, making it less effective in fighting off periodontal-disease related infections. Also, being stressed makes you more likely to clench, grind or grit your teeth, which can cause your gums to be inflamed and make you more prone to periodontal disease.

Certain Medication
Medicine that can lead to dry mouth or xerostomia can make you more prone to periodontal disease because it can promote the growth of plaque. So, make sure that you keep yourself hydrated at all times.

Poor Eating Habits
Eating right is also important for maintaining good overall health. This then helps ensure that your gums and mouth are healthy, which can help prevent periodontal disease.

Teeth Whitening

Why do our teeth turn yellow?

While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow color substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint.

Listed below are some of the most common causes of stained and yellow teeth.

Coffee and red wine are notorious for causing teeth discoloration. Other drinks with high acidity, such as juices, sports drinks and sodas should also be avoided, or drank in moderation.
Certain types of food. Regular consumption of candies, popsicles and other foods with bright colors can lead to staining of the teeth. Even berries (cranberries, blueberries, etc.), ketchup, curry and certain sauces may also cause staining.
Part of aging. As we age, our bodies tend to betray us. Our teeth, in particular, will gain a yellowish tint as we grow older as the white protective coatings wear down.

What can I do about yellowing teeth?

Sustaining from Certain Drinks, as well as Food
Coffee may stain your teeth, but you don't need to give it up. Rather, what is encouraged is to try to curb the intake of food and beverages that may cause discoloration of your teeth. Do this and you should notice your teeth getting whiter as time passes by.

Drink Water
If you insist on consuming teeth-staining beverages and food, drink a glass of water after. Doing so regularly can help improve the color of your teeth drastically.

Improving your Dental Hygiene
Brushing alone just won't be enough for your teeth. You have to floss, as well as make it a point to visit a dentist regularly. If you try to develop these habits early on in your life, you're less likely to have problems not only with teeth discoloration, but dental problems in general.

Teeth Whitening Procedures
Thanks to improvements in dental medicine, there are a lot of things that you can do about your stained teeth. You can opt for our 1 hour in-office treatment called Boost. Or you can try our home tooth whitening kit that is specifically designed for your mouth.

What are the different types of teeth whitening options?

Below are the three most popular teeth whitening options available today:

In-office Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening works by producing a significant color change in your teeth in a short amount of time, usually within an hour. The procedure is done at the dentist's office, by applying a high-concentration peroxide gel on the teeth after they have been protected with a special shield.

Professionally Dispensed Take-home Whitening Kits
These whitening kits are purchased from your doctor for use at home. The strength of the gel used in these kits is lower than that used for in-office bleaching, and thus the gel can be applied for longer periods of time. Usually the trays are worn a couple hours a day or overnight for a few days or weeks, depending on the product.

Over the Counter Whitening
Over the counter teeth whitening kits are store-bought and use a lower concentration gel than both in-office bleaching and take-home kits purchased from your doctor. While they are cheaper, they typically are less effective than methods that can be performed by your dentist because of the low concentration gel. Additionally, over the counter trays are not custom fit for your teeth, which can result in irritation to your gums while wearing the trays.

How long does teeth whitening last?

Teeth whitening usually lasts from one to three years, before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only “touch ups” are required to maintain the whiteness.

Dental Implants

Are implants the right decision for me?

Implants are made of titanium, a biocompatible material. They are used to replace one or more teeth, and can be an attractive option for most people. Some benefits to implants include:

They are integrated into bone and act like a tooth root to support new teeth
They do not decay or have the same gum disease risk as natural teeth
Implants look, feel, and act like natural teeth, unlike other options

Are implants or bridges a better choice?

A missing tooth would historically be replaced by a bridge. To anchor a bridge, the majority of the external tooth structure of the teeth on either side of the gap must be removed. With an implant, you only need a crown made on top of the implant itself to restore it, leaving the neighboring teeth undisturbed and completely intact.

Can implants be used to restore multiple teeth?

Implants can also be used to restore multiple teeth, a full set of fixed or removable teeth or even a complete denture. If you experience tooth loss, the bony ridges in your mouth start to decrease and be lost as well. Implants are placed and prevent bone from shrinking, leaving you many future options for tooth replacement not available otherwise.

Are implants expensive?

To replace a single tooth an implant is usually less expensive than any alternative in our office. The cost of implant care increases with the complexity of the case, the history of tooth loss and the position of the implant in the mouth.

How long do implants last?

Research has shown that implants are 98% successful: a higher success rate than almost anything else in dentistry! Under professional care, implants have a potential for lifetime durability. Ask us about our warranty.

What if I do not have enough bone in my jaw for implants?

Minor grafting can improve and restore the bone lost from your extraction years ago. We do this in the office frequently where additional bone is required for success of our implant care. It is possible to have an implant for virtually any situation with expert care and planning.

When an implant is surgically placed, how long until I get my new tooth?

For front teeth we strive to place teeth the same day in a temporary form. Posterior teeth are often left to rest 6–8 weeks prior to placing a functional chewing force on them. In cases where there is uncertainty about the strength of the bone, more time may be required to ensure longevity (7–10 months). In every case, clinical experience along with the prevailing research guides our decision to finalize the implant restoration. We always plan for long-term success and we do not rush.

How can I get a full set of teeth in one day?

With the use of CAT scan planning we can plan for immediate teeth replacements and the ultimate in surgical precision. Planning takes all the time in these cases, however we can deliver exceptional care quickly and never leave you without teeth, regardless of your particular need or treatment.

How do I care for my new dental implants?

Dental implants are metal posts or frames that dentists position into the jawbone just under your gums through a surgical procedure. Once placed, dentists can then mouth either a new bridge or replacement tooth/teeth in that same area.

Unlike dentures, implants are firmly placed in your mouth, so they won’t ever come loose. Or at least, not by accident. They also have the added benefit of not needing to be anchored to the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth, which is a requirement for bridges.

How do dental implants work?

Implants basically fuse to your jawbone, allowing them to provide the most stable possible kind of support for your replacement teeth. They won’t slip or shift, making them less likely to cause speech problems. Also, as a result of their secure fit, dental implants feel far more natural compared to dental bridges and/or dentures.

How do I properly care for my dental implants?

Here are a couple more tips to help make sure that your dental implants last for a very long time.

Maintain a Meticulous Oral Hygiene Routine
If you didn't have any reason to strictly stick to brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once, you do now. Having implants makes it all the more important to take proper care of your teeth. You may also want to start using interdental brushes. Brushes whose bristles are able to slide between teeth to help it clean areas that are typically hard to reach, especially around your implant.

Quit Smoking
Smoking has been proven to weaken bone structure, which is not good news for your dental implant. The fact that smoking is also bad for your oral health as it is a risk factor for plenty of dental complications and that it generally is just bad for you should be enough of a reason for you to quit smoking as soon as possible.

Schedule Regular Appointments with Your Dentist
Recent news has made a new dental complication come to light, one that's a direct result of dental implants. While peri-implantitis have yet to be fully understood, experts agree that it's always preceded by peri-implant mucositis, which is a much more common condition that's also easy to treat. Early warning signs include red, swollen and even bleeding gums. And, by visiting the dentist regularly, your teeth and mouth are routinely checked for early warning signs of peri-implant mucositis so as to prevent it from progressing to the more serious peri-implantitis.

Stop Chewing on Hard Food
This has to be one of the hardest adjustments to make, especially since most people tend to chew on hard food almost unconsciously. But, since ice and hard stuff can eventually break down the crown and your natural teeth, such a change is necessary and may also be beneficial, even for those who don't have dental implants.

Remember, the longevity and success of your dental implants depend on how well you take care of your teeth. Brushing your teeth, flossing and regularly visiting the dentist can go a long way in making sure that you encounter little to no dental problems going forward.

Porcelain Veneers

What are veneers?

A porcelain veneer is a thin shell of porcelain that covers the front, the edge, and a small portion of the back of an anterior tooth. Veneers are used for cosmetic as well as reconstructive purposes: to cover up stained and worn-down teeth, as a means to straighten slightly crooked teeth, to change the shape and color of your teeth or to restore teeth with failing older, unsightly white or mercury fillings.

How much of my tooth is removed with veneers?

Compared with older fashioned crowns, you don't have to take away a lot of enamel with veneers, and some veneers don't require any removal of tooth structure at all! Proper planning and expertise always leads to the optimal aesthetic success and beauty.

Will my veneers change color?

Porcelain doesn't stain like most other dental materials or even natural teeth, keeping the shade of the veneers stable for their lifetime.

How long does it take to get a set of veneers, or even just one?

We can work quickly if that is your request, or we may take a longer period of time to ensure your satisfaction with the aesthetic result. Cosmetic dentistry is an art as well as a technical exercise. It is not always easy to arrive at the beauty that is in your mind's eye. We take the time necessary to produce exquisite smiles. We can also work as quickly as one week from start to finish, if that is the request.

How many veneers do I need?

This question is best answered by looking into your own smile. If you check out your upper smile from the side as well as the front, a veneer candidate will frequently count from 8 to 10 teeth that matter in the display of a good smile. The lower teeth may matter less, or even more so to some people. Frequently a full makeover entails 20 teeth. A conservative plan considers 4 to 8 for a moderate change.

How long do veneers last?

Veneers can chip or break under severe conditions, and may have to be replaced. In my experience only the strongest materials we have today are more durable than the teeth they are restoring! We stand by our work unconditionally for 2 years.

Other Common Questions

What can I do about bad breath?

Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, including the types of food you ingest, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and other causes. Going to your dentist will help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so you can take steps to eliminate it.

Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene and regular checkups with the dentist will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth, which emit odors. It will also help prevent or treat periodontal disease (gum disease) caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist). Finally, make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any residue.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Are you unhappy with your smile? There are several possible ways to improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry. Options can range from whitening to veneers to crowns, with or without Invisalign® clear aligners preceding your care. Essentially, anything to improve your smile could be considered in this field, however, Dr. Jonathan Ford has studied extensively and committed a large part of the practice to offering exceptional smile transformations, from the most subtle nuanced changes to extreme makeovers televised on the networks and in magazines.

What is the easiest way to improve my smile?

The least invasive route is whitening your teeth. This can be done in the office or at home. Keep in mind, whitening does not work well for tetracycline stained teeth, and does not whiten tooth colored fillings or porcelain very much.

What are composite fillings?

Composite is a tooth colored resin/ceramic filling material of many different forms that can be bonded to your teeth to create an excellent restoration. Resin is used for white fillings and, in some cases, as an in-office veneer material. Resin veneers are less expensive and less invasive than porcelain veneers, but don't have the some longevity. These materials are not the most ideal since the resin plastic is excellent but not as strong as the porcelain restorative choices available.

Should I get my mercury fillings removed?

Our position on mercury based “amalgam” fillings is that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While we very rarely place amalgam fillings in this office and almost exclusively use white composite fillings, amalgam fillings can last in your mouth for 20-30 plus years without creating issues. The research shows that the only times you are exposed to measurable amounts of mercury are during the placement or removal of the fillings. So, if the filling looks good clinically, it can stay in your mouth unless you have objections to it for other health reasons.

What are the options for mercury replacement?

The answer is a very definite: It depends! The larger the existing filling and defect, the more research shows that reinforcement with stronger materials is necessary. Today's onlay restorations are frequently made of extremely durable pressed ceramics. Smaller restorations can be replaced with cost effective white fillings. These fillings can last quite some time but, again, size is the limiting factor as they are 1/3 the strength of porcelain or ceramic bonded restorations. We will advise you when we see you as to your options.

Is the mercury dangerous to remove?

For those concerned about the metal debris, we are prepared to use special measures to protect you. Removal is not considered a health risk by the profession.

At what age should I take my child to the dentist?

This is a question asked by many parents, and what probably is the simplest answer is that the first visit should be done on or a few weeks after the child’s first birthday. Surprising, yes, but not exactly unnecessary, considering that lots of children get cavities as early as the age of 2. To prevent your child from suffering from cavities at such an early age, a visit to the dentist can help you with that.

During the visit, you'll be taught how to manage your child's oral hygiene and diet, as well as a few other vital information such as:

Proper oral care, specifically for infants and toddlers
Appropriate use of fluoride for your child's age
Finger and thumb sucking, as well as other oral habits and their effect on your child's teeth
Preventative measures for facial and oral problems
Teeth and milestones of development to watch out for
How diet and oral health is associated

After the first visit, your dentist will then create a schedule of follow-up visits based on your child’s needs and risks. It’s important that you follow up as it will help you and your child’s dentist monitor your child’s teeth as he or she grows up.

Choosing a Dentist for Your Child
While today’s dental schools have better prepared new graduates to provide care for young children, it’s better to go to a dentist that’s familiar and comfortable with infants and toddlers. Pediatric dentists are dentists who specialize in the care of young children. You can look them up in your local yellow page, or online. You can also ask for referrals from your friends, or even from your own dentist.

What to Do During the Visit
Initially, your child may act fussy during parts or throughout the whole dental visit. That’s normal. However, don’t be surprised if your child stays calm and even enjoys it when the dentist starts examining him or her.

Also, be sure to take another adult with you as often as possible, preferably someone who your child is familiar with. This is to allow you the ability to talk comfortably with the dentist, while at the same time, not having to worry much about your child. Don’t forget to bring an extra diaper and a snack for your child. You may also want to bring your child’s favorite toy or any other familiar object to help calm him or her down.

By taking your child early on, you help him or her get acquainted with the dental office and the dentist. This early positive association makes them see that the dental office is a comfortable and safe place. This also makes it less likely for them to develop dental fear and phobia, which will make it easier to take them to regular dental trips early on.

What to Ask the Dentist
While most pediatric dentists will make it a point that you, the parent, learn as much as you can about your child’s dental health during the first visit, it’s still important that you have a checklist of things that you’ll want to know.

This checklist should include:

How your child's teeth are developing
Your responsibilities as a parent in maintaining your child's oral health
A schedule for follow-up checkups
Your child's risk factors for cavities and other dental problems

Maintaining excellent oral health starts at an early age. By taking your child to the dentist as early as their first birthday, you put them on the right path of enjoying healthy teeth and gums well into their adulthood.

Why do I have bad breath?

Sometimes referred to as halitosis, bad breath is most often caused by poor oral hygiene habits. However, unhealthy food choices, infections in the mouth, regular alcohol intake and smoking are also likely culprits. Other possible suspects include, but are not limited to systemic diseases such as diabetes, acid reflux, stomach digestion problems, dry mouth, and respiratory tract infections.

Signs and Symptoms
While it’s universally known as bad breath, the smell the mouth gives off depends on the source or the underlying cause. There are even cases where people who have no bad breath think that their mouth gives off an undesirable odor. Likewise, there are those who are actually suffering from bad breath, but are oblivious to it.

The best way to tell is to ask a relative, or someone close to you, to smell your breath. While the mouth does always give off a distinct odor, that of bad breath is different and often stands out.

Possible Causes
There are many possible causes for bad breath.

For example, if you do not take proper care of your mouth and teeth, as in you don’t brush or floss regularly, the food you eat will stay in your mouth. There, it will collect bacteria and cause bad breath. Even worse is that the food particles that are not cleaned can rot, resulting into an unpleasant odor.

The food you eat is also a huge factor, as onions, and garlic, among many others can cause bad breath. However, the odor can easily be eliminated by regularly brushing and flossing teeth, as well as by using mouthwash.

Skipping meals has also been known to cause bad breath and as such, is often discouraged.

Frequent smoking of tobacco products and regular alcohol intake can also cause bad breath. If you have developed an addiction to any one of these substances, be sure to seek professional help.

The lack of saliva may also cause bad breath, as saliva plays an important role in cleansing the mouth and removing food particles that may possibly cause bad breath. This is why those who have dry mouths often also suffer from halitosis. Fortunately, dry mouth can be remedied by increasing fluid intake and chewing sugarless candy. In worse cases, the dentist may prescribe an artificial saliva.

How To Tell If You Have Bad Breath
For an accurate diagnosis, it is best to go directly to the dentist.

The dentist can check your teeth and mouth for any problems, as well as refer you to another doctor or medical professional if the underlying cause of the undesirable odor in your mouth is not within the scope of his or her expertise.

To avoid having to deal with the hassle of going to the dentist to have your teeth and mouth checked if it smells bad, or in worse cases, being embarrassed by someone telling you that your breath “stinks”, it’s best to practice proper oral care at home.

A proper oral care routine involves brushing twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing daily. Both can help control the development of plaque and remove as much food particles from your mouth, preventing them from rotting or decaying.

It is also important to visit the dentist as regularly as twice a year for dental checkups and professional cleaning to make sure that the teeth are as clean and as healthy as they possibly can be.

Can flossing help kill bad breath?

There are plenty of factors that go into why you’re suffering from bad breath or halitosis, and not making a habit out of flossing regularly is chief among them.

When you eat, tiny bits of food often remain inside your mouth and some may be lodged hard in areas where your toothbrush just can’t reach. If left unchecked, the said food particles will collect bacteria, which is primarily what causes bad breath. Of course, certain food items can be to blame as well, such as garlic. But, that’s for another topic.

Now, taking care of such food particles is where flossing comes in. In particular, flossing can help you reach the areas around and under the gum line which are the most common areas where toothbrushes can’t reach. The gaps between your teeth are also notorious for trapping food particles and again, flossing helps take care of that.

So, if you’re currently dealing with bad breath, it may be time to buy yourself a dental floss and make a habit out of using it.

Not only can flossing help prevent halitosis, but doing it regularly along with brushing your teeth can help prevent gum disease, as well as tooth decay.

Additional tips for flossing

If you're already suffering from halitosis, you may want to see to it that you go through all the spaces in between your teeth. This way, all the germs that may have been hiding along the gum line are removed and taken care of.
It is recommended to floss your teeth after every meal so that all the food particles, as well as bacteria are properly removed from your mouth and teeth. If that's not possible, try to floss AT LEAST once a day.
Should a dental floss be unavailable, you can use a toothpick or an interproximal brush, whichever you're comfortable with.
If you feel that you're not doing enough or you're not flossing right, don't hesitate to ask for help from your dentist the next time you have your teeth checked. They'll be more than happy to help teach you how to floss your teeth properly.

Do keep in mind that there are cases wherein even if you do brush and floss your teeth regularly, you may still suffer from halitosis. Don’t be alarmed. A dry mouth, which may be a side effect of certain medications, can cause bad breath. Stress and excessively breathing through your mouth may also result in halitosis.

Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to take care of your teeth. So, be sure to brush your teeth regularly after every meal and make a habit out of flossing every day. Also, don’t forget to schedule regular checkups with your dentist so that your teeth are checked regularly for any early signs and symptoms. If bad breath persists despite practicing good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, be sure to visit your medical doctor. There are cases where chronic bad breath may be a symptom of something more serious, such as bronchitis, diabetes and/or liver problems.

How can my health affect my smile?

Proper dental hygiene is important for our teeth. That much we all know. After all, how could we not? There are dozens of commercials and ads that all but rub that nifty piece of information in our face. But, if there’s one thing that most people don’t know about proper dental hygiene is that it’s not just so that your teeth can look sparkly white.

The truth is that poor dental care can lead to far more serious problems than a simple, albeit annoying, toothache or yellowish teeth.

How so?

Cardiovascular Disease
Or, heart disease, if you will. Inflamed gums and periodontal disease are both the results of bacteria buildup in your teeth and sometimes, the same bacteria can enter your bloodstream. From there, it may travel to your heart and may cause the hardening of the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. The said condition causes the development of plaque in the inner walls of your arteries, which will thicken over time and obstruct blood flow throughout your whole body. This then may heighten your risk for stroke or heart attack. There are also cases that where the lining of the heart becomes inflamed and infected, leading to a condition known as endocarditis.

Complications with Diabetes
Inflamed gums and periodontal disease can make life even worse for diabetics, which is very unfortunate since they’re already prone to both. Thus, if you are suffering from diabetes or know someone who is, reminding them to take proper care of their teeth and visit the dentist every once in a while may just be the best thing you can do for them.

Respiratory Infections
Nobody would blame you if you ever thought that your lungs and your teeth have little to no connection whatsoever. Though, it seems that notion is slightly false. Studies have shown that breathing in bacteria from bacteria in your mouth, such as those resulting from gum disease, for a prolonged period of time may result to respiratory infections, like pneumonia.

If, by any chance, the bacteria from Gingivitis don't end up traveling to your heart and causing heart complications, it may end up going to your head, which is even worse. Traveling either through the nerve channels or through your bloodstream, the said bacteria may cause complications in your brain and may even lead to Alzheimer's as a result.

The Message Is Clear
Now that you see proper dental care in a much different light than before, it may be a good time to start sticking to a proper daily routine.

Brush your teeth twice a day (or more), learn how to floss and more importantly, visit your dentist every once in a while to have your teeth, as well as your mouth checked or cleaned. You may also want to encourage family members and close friends to the same as well.

Remember, proper dental hygiene is no longer just for your teeth. It’s to help you live a better and longer life.