We've provided answers to a number of
commonly asked dental questions. If you have a question that is not
addressed here, please call us at (727) 797-8800. We look forward to
resolving all of your dental concerns.
While bad breath might be a symptom of some other disorder, it most
likely stems from dental decay and periodontitis. Periodontitis is a
disease affecting gums and bone that support the teeth, and it results
from inadequate tooth brushing and flossing. In this disease, the
irritated gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets between the
teeth and the gums. These pockets fill with bacteria which give off a
Patients with bad breath need a complete dental evaluation. If gum
disease and/or dental decay are diagnosed, it can be treated readily.
The patient will no longer have an infection in his or her mouth, and
he or she will no longer have the embarrassment of bad breath.
Q: Is there an easy way of repairing my chipped tooth?
A: Cosmetic bonding is an affordable, quick and painless way to repair many cosmetic flaws or injuries, including:
Gaps in teeth
Spots or stains
Dental bonding sculpts individual teeth without requiring removal of
any tooth structure. This technique bonds a composite material that
looks, acts and feels like the real thing, to an existing tooth. This
procedure usually doesn't require the use of an anesthetic; is
relatively quick to apply; gives an immediate result and is less
expensive than veneers.
A: Bleaching is a safe, effective and relatively easy means of
producing a whiter smile. We offer several options for whitening your
In-office bleaching- A bleaching solution is applied to your teeth
and is activated by heat and light. This in-office procedure typically
lasts 30 minutes to one hour and significantly whitens teeth after only
one visit. Although stubborn stains may require another visit, results
generally last for years and can be maximized with regular dental
At-home bleaching- During a visit to your dentist, you will
be given a whitening gel and fitted with a custom-made whitening tray.
Once you return home, you apply the gel to the tray and wear it for two
to three hours per day for two or three weeks.
Even with today's advanced whitening techniques, not everyone's teeth
will whiten with the same results. During the visit with your dentist,
your situation will be carefully evaluated and you will be advised
A: Porcelain veneers are often used for the same reasons as bonding; to
lighten stains, close gaps and even alter crooked or malformed teeth.
You can change the shape, color and length of your teeth using veneers.
They are thin, durable shells designed to cover the front of the tooth.
They are typically made of porcelain and are extremely durable, stain
resistant, natural-looking and easy to maintain.
Veneers are custom-fitted to your teeth by removing a small amount of
enamel and bonding the veneer to your teeth using a safe, high tech
polymer resin. You can expect veneers to stay bright and strong for
many years by performing good oral hygiene.
Q: Why do I need a crown instead of a bigger filling?
A: Teeth are often restored using silver or composite fillings.
However, when too much of a tooth's structure is removed to support a
filling, a crown or "cap" may be needed. A crown may be needed to:
Restore a tooth when it is unable to support a large filling
Protect a weak tooth from fracturing or restore fractured teeth
Cover badly shaped or discolored teeth
Cover dental implants
A crown essentially covers a tooth to restore it to its natural shape
and size. This permanent covering fits over your original tooth to
strengthen or improve the appearance of the tooth. Fitting a crown
generally requires at least two visits to the dentist's office.
Q: What do I do if my tooth is loose or knocked out?
A: Know the proper first aid for saving a loose or dislocated tooth. If
the tooth is loose, even extremely so, but is still attached in any
way, leave it in place; do not remove it. If it is out of its socket
completely and unattached, but still in the victim's mouth, it is best
to have the person hold it there, if possible, until a dentist can
attempt re-implantation. If it is out of the mouth, do not let it dry
out. Handle it as little as possible.
Do not attempt to disinfect the tooth, or scrub it, or remove any
tissue attached to it. If it is recovered from the ground or other
soiled area, rinse it off in lukewarm water. Preserve it in milk until
a dentist is available. If milk is not available, lukewarm water will
Time out of the socket is critical in the long-term success of
re-implantation. After 30 minutes, the success potential begins to
decline. However, re-implantation is still possible after several
hours, so the attempt can still be made even if the tooth has been out
for a long period.
A: More seniors today have retained their own teeth, avoiding the
trauma of removable dentures. Many are on medications creating dryness
of the mouth as a side effect. Without the natural benefit of saliva to
decrease bacterial action, we see an increase of cavities on the root
surfaces of these patients. Anyone on a medication causing a dry mouth
effect should be encouraged to see their dentist for regular dental
cleanings and topical fluoride rinses.
A: Gum disease, or more correctly called "periodontal disease", is a
bacterial infection in the gums and supporting structures of the teeth.
It is characterized by gum tissue that is red, puffy, and bleeds easily
when touched with a toothbrush, floss or dental instrument.
Advanced periodontal disease destroys the bone supporting the teeth,
causing eventual tooth loss. The treatment is more involved at these
stages, usually consisting of a special cleaning with anesthesia and
sometimes gum surgery. Periodontal disease can go on for years without
pain and without detection unless specific examination procedures are
performed. Effective prevention and treatment is available, but the
damage caused as the disease progresses is irreversible. Early
detection and treatment is critical to prevent tooth loss and
A: The loss of just a single tooth can set a course that can destroy an
entire mouth. Teeth will drift and tip into a space that is created by
missing teeth. When you lose a tooth, a dental implant may be needed to
replace the tooth root and crown. Dental implants are simply "anchors"
that permanently support replacement teeth. They are secure and durable
and can be cleaned and cared for much like your natural teeth.
The procedure requires a titanium root be fitted into your jaw to
replace the lost tooth's root. Once the implant is anchored into the
bone, the bone around the implant requires six weeks to six months of
healing. Once the bone has healed, a support post and replacement tooth
is anchored onto the implant.
A: When a tooth is missing, the resulting gap will allow nearby teeth
to tilt or drift from their normal position, and the teeth above the
gap will move downward. Aside from the obvious cosmetic problem, the
changed positions of these teeth can lead to severe bite problems
causing jaw pain and headaches.
Missing teeth should be replaced to keep other teeth in their normal
position. This can be done by means of a fixed bridge or a dental
implant. Both of these treatments offer a good functional and cosmetic
A: Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in
dental plaque damages the enamel of your teeth, leaving a hole or
cavity. Any part of a tooth can decay, from the roots below the gum line
to the chewing surface. If plaque bacteria reach and damage the pulp,
the tooth will likely die, because the pulp contains nerves and blood
vessels that supply the tooth. Tooth decay can occur due to a number of
issues, including poor brushing and flossing habits, diets rich in
sugar, the presence of risk factors such as smoking and lack of fluoride
in the water supply.
Q: What is Gingivitis?
A: Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is caused by a build up of plaque (bacteria) along the gumline due to inadequate brushing and not flossing regularly. Gingivitis is easily treated by having your teeth professionally cleaned and maintaining thorough brushing and flossing at home.