Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I need a Crown or Veneer?

Crowns, often referred to as “caps”, have many uses. A crown can be used to restore strength and function to a tooth that was damaged by decay or a failed restoration. A crown can provide protection for a tooth that has had root canal treatment, and improve your bite.

How can Periodontal Treatment help me?

Gingivitis develops when the bacteria, also known as plaque collects on teeth causing the gum tissue to become irritated. The plaque hardens and turns to tartar, which also irritates the gum tissue. The gum tissue turns red, swollen, and bleeds easily.

When gingivitis is left untreated, periodontal disease develops. Periodontal disease can lead to bone loss and tooth loss. Some cases of periodontal disease can be treated without the need for surgery.

X-rays and measurements are taken to determine how much damage has been done to the gum and bone tissue.

Non-surgical treatment of periodontal disease involves a procedure known as scaling and if needed, a procedure called root planing. “Scaling” is where the bacteria, plaque, tartar, and calculus are removed from around the teeth and under the gumline to promote healing of the gum tissue. “Root planing” is used in addition to scaling to smooth the rough surfaces of the root caused by bacteria.

Once treatment has been completed, it is important to develop and follow a good oral hygiene routine. Failure to do so, will result in the gingivitis and periodontal disease returning.

What should I know about Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal therapy, root canal treatment, or endodontic treatment is not as horrible as the name sounds. It’s a procedure that can provide some much needed relief from the pain and discomfort from an abscessed tooth or a tooth in which the nerve has become irritated and sore.

A root canal does not remove the roots of the tooth, only the inside of the tooth is removed (nerve and diseased/damaged tissue). The procedure generally takes 1 to 3 appointments to complete.

During treatment, the nerve and diseased tissue are removed from inside the tooth and tooth is hollow on the inside. The inside of the tooth is sterilized and sealed with a rubber-like material called Gutta Percha.

Some teeth require the insertion of a metal post. The post is used for support of a crown.

Once the tooth has been sterilized, sealed and treatment is completed. A filling is often placed, but crown is recommended because a tooth that has undergone root canal treatment will become brittle and weak over time.

Care & Instructions following fillings.

The following discusses what you should expect after a filling has been placed for both children and adults.

There are two types of filling materials. One is amalgam (silver), and the other is composite (tooth colored). Silver fillings do not completely harden for 2-3 hours after placement. During this time, do not bite hard, eat, or chew crunchy or sticky snacks until at 3 hours after your dental visit. Composite fillings harden during the procedure so there is no delay in eating or drinking after the procedure.

Watch children if a local anesthetic was used. Children tend to chew, bite and play with their lips, cheeks, and tongue simply because they can’t feel them. They can cause serious harm to these tissues.

Tooth sensitivity, if any, is most noticeable in the first 12 to 24 hours after the filling was placed. The sensitivity should subside by the next day.

Gum sensitivity is normal, especially at the injection site, due to the filling procedure. The sensitivity should subside after a few days.

Fillings will feel “weird” for a day or two as your tongue adjusts to the contour and texture of the restoration.

Care & Instructions following Periodontal Treatment.

After your periodontal therapy is complete, you will begin to notice signs that your gums are healing within 2 to 3 days. You will notice them changing color from red and swollen, to a healthy, pink salmon color.

It is extremely important to follow the aftercare instructions for proper healing to take place and the success of your treatment.

Mild discomfort is normal after treatment. If you were given a local anesthetic during treatment, take 1 dose of an over-the-counter pain medicine before the numbness wears off. The numbness lasts an average of 1-2 hours. Take pain medicine as needed every 4-6 hours for the first day or two after treatment.

Plaque is constantly forming on our teeth. It is important to remove plaque and bacteria after treatment. Brush gently using a mild fluoridated tartar control toothpaste. It’s important to brush gently even though your gums are tender right after treatment.

The tenderness will subside as your gum tissue heals. For the first day, avoid crunchy, spicy, and hot foods such as raw vegetables, chips and pretzels, and hot coffee or soups. Rinsing with warm salt water helps ease some tenderness you may feel.

If your gum tissue is too sore, you can skip flossing and resume flossing the next day after treatment. Continue flossing each day for good oral health and to help prevent the periodontal disease from returning.

Care & Instructions following Crown or Bridge Treatment.

After your periodontal therapy is complete, you will begin to notice signs that your gums are healing within 2 to 3 days. You will notice them changing color from red and swollen, to a healthy, pink salmon color.

It is extremely important to follow the aftercare instructions for proper healing to take place and the success of your treatment.

Mild discomfort is normal after treatment. If you were given a local anesthetic during treatment, take 1 dose of an over-the-counter pain medicine before the numbness wears off. The numbness lasts an average of 1-2 hours. Take pain medicine as needed every 4-6 hours for the first day or two after treatment.

Plaque is constantly forming on our teeth. It is important to remove plaque and bacteria after treatment. Brush gently using a mild fluoridated tartar control toothpaste. It’s important to brush gently even though your gums are tender right after treatment.

The tenderness will subside as your gum tissue heals. For the first day, avoid crunchy, spicy, and hot foods such as raw vegetables, chips and pretzels, and hot coffee or soups. Rinsing with warm salt water helps ease some tenderness you may feel.

If your gum tissue is too sore, you can skip flossing and resume flossing the next day after treatment. Continue flossing each day for good oral health and to help prevent the periodontal disease from returning.

Care & Instructions following a Tooth Extraction.

One of the most common complications experienced after a tooth extraction, is a dry socket. A dry socket is the result of failure of the blood clot to properly form or becoming dislodged. A dry socket is painful, but it easily treatable. The following are important aftercare instructions to follow in order to promote proper healing and reduce your chances of developing a dry socket.

After the procedure, wet gauze is placed over the extraction site. The gauze controls bleeding and promotes the formation and healing of the blood clot. For 30 to 45 minutes after the extraction, bite down on the gauze and replace gauze as needed. You may notice a little bleeding for up to 2 days after the extraction. This is normal.

No smoking, using a straw, or eating hard, crunchy, chewy, or sticky foods for the first 3-4 days after the procedure is recommended.

For the first 24 hours after the extraction, drink a lot of fluids (avoid hot or carbonated beverages) and eat foods that don’t require much chewing.

Do not rinse your mouth until the next day after the procedure. On Day 2, gently rinse every 3-4 hours with a warm salt water solution of an 8 oz glass of water mixed with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Rinse after every meal.

Gently brush and floss as usual. Be careful around the extraction site. Do not “pick” at the extraction site. Avoid “playing” with the area with your tongue.

Some swelling and bruising may be noticeable after the procedure. An ice pack or cool cloth on the cheek will keep any swelling and bruising to a minimum.

Take pain medications as prescribed.

Care and Instructions following Endodontic (Root Canal) Treatment.

A root canal is a procedure to save a tooth from extraction, where the nerve in the tooth has become damaged or infected. The root canal procedure itself takes approximately 1 to 3 visits to complete. The following will discuss what you should do after root canal therapy has been completed and tooth has healed.

Sensitivity is the most common symptom people feel after an appointment. The tooth may be sensitive to pressure as well as hot or cool foods or liquids.

Swelling can also be present before or after the treatment. The swelling is often the result of a small localized infection in the tooth. Our dentist will usually prescribe antibiotics, if swelling persists please call our office.

After each visit, a temporary filling is often placed to protect the inside of the tooth between visits.

When eating, chew slowly and avoid hard crunchy or sticky foods during treatment. When the root canal treatment is completed, a crown is recommended for placement after the tooth has healed. The reason for this is because once the root canal has been completed, the inside of the tooth is essentially empty. The nerve was removed along with the blood supply that carries nutrients to the inside of the tooth, keeping the tooth moist and healthy. The tooth will eventually “dry out” and become brittle. A crown protects the tooth from breakage.