Frequent Dental Questions
At Premier Dental Care, we do our best to answer any of our patients’ frequently asked questions about dentistry and oral health issues. The information below covers many common topics. If you have any other questions that are specific to your personal needs or if you would like to schedule an appointment in our office near Reston Town Center, please contact us. Dr. Bakhtyari and our team of hygienists would love to see you for a consultation.
What should I do if I have bad breath?
Bad breath can be unpleasant and embarrassing. There are numerous reasons for bad breath. In healthy individuals of all ages, the primary reason is due to bacterial deposits on the tongue. Studies have shown that by brushing your tongue, you can reduce instances of bad breath by 70%.
Other causes of bad breath include bacterial growth during the nighttime, certain diets or foods with strong odors (such as garlic, onions, etc), dry mouth, poor oral hygiene habits (not brushing or flossing regularly), excessive usage of alcohol or tobacco products, and periodontal (gum) disease.
Bad breath can also be caused by dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances, dry mouth (xerostomia), and certain medications.
To prevent bad breath, Dr. Bakhtyari and the dental hygienists at Premier Dental Care recommend that every patient practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and remember to brush your tongue too. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from between your teeth and under the gum line.
How often should I brush and floss?
Regular brushing and flossing helps to control the growth and spread of plaque and bacteria that cause bad breath, gingivitis, and periodontal disease.
On the surfaces of your teeth, plaque is a film of food debris, saliva, and bacteria that causes tooth decay. The spread of plaque can only be controlled by regular brushing and flossing.
On toothbrushing: Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially after meals and before bedtime) with an ADA-approved soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste. It is best to brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, using small, circular motions. Electric toothbrushes are often recommended by Dr. Bakhtyari and the dental hygienists at Premier Dental Care due to their efficiency.
On flossing: Flossing once a day is the best way to remove food debris from between your teeth and under the gum line. Flossing prevents plaque build-up and prevents damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Take 12-16 inches of floss and wrap it around two of your fingers, leaving about two inches between the hands. To clean each tooth, curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and work it gently beneath the gum line. Repeat with each tooth and finish with a water or fluoride rinse.
Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?
The dental amalgam controversy begins with conflicting views over the use of amalgam as a filling material mainly because it contains a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc that’s bound by elemental mercury. The controversy stems from a perceived risk from exposure to the mercury in the amalgam.
The American Dental Association (ADA) states that silver amalgam fillings are safe for use and that recent studies have failed to find any link between amalgam fillings and medical disorders. The same findings have been proclaimed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The general consensus is that amalgam fillings are safe. The ADA also maintains that mercury combined with the other components in the amalgam filling becomes an entirely inactive substance.
How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
To maintain proper oral health, you and your family members should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year (every six months) unless otherwise directed by Dr. Bakhtyari or your dental hygienist.
Regular dental exams prevent dental problems and maintain good health for your teeth and gums. At every visit, your teeth are cleaned, polished, and checked for signs of decay or cavities. Your medical history is reviewed. There may be an examination of diagnostic X-rays for early detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. Additionally, Dr. Bakhtyari will perform an oral cancer screening around your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, and gums.
At Premier Dental Care, we also provide a gum disease evaluation for every patient. During this process, we check the gums and bone around the teeth for signs of periodontitis (periodontal disease). Your dental hygienist will also examine any existing restorations to ensure their stability (fillings, crowns, dental bridges, etc).
How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?
It is estimated that four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t even know it. Most people are unaware of the disease because it is typically painless in the earliest stages. Having regular dental check-ups at Premier Dental Care and periodontal examinations will help detect signs of periodontal disease before the problem worsens.
Some of the potential signs of periodontal disease include red and puffy gums, bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, receding gums, tenderness or discomfort in the mouth, and growing spaces between the teeth related to bone loss.
Periodontal disease begins when plaque and food debris is left on the surfaces of the teeth. The bacteria produces toxins that infect the gums and slowly erode the supporting bone structure. There are numerous other oral concerns that may contribute to the onset of periodontitis, including smoking or chewing tobacco, old dental appliances, and some medications. Additionally, pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty may cause changes in hormone levels and result in gum tissue becoming sensitive to bacteria and toxins.
Brushing and flossing regularly, as well as a balanced diet and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease over time.
Why is it important to use dental floss?
Brushing your teeth only removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from the tooth surfaces. Your toothbrush can’t reach between the teeth, and these areas are highly susceptible to bacterial deposits and decay that leads to periodontal disease.
Flossing once a day is the best way to remove food debris from between your teeth and under the gum line. Flossing prevents plaque build-up and prevents damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Take 12-16 inches of floss and wrap it around two of your fingers, leaving about 2 inches between the hands. To clean each tooth, curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and work it gently beneath the gum line. Repeat with each tooth and finish with a water or fluoride rinse.
How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?
If you are self-conscious about your teeth and smile and would like to improve the aesthetics of your appearance, cosmetic dentistry may be the answer.
Cosmetic dentistry has become enormously popular in recent decades due to the advancements in cosmetic dental procedures. Additionally, patients are more focused on improving their overall appearance and oral health. This focus includes having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile.
There are many cosmetic dental procedures and products available through Premier Dental Care. Depending on your unique needs, Dr. Bakhtyari may recommend a small restorative procedure or a comprehensive makeover.
Cosmetic procedures at Premier Dental Care include:
- Teeth Whitening to lighten stains or discolored areas on the teeth.
- Composite Fillings. Also known as “tooth-colored” fillings, these serve to replace old silver fillings.
- Porcelain Veneers, which are thin, custom-crafted, tooth-colored restorations that are bonded to the fronts of individual teeth.
- Porcelain Crowns or caps, which are tooth-colored, custom-crafted coverings that encapsulate the entire tooth surface.
- Orthodontics. To correct teeth and bite alignment, advances in modern dentistry have given patients numerous choices in their orthodontic treatment selection. Patients can choose from metal braces, Invisalign braces, ceramic braces, retainers, and other orthodontic devices.
What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?
In cases of discolored or stained teeth, uneven spaces, and worn or misshapen teeth, porcelain veneers are an excellent choice. Veneers are thin, custom-crafted, and tooth-colored restorations that are bonded to the fronts of individual teeth. Veneers are durable and will not stain, making them an excellent solution for patients seeking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile.
Veneers are custom-crafted from an impression of your teeth. The impression is sent to a professional dental laboratory and each veneer is custom-shaped to match your smile. The veneers are bonded directly to the teeth.
What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
Teeth whitening procedures have become an aesthetic interest for many patients. There are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter, whiter smile.
At Premier Dental Care, we recommend professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) as an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Many over-the-counter products are available, but they nowhere near as effective as professional treatment. Also, some over-the-counter products may not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
If you are concerned about stains or yellowing of your teeth, it’s important to have your teeth evaluated by Dr. Bakhtyari or your dental hygienist to determine if you’re a candidate for professional bleaching.
Note: Teeth-whitening procedures only work on natural tooth enamel. It is important to have Dr. Bakhtyari or your dental hygienist evaluate your existing fillings, crowns, etc before a bleaching treatment begins. Once the teeth bleaching procedure is complete, Dr. Bakhtyari can match the new restorations to the newly-whitened teeth.