General Dentistry FAQ
General dentistry is professional dental care oriented toward preventing disease. At Altamonte Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry, we offer a wide range of quality general dentistry services. Here we have provided answers to some frequently asked questions about general dentistry.
What services are included in general dentistry?
General dentistry involves a wide array of dental services important to your oral and general health. At Altamonte Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry, we provide a full scope of general dentistry services including:
- Preventive dentistry: Services in the preventive dentistry category include x-rays, dental exams, and teeth cleaning, as well as fluoride treatments and sealants. Seeing your dentist regularly for preventive care can help stop disease before it starts in your mouth.
- Tooth restoration: No matter how diligently your brush and floss, you may need a filling at some point. At Altamonte Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry, we provide our patients with metal-free fillings made of porcelain or resin materials for a natural appearance and no more metal mouth. Unlike metal fillings of the past, our non-metal fillings will not expand and contract with temperature changes to weaken the structure of your teeth.
- Overall health issues: Oral health mirrors general health in many respects. Untreated oral infections can lead to pregnancy complications, cardiovascular disease, and poor control of diabetes. Our knowledgeable dentists are trained to identify health issues and provide appropriate treatment or referral as needed.
Why is it so important to have professional teeth cleaning?
Professional cleaning at the dentist’s office is designed to complement your brushing and flossing routine. While good at-home oral hygiene is essential, our dental professionals can provide a more thorough cleaning than can be accomplished at home. Professional teeth cleaning removes tartar and plaque, helps prevent gum disease, and polishes the teeth.
How often should I have a dental cleaning and exam?
We recommend a routine dental exam and cleaning at least twice a year for most patients. Depending on the patient’s individual oral care needs, we may recommend more frequent visits. Regular exams and cleanings are important in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.
Should I have my silver fillings removed?
We may recommend removing an old metal filling that is defective or may lead to problems in the future. Some people choose to have their metal fillings removed and replaced with natural-looking, tooth-colored non-metal fillings for cosmetic reasons. Porcelain and composite fillings are safer and look far superior to traditional metal fillings.
What makes non-metal fillings so much better than traditional metal fillings?
Porcelain and composite fillings are better than silver and mercury alloy fillings for both aesthetic and functional reasons. Non-metal porcelain and composite fillings:
- Can be color matched to your teeth for a natural appearance
- Can last a lifetime
- Contain no mercury (a toxic substance in traditional metal fillings)
- Serve as a better sealant to help reduce decay
- Bond with the tooth to add strength and stability
- Are less sensitive to heat and cold
What does preventive dentistry entail?
Simply stated, preventive dentistry provided by your dentist is professional care for your teeth and mouth to keep them healthy. At Altamonte Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry we offer preventative dental procedures that include:
- X-rays: This time-honored diagnostic tool allows your dentist to see problems that are not visible to the naked eye. Our advanced digital X-ray technology can provide three-dimensional images for exceptional identification of a range of oral health issues and is safer for the patient.
- Teeth cleaning: Dental cleanings help prevent oral disease by removing plaque and tartar from your teeth, particularly in hard-to-reach places and near the gum line.
- Fluoride treatments: Fluoride is a mineral used to improve the structure of the teeth. Fluoride treatments can make the teeth stronger and more resistant to decay, and may even reverse decay in the beginning stages.
- Sealants: This preventative dental treatment can help prevent cavities from forming. Sealants are invisible plastic coatings applied to the teeth that fill in tiny grooves in hard-to-reach back teeth. Having sealants applied can help make it possible to avoid fillings in the future.
- Oral cancer screenings: Early detection and treatment is the best defense against oral cancer. We routinely perform oral cancer screenings with every dental exam.
- Mouth guards: Standard protective equipment for athletes, mouth guards help absorb and distribute forces of impact to the teeth and gums. They are also used to help lessen or prevent damage caused to the teeth by bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching).
Who is a good candidate for fluoride treatments?
Fluoride treatments may be a good option for patients who need extra protection against decay. Fluoride is a natural mineral used to re-mineralize the teeth. This treatment can strengthen tooth enamel and help prevent decay.
A good candidate for fluoride treatment may be:
- A young child with a higher risk of cavities
- A person who consumes sugary or acidic foods and beverages
- Someone who suffers from dry mouth or tooth decay
- A smoker
- A person who does not get enough fluoride through diet or dental treatment
What causes sensitive teeth?
Teeth that are sensitive to heat and cold can be painful. This is a common condition, affecting 40 million people in the U.S., according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Several factors can contribute to sensitive teeth, including:
- Worn tooth enamel
- Tooth erosion caused by highly acidic beverages and foods
- Broken teeth, tooth decay, and worn, leaky fillings
- Gum recession exposing the root surface
- Teeth grinding at night
- Temporary sensitivity post dental treatment such as crowns, fillings, and teeth whitening
What can a dentist do to treat teeth sensitivity?
At Altamonte Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry, treatment for sensitive teeth will depend on the underlying cause. It may be as simple as filling a decayed tooth or replacing a worn metal filling. If sensitivity is caused by gum loss exposing the root surfaces of the teeth, we may recommend periodontal gum grafting to support the teeth and protect the surfaces of the roots.
Fluoride treatments can strengthen tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity. Over-the-counter desensitizing toothpastes used on a regular basis for approximately two weeks, can also help desensitize your teeth.