A Family Dentist FAQ

New Port Richey Dental Services

Don't see your question addressed below? Call our office at (727) 645-0766 to schedule a consultation!

How often should I see my dentist?

Come visit A Family Dentist every six months for a dental cleaning. We may recommend that some patients book cleanings every three to four months. These cleanings allow us to keep an eye on your oral health and help you prevent any problems before they cause pain or require complex or expensive treatments.

Do silver fillings, fluoride, or x-rays pose a health risk?

Silver filling material, also called dental amalgam, is a combination of mercury and an alloy of silver, copper, and tin. Patients are exposed to less mercury in silver fillings than they are in food, air, and water. If you are still concerned, however, other materials including porcelain, gold, and composite resins, may be used for restorations.

Fluoride is found naturally in water, air, soil and most foods. Tooth enamel, especially still-growing baby teeth, absorbs fluoride easily. Fluoride helps make fully developed teeth resistant to decay. It also assists in restoring minerals to teeth, which in turn helps repair decay at the onset, before the damage becomes visible.

Radiographs, also referred to as x-rays, help us detect periodontal disease, abscesses, and abnormal growths such as cysts and tumors, as well as determine the degree to which these issues are present. They allow us to locate cavities and other signs of disease that may not be detectable during a visual exam. We know you may have concerns about radiation exposure. We will only take x-rays when we feel they are necessary and appropriate. We make sure to stay up to date on recent technological advances, like digital radiography, so that we are sure to minimize your exposure to radiation.

What causes tooth decay?

When plaque in your mouth reacts with starchy or sugary food deposits, acid is produced. This acid damages tooth enamel over time, weakening the tooth. This is known as tooth decay.

How are a cap and a crown different?

They are two names for the same thing. There is no difference.

Why does my jaw to pop when I open my mouth?

A disk, or pad, separates the jaw bone from the base of the skull. When you open your mouth too wide, the jaw bone may “pop” off the pad or disk. Unless the “pop” causes you pain or your jaw locks, it is not cause for concern.

Can professional bleaching damage my teeth?

No. The active whitening agent, carbamide peroxide, releases hydrogen peroxide when it combines with water. Hydrogen peroxide whitens teeth without causing them to soften, weaken, or lose mineral content.

Can I use over-the-counter bleaching products to whiten my teeth?

Some over-the-counter bleaching products do offer whitening benefits, but are often too abrasive and may be damaging when used incorrectly or too frequently. The safest and most effective way to whiten your teeth is to call A Family Dentist at (727) 645-0766 and schedule our professional teeth whitening service.

What does it mean if my gums bleed while I brush?

Bleeding gums often indicate the onset of gingivitis. Gingivitis is fairly common and potentially serious, as it can lead to bone loss or even tooth loss, but it is also very treatable. Proper brushing and flossing can reverse the symptoms within a few weeks and continue to prevent it in the future. If bleeding continues beyond two to three weeks of proper dental hygiene, schedule an appointment for us to determine if there may be another underlying cause.

How do I know if I have gum disease?

Periodontal, or gum, disease happens when bacteria along the gum line causes irritation and inflammation. Bacteria then goes deeper under the gum line when the gums bleed and swell. Left unchecked, the inflammation leads to the bone demineralizing and dissolving, which deprives teeth of their support structure and causes them to fall out. Unfortunately, patients rarely feel any pain until the disease is advanced to a stage where treatment is unlikely to be effective. If you regularly experience bleeding gums, call us at (727) 645-0766 to begin treating your gum disease.

What causes bad breath? How can I prevent it?

Halitosis, the medical name for bad breath, usually results from poor oral hygiene. It may also come from food stuck in your teeth, gum disease, sinus drainage, or gastrointestinal issues. You can eliminate halitosis-causing bacteria and food particles by making sure to include your tongue, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth when brushing, and flossing to remove bacteria, plaque, and trapped food from between the teeth. In a pinch, mouth rinses provide temporary relief of bad breath. Let us know if the problem persists, as it might indicate an underlying issue.

Does using a water irrigation system mean I don’t have to floss?

Sorry, you still need to brush and floss! Water irrigation devices do an excellent job of removing food particles from hard-to-reach areas, but they do not remove plaque. If we are treating you for gum disease, we may recommend using this device with an antibacterial solution to help maintain your oral health.

How do I stop grinding my teeth?

This damaging habit can be very difficult to stop. Vigorous grinding during the night may wear down teeth to the gum line since your reflex to stop is immobilized while you sleep. We can prescribe a night guard to help prevent damage. We’re happy to discuss other quitting methods during your exam.

How can I get rid of canker sores?

Aphthous ulcers, commonly called canker sores, are extremely difficult to treat. No technique has proven to eliminate them or get rid of them faster once they appear. Some medications can provide temporary pain relief, but they must be started as soon as symptoms appear. They usually go away on their own within 7-10 days.

Are dentures my only option?

No. Patients with missing teeth or teeth damaged beyond repair may be candidates for dental implants. Implants, when strategically placed, can support permanent bridges in place of dentures. Implants have become a popular alternative to dentures, but they are not suitable for everyone. Our New Port Richey dentist can determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.

When should wisdom teeth be removed?

If our dentist determines wisdom teeth need to be removed, we recommend the procedure be completed when the roots are approximately two-thirds formed, generally during the adolescent years. This makes for an easier procedure and decreases the risk of damage to the nerves in that area.

When should I bring in my child for a first dentist visit?

We recommend the first visit sometime around 18 to 24 months. Every child is different, and some may need more time to be comfortable at the dentist. If you notice a problem or area of concern, contact A Family Dentist at (727) 645-0766. We can advise on the best course of action.

When can I expect my child to start losing baby teeth?

Children usually start to lose teeth at around 5 years old. The front teeth are generally the first to come out. Until all of the permanent teeth have erupted, by age 12 or 13, children will continue to lose their baby teeth.

Will thumb-sucking damage my child’s teeth?

Generally, thumb-sucking prior to age 5 won’t cause any permanent damage. If thumb-sucking continues beyond that, or it is especially vigorous and constant, it can cause moderate to severe shifting of teeth and may prevent normal bone growth.

Why should baby teeth be fixed if they have decay since they will ultimately fall out anyway?

Baby teeth hold space for the permanent teeth. If a baby tooth becomes damaged, develops decay, or is removed too soon, the permanent teeth may not have enough space to erupt. This often leads to expensive and uncomfortable orthodontic treatment. Decaying baby teeth may also disrupt or hinder the development of the permanent teeth, which may cause stains, weakened teeth, or other issues.

My child had a tooth knocked out. What do I do?

For permanent teeth, put the tooth back into the socket immediately. It doesn’t need to be in straight or even facing the right way, but it needs to be in the socket as soon as possible. Then call us right away at (727) 645-0766. If you can’t return the tooth to the socket, put it in a glass of milk and bring your child and the tooth to see us as quickly as possible. For baby teeth, do not try to put it back in the socket. This may damage the permanent tooth underneath. When in doubt, put the tooth in milk and see your dentist immediately.

Is it necessary for my child to wear a mouth guard while playing sports?

When playing any contact sport, we strongly recommend that children, and even adults, wear a mouth guard. Preventing an injury is easier and less expensive than repairing one. Start your child using a mouth guard early and it will become second nature to use one.

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