Q) How do I know when it is time to come in for a check-up?
We focus on preventive dentistry at Dubitsky Family Dental, and that’s why we recommend that you come to our Hillsborough office twice a year for check-ups. We make the same recommendation for children’s check-ups as well. For some patients, we may recommend more frequent visits if there are special issues present, but a visit every six months is the basic recommendation for getting the most out of your preventive dental care with us. Why? When you visit our office regularly, we are in a better position to find tiny problems early and stop them from becoming big ones.
Q) My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?
If and other part of your body was bleeding, you would do something about it, right? Many people don’t realize that bleeding gums signal common problems such as gum disease, brushing too hard, a vitamin deficiency and can be a sign of some medical conditions as well. We can determine which ones you may be suffering from and make recommendations for treatment. If you are suffering from gum disease, we can perform periodontal therapy and give you information on what to do at home to prevent the symptoms from progressing. Recent scientific studies have showed a link between periodontal disease and some medical conditions, including heart disease.
Q) What if I have bad breath?
Halitosis or bad breath occurs when noticeably unpleasant odors are exhaled in breathing. This can be a very unpleasant and embarrassing condition. The most common cause of halitosis is from bacteria residing on the tongue, especially towards the back. Studies have shown that by simply brushing your tongue can reduce odors by as much as 70%. Besides these bacterial deposits on the tongue, other common causes of bad breath include:
- Morning breath due to a decrease salivary flow during sleeping
- Certain foods, especially in the onion and garlic families
- Poor oral hygiene
- Gum disease and Periodontal Disease
- Tooth decay and abscesses
- Medications or medical issues that cause xerostomia (dry mouth)
- Ill-fitting removable appliances, including dentures and partial dentures
- Certain diets, specifically low carbohydrate diets that result in an increase in ketones in your blood
- Tobacco use
Visit our office to help to discover what may be your underlying cause for bad breath. Our dentists will provide useful information to help with this embarrassing condition.
Q) How often should I brush and floss?
Your teeth and gums are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that converts certain foods into acids that attack tooth enamel and cause decay (cavities). If plaque is not removed through proper brushing and flossing, it can harden and turn into calculus (tartar). If this plaque and calculus are not removed, they can cause the gums to become irritated and inflamed. Over time, if left untreated, the gums can actually pull away from the teeth and form pockets between the teeth and the gums. This destruction of gums and bones can result in periodontal disease. We recommend twice daily brushing and flossing to remove food particles and plaque that can cause decay and periodontal disease.
Place the toothbrush at a slight angle (about 45 degrees) toward the gums. Move the brush back and forth with short, gentle strokes. Do NOT place too much pressure on the gums or the gums may become irritated and start to recede. Make sure to brush ALL of the surfaces (outer, inner and chewing surfaces) of every tooth. To reach the outer surface of your back teeth, you may find it is easier if you close your mouth slightly after you insert the toothbrush. This allows the jaw bone to move out of your way and relaxes the muscles so there is more room for the toothbrush by your cheek. Finally, brush your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scrap, making sure to reach the back part of your tongue.
Even if you brush twice a day, bacteria and food particles stay trapped between teeth where the toothbrush bristles cannot reach. We recommend flossing daily to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Break off about 18 inches of floss and wrap most of it around the middle fingers of each hand, leaving about 2 inches between your hands. Gently slide the floss between your teeth and when the floss reaches the gumline, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Gently slide the floss into the space between your gum and your tooth until you feel resistance. Then, without removing the floss, reverse the C-shape and repeat on the adjacent tooth. Also, don’t forget to floss the backs of the last teeth as this is a common place for plaque to collect.
Rinsing with water is important after brushing and if you are unable to brush your teeth after meals. Discuss with our dentists and hygienists if other rinses such as Listerine or fluoride rinses may be right for you.
Q) What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
Over time, the outer layer of tooth (enamel) can change shades. Some shade changes occur from the “outside-in”, such as stains from coffee, tea, red wine and smoking. While other changes occur from the “inside-out” from genetics, medications (such as tetracycline) as a child when permanent teeth were forming, ingesting more than optimal amounts of fluoride as a child (fluorosis) and trauma to the teeth. Tooth whitening will only help with the stains that occur from “outside-in”, therefore, it is important for one of our dentists to determine if you would be a good candidate for tooth whitening. Also, tooth whitening only works on enamel so will not help with old crowns, bondings or fillings. If you proceed with whitening, these may need to be replaced in order to match the new, whiter shade of your natural teeth. That is why if you are interested in whitening, it is important to do so before any major dental treatment so our dentists can match the shade of your restorations to your brighter shade. Also, whitening is not permanent and enamel will continue to pick up stains again, so you may need to touch-up whitening every year or so.
There are two commonly used whitening systems:
In-office whitening is done as a one-visit appointment in our dental office. We isolate your teeth to protect your gums and soft tissues and then apply a strong whitening product to the outer surfaces of your teeth. We then use a special light to activate the whitening process. After about two hours, you will leave the office with a noticeably whiter, brighter smile.
Take-home whitening involves two short appointments at our office. The first appointment, we will take impressions of your mouth so we can custom-fit a tray. After a few days, you will then return to our office to ensure a proper fit and give you the trays with the whitening gel instructions. Typically, you will place the gel in the trays and wear them for about an hour a day for 2 weeks.
Both systems are very effective in giving you that whiter, brighter smile you’ve always wanted!
Q) What can I do about pain TMJ pain?
There are several conditions that may cause your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) to become painful. These conditions include, but are not limited to, injuries to the jaw or head, bite problems, bruxism (grinding and clenching) and stress. Some of the signs and symptoms of a TMJ Disorder include pain in and around the ear, sore muscles, clicking or popping noises, difficulty in opening or closing mouth, pain with chewing and headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, you can try to avoid chewing gum and biting your nails, eat softer foods for a few days, take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and apply heat packs. If the discomfort does not subside after a few days, you may need to visit one of our dentists. We will evaluate your TMJ system and teeth and determine what treatment is right for you based on the suspected cause. This may include prescription anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants, bite-balancing (equilibration) and/or splints or nightguards. In severe cases, we may refer you to an oral surgeon and/or an orthodontist for further evaluation and intervention.
Q) What happens if missing teeth are not replaced?
Missing teeth don’t just cause appearance issues; even just one gap can lead to larger problems in the future. What kinds of problems? Shifting teeth, changes in bite, increase odds of cavities or gum disease and additional missing teeth, just to name a few. If you are missing teeth, consider tooth replacement from Dubitsky Family Dental.
Q) Does your office use lasers?
Yes! At Dubitsky Family Dental, we use the Biolase laser, which can help us treat gum disease and perform other hard and soft tissue treatments. With dental lasers, our dentists can complete your treatments quickly with precision and minimal discomfort. You’ll heal faster too, which is always great to hear.
Q) What are the benefits of a digital X-ray over traditional radiographs?
Traditional radiographs use radiation to create the images of your teeth and bones. With digital X-rays, far less radiation – up to 90% less, in fact – is needed. This is much better for your overall long-term health. Also, digital X-rays are displayed on a chairside monitor almost instantly, which means no waiting for images to be printed and no need for paper waste. They are also easy to store, allowing us to maintain a paperless practice at our Hillsborough dental office.
Q) Why doesn’t my insurance cover this?
Our main goal is to help you achieve excellent oral health. Your dental coverage is not based is not based on what you need or what our dentists recommend. If your employer offers dental insurance, consider that an added “bonus” to reduce the costs of your dental care. However, there are no dental insurance plans that cover 100% of all of your costs. Employers generally choose plans that cover some of your dental costs. If you find that you are not satisfied with the coverage provided, please let your employer know. Please speak with our business manage to understand what your specific plan will cover and what you will be responsible for, personally. We offer a variety of financial arrangements that can be arranged for your convenience.