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Frequently Asked Questions About Charleston Dentistry

Q: Why are my teeth sensitive?

A: Sensitive teeth often come from the fact that your gums have slightly receded. This recession of the gum line allows the underlying dentin to show through, which allows water and food easier access to the sensitive nerve. To manage sensitive teeth, there are a number of toothpastes, gels and even some dental procedures that can be applied. Speak to us in detail if you have very sensitive teeth.

Q: What should I do to prevent gum disease and tooth decay?

A: Great tooth and gum care starts at home. Brushing and flossing on a daily basis is the best way to take care of your teeth and gums on a continual basis. By keeping a daily routine, you will greatly minimize the risk of gingivitis or tooth decay as you age.

Q: What is gingivitis? 

A: Gingivitis is a condition caused when bacteria surround the teeth and enter the gums. The gums can become irritated, inflamed and often bleed. In order to prevent the condition from worsening, regular hygiene visits are recommended. During your visit, our hygiene team will teach you proper flossing techniques and oral hygiene protocol home care.

Q: What is periodontal disease?

A: Periodontal disease is a quiet disease that begins with little or no symptoms. It is caused by bacteria that surround the teeth and enter the gums. The immediate condition is known as gingivitis. The gums become irritated, inflamed and often bleed. If not properly treated, the condition worsens. Noticeable symptoms now appear. They include:
  • Bad breath
  • Gum recession
  • Gum sensitivity to acidic foods
  • Abscesses
  • Tooth pain
  • Tooth loss

Q: How do you treat periodontal disease?

A: Periodontal disease is a chronic condition that needs immediate attention. Through a series of periodontal cleanings, root planning and scaling, laser therapy and local antibiotics, this condition can be controlled. Periodontal surgery is only necessary for severe cases.

Q: What is the difference between a white and silver filling?

A: Silver fillings, known as amalgam, have been around for decades. They are made from a metal alloy and were, for a long time, the best restoration for fillings. The metal expands and contracts based on the temperature of food and drink you consume.  This stops bacteria from entering a tooth once filled, keeping the tooth healthy and strong.
White fillings, also known as composites, are made of plastic or glass polymers. These cosmetic fillings allow us to fill a cavity with a substance that will look and feel just like your existing tooth structure. This restoration is created with a resin material and fits tightly into a tooth to prevent decay. Rather than a gray or silver material in your mouth, the composite color will match the tooth color.

Q: How can I improve my smile?

A: There are several ways in today’s dental world to enhance your smile. Certain procedures include:
  • Tooth whitening
  • Bonding
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Porcelain crowns
We have the capability to improve your smile using all or some of these procedures. For an exact consultation, please contact our office so that we may provide you with a customized treatment plan.

Q: What is tooth whitening?

A: Tooth whitening is a cost-effective and safe procedure to create a beautiful, healthy smile. Over the years, fluoride has been added to the whitening product. This reduces the risk of tooth and gum sensitivity.
Tooth whitening must be monitored by your dentist and only done after a comprehensive exam and hygiene cleaning.
The whitening process can last for a number of years if properly maintained. Such beverages as coffee, tea, cola and wine will reduce the lasting effect. Remember, if it could stain a white shirt, it will stain your smile!

Q: What is bonding?

A: Bonding is a cost-effective procedure used to fill gaps in front teeth and to change a tooth’s color. The immediate results are amazing. Within a few hours, you will have a great smile! Bonding, like tooth whitening, may change color over time due to coffee, tea, cola and wine.

Q: What are crowns?

A: Crowns are a permanent cosmetic procedure that covers the entire tooth. It will change the size, shape and color of the teeth in as few as two visits.

Q: What is a dental implant?

A: A dental implant is a “man-made” replacement for a missing tooth or tooth root. Made from titanium, this screw-like object is inserted under the gum and directly into the upper or lower jaw bone. There is usually minimal discomfort involved with this procedure. After a period of a few months, the dental implant and the bone fuse together. This creates an anchor for the new tooth to be placed into the dental implant.

Q: What are the benefits of dental implants?

  • Dental implants look and function like your natural tooth. 
  • Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth. 
  • Dental implants are maintained by routine hygiene visits to your dental office.
  • Dental implants decrease the possibility of bone loss, periodontal disease, tooth movement and further tooth loss. 
  • Dental implants replace the need for a removable full or partial denture.
  • Dental implants focus only on the tooth or teeth that are missing. A traditional bridge would involve the two or more adjacent teeth being compromised to create a false tooth in between.

Q: Who is a candidate for dental implants?

A: With major advancements in dentistry and dental implants, most people are candidates for dental implants. There may be exceptions due to chronic illness, heart disease and sever osteoporosis.

Q: What does the dental implant procedure involve?

A: The average dental implant procedure takes three to four visits over a four-month period.
The first phase is typically performed by a periodontist or oral surgeon. They will X-ray the area and take an impression for a surgical guide. The next visit is to place the implant. A local anesthesia is applied to the area (any additional sedation is no longer necessary unless deemed so by the dentist). The dentist will then make a minor incision to place the implant. The implant is placed into the jaw bone. The area will then be covered with sutures. The procedure is usually completed with little to no pain.
You will return to our office in approximately three months to begin creating the porcelain crown to place over the implant. We will take an impression of your mouth and send it to a dental laboratory. The lab will fabricate your custom crown in approximately three to four weeks. You will return for a final appointment to have the crown cemented into place.