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Many people have questions about their oral health and dental treatments. We have provided some answers to frequently asked questions for you below. If you have further questions, or to schedule an appointment with one of our caring dentists, Dr. Ali Maddahi or Dr. Medha Singh, please call Orris Dental at 508-270-6770 . We look forward to helping you care for your smile!

How Important is Oral Hygiene?

Oral hygiene is necessary for eliminating bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria builds to form plaque that can harden and lead to long-term ailments such as gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, and periodontal disease if it is not removed. A good dental care routine and regular check-ups will keep your mouth healthy and prevent inflammation, infection, decay, and tooth loss.

How Often Should I Get a Dental Exam?

Dental exams should generally take place every six months. However, consult with our team to decide how often you should be examined, for we may suggest that you visit more frequently based on factors such as smoking, frequency of cavities and genetic susceptibility to tooth and root decay as well as gum disease.

What Can I Expect From a Dental Exam?

At a typical dental exam, our team will thoroughly clean your teeth, removing any surface stains or deposits, called tartar or calculus, that are more difficult to remove than plaque and require the assistance of professional dental instruments. We will also check for signs of decay or gum disease. An X-ray may be performed to provide a more detailed summary of your oral health and to more closely identify any problems. We will ask you questions about your current methods of dental care, such as how often you brush your teeth, and floss, as well as whether you use a toothpaste with fluoride. With this information in mind, we will demonstrate proper dental care and provide suggestions on how to improve your habits to promote optimal oral health.

How Can I Prepare For a Dental Exam?

The best way to prepare for a dental exam is to practice good dental care. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day is recommended. Be sure to clean your teeth before you arrive at your appointment. Our team will be cleaning your teeth for you, but it is helpful to remove food and plaque beforehand so we can focus on the more difficult-to-clean areas. You also want to make sure you are prepared to share pertinent information such as your medical history and current dental care methods with us. Don’t be embarrassed to be honest about your oral health habits – our team is not here to judge you, but to work with you to improve your habits and ensure dental health! Lastly, be prepared to schedule a follow-up appointment or future check-up at the end of your dental exam.

Is Dental Anxiety vs. Dental Phobia Uncommon?

No, In fact, some studies show that up to 75% of Americans experience some level of dental related fear and 20% avoid dental care because of it. If you have a fear of dental work, we want you to know that making you feel comfortable and safe at our office is our first priority. Dental anxieties and phobias present themselves in a wide variety of ways, and specific fears vary from person to person. Dental anxiety may be mild to moderate, and often takes the form of a general sense of worry and apprehension when thinking about an upcoming procedure. Dental phobia is a more intense experience, with patients feeling an overwhelming, irrational fear of dental work. This can sometimes cause them to avoid care all together.

Whatever your individual level of anxiety may be, our office is committed to making sure that your visit is as comfortable, quick and easy as possible. There are many solutions for dental anxiety, and we are ready to help. Here are a few popular methods for easing anxiety in the dental office:

  • Communication:
    Informing us as to what you are afraid of is a great place to start. Often we can quell a fear simply by giving you correct or updated information. We will always keep you informed before, during and after your procedure, making sure that you understand what is going on and why we are doing it.
  • Calming Techniques:
    Many patients find it helpful to practice controlled breathing or to find distraction inside the room.
  • Listening to Music:
    With most procedures, the use of personal headphones and music is allowed. This is a great way to keep calm and pass the time while in the chair.
  • Oral Sedation:
    Depending on the nature of your procedure, various types of sedation may be available to you.
  • Taking Breaks:
    Let us know if you would like to take a short break during your treatment by signaling with your left hand.

Oral health is important for the health of your whole body. Don’t let fear stand in your way of good dental care! We can help you get the care that you need. Call Today to Make an Appointment: (508) 270-6770

What Toothpaste should I use?

It does not matter what brand of toothpaste you use as long as it contains Fluoride. Just choose a toothpaste that has a pleasant flavor for you.

How long should I brush my teeth?

You should brush your teeth at least 2-3 minutes twice a day. Get into a routine and always start and end in the same place. That way you will make sure not to miss any parts of your mouth. Unfortunately, most Americans only brush for 45-60 seconds twice a day, and that is just not enough. Many new mechanical toothbrushes have built in timers to help you brush the proper length of time.

When I cannot brush my teeth, is there anything that I can do to slow down acid production?

Rinse your mouth with water after a meal or snack to neutralize acid and reduce bacteria by 30%. Also chewing sugarless gum or gum containing Xylotol has been shown to decrease the incidence of decay.

Do I have to floss?

Yes! Flossing removes the bacterial plaque which accumulates between your teeth. Brushing alone cannot remove this. Over time this un-cleaned bacteria can cause decay between your teeth.

Should I rinse with a mouthwash?

The use of a mouthwash is fine to give yourself a fresh feeling. Try to use an alcohol free mouthwash if possible. Mouthwashes which contain alcohol can dry out the lining of your mouth and decrease saliva flow. Both of these symptoms can contribute to increased bacterial growth and lessen the mouths natural defenses.

What does Fluoride do?

Fluoride acts to make teeth more resistant to decay. In children, this is important for the development of their adult teeth. In adults, Fluoride acts to strengthen and in some cases reverse small areas of decay. If you do not live in area which has fluoridated water, ask your dentist about fluoride rinses or supplements.

Is it better to drink diet soda rather than regular soda?

Diet sodas are better only in the fact that they do not have sugar in them. Even diet soda can be bad for your teeth due to the acidity caused by the carbonation. It is OK to drink sodas in moderation. The damage that they can cause is directly related to the time your teeth are exposed to the liquid. Therefore, do not drink sodas all day long. Try to rinse or brush afterward, and limit the number of sodas you consume each day.

What can be done for ulcers or canker sores in the mouth?

Ulcers are very difficult to treat. There is no proven technique that will eliminate ulcers. They can occur as a result of trauma or due to a viral source. Depending on their cause there are specific medications that can shorten their duration. Left alone, ulcers will generally diminish and disappear in two weeks.

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath or halitosis, can be caused by many things. The most common cause is the presence of bacteria in your mouth and on your tongue. These bacteria produce odorous compounds. In some cases, the cause of bad breath can be from gastrointestinal origin.

Will a whitening toothpaste really whiten my teeth?

Not entirely. Whitening toothpastes will reverse the effects of some surface stains, but not change the shade of the teeth themselves. The change is usually minimal.

Do over-the-counter bleaching products work?

There is some evidence that over-the-counter bleaching products do whiten teeth, however these products are not used under the supervision of your dentist and there may be potential problems which may need attention prior to whitening in this way. Also, the trays usually sold with these products do not fit as well as those that are custom made by your dentist. As a result, damage to your gums and teeth is possible.

Are X-rays safe? Are they necessary?

The radiation exposure from dental x-rays is much less than the exposure you would get from the X-rays taken by your physician. In fact, you will absorb more radiation by spending a day out in the summer sun. Dental radiographs or X-rays expose the patient to very small amounts of radiation. New digital X-rays can cut that amount down by close to 90% over traditional film X-rays. Your doctor uses these images to detect pathology such as decay, tumors, cysts or other abnormalities not evident to the naked eye. They are an integral part of a complete dental examination.

What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria (plaque) in your mouth which react with sugary and starchy deposits from food you eat. This reaction produces acid which damages the enamel over time and weakens the tooth.

 Should I change my Silver Fillings? Are they safe?

If your silver fillings are in good condition, there is no need to replace them. But, if you would like to not see those dark fillings, they can be replaced with tooth colored composite fillings. Silver fillings are safe. These restorations are composed of mercury, silver, tin and copper. The amount of mercury released by these fillings is much less than what you are exposed to through air, food and water. There has been no evidence that these types of fillings pose a health risk.

What is Bonding?

 Bonding or resin is an alternative to veneers and can be used as a restorative procedure for teeth that are chipped, cracked, discolored or not properly arranged. The bonding procedure can often be completed in a single office visit, and can improve the appearance of a tooth significantly. However, since the plastic resin used is not as strong as your natural tooth enamel, it is more likely to stain, chip or break than natural teeth. Bonding typically lasts two to three years before need of repair.

Why are my teeth sensitive to cold?

Cold sensitivity can be due to a number of reasons. Some people are just generally more sensitive to temperature changes. Other causes may be due to recession of the gum tissue, abrasions of the teeth, large metal restorations or decay. Treatments for this condition can include fillings, fluoride applications or the use of desensitizing toothpastes.

 Why do my Gums Bleed?

Your gums bleed as a result of inflammation caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria when not properly cleaned off your teeth will result in an irritation of the gum tissue. This irritation called gingivitis, will result in red, puffy and bleeding gums. Gone untreated, it can progress into periodontal disease.

 What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Periodontal disease is a condition where due to the accumulation of bacteria, tartar and stain, a low grade infection has occurred. This infection results in the loss of bone around the teeth. This loss of bone can result in the instability and eventual loss of those teeth.. Your dentist can treat this disease and halt its progression.

What are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and Onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An Onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth. Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and Onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.

How are Inlays and Onlays applied?

Inlays and Onlays require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or Onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is made by the dentist, and sent to a lab for fabrication. The dentist will then apply a temporary sealant on the tooth and schedule the next appointment. At the second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed. Dr. Maddahi will then make sure that the Inlay or Onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the Inlay or Onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.

Can I do anything about the black line on my Crown?

Yes. Your crown is more than likely a porcelain fused to metal crown. The black line you see is the area where the metal and the porcelain meet. Replacing this crown with a full porcelain crown will alleviate that line.

What is a Porcelain Veneer?

Porcelain veneers are thin shells of ceramic that bond directly to the front surfaces of the teeth. Veneers can be used to close spaces, straighten crooked teeth and change the color of yellow or stained teeth.

 Will they look like normal teeth?

When bonded to the teeth, the ultra-thin porcelain veneers are virtually undetectable and highly resistant to coffee, tea, or even cigarette stains. For strength and appearance, their resemblance to healthy, white tooth enamel is unsurpassed by other restorative options.

How durable are Porcelain Veneers?

With proper care, porcelain veneers will brighten your smile for well over a decade.

 What are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a titanium fixture placed in the bone of your jaw to replace a missing tooth. The implant replaces the root structure and then a crown can be placed on top of it to replace the tooth.

What can I do if my Dentures are loose?

Loose dentures, are ill fitting dentures. Many times a reline can make them fit again. Sometimes the bony support under the dentures is not sufficient anymore and implants can be used to stabilize the denture.

 When should I start to brush my baby’s teeth?

A wet washcloth or finger brush should be used to clean your baby’s gums even before the first tooth comes in. Once the first teeth appear, a small children’s toothbrush should be used.

Do I have to fix a Decayed Baby tooth since it will be replaced?

Yes. The primary teeth are very important for maintaining the space necessary for the adult teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the adult tooth that will come in later, may not have enough room to come in. Also, an abscess associated with a decayed baby tooth could damage the developing adult tooth under it, resulting in weakened enamel, staining or spots.

When will my child lose their teeth?

On average, a child begins to lose their first teeth at approximately 5 years of age. Usually the front teeth are lost first. It is not uncommon for the adult tooth to start to erupt before the baby tooth is lost. They will continue to lose teeth until the age of 12-13.

Why do my child’s adult teeth look darker than their baby teeth?

This is normal. Primary teeth are usually very light in color. The adult teeth that are erupting look usually darker or yellow when compared side-by-side to the baby teeth. Do not worry- when all of the adult teeth erupt, their color will look normal when not compared to the other teeth.

At what age should my child start Braces?

Each case is different. Sometimes early orthodontic treatment (called stage1 Treatment), is utilized when the child is 7-8 years old in order to make the final (stage 2) treatment easier, and potentially shorter in duration.

What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS)?

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists specializing in surgery of the mouth, face and jaws. After four years of dental school, surgeons receive four to seven years of hospital-based surgical and medical training, preparing them to do a wide range of procedures including all types of surgery of both the bones and soft tissues of the face, mouth and neck.

What is a Periodontist?

Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. They have had extensive training with two additional years of study after dental school. As specialists they devote their time, energy and skill to helping patients care for their gums. A periodontist is one of the eight dental specialists recognized by the American Dental Association.

Why is your dentist referring you to a Periodontist?

Your dentist has determined that your gums require special attention. The periodontist and dentist work together as a team to provide you with the highest level of care. They will combine their experience to recommend the best treatment available to you while keeping each other informed on your progress. By referring you to the specialist, your dentist is showing a strong commitment to your dental health.

What is an Endodontist?

The endodontist examines, diagnoses and treats diseases and destructive processes, including injuries and abnormalities of dental pulps and periapical tissues of the teeth.

Endodontists examine patients and interpret radiographs and pulp tests to determine pulp vitality and periapical tissue condition. They evaluate their findings and prescribe a method of treatment to prevent loss of teeth.

What is a Prosthodontist?

The prosthodontist examines and diagnoses disabilities caused by loss of teeth and supporting structures. They formulate and execute treatment plans for the construction of corrective prostheses to restore proper function and esthetics of the mouth, face, and jaw.

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist has at least two additional years of training beyond dental school. The additional training focuses on management and treatment of a child’s developing teeth, child behavior, physical growth and development, and the special needs of children’s dentistry. Although either type of dentist is capable of addressing your child’s oral health care needs, a pediatric dentist, his or her staff, and even the office décor are all geared to care for children and to put them at ease. If your child has special needs, care from a pediatric dentist should be considered.

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist prevents and treats mouth, teeth, and jaw problems. Using braces, retainers, and other devices, an orthodontist helps straighten a person’s teeth and correct the way the jaws line up.

Orthodontists treat kids for many problems, including having crowded or overlapping teeth or having problems with jaw growth and tooth development. These tooth and jaw problems may be caused by tooth decay, losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or habits like thumb sucking. These problems can also be genetic or inherited.

So why would you go to the orthodontist?

Your dentist or one of your parents might recommend it because they see a problem with your teeth or jaws. Or a kid who doesn’t like the way his or her teeth look might ask to see an orthodontist.