• FAQ

  • General Questions

    Which type of toothbrush should I use?
    The brand of the toothbrush is not as critical as the type of bristle and the size of the head. A soft toothbrush with a small head is recommended because medium and hard brushes tend to cause irritation and contribute to recession of the gums, and a small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. It’s unnecessary to “scrub” the teeth as long as you are brushing at least twice a day and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings.
    Is one toothpaste better than others?
     Generally, no. However, it’s advisable to use a fluoride containing toothpaste to decrease the incidence of dental decay. We recommend our patients use what tastes good to them as long as it contains fluoride.
    How often should I floss?
    Flossing of the teeth once per day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing also helps to keep your gums healthy.
    What's the difference between a crown and a cap?
    These are restorations to repair a severely broken tooth by covering all or most of the tooth after removing old fillings, fractured tooth structure, and all decay. The restoration material is made of gold, porcelain, composites, or even stainless steel. Dentists refer to all of these restorations as “crowns”. However, patients often refer to the tooth-colored ones as “caps” and the gold or stainless steel ones as “crowns”.
    What's the difference between a bridge and a partial denture?
    Both bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth. A bridge is permanently attached to abutment teeth or, in some cases, implants. A partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and is easily removed by the patient. Patients are usually more satisfied with bridges than with partial dentures.
    What about silver fillings versus white fillings?
    Although the U.S. Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver fillings), more patients today are requesting “white” or tooth-colored composite fillings. We also prefer tooth-colored fillings because they “bond” to the tooth structure and therefore help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay. While fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature, and they also look better. However, “white” fillings cannot be used in every situation, and if a tooth is very badly broken-down, a crown will usually be necessary and provide better overall satisfaction for the patient.
    Do I need to have a root canal just because I have to have a crown?
    No. While most teeth which have had root canal treatments do need crowns to strengthen the teeth and to return the teeth to normal form and function, not every tooth needing a crown also needs to have a root canal.
    What is plaque and how is it bad?
    Plaque constantly forms on teeth, it is a clear film of bacteria that builds in hard to reach areas such as between the teeth and in the lines of your gums.

    When allowed to accumulate the plaque can irritate the gums, eventually leading to certain gum diseases such as gingivitis. Research has provided evidence that gum disease has been linked to many health problems including stroke, heart disease, pneumonia, and even pregnancy complications

    Plaque can be removed with regular brushing and flossing twice daily along with your dentists help with tartar removal. Early stages of gum disease are often unnoticed and by the time you begin to feel pain or irritation, it may already be too late to focus on prevention. Regular checkups can assist to prevent plaque and tartar buildup and many other dental complications that may become costly when treatment becomes necessary.

    What is the cause of bad breath?
    When breath has an unpleasant odor, it is known as “halitosis”. Depending on the cause, the odor can occur occasionally, but it has been known to become more of a long lasting problem with some people.

    The mouth contains millions of bacteria, and the back of the tongue is where condensation of bacteria can occur. The bacteria that accumulates on the back of the tongue has been identified as a primary cause of bad breath.

    Although bad breath and the accumulation of odor forming bacteria can be considered a common problem there are many causes of why frequent halitosis can be occurring, such problems could be:

    Poor dental hygiene- If brushing and flossing is not conducted on a regular basis, bacteria and plaque can begin to form in hard to reach places. If this is the situation, poor dental hygiene can eventually lead to much more serious problems.
    External sources – Smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking coffee, tea, or wine are just some of the causes of regularly occurring bad breath. These activities can also lead to the discoloration of teeth.

    Why are dental X-rays needed?
    In dentistry, no mouth is the exact same. In order for our professionals to assess your individual needs, an x-ray helps identify any underlying signs of bone loss or gum disease that can be undetectable from the naked eye. It is typical for new patients to undergo a full set of dental x-rays to assist with an image of their oral health status. In order to help with future comparisons, we may request additional x-rays during follow-up visits in order to determine what treatment will be needed as well as to identify any conditions that may require prevention.
    How safe are dental x-rays?
    Dental radiographs or x-rays are necessary in receiving the highest standard of care. The diagnostic benefits far outweigh the minimal risks involved in the use of dental x-rays. We are careful to limit the amount of radiation exposure for patients by using lead aprons and digital radiography which reduces radiation substantially. Without the use of x-rays conditions which include cavities, missing or extra teeth and pathology/diseases will go undetected. Digital x-rays have minimal radiation, crystal-clear images and unbelievable speed. With digital x-rays, the patient’s images appear instantaneously on a nearby monitor, giving us a convenient chair-side image to analyze and refer to throughout the dental visit. We are pleased to offer this dental technology.
    How do I take care of my sensitive teeth?
    There are options of toothpaste that cater to those with sensitive teeth, which contain potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These types of toothpaste have been known to decrease the symptoms of sensitive teeth over the period of several weeks if used regularly. Tooth sensitivity symptoms can become worse with the regular consumption of high acidic foods such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons and can be counter productive to methods taken to reduce sensitivity. if regular gentle brushing does not decrease symptoms, we can provide consultation to determine the treatment that’s right for you. Flouride containing products can also be recommended to assist in reducing tooth sensitivity.

    Call our office at (408) 225-7813 to find out more information or schedule a consultation today.

    What types of insurances do you accept?
    We bill all insurances and are members of the following organizations:

    • Metlife
    • Principal
    • Delta Dental
    • Signa
    • Blue Cross
    • Guadian
    • Connection Dental
    • Dentical (for children only)

    Call our friendly staff if you have any questions about financial policies.

    Questions For Child Treatment

    When will my baby start getting teeth?
    Babies typically begin teething at six months of age. Usually the bottom lower front teeth erupt first, followed by the two upper front teeth. Children have twenty teeth compared to adults that typically have 32. In general, a child will have erupted all of their teeth by 2-3 years of age.
    How often do I need to bring my child to the dentist?
    In general, check-ups/recall visits are recommended at a minimum of every six months in order to aid in prevention of cavities or other dental problems. It is always better to diagnose a potential problem early on. Every child has individual oral healthcare needs, therefore the frequency of dental visits will vary as the situation necessitates. Regular visits keep children familiar with the dentist and his or her staff. These visits build confidence in children and are much more pleasant when the child is not forced to associate the dentist with emergency treatment due to tooth pain and dental neglect. Decay or breakdown of a tooth that is detected in the early stages is easier and less costly to treat.
    How important are baby teeth since they are going to fall out anyway?
    “Baby” teeth or primary teeth have three main functions. First, they allow children to chew. The importance of pain free feeding directly relates your child’s diet, nutrition and overall health. Second, baby teeth are important for speech development. Last, baby teeth provide a pathway for permanent teeth to erupt in a timely way. Premature tooth loss from cavities/infection, allows for remaining teeth to move into the empty space and ultimately cause crowding. Cavities on baby teeth can cause permanent teeth to have higher cavity susceptibility.
    If my toddler has a cavity, should he or she get a filling?
    The earlier a cavity is diagnosed and treated, the less invasive the overall treatment will be. Over time, cavities can spread if allowed and possibly lead to an infection. It is important to evaluate each situation on and individual basis to determine what is best for the child at any given time in terms of the child’s ability to cope with a procedure.
    What are sealants and does my child need them?
    Sealants are a hard plastic-like material that is placed into the grooves of the chewing surfaces of teeth in order to help prevent cavities. They work by blocking out the sticky, sugary foods and liquids that tend to get caught in the teeth. The application is fast and pain free. Sealants are recommended based on the child’s diet, history of cavities (family’s history), and overall anatomy of the teeth deep (deep grooves).

    Oral Healthcare At Home For Children:

    What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
    The use of a soft cloth, gauze or toothbrush for children 0-2 years will adequately remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to cavities. Caregivers should clean the teeth at least once a day (most importantly before bedtime following the last feeding). Infant non-fluoridated toothpaste can be used. Until your child is able to spit out the toothpaste without swallowing it, we recommend not to use fluoridated toothpaste.
    How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay and early childhood cavities?
    First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and if swelling is present place a cold pack on the area. Over the counter Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin) are recommended for any pain. DO NOT place aspirin on the gums, this can cause harm to the tissue. Please, see a dentist or healthcare professional as soon as possible.
    Is fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated water good for my child?
    Use of fluoride for prevention of cavities is documented to be safe and effective in decreasing cavities by making teeth stronger when given in the correct dosage. If your water supply contains less than 0.6ppm (private wells), a dietary supplement may be recommended for your child (6 months to 16 years old). If your child is unable to spit out the toothpaste, then it should be avoided. It is acceptable to begin using toothpaste (pea-size amount) with children 2-3 years of age. Prior to that, parents should clean the child’s teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. It is important to contact a pediatric dentist to make sure you child is not receiving excessive or inadequate amounts of daily fluoride.
    If my child has tooth or mouth pain, what can I do to help?
    First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and if swelling is present place a cold pack on the area. Over the counter Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin) are recommended for any pain. DO NOT place aspirin on the gums, this can cause harm to the tissue. Please, see a dentist or healthcare professional as soon as possible.
    What can I do to stop my child’s thumb sucking and pacifier habits? Is it harming their teeth?
    Many oral habits such as thumb and pacifier sucking only become a problem if they persist for long periods of time. This is very normal in infants and young children. Most children stop these habits on their own by age three. Generally, habit-breaking appliances are recommended and used for children who want to stop, but need an active reminder. Long term oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking, mouth breathing, and tongue thrusting can produce dental and skeletal changes. The amount of change is directly related to frequency, duration, intensity and direction of the forces applied.
    What should I do if my child has a tooth knocked out?
    First, remain calm. Second, locate the tooth. Always hold the tooth by the crown (not the root). Third (if possible), determine whether it is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. If it is a baby tooth, do not replace the tooth into the socket. For permanent teeth, re-implant by applying mild finger pressure. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist.