<i>How often should I visit my dentist?</i>
The American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines recommend visiting your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and professional cleaning. Here at Queen Village Family Dentistry, we also recommend a minimum of two (2) visits per year.
<i>What is nursing/bottle syndrome?</i>
Nursing-bottle syndrome, also known as baby-bottle tooth decay or baby-bottle syndrome, is the rapid decay of a child’s primary teeth caused by prolonged contact with infant formula, milk or juice. This often occurs because young children fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth. Baby-bottle mouth can lead to a lifetime of dental difficulties. Preventing nursing bottle mouth is easy: If you give your baby a bottle at nap or bed time, simply fill it with plain water rather than formula, milk, or juice—never let your child fall asleep with a bottle filled with a liquid other than water In addition, check your child for brown spots near the gums because they are a warning sign for tooth decay.
<i>What if I have an emergency?</i>
Please call Queen Village Family Dentistry’s main number (215-925-7330) as soon as you determine that you have a dental emergency. If this occurs during regular hours, Dr. Cabot will be glad to work you into our schedule. After hours, over the weekend and during holidays, please call the same number for the doctor’s emergency contact number.
<i>My child wants to brush his teeth himself. Is he old enough?</i>
Prior to age 6 or 7, a child lacks the manual dexterity to adequately brush his or her teeth independently. At Queen Village Family Dentistry, we recommend that you, as a parent, actively participate in your child’s brushing to be sure that healthy dental hygiene practices are well-developed in your child. Let your child practice the skill of brushing and then inspect their work carefully and brush them thoroughly yourself.
<i>Are payment plans available for my dental treatment?</i>
Yes. We accept many types of dental insurance and will process your claim for you. We also accept most major credit cards, including Master Card or Visa. Payment plans are available.
<i>How do dental sealants protect teeth?</i>
A sealant is a thin layer of plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) to protect them from decay.
When the back teeth are developing, pits and fissures form in the chewing surfaces of the enamel. They are very difficult to keep clean, because the bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach into them. Most cavities form in pit and fissure areas, and back teeth are extremely susceptible to this form of decay. By forming a thin covering over the pits and fissures, sealants keep out plaque and food, thus decreasing the risk of decay.
Dental sealants are particularly effective for protecting children’s teeth. The first permanent molars emerge when a child is about 6. A dental sealant treatment performed shortly after these first permanent teeth emerge protects the teeth from developing cavities. Another time for applying sealants occurs when a child is about 12, when the second permanent molars emerge.
Because fluoride is effective in preventing decay from forming on the smooth surfaces of teeth, and dental sealants protect the grooves of teeth, these treatments are best used in conjunction.
We may also recommend sealants or fluoride treatments for adults who are at a particularly high risk of tooth decay.
<i>How do I keep my child’s teeth healthy?</i>
Following a few simple guidelines can help keep your child’s teeth strong and beautiful for life:
- Start oral care early: Oral care should start soon after your child is born. After feeding, clean your child’s gums using gauze or a clean, damp cloth. As soon as your child’s teeth appear — as early as four months after birth — they should be brushed. Each day, brush your child’s teeth with a soft, wet toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Prevent nursing-bottle syndrome: Nursing-bottle mouth, also known as baby-bottle tooth decay or baby-bottle syndrome, can cause a baby’s front teeth to rapidly decay, which can lead to a lifetime of dental difficulties. Preventing nursing bottle mouth is easy: If you give your baby a bottle at nap or bed time, simply fill it with plain water rather than formula, milk, or juice—never let your child fall asleep with a bottle filled with a liquid other than water In addition, check your child for brown spots near the gums because they are a warning sign for tooth decay.
- Take your child to the dentist: General, preventative dentistry should start early. A child’s first dental visit should take place at 2 to 3 years of age unless you see signs of problems or the child experiences trauma to the mouth or complains of pain in the mouth or jaw. Regular fluoride treatments, administered by a dentist, are especially helpful in strengthening enamel and arresting tooth decay for children. Contact Queen Village Family Dentistry today to schedule an appointment for your child.
- Take advantage of dental sealants: Dental sealants are a popular and effective way to protect your child’s teeth against cavities.
<i>How are dental sealants applied?</i>
Dental sealants are routinely applied at Queen Village Family Dentistry. First the tooth is carefully cleaned and the chewing surface is prepared. Then, Dr. Cabot paints the sealant onto the chewing surface. The sealant material bonds directly to the tooth and hardens with the aid of a special curing light. Dental sealants hold up well under the force of chewing, and they provide protection against cavities for about five years. During regular dental visits, Dr. Cabot will check the state of sealants and re-apply them if necessary.
<i>How can I prevent tooth decay?</i>
Tooth enamel is hard yet porous. Plaque on the surface of your teeth can produce acids that seep into the pores of the enamel. This process, called demineralization, can create a weak spot on the surface of the tooth that may become a cavity if left untreated.
To help strengthen weak spots and exposed roots and prevent the early stages of tooth decay, brush regularly with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss daily. Regular flossing and fluoride mouth rinses, as well as regular professional cleanings, will help prevent cavities and preserve your oral health.
<i>What is periodontal or gum disease?</i>
Periodontal disease is a result of bacterial infection and is largely preventable with proper oral hygiene. Early and moderate periodontal disease may exhibit few, if any, symptoms and is usually painless. Gingivitis is typically the first sign of advancing periodontal disease with inflamed or bleeding gums. Left untreated, periodontal disease progresses to bone loss which then causes permanent teeth to shift in their bite, loosen or fall out. Periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in adults.
During each routine checkup, Dr. Cabot will examine you for periodontal disease. A periodontal probe is used to determine if there is any breakdown in the gum tissue attachment or if pockets have developed between your gums and teeth.
It is important to understand that patients with mild periodontal disease don’t feel discomfort. It is essential to have a professional evaluation to determine if you are prone to or already have periodontal disease. If one or both of your parents suffered tooth loss from periodontal disease you should make sure you will not have the same problems. With proper oral care, you can prevent the same outcome from happening to you.
<i>What is tooth whitening?</i>
Tooth whitening is a well-established procedure in cosmetic dentistry. The active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide, has been safely used for many years in the treatment of gums and other oral soft tissue.
The whitening process is effective on most discolored teeth. Darker stains, such as those caused by antibiotics, may take longer to respond to treatment. The degree of whiteness will vary from patient to patient, depending on the duration of time that the system is used.
Learn more about whitening treatments available at Queen Village Family Dentistry.
<i>What if I have a gap in my teeth or a chipped tooth?</i>
If you have a gap between your teeth, a chipped tooth or staining that doesn’t respond to a whitening treatment, veneers or bonding can help you achieve the beautiful smile you desire.
Porcelain veneers are thin layers of porcelain designed to look like your natural teeth. Veneers are individually and permanently attached to the fronts of your existing teeth to address issues such as chipped teeth, gaps, persistent stains or misaligned teeth.
Bonding is a similar process that utilizes a composite material made of plastic. The composite material is not as durable as the porcelain and can stain or wear over time.
Both porcelain veneers and bonding are color-matched to the rest of your teeth. Dr. Cabot can review your individual situation to determine the best approach for you.
<i>Caps, crowns, inlays, onlays… What's the difference?</i>
These are all ways to fix tooth that has been damaged by fracture or decay. Caps and crowns are the same thing. The correct term is crown, but many people refer to them as caps because they sit on a tooth like a cap sits on your head. Crowns, inlays, and onlays are all made in a laboratory. This means that they are made from impressions taken of the tooth. To place these restorations, two visits are needed. At the first visit, the tooth is prepared, the impression is taken, and a temporary restoration is made and placed. At the second visit, the temporary is removed and the permanent restoration is placed.
Which one of these restorations is used depends on how much of the tooth has been damaged and needs to be replaced. If the cavity is small, a filling works fine. For cavities that are a little larger, fillings are harder to place well and don’t hold up as well. For that reason, an inlay, this is made outside the mouth and cemented in place, will work better and last longer.
If part of the remaining tooth structure is weak, then the restoration can be made to wrap around that part. This supports the weak section and prevents it from breaking. If only part of the tooth needs to be protected, then it is called an onlay. If the entire tooth needs to be covered, it is a crown.
Crowns, inlays and onlays can be made from white material or gold. The white materials look beautiful. In fact, they are often invisible in the mouth; they look just like natural teeth. Gold does have one advantage: longevity.
In some cases, the choice is obvious. Sometimes, there are reasonable options depending on your priorities (cost, longevity, appearance). In every case, the situation will be discussed with you in advance so you can participate in the decision making process.