Outshine Family Dental patient Frequently Asked Questions & Answers  

Below are the most frequently asked questions we receive from patients. Here you can find detailed answers regarding dental health, periodontal disease, bleeding gums, dentures, sealants, health condition concerns, the sensitivity of teeth, and more. At Outshine Family Dental, it is our goal to keep our patients informed and to provide a stress-free experience.


Q: Why Should I go to the Dentist Regularly?

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A: Many people do not see a dentist on a regular basis. They only go when they have a problem. This is known as “crisis treatment” versus “preventive treatment.” While these patients may feel they are saving money, it often ends up costing much more in dollars and time. This is because many dental problems do not have symptoms until they reach the advanced stages of the disease process. An example is tooth decay. It is typical to hear, “Nothing hurts… I don’t have any problems.”

Tooth decay often does not hurt until it gets close to the nerve of the tooth. It is not uncommon to see a patient with a huge cavity who has never felt a thing. The dentist can usually detect a cavity 3-4 years before it develops any symptoms. This early detection can help you prevent root canal treatment.


Q: Why Does the Dentist Take X-Rays?

A: Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when the dentist examines the mouth. An X-ray examination may reveal:

dental xray Metairie la

· small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings)

· infections in the bone

· periodontal (gum) disease

· abscesses or cysts

· developmental abnormalities

· some types of tumors

Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money, and often unnecessary discomfort. X-rays can detect damage to oral structures not visible during a regular exam. If you have a hidden tumor, X-rays may even help save your life. The dentist will evaluate your need for X-rays based on the conditions present in development. There are many benefits to having X-rays taken. Any additional questions or concerns should be discussed with your dentist.

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Q: What is Fluoride and Why is it Important for Dental Health?

A: Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and in water. Some natural sources of fluoride are brewed tea, canned fish, cooked kale and spinach, apples, and skim milk. Some city water contains fluoride, so by drinking tap water you will acquire fluoride. If drinking water does not have fluoride, supplements are available.

The lack of exposure to fluoride places individuals of any age at risk for dental decay. Fluoride is important to dental health because it helps prevent tooth decay by making your tooth enamel more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria in your mouth.

Studies have shown that children who consumed fluoridated water from birth had less dental decay. Fluoride can reverse early decay and help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that causes degenerative bone loss. Talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about whether you’re getting the daily amount of fluoride you need.


Q: What are Cavity-Fighting Sealants?

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A: The American Dental Association cites sealants as an effective weapon in the arsenal against tooth decay. Sealants are a thin coating painted on chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting your teeth against decay-causing bacteria.

Sealants have proven effective with both adults and children, but are most commonly used with children. Despite the fact that sealants are about half the cost of fillings, only a small percentage of school-aged children have sealants on their permanent teeth. Ask your dentist whether sealants are a good choice for you or your children.


Q: What Can I Do About Sensitive Teeth?

A: Sensitivity toothpaste, which contains strontium chloride or potassium nitrate is very effective in treating sensitive teeth. After a few weeks of use, you may notice a decrease in insensitivity. Highly acidic foods such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, as well as tea and soda, can increase tooth sensitivity, and work against sensitive toothpaste. If you do not get relief by brushing gently and using desensitizing toothpaste, see your dentist. There are special compounds that can be applied in-office to the roots of your tooth to reduce – if not eliminate – the sensitivity. High-fluoride-containing home care products can also be recommended to help reduce tooth sensitivity.


Q: What is Periodontal Disease?

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A: Periodontal disease is inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting bone structure, which if left untreated, can cause permanent jaw bone destruction and possible tooth loss. Untreated periodontal disease has been linked to increased risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, low birth weight babies, pre-term delivery, respiratory disease, and prostate cancer. An advanced stage of periodontal disease exhibits inflamed gums pulling away from your bone and teeth. Other signs of periodontal disease include:

· Bad breath

· Red or swollen gums

· Loose teeth or teeth that have moved

· Sensitive teeth

· Pus coming from around the teeth

· Pain when chewing

· Tender gums

· Bleeding gums

Treatment of early periodontal disease can be performed in-office. However, advanced stages may require surgery. Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated successfully by seeing your dentist and dental hygienist regularly and following recommended care plans.

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Q: What Should I Do About Bleeding Gums?

A: People often respond to bleeding gums with the wrong method of treatment. Usually, gums that bleed are a symptom of the onset of periodontal disease or gingivitis. But often, people stop brushing as frequently and effectively because it may be painful or it may cause the gums to bleed again. However, when gums are inflamed, brushing could help reduce the inflammation. More importantly, you should see your dentist and have a periodontal screening and recording performed in order to determine the level of the disease present and the best treatment course to pursue.

It is also worth noting that chronic dental pain and discomfort are obvious signs of a problem. Over-the-counter drugs may provide some temporary relief. These medications usually only mask the existence of a problem and should be taken on a temporary basis.

It is important to see your dentist as soon as possible if your gums begin to bleed.


Q: I Have Diabetes. Why is My Dentist Concerned?

A: Research today suggests a link between gum disease and diabetes. Research has established that people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. If blood glucose levels are poorly controlled you may be more likely to develop gum disease and could potentially lose teeth. Like all infections, gum disease can be a factor in causing blood sugar levels to rise and make diabetes harder to control. Be sure to see your dentist regularly for check-ups and follow home care recommendations. If you notice other conditions such as a dry mouth or bleeding gums, be sure to talk with your dentist. And don’t forget to mention any changes in medications.


Q: I Just Found Out I Am Pregnant. How Can This Affect My Mouth?

A: About half of the women who are pregnant experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. This condition can be uncomfortable and cause swelling, bleeding, redness, or tenderness in the gum tissue. A more advanced oral health condition called periodontal disease (a serious gum infection that destroys attachment fibers and supporting bone that holds teeth in the mouth) may affect the health of your baby. Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and preterm, low birth-weight babies. In fact, pregnant women with periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that’s born too early and too small. The likely culprit is a labor-inducing chemical found in oral bacteria called prostaglandin. Very high levels of prostaglandin are found in women with severe cases of periodontal disease.


Q: I am Undergoing Chemotherapy and/or Radiation for Cancer Treatment, How Can This Affect My Mouth?

A: Chemotherapy and Radiation can cause a number of problems in the mouth, some of which might include: mouth sores, infections, dry mouth, bleeding of the gums and lining of the mouth, and general soreness and pain of the mouth. It can be harder to control these things while undergoing treatment as the immune system is generally compromised as a result of the treatment. There are some special mouth rinses that can be prescribed to help with discomfort during treatment. It is very important to see your dentist before treatment begins and then to continue with recommended follow-up care. These treatments can cause dry mouth, and recommendations might be made for additional care both in-office and at home.

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q: I have Dentures. Is it Necessary For Me to Still See My Dentist?

A: Visits to the dentist include more than just “checking teeth.” While patients who wear dentures no longer have to worry about dental decay, they may have concerns with ill-fitting appliances or mouth sores to name a few. Annual visits to the dentist (or sooner if soreness is present) are recommended. During these visits, an oral cancer screening and head and neck exam will be performed as well as an evaluation of the fit or need for replacement of the existing appliances. Regular visits can help you to avoid more complicated problems down the road.


q: What Type of Toothbrush and Toothpaste Should I use?

brushing and flossing

A: Buy toothbrushes with soft bristles. Medium and firm ones can damage teeth and gums. Use soft pressure, for 2 minutes, two times a day. Both powered and manual toothbrushes clean teeth well. Manual brushes with mixed bristle heights or angled bristles clean better than those with all flat, even bristles. Powered toothbrushes may be easier if you have trouble using your hands.

Set a reminder to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Toss it sooner if the bristles look bent or splayed out. Bent bristles don’t clean as well. (They’re also a sign you may be brushing too hard.) Most toothpaste will clear away bacteria growth and acids from food and drinks. Toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance always has fluoride, which strengthens and protects teeth. If you want a non-fluoride option, stores carry toothpaste and powders made with natural ingredients that don’t have ADA testing and approval. If cold or hot food or drinks make you cringe, pick toothpaste for sensitive teeth and let your dentist know.


q: Do I Really Need to Floss?

A: There’s no getting around the need to get around your teeth daily with dental floss. It clears food and plaque from between teeth and under the gumline. If you don’t, plaque hardens into tartar, which forms wedges and widens the space between teeth and gums, causing pockets. Over time, gums pull away and teeth loosen.

Either waxed or unwaxed floss will do the job. Using floss picks or interdental brushes is another easy option.

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