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How often should I brush and floss my teeth?

As a general rule, it is good to brush your teeth after each meal if at all possible. Flossing done once a day is usually sufficient.


How often should I have my teeth examined?

Most of the time we recommend having an examination every 6 months. A few people can go a little longer and a few need more frequent exams due to the heavy buildup of calculus (tartar) on their teeth.

What is the best toothpaste to use?

We always recommend using toothpaste that has been approved by the American Dental Association. Those products must undergo testing to prove that they will do what they claim to do. There are many types of toothpastes available today and we sometimes recommend a certain type for a certain condition you may have.


What should I do if tooth is knocked completely out of the mouth?

Try to hold the tooth by the crown portion and not the root. If the tooth is dirty rinse it off in water but do not scrub or rub any tissues remaining on the tooth. If possible, gently replace the tooth into its socket and hold pressure for couple of minutes. 

If it is not possible to replace the tooth then hold the tooth in the mouth between the cheek and gum or transport it to the office in milk or water. Call the office and get in as soon as possible.


What should I do if I have a tooth break?

Most of the time with minor fractures the worst problem you will have will be the sharp edges left by the fracture. Try to put a piece of wax or non-sugared gum in the tooth if it is very sharp before you can get in to see us. If a very large break, call us to get in as soon as you can. Until you can get in, avoid cold liquids and keep food from packing into the defect.


What if I have an emergency while I am out of town?

Look in the telephone directory's Yellow Pages under "dentist" to find the phone number of the local dental society. They can usually give you a referral to an American Dental Association member dentist.

If traveling abroad, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or someone in the hotel, and ask them to refer you to a dentist they know.

What are sealants and who should have them?

Dental sealants are plastic materials placed into the deep grooves and fissures on the back chewing teeth.  They are effective only on the permanent teeth. We like to examine children's permanent back teeth (molars) as they erupt to determine if the grooves will be susceptible to future decay. If they appear they are, a sealant should be placed. Most grown children and adults will not benefit from sealant placement as their teeth will either be the type that will not decay or will already have been filled.


How are sealants placed?

The surface of the tooth is conditioned to help the sealant stick to the grooves. Then the plastic material is brushed into the grooves then cured with a special curing light.


What can be done about mouth ulcers?

Many people have what are commonly called �canker sores.� These are usually found inside the cheek or the inner part of the lips. Scientifically these ulcerations are called apthous ulcers. There is no one reason that is known to trigger these painful ulcers, but the most common reasons are stress, minor trauma to the mouth and hormonal changes. In nearly all cases the ulcers will heal spontaneously in 10-14 days. The lesions do have a tendency to recur from time to time.

If they are extremely uncomfortable, we can recommend an ointment to place over them to reduce the pain and irritation, but healing will occur just as quickly either way. You should avoid spicy and acidic foods while the ulcers are present. There are some new preparations that are being tested that may shorten the course of the problem. Once these ointments are proven to help, I will let you know about it here on the Web site.

What is baby bottle tooth decay and how can I prevent it?

Baby bottle tooth decay is a dental condition found in babies or toddlers usually in their upper front teeth. It is caused by allowing the child to fall asleep with a bottle of milk, fruit juices or sweet liquids. As the child is sleeping the usual salivary activity is slowed allowing the bacteria in the mouth to change the sugars into acid that attacks the teeth.  It can be prevented by giving the child only water in the bottle if they need a comforter between feedings or at bedtime.  A baby�s teeth and gums should be frequently wiped with a clean washcloth


Is there a relationship between gum disease and cardiac conditions?

There was symposium convened by the American Dental Association July 26-27, 2001 of experts in clinical research, gum disease and epidemiology to study that question. They concluded there is no definite link between the gum disease and cardiac problems that can be determined from present knowledge. Some studies have shown a casual relationship, but many fail to rule out the many other cardiac risk factors such as smoking, age, gender, cholesterol, and diabetes.  We recommend that you try to maintain optimal oral health regardless of any possible relationship to your cardiac health that may be proven in the future.


Do you place silver amalgam fillings?

Yes, we occasionally place silver amalgam restorations where they are indicated.  Like all treatment we provide, each tooth is evaluated on an individual basis. Naturally we don�t place silver fillings in the front teeth, but they are still indicated in some situations in the back teeth. In other situations we often use white bonded fillings.


What about safety of silver amalgams? Someone I know said I should have all my silver fillings replaced for health reasons. They do contain mercury don't they?

The Food and Drug Administration published in its February 2002 Consumer Update an opinion that �No valid scientific evidence has ever shown that amalgams cause harm to patients with dental restorations.� The U.S. Public Health Service, the World Health Organization, Consumer Reports Magazine, the European Commission and others have all reached similar conclusions.  For a full transcript of the FDA report go to their WEB site: . Unless you have a metal allergy to some component of the filling we do not recommend replacement of old silver fillings just for health reasons.










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Copyright � 2000-2002 Stephen C. Alsobrook, D.D.S.
Last modified: April 27, 2007