Madhavi Yerneni, D.M.D

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        Useful Articles  and FAQs

     We offer answers to FAQ's along with the topics in the news about these subjects.

  1. How often do I need dental checkup?
    Regular dental check-ups are needed to monitor your overall oral health. The idea that you should see the dentist only when something is wrong is not only bad but also can cost you a lot of time, comfort and money. Checkup procedures mainly contain review of medical and dental history, examination of mouth, professional cleaning, followed by application of fluoride and a general assessment of hygiene at home. Dentist is trained to detect and treat various dental problems even before you are aware of it.

  2. Do I need X-rays taken?
    Dental X-rays are taken routinely by your dentist. They provide valuable information, as the dentist can look at what is happening beneath the visible oral tissues. An X-ray exam may reveal small areas of decay between the teeth, extent of dental caries, Unerupted / Impacted teeth, abscessed teeth, bone loss / damage and abnormalities of teeth and jaw bones.

  3. Are X-rays safe?
    Yes they are. We are exposed to radiation every day from various sources including outer space, minerals in soil and home appliances such as television screens. Amount of radiation received from dental X-ray is very less compared to naturally occurring radiation. Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save a lot of money and avoid unnecessary discomfort.

  4. Why are sealants recommended?
    Some back teeth, especially molars have grooves which are deep and narrow in the chewing surface of the tooth, making it difficult to keep clean. By placing dental sealants in the tooth, the surface becomes smoother and flatter. Since plaque can be removed easily and effectively, there is less chance that decay will start.

  5. When should sealants be placed?
    Children benefit the most from sealants. First molars erupt at the age of 6 and second molars at the age of 12. Sealants can be placed on the molars shortly after eruption. Sealants combined with fluoride can prevent tooth decay in most children.

  6. What is gum disease?
    Gum disease or periodontal disease is the bleeding of gums. Puffy tender gums may be the cause of tooth loss, a sign of gum disease. However bleeding gums may not always be necessarily present. Regular dental visit can help detect gum disease in the early stages. Professional cleaning is the only way of removing plaque from deep under the gums.

  7. How can gum disease be treated?
    Gum disease or periodontal disease progresses slowly. Gum disease is the number one reason for loss of teeth. Although periodontal disease is caused by plaque, other conditions such as smoking, food left between teeth, mal-aligned teeth, poorly fitting bridges or partial dentures and certain systematic diseases such as anemia can increase the risk or severity of the condition.

  8. What is tooth decay?
    Plaque is a thin film of bacteria which develops on the teeth. When this plaque interacts with the sugars we eat, it forms an acid which breaks down or demineralizes our teeth. When the process of demineralization is faster than remineralization, a cavity is formed.

  9. How do I prevent tooth decay?
    There are many factors which play a role in causing tooth decay, most important being the diet. a. The food choices we make affect our overall health including our teeth and gums. Limiting the intake of beverages and foods high in added sugar helps reduce the risk of tooth decay. b. Avoiding Sugar or reducing the intake of sugar will have a beneficial impact on the cavities. c. Plaque and Sugar interact to form an acid which attacks the teeth and causes cavities. Proper brushing and flossing will remove sugars and plaque thereby restricting the formation of cavities.

  10. How often do I change my toothbrush?
    Once every three months.

  11. Are rotary toothbrushes beneficial?
    Rotary toothbrushes show improvement in oral hygiene in patients who are not proficient with manual brushing.

  12. Do I need to floss if I use a rotary toothbrush?
    Yes, rotary toothbrushes do not eliminate the need for flossing.

  13. When should I consider bleaching my teeth?
    Bleaching helps eliminate extrinsic stains caused by consumption of tea, coffee, tobacco and food.

  14. How long will treatment take?
    For the Take-Home bleach, it takes approximately 2 weeks for each arch. You may treat both the arches simultaneously or separately. Some In-Office bleaches take up to 1 hour.

  15. Does bleaching harm my teeth?
    Whitening teeth with carbamide peroxide has been shown to be safe. Some patients may experience increased tooth sensitivity and temporary discomfort of gums.

  16. How long does tooth bleaching last?
    Tooth bleaching can last up to 3 years. A touch up kit is available which can be used as needed. It depends on the personal habits such as smoking, drinking coffee and tea.

  17. Why do I need a Mouth Guard?
    A Mouth Guard is worn by athletes to protect their mouth from injuries. Mouth Guards are effective in moving soft tissues away from the teeth preventing bruising of lips and cheeks. They are especially helpful for people who wear braces.

  18. How do I clean a Mouth Guard?
    Rinse it with soap and warm water. Soak Mouth Guard in mouth wash before storing and store mouth guard in a well aerated container.

  19. Why do teeth seem darker as we age?
    As you age, you may notice that it is harder to keep your teeth white and clean. This is because plaque can accumulate faster due to changes in the tissue / bones surrounding the teeth. Changes in dentine can cause the teeth to appear darker.

  20. Why am I losing the sense of taste?
    Age decreases the sense of taste and smell. Certain diseases, medications and dentures can contribute to decrease in sense of taste.

  21. Why does my mouth feel dry?
    Reduction in the salivary flow causes dry mouth. This is a common problem among the elderly. It can be caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics. Sugar free candy or gum stimulates flow of saliva and moisture can be replaced using artificial saliva and oral rinses.

  22. Should elderly be concerned about cavities?
    The nature of tooth decay changes a little as people grow older. Root caries or decay of the root is common among older adults. Root caries occurs when gums recede, resulting in the exposure of softer root surface. The root surface decays more easily that tooth enamel.

  23. What are dentures?
    Dentures are removable prosthetic appliances designed to replace missing teeth. Full dentures are prosthetics that replace a complete set of missing teeth.

  24. I have full dentures, do I still need to see a dentist often?
    Even though you have no teeth, you should see a dentist for examination of oral tissues such as gums, soft tissues which include screening for oral cancer, tongue and joints. The dentist also checks the fit of the dentures.

  25. How often should I clean my dentures?
    The dentures should be cleaned daily to prevent build up of plaque, food, tartar and stains. The presence of which may cause irritation of tissues under the dentures and infections in the mouth.

  26. How do I care for the dentures?
    Rinse the dentures under water after meals to remove food debris. Brush dentures with mildly abrasive toothpaste, soap and water. Use a denture brush or a separate regular soft toothbrush to clean the dentures. The denture can be soaked in a solvent such as polydent, efferdent that removes or loosens light stains and deposits. Rinse the denture with water afterwards.

  27. Why do I have to get my wisdom teeth pulled?
    3rd molars also known as wisdom teeth are the last of the permanent teeth to develop. There is often not enough space for them to erupt and can become impacted. Those that fail to erupt completely may develop cysts or tooth infections when bacteria attack. Their existence can be a factor causing crowding or malocclusion in a developing dentition. 3rd molars are often difficult to keep clean and are prone to cavities and gum diseases. Hence we suggest that wisdom teeth be removed before they cause these problems. It is best to remove the wisdom teeth under the age of 20 as the bone around the teeth is not very dense.