Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What causes bad breath?
In some cases, it could be the garlic in your spaghetti sauce, but more frequently, what we think of as “bad breath” (known medically as halitosis) is caused by a build-up of bacteria as a result of inadequate dental hygiene or a condition like periodontal disease.
While you can chew gum and swish mouthwash hoping to mask the problem, these are only temporary solutions. To truly solve the breath problem, you will need to visit our office so that we can perform an examination and truly get to the bottom of your bad breath.
The first thing we’ll look at is your oral hygiene routine. Are you brushing frequently enough? Do you have plaque building up on your teeth (bacteria love plaque; it’s like a cozy little home for them)? Are you flossing or are your gums red and inflamed? Most of the time, making simple tweaks and improvements to your self-care routine will be enough to improve your breath.
But if it isn’t, then you might have a more serious problem. Bad breath is usually one of the most prominent indicators of periodontal disease. Recent studies have linked periodontal disease to a number of chronic systemic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, so you can see why we want to keep this infection under control.
If you have periodontal disease, we’ll discuss treatments like deep cleanings and medication to stop the progress and restore health to your gums.
If I brush my teeth, why do I still need a cleaning?
Regular cleanings are the backbone of preventive dental care, and our philosophy here at White Park Dental is to prevent problems before they start whenever possible.
Even the most dedicated brushers and flossers are occasionally going to miss a spot. Teeth aren’t uniform, and there are all sorts of places for plaque and bacteria to hide. It’s not realistic to expect to get the same kind of results from a two-minute brushing routine as you would get from an hour with a skilled professional using specialized instruments.
We take special care to remove every trace of plaque and tartar during your cleaning so that you can have a fresh start every six months. We understand if you haven’t made time recently to get a cleaning and you’re overdue. Don’t feel embarrassed! Just give us a call and we’ll help you get back on track.
Cleanings are also a great time to touch base with your hygienist and ask questions about improving your hygiene. Our hygienists are smart and are an excellent resource. They are also highly skilled at spotting the signs of potential problems, so your cleaning is also a chance for us to identify a problem while it’s still in its early stages so that we can recommend an appropriate treatment.
Do you recommend dental sealants?
Sealants are a conservative and noninvasive preventive treatment that can protect your back teeth from cavities. They are particularly effective for children who often don’t have the coordination or the patience to brush their back teeth properly, but they can also be used in adults who have deep grooves in their teeth or are at a higher risk for cavities for other reasons.
The sealants are brushed on as a liquid and then cured. The sealants coat and “seal off” the grooves in the back teeth, preventing the bacteria that cause cavities from accessing the area. The entire process takes minutes, and the only side effect is a bad taste in your mouth that goes away as soon as you rinse. You can eat and drink just minutes after having the sealants placed and they last for years at a time.
At each check-up, we’ll check the condition of your sealants to make sure that they are still in place.
The best way to determine whether sealants are a good choice for you or your child is to schedule an appointment at our Concord dental office. Dr. Bogacz or Dr. Vasantha will examine your teeth and discuss both your own history and your family’s dental history with you to see if you can benefit.
Are amalgam fillings safe?
Many patients come to us with concerns about amalgam (metal) fillings, often because of something they’ve read online or from a well-meaning friend.
Multiple studies have been conducted by such agencies as the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Public Health to test the safety of amalgam fillings, and no study has ever found an adverse health effect connected to dental fillings.
Although amalgam fillings are safe, we still prefer to use tooth-colored fillings here at White Park Dental. Amalgam fillings are useful, but we have a better alternative now that blends in beautifully with your own natural tooth color and is safe, durable, and effective.
If you still have questions or concerns about your fillings, please let us know. For the most part, we don’t recommend replacing metal fillings unless they are damaged in some way or they are in a part of your mouth where they are very conspicuous.
Are whitening toothpastes effective?
An ideal smile is one filled with beautiful, healthy, vibrantly white teeth. The reality, however, is often different. Many foods and drinks can stain your smile, and time itself will eventually cause your dazzling smile to darken.
More companies are constantly pushing out products for consumers who are dreaming of that white smile, including over-the-counter gels and strips and an array of whitening mouthwashes and toothpastes. The reality, however, is that none of these are as effective as a professional whitening treatment.
Whitening toothpastes have different methods to improve the appearance of teeth. Some contain a bleaching chemical (like hydrogen peroxide) in small doses while others use abrasives to “scrub” away surface stains. You may see some slight effect with diligent use of these products, but probably not as much as you were hoping. In fact, products with abrasives may even harm your enamel (and definitely should not be used if you have restorations like crowns or veneers since they can scratch the finish).
These products often cost considerably more than standard fluoride toothpaste. Given the cost of the products and the amount you will have to use to see any kind of results, it’s much more effective to invest in a professional whitening treatment where you will see real, long-lasting results.
How can you help someone who is afraid of the dentist?
Dental fear is a common issue affecting millions of Americans. It’s very real, and at White Park Dental, we take your fears and your concerns seriously.
Some people develop dental fear after a difficult treatment or as the result of a less-than-sympathetic dentist, but most people can’t quite explain what causes them so much anxiety when they think of going to the dentist.
We think that part of the problem is how dentists are often portrayed in the media. TV shows and movies often show dentists as sadistic or cruel, which is unfortunate – and also couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your comfort is one of our top concerns. We will do everything in our power to make sure that you are comfortable at all times, and we always talk to you ahead of time about all your options. We will never perform any treatment without your express permission. You are in charge of your dental health, and we will respect your decisions.
If the thought of a cleaning or other procedure makes you anxious, please give us a call. Dr. Bogacz has been in practice for more than thirty years and has the skill and expertise to make your dental care both efficient and comfortable. We will always recommend the most conservative treatment to resolve any problems that develop.