Frequently Asked Questions
There are some questions that we hear frequently, so we’ve provided you with a nice list of the most common ones here on this page. If you have any more questions, or we haven’t answered yours here, please call our office at 727-373-6628 or fill our our online contact form.
- Q: Do you treat children?
- Q: What should I do if I’m missing a tooth?
- Q: What should I do if one of my teeth is knocked out?
- Q: What are porcelain veneers?
- Q: What is the best way to repair a chipped tooth?
- Q: What are dental implants?
- Q: Why do I need a crown instead of a larger filling?
- Q: Is tooth whitening/bleaching safe?
- Q: What is tooth decay?
- Q: What is periodontal disease?
- Q: What is gingivitis?
- Q: What causes bad breath?
- Q: What is the best way for me to keep my teeth clean at home?
Q: Do you treat children?
Absolutely! Dr. Burton and our team work hard to make sure patients of all ages feel comfortable in our Clearwater, FL dentist office. With our caring staff members and gentle approach to dental treatments, even the most nervous child can relax.
We are also here for the parents. You may have questions and concerns, and we want to hear them! Don’t wonder if you are caring for your child’s teeth correctly. All you have to do is ask!
Q: What should I do if I’m missing a tooth?
A: Over time, the loss of a tooth can have a significant effect on your oral health. Teeth will shift to adjust for the gap left by the loss, which can cause your bite to become misaligned. Bone loss is also common, resulting in the potential loss of more teeth.
We recommend a bridge or dental implant to help stabilize adjacent teeth and preserve the bone in your jaw. Not only will this preserve your oral health, but it will also create a cosmetically pleasing result that will give you a smile to be proud of.
Q: What should I do if one of my teeth is knocked out?
A: If you are in danger of losing a tooth or have already lost one, there are several steps you can take at home to preserve it before your appointment.
First, only hold the tooth by the crown, never the root! Don’t remove any tissue that may still be attached, and clean it using lukewarm water.
Place your tooth in a glass of milk, which will help preserve and keep it alive. If you don’t have milk, place it in your cheek to keep it moist and clean.
Don’t try to scrub or clean the tooth! It is important that you handle it as little as possible between it falling out and having us save it. You have a very limited time to save a tooth that has been knocked out, so call our office as quickly as possible!
Q: What are porcelain veneers?
A: Porcelain veneers are a cosmetic procedure that involve placing a thin porcelain “false nail” on to the top of your existing tooth. They are great for correcting a number of cosmetic flaws, such as gaps or discoloration, and last for years. We secure our veneers with a strong polymer resin which sets almost instantly, meaning you’re immediately free to eat, drink, and brush normally!
Q: What is the best way to repair a chipped tooth?
A: We offer safe and effective porcelain veneers that do a great job of repairing a chipped tooth! For minor damage, veneers offer a way to place a “false nail” on the front of your tooth. We remove a thin layer of enamel and secure a wafer-thin replacement in place to protect your original tooth. Veneers can be shaped to close gaps, repair chips, and correct a variety of cosmetic issues. For more severe tooth chips, we may recommend a crown.
Q: What are dental implants?
A: Dental implants are essentially a replacement tooth root. They go just as deep as a root and are made of titanium, which easily bonds to bone for a secure fit that is just as secure as a real tooth. Once your implant is placed, there are multiple ways to restore it – through an individual artificial tooth, a partial denture, or a full set of permanently affixed dentures. Dental implants are a technological breakthrough in treating lost teeth. Not only are they incredibly effective, but they also help to maintain bone integrity that is often lost along with a tooth. By having an implant placed, you aren’t just restoring your mouth’s function, you’re also ensuring your long-term health.
Q: Why do I need a crown instead of a larger filling?
A: If too much of your tooth has been damaged from decay, a filling won’t be effective. Fillings are best used when only a small portion of your tooth has decayed or if the area affected has little exposed surface area. When large-scale decay has set in, a crown is far more effective at rebuilding and preserving your natural tooth.
Crowns cover your entire tooth, which is prepared in advance to allow the crown to fit comfortably and securely. Once in place, it is secured and acts just like a natural tooth. Along with being virtually undetectable, a crown is a simple and effective method for treating large scale decay.
Q: Is tooth whitening/bleaching safe?
A: Tooth bleaching is completely safe, especially with a take-home ZOOM! whitening kit like we offer at Clearwater Dental Associates!
Take-home whitening that is prescribed by a dentist is a safe and effective method that will get you the best whitening possible in the comfort of your own home.
When you hear horror stories about tooth whitening, it is often due to poorly fitted whitening trays or the excessive use of whitening gel. We will custom mold trays to fit your teeth and show you exactly how to use the system to ensure you have a safe, effective whitening experience!
Q: What is tooth decay?
A: Tooth decay begins when plaque build up becomes severe. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that begin eating through the enamel on your teeth. From there, decay can attack the dental pulp inside a tooth, leading to the death of the nerves and tissue that keep a tooth healthy. Tooth decay can be caused by poor dental hygiene habits, as well as smoking and bad dietary habits.
Q: What is periodontal disease?
A: Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the advanced form of gingivitis that is caused by bacterial infection in the gums and teeth. It presents similar symptoms to gingivitis but is more severe. Just like plaque can cause cavities on the exposed portion of your teeth, periodontal disease eats away at the parts of your teeth that you can’t see – the portion hidden below your gum line.
The difficult part about diagnosing and treating periodontal disease is how invisible it can be, often going for years without symptoms. When advanced levels of tooth decay begin, it rapidly takes a toll on your oral health, causing the loss of teeth and deterioration of bone in the jaw that supports them.
Don’t wait for symptoms to begin! Regular cleanings every six months are the best way to recognize and treat periodontal disease before it begins. Once you have the signs, symptoms, and effects of periodontal disease treatment becomes much more complicated!
Q: What is gingivitis?
A: Gingivitis is the earliest and mildest stage of periodontal disease. Symptoms include sensitive, swollen, and bleeding gums which are easily aggravated by brushing. Gingivitis is caused by bacteria-filled plaque which builds up around the gum line and between the teeth and gums due to inadequate brushing and flossing. Thankfully, gingivitis is easily resolved with improved oral care habits and a thorough cleaning at our office!
It is also common to not have symptoms or to not notice any irritation for quite some time. If not treated quickly, gingivitis can develop into a full-blown periodontal disease, so set up your next six-month cleaning today!
Q: What causes bad breath?
A: Bad breath can have a number of causes, but the most common one that we see is tooth decay and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease affects the gums, bone, and portions of the tooth that are hard to keep clean. This can cause a growth of bacteria and an infection that starts as gingivitis and can grow into a more severe periodontal issue.
At Clearwater Dental Associates, we are equipped to handle all of the oral causes of bad breath. Tooth decay can be treated with a filling or crown, and the earliest symptoms of periodontal disease can often be treated with a simple “deep clean” that you’ll get from your routine dental cleaning.
If you are suffering from bad breath, call us today and schedule a consultation the sooner we see you, the easier the solution can be!
Q: What is the best way for me to keep my teeth clean at home?
A: When it comes to keeping your teeth clean, the old tips still ring true – you should brush at least twice a day and floss daily. What you may not know is that your brushing method can have an effect on how well you clean your teeth.
Brushing should be gentle, and your strokes should be roughly tooth width. If you’re brushing too hard or vigorously, you can not only stress your gums, but you can also wear out your toothbrush faster and get a less thorough cleaning. Also, be sure that you are brushing the fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces of your teeth – any surfaces you miss will be coated with bacteria filled plaque!
When flossing, be sure that you reach the gum line and pull the floss out with more pressure against one side of the tooth. Reinsert the floss between your teeth and remove using pressure on the other tooth. Using this method, you should remove the maximum amount of plaque from between your teeth.