FAQs

Maintain Good Oral Health in Fraser, MI

Information and education are the keys to good health. Just as we believe in continuing education for ourselves, we recommend that our patients learn about their dental health. We are always happy to discuss your care with you, and we will never perform a procedure until you've been informed about the procedure we are treating and have given us your approval to proceed.

How often should you visit the dentist?

Taking care of your teeth means more than brushing and flossing. For complete care, it's important to visit a dentist every six months for a regular checkup and professional cleaning.

Do over-the-counter teeth whitening products work

Teeth whitening products purchased at your local drug store can be somewhat effective. But they will never match the results that can be achieved with a professional teeth whitening at our Keith D Nowicki DDS dental office. The primary difference between professional and store-bought products is the strength of whitener used. Since we are trained in the teeth whitening process, we can prescribe a much higher concentration of peroxide than can be safely used at home. Professional teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental treatment that can truly transform your smile and make it sparkle. Next time you come in for a cleaning, we encourage you to talk to our hygienist about the benefits of teeth whitening.

Which type of toothbrush should I use?

The brand of the toothbrush is not as critical as the type of bristle and the size of the head. A soft toothbrush with a small head is recommended because medium and hard brushes tend to cause irritation and contribute to recession of the gums, and a small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. It's unnecessary to "scrub" the teeth as long as you are brushing at least twice a day and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings.

Is one toothpaste better than others?

Generally, no. However, it's advisable to use a fluoride containing toothpaste to decrease the incidence of dental decay. We recommend our patients use what tastes good to them as long as it contains fluoride.

How often should I floss?

Flossing of the teeth once per day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can't reach. Flossing also helps to keep your gums healthy.

What's the difference between a "crown" and a "cap"?

These are restorations to repair a severely broken tooth by covering all or most of the tooth after removing old fillings, fractured tooth structure, and all decay. The restoration material is made of gold, porcelain, composites, or even stainless steel. Dentists refer to all of these restorations as "crowns". However, patients often refer to the tooth-colored ones as "caps" and the gold or stainless steel ones as "crowns".

What's the difference between a "bridge" and a "partial denture"?

Both bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth. A bridge is permanently attached to abutment teeth or, in some cases, implants. A partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and is easily removed by the patient. Patients are usually more satisfied with bridges than with partial dentures.

What about "silver" fillings versus "white" fillings?

Although the U.S. Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver fillings), more patients today are requesting "white" or tooth-colored composite fillings. We also prefer tooth-colored fillings because they "bond" to the tooth structure and therefore help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay. While fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature, they also look better. However, "white" fillings cannot be used in every situation, and if a tooth is very badly broken-down, a crown will usually be necessary and provide better overall satisfaction for the patient.

Do I need to have a root canal just because I have to have a crown?

No. While most teeth which have had root canal treatments do need crowns to strengthen the teeth and to return the teeth to normal form and function, not every tooth needing a crown also needs to have a root canal.

What is a Filling?

Fillings are done to remove decay and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because new material fills a hole that decay has left. Nowadays most teeth are treated with bonded tooth-colored composite resin fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If untreated, decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection. Ultimately, resulting in the need for a root canal or extraction.

What is the Purpose of a Sealant?

Sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because they're too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These will develop cavities over time, and you don't want that. So the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.

What are my options for Non-Surgical Gum Treatments?

The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation of teeth. These structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, the teeth are jeopardized just as a bad as a foundation would jeopardize the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium (gum disease) may be as follows: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these signs may mean something is wrong. With the proper care, however, it may be possible to return them to a healthy state. This is where appropriate gum treatments come in. If you're having a problem, come in and see us so we can take care of it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents. If the gum disease gets too severe, it may need to be treated through surgery or extraction. Gum disease may also lead to other serious health conditions. Remember, your mouth is part of your body. This is why it is important to get it treated at the first sign of a problem.

How can X-Rays Help?

X-rays are a focused beam of particles through bone which produces an image on special film, showing the structure through which it passed. This gives the familiar black and white images that doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process. To decline their use could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an X-ray of the whole tooth and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention. We use digital radiography which allows us to take X-rays using 50-70% less radiation versus conventional X-rays.
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