Frequently asked Questions
What is tooth erosion?
Many people consume carbonated beverages, fruit juice, and highly acidic foods everyday but probably don’ t realize that they might be harming their teeth. The acid in the foods we eat and drink can cause tooth enamel to wear away , making teeth sensitive, cracked , and discolored. Tooth erosion, or tooth wear, is the loss of tooth structure. Basically, tooth erosion refers to the wearing away of the hard part of your teeth, which is called the enamel.
What causes tooth erosion?
Tooth erosion occurs when the enamel on your teeth is worn away by acid. Usually the calcium contained in saliva will help rematerialize ( or strengthen) your teeth after you consume small amounts of acid, but the presence of a lot of acid in your mouth does not allow for remineralization.
Acid can come from many sources, including:
Carbonated drinks. All “fizzy” drinks, including soda (even diet varieties) contain a lot of acid and can dissolve enamel on your teeth very quickly. More damage is done when you drink large amounts and your mouth for long time.
Pure fruit juice. Juice has similar effects on your teeth because it contains a lot of acid.
Bulimia and acid reflux. Bulimia , a disease in which a person vomits to avoid gaining weight, and acid reflux also can cause tooth damage due to stomach acids. Medical and dental help should be sought immediately if you or anyone you know suffers from a condition such as this.
What are some signs of tooth erosion?
Below are some signs of tooth erosion ranging from its early stages( sensitivity, Discoloration, rounded teeth) to the later, more severe stages ( cracks, severe sensitivity, cupping).
Sensitivity. Since protective enamel is of pain when you consume hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.
Discoloration. Teeth can become slightly yellow because as more dentin is exposed because of the loss of tooth enamel.
Cracks. Small cracks and roughness may appear at the edges of teeth.
Severe sensitivity. As more enamel is worn away, teeth become increasingly sensitive.
Cupping. Small dents may appear on the chewing surface of the teeth. Fillings also might appear to be rising up out of the tooth.
What is a root canal? Underneath your tooth’s outer enamel and within the dentin is an area of soft tissue called the pulp tissue. While a tooth’s pulp tissue does contain nerve fibers, it is also composed of arteries, veins, lymph vessels, and connective tissue. Each tooth’s nerve enters the tooth at the very tip of its roots. From there, the nerve enters the tooth at the very tip of its roots. From there, the nerve runs through the center of the root in small “root canals,” which join up with the tooth’s pulp chamber.
Why do I feel PAIN? When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed due to a deep cavity or fracture, the blood supply to the tooth may be lost and the tooth pulp may die. Damaged or dead pulp causes increased blood flow and activity in the tooth’s cells. Pressure may build within a tooth that cannot be relieved, causing pain that is commonly felt when biting down, chewing, or consuming hot or cold foods and drinks.
Why might I need treatment? Without treatment, the infection will spread and bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate, possibly causing the tooth to fall out. Pain usually worsens until you are forced to seek dental attention.
What is root canal therapy? Root canal therapy is a procedure that removes the damaged or dead pulp. The canal is reshaped and filled with gutta-percha, a rubber-like material, to prevent recontamination of the tooth. The tooth is then permanently sealed.
How will I feel after treatment? There may be some inflammation around the gum tissues, which may cause discomfort for a few days. This can be controlled by an over-the-counter pain reliever. A follow-up visit later will help review how the tissue is healing. From this point on, brush and floss regularly, avoid chewing hard food s on the treated tooth, and see Dr. Reyes on a regular basis for cleanings, exams, and x-rays to avoid the discomfort of a toothache and root canal.
How can I prevent root canals? Fix decay early, go in for regular check –ups and cleanings, and when you see a black spot on my tooth have it checked quickly.
Are their options to root canal therapy? The only alternative to root canal therapy is to extract the tooth; however this alone can cause the surrounding teeth to move, resulting in a bad bite. Though a simple extraction may be perceived as less expensive, the empty space left behind will require an implant or a bridge which ultimately can be more costly than root canal therapy.
More than 95 percent of root canal therapies are successful.
Your joint replacement, dental procedures and antibiotics
For the first two years after a joint replacement, all patients may need antibiotics for all high-risk dental procedures. After two years, only high-risk patients may need to receive antibiotics for high-risk procedures.
The bacteria commonly found in the mouth may travel through the bloodstream and settle in your artificial joint. This increases your risk of contracting an infection. Ask Dr. Reyes about preventive antibiotics for all dental procedures with a high risk of bleeding or producing high levels of bacteria in your blood. Dr. Reyes and your orthopedic surgeon, working together, will develop an appropriate course of treatment for you.
How can I plan my meals and snacks to promote better oral health? Eat a well-balanced diet characterized by moderation and variety. Develop eating habits that follow the recommendations from reputable health organizations. Choose foods from the five basic food groups, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: fruits; vegetables; breads and cereals; milk and dairy products; and meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts or beans. Avoid fad diets that limit or eliminate entire food groups, which usually result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies
You may be able to prevent two of the most common diseases of modern civilization—tooth decay (caries) and periodontal disease—simply by improving your diet. Decay results when the hard tissues are destroyed by acid products from oral bacteria. Certain foods and food combinations are linked to higher levels of cavity—causing bacteria. Although poor nutrition does not directly cause periodontal disease, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is more severe in patients whose diet does not supply the necessary nutrients. Periodontal disease affects the supporting tissues of the teeth and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Poor nutrition affects the entire immune system thereby increasing susceptibility to many disorders. People with lowered immune systems have been shown to be at higher risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, today’s research shows a link between oral health and systemic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Always keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water. Saliva protects both hard and soft oral tissues. If you have a dry mouth supplement your diet with sugarless candy or gum to stimulate saliva.
Two important factors affecting tooth decay are:
How much you eat: Malnutrition (bad nutrition) can result from too much nourishment as easily as too little. Each time you eat, you create an environment for oral bacteria to develop. Additionally, studies are showing that dental disease is just as related to overeating as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and hypertension. So, making a habit of eating too much of just about anything, too frequently, should be avoided.
How often you eat: foods that cling to your teeth promote tooth decay. Every time you eat foods containing carbohydrates—such as candy, cookies, breads, pasta, potatoes and even corn– acid attacks your teeth for at least 20 minutes. Instead, choose dentally healthy foods such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese and sugarless gum or candy.
When you eat fermentable carbohydrates, such as crackers cookies and chips, eat them as part of your meal, instead of by themselves. These foods do not dissolve in saliva and clear the mouth until they have been broken down into simpler sugars. The process is likely to take hours and extends the time bacteria attack the enamel of your teeth. Combinations of foods neutralize acids in the mouth and inhibit tooth decay. For example, enjoy cheese with your crackers. Cheese and other dairy products can have a buffering effect. They help neutralize acids in the mouth. Your snack will be just as satisfying and better for your dental health.
Why do I need fluoride? Fluoride is a compound of the element fluorine, which is found universally throughout nature in water, soil air and in most foods. Fluoride is absorbed easily into tooth enamel, especially in children’s growing teeth. Once teeth are developed, fluoride makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes re-mineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before the damage is even visible. Drinking excessive amounts of fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, a harmless cosmetic discoloring or mottling of the enamel.
When should I consult my dentist or dietitian about my nutritional status? Always ask your dentist if you’re not sure how your nutrition (diet) may affect your oral health. Conditions such as tooth loss, pain and/or joint dysfunction can impair chewing and are often found in elderly people, those on restrictive diets and those who are undergoing medical treatment. People experiencing these problems may be too isolated or weakened to eat nutritionally balanced meals at a time when it is particularly critical. Talk to your dental health professional about what you can do for yourself or someone you know in these circumstances.
Why am I anxious in the dental office? People are anxious about going to the dentist for different reasons, including worrying about the effectiveness of localized anesthetic and feeling like the dentist is rushed or is neglecting your concerns. Other factors include anticipation of pain, the cost of the procedure, past experiences, and even the sterile smell of the dental office. Interrupting the normal day’s routine to visit the dentist also is a factor in general anxiety.
What does Dr. Reyes do to relieve my anxiety? We work to reduce your anxiety before you ever step foot in the dental office. This process begins on the phone, while making appointments. Our office staff have been trained in caring for your services, and they understand your need for comfort during your visit.
Once you arrive for your appointment, we do a lot to ensure that every aspect of your visit is designed to create optimal comfort. There are TV''s, music, and caring staff who understand your fears. We don’t reprimand you; we are just happy you chose our office and we can help you.
How will Dr. Reyes handle my child’s anxiety? Some children are anxious because they are visiting the dentist for the first time. This experience into the unknown is a common reason for nervousness. We will talk directly to your son or daughter to make them feel more comfortable.
What can I do to relieve dental anxiety? Knowledge is the greatest defense against anxiety. Avoiding caffeine before a dental appointment can make you less anxious. Eating high-protein food produces a calming effect, unlike sugary foods.
During the procedure, focus on breathing regularly and slowly. When you are nervous you tend to hold your breath, which decreases oxygen levels and further increases feelings of panic. If you have specific fears talk to Dr. Reyes about them.
Other options during your dental visit? You can have Nitrous Oxide which helps reduce your stress while in the office.