FAQ

General Questions

How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.

What is checked at a regular dental visit?

At these visits, your teeth are cleaned to remove tartar and plaque, polished, and checked for cavities and tooth decay. We also examine existing fillings, crowns and other restorations. We may take x-rays, especially if this is your first visit with us. We will review your medical history, dietary habits, screen for oral cancer and gum disease and provide recommendations for oral hygine.

How often should I brush and floss?

Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste. Floss daily.
• Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.

• Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.

• Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth.

• Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

Electric toothbrushes are also recommended.  They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently.  Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.

Why is it important to use dental floss?

Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrush can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

How do I floss properly?

• Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.

• Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.

• Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline.  Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.

Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.

Dental Hygiene Questions

What should I do if I have bad breath?

Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition.  Many of us may not realize that we have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning. There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent.

What may cause bad breath?

Keeping a record of what you eat may help identify the cause of bad breath. Also, review your current medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with you dentist. In general, the following may be the underlying cause:
• Morning time – Saliva flow almost stops during sleep, causing bad breath.

• Foods containing odor-causing compounds (onions, garlic, etc.) enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.

• Poor oral hygiene habits
• Periodontal (gum) disease
• Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances.
• Dry mouth (Xerostomia), caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.

• Tobacco products
• Dieting – chemicals called ketones are released as the body burns fat.

• Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals. Drinking water will help.

• Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath.

What can I do to prevent bad breath?

If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, Dr. Bonadeo may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.
• Practice good oral hygiene:
Brush at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gumline. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months.
• Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year.
• Stop smoking/chewing tobacco
• Drink water frequently to keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria.

• Use mouthwash/antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath, but also kill the germs that cause the problem.

How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?

It is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Having regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important and will help detect if periodontal problems exist. Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

What are the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?

• Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.

• Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.

• Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.

• New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.

• Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).

• Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.

• Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.

• Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.

What factors increase my risk for gum disease?

• Smoking or chewing tobacco – Tobacco users are more likely than nonusers to form plaque and tartar on their teeth.

• Certain tooth or appliance conditions – Bridges that no longer fit properly, crowded teeth, or defective fillings that may trap plaque and bacteria.

• Many medications – Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure meds, oral contraceptives. Some medications have side affects that reduce saliva, making the mouth dry and plaque easier to adhere to the teeth and gums.

• Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty – Can cause changes in hormone levels, causing gum tissue to become more sensitive to bacteria toxins.

• Systemic diseases – Diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV / AIDS, etc.

• Genetics may play role – Some patients may be predisposed to a more aggressive type of periodontitis.  Patients with a family history of tooth loss should pay particular attention to their gums.

Cosmetic Dentistry Questions

What cosmetic procedures do you perform?

Thanks to the advances in modern dentistry, cosmetic treatments can make a difference in making your smile shine!

Teeth whitening, Composite (tooth-colored) fillings, Porcelain veneers,
Porcelain crowns (caps), Mini-dental implants, Orthodontics (Invisalign®)

How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?

If you’re feeling somewhat self-conscious about your teeth, or just want to improve your smile, cosmetic dental treatments may be the answer to a more beautiful, confident smile. Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last several years, not only due the many advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials available today, but also because patients are becoming more and more focused on improving their overall health. This includes dental prevention and having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile.

There are many cosmetic dental procedures available to improve your teeth and enhance your smile. Depending on your particular needs, cosmetic dental treatments can change your smile dramatically, from restoring a single tooth to having a full mouth make-over. Ask us how you can improve the health and beauty of your smile with cosmetic dentistry.

What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?

Since teeth whitening has now become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile. Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.

How does in-office teeth whitening work?

This treatment is done in the dental office and you will see results immediately.  It may require more than one visit, with each visit lasting 30 to 60 minutes.  While your gums are protected, a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth. A special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent while the teeth are whitened. Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity after having their teeth whitened. This sensation is temporary and subsides shortly after you complete the bleaching process, usually within a few days to one weak.

Have Invisalign® Orthodintics replaced braces?

Teeth may be straightened with custom-made, clear, removable aligners that require no braces. Invisalign® offers the ease of eating, brushing, flossing and speaking without the wires and bands of traditional braces. Being able to take off the Invalign® apparatus offers wide appeal. Traditional braces are still used in some cases, when tooth rotation and position are problematic.

What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?

Porcelain veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted to cover the fronts of teeth.  They are very durable and will not stain, making them a very popular solution for those seeking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile.
Veneers may be used to restore or correct the following dental conditions:
• Severely discolored or stained teeth
• Unwanted or uneven spaces
• Worn or chipped teeth
• Slight tooth crowding
• Misshapen teeth
• Teeth that are too small or large

What can I expect when I get veneers?

Getting veneers usually requires two visits. Veneers are created from an impression (mold) of your teeth that is then sent to a professional dental laboratory where each veneer is custom-made (for shape and color) for your individual smile. With little or no anesthesia, teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the front surface of the teeth to allow for the small thickness of veneers. The veneers are carefully fitted and bonded onto the tooth surface with special bonding cements and occasionally a specialized light may be used to harden and set the bond. Veneers are an excellent dental treatment that can dramatically improve your teeth and give you a natural, beautiful smile.

How are mini-dental implants different?

Dental implants are artificial roots that are surgically placed into the jaw to replace one or more missing teeth. Porcelain crowns, bridges, and dentures can be made specifically to fit and attach to implants, giving a patient a strong, stable, and durable solution to removable dental appliances. Mini-dental implants offer the same strength and endurance, but with a third of the size of the implant itself.

Other Questions

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth.  It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.  The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that cause cavities and irritate and inflame the gums.  Also, when plaque is not removed above and below the gumline, it hardens and turns into calculus (tartar).  This will further irritate and inflame the gums and also slowly destroy the bone.  This is the beginning of periodontal disease.

Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?

The general consensus is that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe. Over the years there has been some concern as to the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. An amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc, bound by elemental mercury.  The controversy is due to claims that the exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury can cause a health problems. There are numerous options to silver fillings, including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings.  We encourage you to discuss these options with your dentist so you can determine which is the best option for you.

Can you replace my silver fillings?

Yes! We may replace your current filling that may be old, leaking or cracked with a Composite (tooth-colored) Filling. Also known as “bonding”, composite fillings are now widely used instead of amalgam (silver) fillings to repair teeth with cavities, and also to replace old defective fillings. Tooth-colored fillings are also used to repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth. This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession. If your tooth itself is cracked, or failing, we will opt for a Porcelain Crown (cap). A crown is a tooth-colored, custom-made covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size.  Crowns protect and strengthen teeth that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.  They are ideal for teeth that have large, fractured or broken fillings and also for those that are badly decayed.