• What procedures are considered orthodontic?
  • Orthodontic treatment relies on appliances to gently move teeth into their ideal positions. Braces are the most common appliance. Some orthodontic problems can be treated with clear aligners. In some cases, such as when the teeth are overcrowded, removing teeth may be a necessary orthodontic procedure.

    Orthodontic procedures can be used to help patients who have difficulty chewing or biting, speaking, or closing their lips. Additionally, Orthodontists can perform procedures necessary to prevent cheek and upper roof biting as well as grinding and clenching teeth. They can also fix protruding, broken, crowded, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth, jaw shifting, protrusion, or recess and help give patients asymmetrical faces.

  • What is orthodontic treatment?
  • Orthodontic treatment is used to fix teeth that are not aligned properly. This may involve straightening teeth that are crooked or crowded. However, orthodontic treatment is not just about creating nice-looking smiles. It may also involve fixing jaw alignment problems, such as overbites or underbites.

    Most commonly, an orthodontist fixes crooked and crowded teeth and excessive tooth gaps or spacing. They also work to adjust underbites, overbites, as well as crossbites.

  • What is orthodontics in dentistry?
  • Orthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on diagnosing and treating teeth that are not aligned properly. A dentist who specializes in orthodontics is called an orthodontist. On top of completing dental school, they complete two or more years of specialized training in orthodontics, bringing their required schooling to almost 11 years.

    The purpose of your Orthodontist is to provide you with long-term solutions to your dental issues. This may mean fixing a crossbite, recess, or jaw alignment.

  • How do braces work?
  • Braces have two parts: brackets and wires. Brackets are metallic squares that are cemented onto your teeth. Most of the time, brackets are placed on the front of your teeth, but it is sometimes possible to place them on the backs of the teeth. The wires are threaded through the brackets and place gentle forces on your teeth to guide them into their ideal positions. 

    Typically, over several months or years, braces can slowly move the teeth to correct a variety of issues. These issues include things such as crossbites, overbites, or underbites. Braces are especially helpful in cases where your bite is causing headaches or other issues. They can also be used to fix the aesthetics of your smile, such as excessive gaps or spaces between the teeth.

  • When were braces invented?
  • The desire for straight teeth is not just a modern phenomenon. Some of the earliest evidence of orthodontic treatment dates back to the ancient Romans when medical writer Aulus Cornelius Celsus described moving teeth with finger pressure. The orthodontic pioneer Dr. Edward H. Angle introduced his edgewise appliance — what we now call braces — in 1928.

  • How do I get braces?
  • If you are interested in braces, make an appointment with an orthodontist. Smile Generation makes it easy to find an orthodontist in your area. The process of getting braces starts with a consultation to determine if you could benefit from orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist may recommend a treatment plan that involves braces or another type of appliance.

    If you have an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or simply want the spacing between your teeth fixed, your dentist may refer you to an Orthodontist to start the process of getting braces.

  • What are the best types of braces for kids?
  • The best type of braces for your child will vary based on their unique dental situation. For some kids, traditional metal braces may be the right choice. Other kids may be good candidates for clear teeth aligners. Talk to your child’s orthodontist to learn more about the best braces for their needs.

  • How are braces put on?
  • Getting braces on is a fairly simple procedure. Your orthodontist will cement the brackets onto each tooth with a special adhesive and thread an orthodontic wire through the brackets. Sometimes, the wire is held in place by clips in the brackets themselves, but in other cases, your orthodontist will attach tiny rubber bands. The whole process only takes about 90 to 120 minutes. 

    Once your braces are put on, you will be required to go in regularly and have the braces adjusted. This will help to slowly move your teeth into their proper place. During these follow-up appointments, you may have new bands or replacement brackets put on.

  • What are retainers for?
  • Retainers help keep your teeth in their ideal positions after your orthodontic treatment ends. Your orthodontist may bond a thin wire to the back of your teeth to hold them in place. Or, they may recommend a removable retainer that you can put in and take out on your own. Removable retainers may be made of wire and plastic, or they may be clear trays that fit over your teeth. 

    No matter the type of retainer you have, you need to make sure you keep it clean, just as you do your teeth. Otherwise, debris can build up inside of your retainer and cause things such as bad breath. It also allows bacteria to form in the mouth, which can cause other dental issues.

  • What are clear braces?
  • Clear braces, also known as ceramic braces, are a cosmetic alternative to traditional metal braces. The brackets are made of tooth-colored ceramic for a more natural appearance. The term “clear braces” may also be used to describe clear aligners, such as Invisalign. 

  • What is the difference between clear and metal braces?
  • Both types of braces can help you achieve a straighter, healthier smile, but there are some key differences between them. 

    Metal braces are noticeable when you smile or talk, while clear braces have a more natural tooth-colored appearance. For more complex tooth and bite issues, orthodontists may recommend metal braces. 

    Ceramic braces, as well as clear aligners like Invisalign, may not be appropriate for all orthodontic problems. 

  • How much does Invisalign cost?
  • Invisalign is a well-known brand of clear dental aligners. The company notes that Invisalign treatment generally costs about the same as traditional braces.

    The cost of traditional braces varies: For adolescents, orthodontic treatment starts at an average of $2,900, while braces for adults, start at around $3,250. If you are interested in Invisalign, ask your orthodontist for a personalized estimate.

  • What is a good age to get braces?
  • You can get braces at any age, as long as your teeth are healthy. If you are interested in braces for your child, starting at a younger age — when their body is still growing — may help you achieve optimal results. Orthodontic treatment often starts when children are between eight and 14 years old. These are the years when most of the baby teeth are replaced with adult teeth.

    As an adult, you may be self-conscious about getting braces. Traditional braces are made of metal, but if your dentist recommends them, there are also clear braces or aligners, so you do not feel like everyone is staring at your mouth.

  • How much do braces cost?
  • The cost of braces may vary based on several factors, including your age and the complexity of your tooth or jaw problems. For adolescents, the average cost of orthodontic treatment ranges from around $2,900 to $5,450. Braces for adults tend to be slightly more expensive, with average costs ranging from around $3,250 to $5,550. The range is broad because everyone’s orthodontic needs are different. Ask your Orthodontist for an estimate of how much your treatment will cost.

    Since braces can be expensive, ask your Orthodontist about installments. Many Orthodontists will allow you to pay off your braces over the course of treatment. Also, check to see if your insurance will pay some or all the costs.

  • What are teeth aligners?
  • Teeth aligners are another cosmetic alternative to traditional metal braces. There are a series of custom-made, clear plastic trays that fit on top of your teeth. You will wear each tray for around one to three weeks before moving on to the next tray. Over time, the trays gently shift your teeth into their ideal positions. There are many brands of teeth aligners on the market, including Invisalign.

    In some cases, where there is severe misalignment, your Orthodontist may recommend traditional metal braces. It is always best to check with your provider to see what option works best for your teeth and the type of dental treatment needed.

  • How much do teeth aligners cost?
  • Invisalign teeth aligners are similar to the cost of traditional braces. However, your price may vary based on your unique orthodontic needs.

  • Does Medicaid cover dental care?
  • Yes, but the coverage may vary based on your age and where you live. In all states, Medicaid provides comprehensive dental benefits to enrollees under age 21. Most states cover emergency dental care for adult Medicaid enrollees, and nearly half cover comprehensive dental care.

  • What dentist takes Medicaid?
  • Depending on where you live, it may be easy to find a dentist who accepts Medicaid. About 43% of dentists in the U.S. take Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Before booking an appointment, confirm that the dentist accepts Medicaid. 

  • What dental procedures does Medicaid cover?
  • Medicaid covers comprehensive dental care services for enrollees under age 21. Adult dental benefits vary across states and may be limited to emergency services, such as tooth extractions. Some states cover additional procedures for adults, such as teeth cleanings, fillings, and root canals.

  • Does Medicaid cover dentures?
  • In many states, yes! As of 2021, 31 states cover full or partial dentures for adults with Medicaid. However, Medicaid may not cover the entire cost of your dentures. States may set an annual dollar limit on the dental coverage they provide.

  • Does Medicaid cover wisdom teeth removal?
  • Medicaid may cover wisdom teeth removal. States are required to provide medically necessary dental procedures for children. Dental coverage varies for adults, but 42 states cover oral surgery through their Medicaid programs. For details, you can contact your State Medicaid Agency.

  • How much is a dental cleaning?
  • Routine dental cleaning generally costs between $125 and $170, depending on where you live. The cost may be much lower if you have dental insurance. Many plans cover the total cost of preventive care. Check your plan details to determine what coverage you have for dental cleanings.

  • How long does a dental cleaning take?
  • Not long! A dental cleaning can usually be completed in around 30 minutes. During your cleaning, if other issues arise, it could change how long it takes. In some cases, your dentist may recommend that you make a follow-up appointment for further treatments.

  • How often should you get a teeth cleaning?
  • As a general rule, dentists may recommend getting your teeth cleaned once every six months, but you may need cleanings more or less frequently. For example, if you have poor oral health and are at risk of cavities or other dental problems, your dentist may want to see you once every three months. On the other hand, if you take good care of your teeth at home, your dentist may recommend cleanings as infrequently as once every two years.

    Many insurances pay for two cleanings a year, along with a comprehensive exam. So, even if you do not have any concerns and good dental practices, you might still want to take advantage of the second cleaning.

  • Do dental cleanings really help?
  • Yes. Professional dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. Plaque and tartar contribute to many dental health problems, including gum disease and tooth decay. Plus, a professional cleaning can effectively reduce stains on the surface of your teeth — leaving you with a whiter smile. 

  • What should you expect from a dental cleaning?
  • Your dental hygienist will start by examining your mouth for signs of cavities or other dental problems at your dental cleaning appointment. Then they will use small, metal tools to scrape plaque and tartar off your teeth. Professional flossing follows this thorough cleaning to remove plaque from between your teeth. Your dental hygienist may finish the cleaning by polishing your teeth and applying a fluoride treatment.

  • How often should you floss?
  • The American Dental Association recommends flossing once per day. You can use traditional string floss or another interdental cleaner, such as floss picks or water flossers. Feel free to floss at a time that is convenient for you. For example, some people prefer to floss at night before going to sleep, while others floss first thing in the morning.

  • What are the benefits of flossing?
  • Flossing is an essential part of your at-home oral hygiene routine. It helps you clean tooth surfaces you cannot reach with your toothbrush. Removing plaque and food particles between your teeth and along your gum line may help prevent gingivitis, also known as gum disease. Proper flossing may also help you reduce your risk of cavities.

  • Do you floss before or after brushing?
  • It is up to you. The American Dental Association explains that either way is acceptable, as long as you brush and floss thoroughly. If you are currently brushing your teeth first and often forgetting to floss, consider reversing the order. Getting flossing out of the way first may help you prioritize this critical oral hygiene step.

  • How do I floss properly?
  • Start with about 18 inches of floss and wind it around your middle fingers. Next, grip the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Then, gently guide the floss between your teeth. When the floss reaches the gum line, carefully floss around the gum line by curving the floss into a C-shape against the tooth. Then, gently rub the floss against the side of the tooth. Repeat this process for your other teeth. If you would like a demonstration of proper flossing technique, ask your dental hygienist.

  • What does flossing do?
  • Flossing helps you remove plaque and food particles trapped between your teeth, where your toothbrush cannot reach. Cleaning these hard-to-reach tooth surfaces may help you reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

  • How long should you brush your teeth?
  • We recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes to help remove plaque from your teeth.

    Despite this recommendation, most people do not brush this long. Instead, most fall somewhere between a 30 to 60-second brush, maybe because of busy schedules tempting us to shave off upwards of 90 seconds!

    But why are those 90 extra seconds so important? For example, one dental study concluded that those who brush their teeth for two minutes, compared to 45 seconds, were able to remove 26% more plaque. 

  • What is a fluoride treatment?
  • A fluoride treatment is a preventative measure against cavities, and the process of applying the fluoride to your teeth is the treatment. Fluoride itself is a mineral that helps prevent cavities and can reverse a cavity in early development. 

    The two most used fluoride treatments are topical and systemic:

    Topical fluoride treatment requires fluoride to be applied to the tooth's surface. It is most common to have daily fluoride treatments using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. The fluoride treatments you receive at the dentist's office include a much higher concentration and are a good option if you are prone to cavities or have a history of oral health issues.

    Systemic fluoride treatment requires the fluoride to be ingested. You can find drinking water supplemented with fluoride as well as fluoride supplements.

  • Where to go for a dental emergency?
  • When you have a dental emergency, call your dentist right away. Most dentists offer same-day appointments for emergencies, and some provide after-hours services. If you have a dental emergency and cannot see your dentist, visit your local emergency room. While most hospitals are not equipped to treat dental problems, they may offer antibiotics or pain medicines to help you feel better until you see your dentist.

  • What is a dental emergency?
  • A dental emergency is an urgent dental problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Common dental emergencies include cracked teeth, knocked-out teeth, severe toothaches, and objects lodged between the teeth. Other dental emergencies include a broken jaw or a bitten tongue that will not stop bleeding.

  • What do I do if I have a dental emergency?
  • If you have a dental emergency, call your dentist right away. If you do not have a dentist, you can use The Smile Generation to find an emergency dentist in your area. If you cannot get a hold of your dentist, go to the emergency room, as they may be able to help with the pain until you can get in to see your dentist.

  • What is the cost of a dental emergency?
  • The cost will vary based on the type of dental emergency. For example, if you have a cracked tooth, your dentist may recommend placing a crown. Depending on its material, a crown generally costs $800 to $1,500. Your dentist can explain the treatment options for your dental emergency and how much they may cost.

  • How much are dental implants?
  • It varies based on where you live, but you can generally expect to spend around $2,300 to $3,200 for a dental implant. The priciest part of the procedure is surgically implanting the implant post in your jawbone, which runs around $1,700 to $2,300. Then, for the artificial tooth affixed to the implant post, you may pay around $650 to $900.

  • How much does a crown cost?
  • dental crown generally costs between $800 and $1,500, depending on the material used. Crowns made from composite resin tend to fall toward the lower end of the price range, while crowns made from porcelain or gold tend to be pricier.

    As with most dental procedures, cost also depends on your location and your insurance plan.

  • How much does a filling cost?
  • The cost of a filling will vary based on how large the cavity is and the filling material used at your appointment. For example, there are a couple of different types of filling material: dental amalgam and composite resin. Composite resin, which is tooth-colored to help blend in, is typically more expensive than dental amalgam, which is silver. Composite resin will usually cost between $160-$200, while dental amalgam will generally cost $130-$150.

  • How much does a tooth implant cost?
  • Getting a tooth implant will cost an average of $2,300 to $3,200. Some plans now offer partial coverage for tooth implants if you have dental benefits. Check your policy, as everyone’s plan is different.

  • How much is a tooth extraction?
  • The cost of a tooth extraction may vary based on the difficulty of the procedure. For example, a simple extraction, which is performed on teeth that are fully visible above the gum line, generally costs around $160 to $215. However, if your dentist needs to remove gum tissue or bone to reach the tooth, the cost is higher: For these surgical extractions, the price may be between $285 and $555.

  • How much does preventative dental care cost?
  • Having your teeth cleaned at least twice a year is a great way to prevent issues from forming or getting worse. A routine dental visit typically includes an exam and cleaning. A standard exam and cleaning might cost you anywhere from $125 - $170.

    Keep in mind; prices vary based on where you live and if you have insurance. Luckily, most plans tend to cover all the costs associated with preventative dental care.

  • What is a Dental Savings Plans?
  • Dental Savings Plan is not insurance, which means you do not have to wait before receiving a service while insurance clears. Instead, a Dental Saving Plan is a membership program, which means you may get discounts from participating dentists for things like cleanings, x-rays, and a variety of other services. 

  • How do I pay for dental work without insurance?
  • While many Americans receive dental benefits through work or government assistance, we know that does not apply to everyone. If dental insurance is not an option for you, there are various resources at hand. These options may include non-profit clinics, public health departments, and dental schools. 

    Another option available is payment plans. Some dentists can accommodate patients without dental insurance by allowing monthly payments, rather than paying everything up front. If payment plans are not an option at your dentist's office, there may be free or low-cost clinics nearby. 

  • When do wisdom teeth come in?
  • The wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, are the last teeth to appear in the mouth. They generally appear after the other 28 adult teeth are in place. Often, this happens when people are in their late teens or early 20s.

  • How long does it take for wisdom teeth to heal?
  • The wisdom teeth are your third set of molars. Since they are the last teeth to appear in your mouth, there is not always room for them to grow correctly. As a result, the wisdom teeth may get stuck or emerge at an angle. Wisdom teeth that do not grow properly may cause dental problems, such as gum disease or infections, which is why they are often removed.

  • What are wisdom teeth?
  • The wisdom teeth are your third set of molars. Since they are the last teeth to appear in your mouth, there is not always room for them to grow correctly. As a result, the wisdom teeth may get stuck or emerge at an angle. Wisdom teeth that do not grow properly may cause dental problems, such as gum disease or infections, which is why they are often removed.

  • Why do we have wisdom teeth?
  • Wisdom teeth may not seem very useful today, but they were helpful for early humans. This extra set of molars helped our early ancestors chew their diet of tough, uncooked foods. With the modern diet of softer, cooked foods, our jaws have become shorter, and there may not be enough room for wisdom teeth. Still, if your wisdom teeth come through correctly, they can help fulfill their original purpose — helping you chew.

  • How long does wisdom teeth removal take?
  • It varies. Some wisdom teeth may be removed without needing to cut into the gums. Other wisdom teeth may be trapped under the gums, and some may need to be cut into smaller pieces before being removed. Depending on the procedure, wisdom tooth removal could take anywhere from a few minutes to over 20 minutes per tooth. Your dentist can explain how long your procedure may take.

  • How many wisdom teeth do you have?
  • Most people have four wisdom teeth, but it is not uncommon to have a lower number. One study of American teenagers found that about 15% are missing at least one wisdom tooth. About 2% of teenagers were missing all four wisdom teeth. The reasons for these missing teeth are not entirely clear, but they may involve genetics.

  • How long does wisdom teeth pain last?
  • You may have pain at the extraction sites for one to two weeks after having your wisdom teeth removed. The pain might be worse if you needed a more complicated procedure. Your dentist may recommend taking a day or two off work or school. The discomfort should gradually improve in the days following the procedure. However, let your dentist know right away if you feel severe pain.

  • Where are your wisdom teeth?
  • Your wisdom teeth are the rearmost teeth in your mouth. If your wisdom teeth grow through your gums, you will see one in each corner of your mouth, right behind your second molars. However, if there is no room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth, they may be trapped under your gums. 

  • What age do wisdom teeth come in?
  • The wisdom teeth usually come in when you are between 17 and 21 years old. However, everyone’s different, and your wisdom teeth may show up earlier or later. However, if you do not have room for the wisdom teeth to grow in, they may be trapped under the gum, giving the illusion that you do not have any. Your dentist will be able to make this determination if you are unsure.

  • What happens if you never get wisdom teeth pulled out?
  • Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth pulled out. If your wisdom teeth are not causing pain, infection, or other problems, your dentist may recommend leaving them in place. Wisdom teeth that are not pulled out may need to be monitored. If problems occur later, your dentist may recommend pulling the wisdom teeth. 

    Pulling your wisdom teeth out unnecessarily can lead to other complications, as does every procedure. So, if your dentist does not recommend removing the teeth, you should leave them in place.

  • How do I know if I require wisdom teeth removal?
  • Not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed. However, many people do. You will know you need your wisdom teeth removed if you have pain, which may come and go. You have this pain because the wisdom teeth are growing or impacted. If the pain continues or gets worse, you should see your dentist. Otherwise, there may be further issues resulting from ignoring the pain.

    If you are unsure if you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, a dentist can examine your teeth and advise you on whether the cause of your pain is growth or impact. 

  • What is a tooth extraction?
  • A tooth extraction is the process of extracting the tooth from the mouth. In some cases, tooth extractions are simple, such as a baby tooth that will not fall out. In other cases, tooth extractions are complex and require surgical removal. If the tooth is above the gum line, it is considered simple, but if it is below the gum line, meaning it has not grown in, you will need a surgical extraction.

    If you require a surgical tooth extraction, such as with an impacted wisdom tooth, the dentist may need to remove gum tissue or even parts of the bone to extract the tooth. You may need a tooth extraction if the dentists believe you to have severe tooth decay, advanced gum disease, crowded teeth, an abscess, impact, or other dental injuries that are not treatable.

  • What is an abscessed tooth?
  • While often described as a tooth infection, an abscess is actually an infection around the tooth. Infection typically involves the gums, supporting structures, or the tip of the root. When a pocket of pus develops around the tooth, it creates a tooth abscess. Contrary to popular belief, not all tooth abscesses come with pain, but when they do, it can feel like a dental emergency.

  • What causes an abscessed tooth?
  • Abscesses can develop for various reasons, including an untreated cavity, injured teeth, and anything that leaves your teeth vulnerable to bacteria. For instance, when you do not brush and floss properly, it can lead to tartar buildup, which can cause gum irritation. This irritation can eventually cause bacterial gum infection, leading to an abscess if left untreated because of the exposure to bacteria.

  • What is a cavity?
  • Cavities include permanent damage to the tooth, created by tooth decay, and resemble a hole in the affected area. When acid forms and erodes the tooth’s protective surface, the enamel, it allows for decay. This decay happens for various reasons: consuming sugary foods and drinks, mouth bacterial, and not having good oral hygiene.

    While anyone can get a cavity, children, teenagers, and older adults are more likely to develop one. If you think you have a cavity, your dentist should treat it. Failure to treat your cavity can lead to further oral issues, such as infections and tooth loss.

  • How do I prevent cavities?
  • The first place to start preventing cavities is with good oral hygiene, which includes regular brushing and flossing. When you brush and floss, you are actively getting rid of plaque and acids forming on your teeth, which, if not cared for, can lead to a cavity. It is also good to cut back on consuming sugary and starchy food and drinks.

    Combined with dental checkups and dental sealants, you are well on your way to preventing cavities.

  • What is the difference between inlays and onlays?
  • Dental inlays are fillings. It is the part that fits inside the tooth's pit and fissures. The main difference between the inlay and onlay is that it does not cover the tooth's cusps. A dental onlay is a partial crown covering at least one or all of the tooth's cusps. 

    You can think of inlays and onlays as such: Both repair the tooth's surface that is meant for chewing, but each is responsible for covering a different part of that surface. For example, the inlay covers the pits and fissures between cusps while onlays cover the cusps themselves. 

    Also, onlays are usually more expensive than an inlay because they cover more area.

  • What is a dry socket?
  • After a tooth is removed, the hole left behind leaves room for a dry socket. A dry socket occurs in the space when a blood clot gets loose, comes out, or does not form at all. The dry socket hurts because the clot is meant to cover the nerve ending in the tooth socket. Those nerve endings are exposed without a blood clot to protect the area, and food particles or other debris touching the nerves cause significant pain.

  • What does a dry socket look like?
  • Once your tooth is pulled, there is a hole left behind. In that hole, a clot should form, which looks wet with a red scab. A dry socket is just the opposite of this. If you can see the space, instead of being wet, it will look dry and empty. Some patients may also see bone tissue because there is no red scab covering the area.

  • What is a mouth ulcer?
  • Mouth Ulcers are lesions in the mouth. When you accidentally bite the inside of your cheek, for instance, bacteria from food can set in, which causes ulcers. However, there are many other reasons an ulcer may form, such as viral infections, burns, allergic reactions, or underlying conditions.

  • What causes mouth blisters and sores?
  • There are various reasons you may have a mouth blister or mouth sore, some more serious than others. These blisters and sores can be caused by mouth trauma (biting, scratching, or damage inside of the mouth), viral infections (such as herpes), underlying conditions like Aphthous Stomatitis (leads to canker sores), allergies and food sensitivities, hormonal fluctuations, diseases (HIV/AIDS, Behcet’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, etc.), mouth burns, and even high stress.

  • Why are my gums bleeding?
  • While gums may bleed for various reasons, some being more severe than others, the most common could be due to your brushing and flossing habits. For instance, you might have healthy gums, but if you have recently picked up flossing, there is a chance you could irritate the gums, which can cause them to bleed. 

    Another common reason for gums to bleed is if you have gingivitis. Gingivitis causes gum bleeding, particularly after brushing your teeth. And if you are pregnant, you might also notice the gums bleeding.

  • What is gum recession?
  • Gum recession is when your gum tissue recesses from the tooth. This becomes painful because the gum recession leaves your tooth or root (bone) of the tooth exposed. When the root, which is the part that holds your tooth in place, is exposed, it allows space for bacteria to build up.

    Those who feel pain when they eat or drink something hot or cold may have gum recession, creating pockets of space exposing the root. And when the root is exposed, it could cause decay, which leads to an entirely new array of problems, such as bad breath, swollen or red gums, bad taste, and even loose teeth.

  • What is gingivitis?
  • Gingivitis is a word that describes the beginning stages of gum disease or periodontal disease. Things such as not brushing your teeth before bed, between meals, and forgetting to floss, can result in gingivitis.

    If you have gingivitis, you might feel irritation and see redness and swelling around the gingiva — giving gingivitis its name. The gingiva is the gum that encompasses the base of the tooth. If you think you have gingivitis, you should consult a dentist so it does not become more serious.

  • What is a Periodontist?
  • If you have gum disease, you need to see a Periodontist because they specialize in diagnosing and treating gum disease. They are called periodontists because periodontal disease is the medical term for gum disease.

    A Periodontist pays particular attention to the parts of the mouth surrounding the teeth, such as the gum, bone, and connective tissue. Wondering what else a Periodontist might do? They are known for performing pocket-depth reduction, soft tissue grafts, dental implants, non-surgical treatments like scaling and root planing, along with various dental-related cosmetic procedures.

  • What is an Endodontist?
  • If you have concerns about the inside of the tooth, you need an Endodontist. An Endodontist focuses on treating and caring for the sensitive material in the center of your teeth — the nerves found inside the dental pulp. 

    Endodontics means “inside the tooth,” and your Endodontist is there to help protect that part of the tooth. Their goal is to save your natural teeth from infection or injury and keep them from needing to be extracted.

  • What is teeth gringing?
  • Teeth grinding, also referred to as bruxism, is the terrible sound you hear when someone clenches and grins their teeth together. Not only is it a cringe-worthy sound, but it is also bad for your health.

    Repetitive grinding of the teeth can affect your sleep (sleep bruxism), cause damage to your teeth and overall oral health, and even create adverse mental and physical health conditions. 

  • What is bruxism?
  • Bruxism is regularly called teeth grinding because of the sound and action of your teeth grinding against one another. Bruxism involves both the act of clenching and grinding the teeth together or gnashing. 

    Bruxism is most common during sleep; however, some individuals may grind their teeth together when they are awake (awake bruxism). Both sleep and awake bruxism can cause damage to your teeth and the jaw. 

  • What causes teeth grinding?
  • Anxiety and stress, habits and coping mechanisms, genetics, physical and mental disorders, as well as external factors such as caffeine, medication, alcohol, and drug use, can cause teeth clenching and grinding.

    Teeth grinding is primarily seen in children, adolescents, and young adults but can affect individuals more as they progress into middle-age and older.

  • Why do I grind my teeth while sleeping?
  • Known as sleep bruxism, grinding teeth in your sleep typically means disturbance in your sleep pattern. This disturbance can have several factors, causing you to grind your teeth.

    While grinding your teeth can result from a disorder or genetic condition, this is not always the case.

    If you do not fall into one of those categories, take a look at your lifestyle. For example, are you stressed, drink high levels of caffeine or alcohol before going to bed? Do you participate in recreational drug use? If any of these apply to you, it could be why you are grinding your teeth while sleeping. 

  • How do I know if my kid grinds their teeth?
  • Teeth grinding or bruxism is most common in children; therefore, it is wise to keep a listening ear to more than those mischievous sounds coming from the other room.

    Other than actually hearing the sound of teeth grinding together, the best way to know if your child grinds their teeth is by visiting a dentist. By having a dentist look at your child’s teeth, they will be able to see if the teeth have any wear to them, including chips, cracks, and even tenderness. If the dentist finds evidence of bruxism, they may offer a mouth guard and other advice in eliminating bruxism.

  • What is a Smile Makeover?
  • If you are ready to transform your smile, then a Smile Makeover is for you, and we look forward to giving you a smile you have always wanted! 

    A Smile Makeover transforms your smile by changing teeth, gums, and your bite. For instance, if your teeth are discolored, a Smile Makeover will address those stains. And depending on what you are looking for, we could fix damaged teeth, misalignment, missing teeth, and even that gap you have always hated.

  • How much does a Smile Makeover cost?
  • A Smile Makeover will vary from person to person, depending on the cosmetic procedures you want to be performed. It will also depend on other factors, such as the severity of dental damage, insurance, and where you live.

    Whether you want to do a simple procedure, such as in-office teeth whitening, or something more complex, insurance may cover part of the costs. However, you are likely to have to pay at least some out-of-pocket expenses. Luckily there are many dental offices providing payment plans so you can achieve the smile you have always wanted without paying everything upfront. 

  • What are the treatment options for a Smile Makeover?
  • If you are looking at having a Smile Makeover done, there are a variety of treatments to get you exactly what you want and get you feeling your best when it comes to your smile.

    • Dental Veneers
    • Dental Crowns
    • Composite Bonding
    • Tooth Implants
    • Teeth Whitening
  • What does a full mouth reconstruction involve?
  • Unlike a Smile Makeover, full mouth reconstruction typically requires cosmetic dental procedures. For instance, you are improving the functioning of your teeth by doing a dental implant procedure. And just like a Smile Makeover, it can help create the aesthetically pleasing smile you have always wanted. 

  • What is bonding?
  • Bonding is the process of bonding something to your teeth, such as porcelain or resin, to fix a damaged tooth. Teeth bonding can also be used in cases where you have an unwanted gap between your teeth that you want to be filled.

    The material used in bonding is meant to fuse to the patient’s tooth; this way, it feels natural to the patient and looks realistic to others when used to improve the smile. Bonding is also quick, and in many cases, only requires one visit to the office. Even better, it typically requires little if any downtime.

  • What is a bridge?
  • dental bridge or tooth bridge is when a false tooth is held in place by abutting teeth on either side of the replacement gap. This means that there is a false tooth between two natural teeth, and those natural teeth are holding the false tooth in place. The false tooth is known as a pontic and can be made with various materials, such as gold or porcelain.

    Some dental patients may elect a dental bridge over a partial denture because they look better and let you eat and speak more easily than partial dentures.

  • What is a TMJ treatment?
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMJ dysfunction is in the jaw joint and its surrounding muscles. When there is pain or comprised movement in these areas, it is known as TMJ dysfunction, and there are a variety of treatments to combat this discomfort, some of which are surgical, others non-surgical.

    If you need surgical treatment of the TMJ, it is irreversible. Therefore, it should be considered a last resort. Non-surgical treatments are less invasive and can help ease the pain until surgery is needed. Reducing pain may involve using medication, applying ice packs to the painful area, and minimizing jaw movement. There are also jaw relaxation and stress reduction techniques and jaw stretching exercises.

  • What is an Oral Maxillofacial Surgery?
  • A dentist who performs surgery on both the jaw and face is a maxillofacial surgeon and treats issues involving the structure of the face. For example, if you need maxillofacial surgery, you need an oral maxillofacial surgeon because they specialize in jawbone and facial surgery.

  • What is an overbite?
  • An overbite looks how it sounds when the upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth. It is common for some to have a little bit of an overbite, but if you have a more severe overbite (malocclusion), it might be worth seeing a dentist, as overbites affect more than aesthetics.

    How your teeth and jaw sit can affect both your oral and physical health, as it can cause headaches, TMJ, earaches, jaw clenching, and teeth grinding.

  • What is an underbite?
  • An underbite is when the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth, and it can cause considerable difficulty chewing, biting, and speaking. Underbites can also cause pain in the mouth and jaw. In addition, having an underbite can leave you prone to biting the insides of your cheeks, lips, and tongue.

    Underbites are typically genetic but have also been associated with prolonged thumb sucking, pacifier, and baby bottle use.

  • When do kids start losing teeth?
  • Are you trying to figure out when the tooth fairy needs to start making her rounds? If so, you can expect the much-anticipated visitor somewhere between ages six and 12 when kids start losing their baby teeth.

    While the order in which teeth fall out can vary, they typically fall out in the same order they came in. So, if your child’s first tooth was the lower central incisors (those bottom front teeth), chances are likely, although not definite, that those will also be the first to fall out.

  • When do baby teeth come in?
  • Not all, but most babies are born with teeth. If you are wondering why you have never seen a newborn with a complete set of teeth, it is because they are still under the gumline. It is the process of teething that helps the teeth surface.

    While teething does not typically start until about six months old, not all children are the same. Therefore, when your child begins to teeth, it will also depend on how long it takes before baby teeth start to come in. Some children will get their first tooth before six months old; others may take over a year.

    If you are concerned, particularly if your baby has not started teething around the nine-month mark, consider taking them to a pediatrician or a pediatric dentist so they can determine if it is something to concern yourself with. However, delayed teething is not usually something to worry about. But it is worth taking your baby to be checked on, as it can cause some medical and dental issues.

  • What teeth come in first?
  • No person is the same, and that goes for our teeth too. Generally, the first two teeth to surface from under the gumline are the lower central incisors (the bottom front teeth). Again, this is for most but not all children. Sometimes other teeth come in first. However, if your child falls into the general category, the upper front teeth or upper central incisors should come in next.

    Once the front sets of teeth come in, the upper lateral incisors (located on either side of the upper front teeth) will most likely come in next, followed by the same set on the bottom. Depending on your child’s development, they may have all or only some of these teeth by the time they turn a year old.

  • What order do baby teeth come in?
  • Baby teeth do not always come in the same order, but it is pretty predictable in most cases. Generally speaking, the upper front and lower front teeth or bottom and upper central incisors come in first, followed by the teeth on either side of those (upper and lower lateral incisors. These teeth may or may not come in before the first birthday.

    Next, your child’s first set of molars should start to come in; these are the back teeth. Then, the canine teeth (the sharp, pointed-looking teeth) should come in. Then, the last of the baby teeth should come in, somewhere between 20-30 months old.

    Finally, there are the wisdom teeth, which typically come in during the teenage years or early 20s. However, do not be alarmed if your child does not develop wisdom teeth­—some people do not get them.

  • When do molars come in?
  • People have two sets of molars, and they generally come in toward the end of the baby's tooth development. The first molars tend to come in after the incisors, while the second comes in after the canine teeth.

    Molars are the set of teeth that surface in the back of the mouth. Keep in mind, this is before wisdom teeth (third molars) come in, which is usually during the teenage or young adult years. The second set of molars are usually the last set of teeth to break the gum line in babies but may not appear until 20-30 months old.

  • How many teeth do people have?
  • Most people have 32 teeth; some have fewer depending on whether all wisdom teeth come in. Of course, all 32 teeth do not show up at once, but most children are born with 20 teeth under the gumline, leaving another 12 teeth to develop and grow.

    What does a full set of teeth look like? Glad you asked!

    • 8 incisors
    • 4 canines (or cuspids)
    • 8 premolars
    • 8 molars
    • 4 wisdom teeth (also classified as a type of molar)

    As teeth start growing in, some people may begin to see crowding. In cases of misalignment, the wisdom teeth can be removed, leaving you with only 28 teeth. And when can you expect to have between 28 and 32 teeth? For most, the answer is while they are a teenager.

  • What is oral cancer?
  • Oral cancer can affect various parts of the mouth, such as gums, lips, and tongue. It can also affect the insides of a person’s cheeks and the roof and floor of the mouth. Basically, any form of cancer that starts in the mouth is referred to as oral cancer. 

    Because most oral cancers develop into squamous cells, they are called squamous cell carcinomas. These are the cells that makeup one’s mouth and throat lining. Unfortunately, oral cancer does not always result in pain; to let you know there may be an issue, which is why you should get regular cancer screenings.

  • What is an oral cancer screening?
  • Because it is not always noticeable whether a person has oral cancer, it is vital to have a regular cancer screening to ensure there are no forms of oral cancer inside the mouth. Some routine dental checkups include this exam, but not all dentists do. Therefore, it is important to ask your dentist about the exam

    You will know if your dentist is performing an oral cancer screening because they should thoroughly check the tissues, gums, and tongue. This exam also includes your ears, nose, neck, and head in some cases.

  • How much is an oral cancer screening?
  • For some, an oral cancer screening is free because it is included in the cost of your comprehensive dental exam. Other dental offices charge an additional fee somewhere between $10 and $35. If your dentist does not include an oral cancer screening as a part of your annual exam, you are looking at paying between $70 and $90. 

    Pricing also depends on where you live and insurance.

  • How do I clean my retainer?
  • If you wear a retainer, you must ensure it is cleaned just as you clean your teeth, especially if it is permanent or you are wearing a retainer at night. Proper oral hygiene means regularly cleaning your retainer so that it does not buildup harmful bacteria or lead to plaque buildup.

    If you are unsure where to start, ask your orthodontist to recommend a mouth rinse and toothpaste. Like caring for your teeth, these are needed to clean your retainer. For instance, your orthodontist may tell you to brush your retainer with toothpaste before wearing it, particularly if you are going to wear it at night.

  • What is a fixed retainer?
  • A fixed retainer is sometimes referred to as a permanent retainer because you do not take it out. Unlike a removable retainer you might take out in the morning when you wake up, a fixed retainer is bonded or cemented to the backside of your teeth.

    Also called a bonded retainer, a fixed retainer can be fitted either to the lower or upper part of your mouth because of the bonding technique mentioned. This is done using a thin wire custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth.

  • How long do you have to wear a retainer?
  • How long you must wear a retainer will depend. This is because everyone’s mouth is different and heals at different speeds. For example, younger people tend to heal more quickly than older adults. Therefore, the amount of time might not be the same for everyone.

    However, as a general rule of thumb, you might need to wear your retainer for around eight months. The healing is required because the structures holding your teeth needs to heal. Once your braces are off, your teeth will likely move back in place over time. Movement happens because of regular chewing and biting, but also because the ligament stretched while wearing braces may snap back into place. For this reason, your orthodontist may recommend wearing your retainer for a prolonged amount of time. This may mean wearing it at night, so your teeth stay where they are intended to be.

    Ultimately, how long you wear your retainer will depend on the stability of your teeth.

  • What can damage my retainer?
  • If you are wearing a permanent retainer, that means you cannot take it out when you eat. So, like your braces, you must be careful what you eat as your diet can damage the retainer.

    For instance, if you eat sticky foods, like caramel or bite into hard foods, such as hard candy or ice, you might damage the retainer. Also, normal wear and tear can take its toll on your retainer, which means if you wear it long enough, you might need a replacement.

  • Are permanent retainers actually permanent?
  • Permanent retainers are permanent because they cannot be taken out at night. However, they are not permanent for a lifetime. A dentist may recommend a permanent retainer because you need a retainer 24/7 until the structure of your teeth heals. Once the orthodontist believes that your teeth will stay in place without a retainer, they may recommend the retainer be removed.

    Despite a permanent retainer not being a lifetime commitment, most fixed retainers stay in the patient’s mouth up to 10, even 15 years.

  • What causes sensitive teeth?
  • There are a few reasons you may have sensitive teeth, but the most common reason is that the enamel on your teeth has worn down over time. However, there are some extenuating circumstances, such as structural damage.

    If you want to prevent sensitive teeth, it is best to stay away from things such as intense brushing. You also want to make sure you do not use a hard toothbrush as the bristle can damage enamel. Also, eating or drinking too much acidic food can create the same results. 

  • How do I treat sensitive teeth?
  • Are you looking for a permanent solution to sensitive teeth? Depending on the source of your pain, this may look different for everyone. For instance, if you have a cracked tooth, it may be causing pain when you brush. By fixing the tooth, or the root cause, you should also eliminate the pain.

    For others, the solution may require changing out your toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, or diet. For example, if you know that your teeth only hurt when eating acidic foods, you might consider not eating this type of food.

  • What are the symptoms of sensitive teeth?
  • If you have sensitive teeth, you will know it by the intense pain you feel, particularly from eating or drinking hot and cold foods. It is really the source of the pain that creates sensitivity. For instance, you can have sensitive teeth from lack of enamel or structural damage. And that pain can come when you hot or cold foods, suck in air, or eat acidic food and beverages.

    For those who have never suffered from tooth sensitivity, you may not know that eating sweets and sour foods can create the same level of pain. The type of toothpaste and mouthwash you use can also intensify tooth pain.

  • What are some home remedies for sensitive teeth?
  • If you are experiencing oral pain when you eat, drink, or touch your teeth, then you should make an appointment with your dentist. However, if you are looking for something easy, natural, and inexpensive until you can get in to see the dentist, we have a few tools and tips.

    One way of helping ease the pain of sensitive teeth is oil pulling. Most people use coconut oil for this, but sesame oil also works. Another way is by doing fluoride treatments. Your dentist can provide this for you, but you can also drink water with fluoride, consume fluoride supplements, and take prescription-level fluoride mouth rinse and toothpaste. And if you are looking for something inexpensive, doing a saltwater rinse may also help. Saltwater can help improve oral hygiene overall as it helps with issues such as gingivitis. Less enjoyable for most and inexpensive if chewing on a piece of fresh garlic. Garlic helps kill bacteria known to grow in the mouth and has been used for years to ease tooth pain and kill bacteria.

  • Can brushing too hard cause sensitive teeth?
  • Yes, brushing too hard can cause sensitive teeth because intense brushing can ruin your enamel. One might say it could brush it right off. Your teeth hurt when the enamel dissipates because it is used as a layer between what is in your mouth and nerves.

    Brushing too hard, particularly side to side and with pressure, can cause gum line recession. When your gum line recedes, it exposes the deeper part of your tooth, where there are layers of sensitive materials to cause you pain if something comes in contact with that area. 

  • Why are my teeth yellow?
  • There are many reasons why your teeth are yellow, some of which just come with age, others you can prevent. For instance, tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, consuming certain foods, and brushing too hard can lead to teeth yellowing.

    Things you cannot prevent when it comes to yellowing teeth are aging and genetics. Unfortunately, yellow teeth do run in the family, and as much as we try, we cannot turn back time. However, there are ways to prolong those pearly whites a little longer by being careful what you eat and drink and brushing correctly not to damage the enamel.

  • Are yellow teeth normal?
  • The short answer is, yes, yellow teeth are normal. However, the extent of your yellowing teeth may not be. For instance, teeth yellowing comes with age because hard brushing and eating certain foods can lead to damaged enamel over time and when the enamel is gone, so is that nice white smile. But, if you are young yellow teeth could result from food stains, tobacco use, or poor oral hygiene.

    Genetics also play a part in yellow teeth. If yellow teeth run in the family, chances are you will have yellow teeth too. Therefore, if it is genetics, then your yellow teeth are normal. 

  • Are yellow teeth genetic?
  • Yes, yellow teeth can be genetic. Yellow teeth being genetic comes from two sources. First, your family may have yellow teeth because your genetic makeup involves thinner enamel. Because the enamel is thin, it will wear off much quicker than someone who has a thicker coat of enamel.

    Then there is simply the fact that some family genetics result in dull or yellowed teeth; your teeth just are not as bright. However, if you want whiter teeth, it is possible. Simply talk to your dentist, who can recommend teeth whitening treatments (professional or at-home) or veneers, depending on severity.

  • How do I prevent yellow teeth?
  • Good oral hygiene is always a good place to start when preventing teeth from yellowing. In addition, brushing properly helps remove bacteria known to lead to staining.

    You cannot prevent things like yellow teeth because of genetics or aging. However, you can prevent your teeth from staining by not consuming certain food or drinks, such as coffee. You can also prevent teeth yellowing by not using tobacco products and brushing correctly.

  • How do I make my teeth white?
  • Looking to get a whiter smile, there are plenty of ways to get you there. The cheapest option is going to be in-home, over-the-counter teeth whitening kits. However, these kits cannot penetrate those stains like a more potent teeth whitening treatment at your dentist’s office.

    So, if you are looking for the most effective whitening method, then getting an in-office, professional whitening done to your teeth will be a much better option. Those kits you might find at your local grocery store just are not as good.

    If you have severe teeth yellowing, another option could be veneers. Veneers are kind of like a shell covering your teeth, giving you the exact shade of white pictured in your head.

  • What is plaque?
  • Plaque is a layer of sticky, colorless bacteria that sticks to your teeth. Plaque is bad for your teeth because it can produce acids that destroy your tooth enamel, particularly when you eat sugary foods. After all, they help produce that acid.

    Not commonly known, plaque forms on the surface of the tooth and on the roots that exist beneath the gums. When plaque forms on the roots, it can cause the bone holding your tooth in place to decay.

    When you let plaque build-up and do not work to have it removed continually, it hardens and turns to tartar.

  • What is the difference between plaque and tartar?
  • Plaque is what initially forms on your teeth when you consume too much sugary food or beverages and do not practice good oral hygiene. Plaque is continually forming; therefore, you must consistently have it removed.

    Tartar is what forms when you let plaque go without removing it. Tartar is also known as calculus, as it results from calcified plaque. The plaque turns to tartar because it traps the calcium and other minerals commonly found in your saliva.

    It is tartar that causes your teeth to yellow, while plaque is colorless. Also, plaque is what you feel when you rub your tongue against your teeth and feel that filmy substance. Tartar, however, gives off a rough feel.

  • How do I prevent plaque?
  • Plaque is always forming, no matter how well you practice good oral care. However, there are steps you can take in removing plaque and keeping it from turning into tartar.

    Your first step in removing plaque on a daily basis is going to be to proper brushing and flossing your teeth, you should also use an antiseptic mouthwash. Another way to keep plaque from building up is by eating healthier foods that are not high in sugar and starch, which helps produce acids known to create tartar.

    Your dentist can also remove plaque you might have missed, therefore, it is always smart to schedule a cleaning.

  • How do I get rid of plaque?
  • While there is no way of preventing plague, it can be removed. Brushing, flossing, and using antiseptic mouthwash are all great ways of removing plaque from the surface of your teeth.

    Plaque can also form under the gumline, so make sure you regularly visit your dentist so they can keep an eye on plaque you might not be able to see.

  • How do I get rid of tartar?
  • Preventative care is always best, and tartar can be prevented by continually removing plaque. However, if you do not brush and floss properly, it can cause plaque to go unremoved, leading to tartar. Once tartar forms, you need to get rid of it, as it can cause tenderness and pain around the gums. It also easily stains and makes your teeth look yellow or discolored.

    Unfortunately, you cannot remove tartar by simply brushing, flossing, and using an antiseptic mouthwash; a dentist must remove it, who will use scaling and root planning.

  • What are lingual braces?
  • Lingual braces cannot be seen like the traditional metal braces wired to the front of your teeth with brackets. Instead, lingual braces are hidden and sometimes referred to as incognito braces.

    You cannot see lingual braces because they are bound to the back of your teeth. Because the braces are affixed to the back of the teeth, it can cause a temporary speech problem, as you are getting used to wearing them, and they are much harder to clean. Unlike traditional metal braces, they will not get in the way of playing instruments and can be safer for those who practice sports, but they will be more expensive.

  • What are self-ligating braces?
  • Traditional metal braces use elastic bands to hold wires in place. However, unlike the conventional brace, self-ligating braces do not need these bands. Instead, there are built-in clips, which means you do not need to see the orthodontist quite as much since there are no bands to change out.

    Self-ligating braces also tend to work more quickly, giving you faster results. Unfortunately, they may not be a good choice for those with severe crowding because the built-in clips cannot close. This brace style also costs more than conventional braces because of the specialized brackets.

  • Why do kids need braces?
  • Braces are not just about aesthetics. Getting your child braces can correct current dental issues and combat teeth and jaw issues that might occur later without braces.

    Braces can correct several oral problems, including misalignment, overcrowding, spacing, overbites, underbites, and open bites. If your child has difficulty eating or talking, visiting an orthodontist may also present some solutions, making everyday tasks significantly easier.

    Your orthodontist can spot potential issues that may arise as adult teeth start to come in. By taking your child to see an orthodontist early, you can prevent these issues from ever occurring by having braces put on. 

  • What will happen if my kid does not get orthodontic treatment?
  • Because a child’s teeth fall out and are replaced by adult teeth, you may think orthodontic treatment is not necessary. However, lack of treatment can cause severe and sometimes painful consequences later in your child’s development.

    For instance, braces can help treat crowding and misalignment, which can create pain in everyday activities, such as eating. This is because issues such as misaligned teeth can lead to uneven wear of the teeth, clenching and grinding, and jaw pain. And jaw pain can lead to head and neck pain.

    While your child may not have considerable pain now, these issues left untreated can become severe over time.

  • What are the consequences of neglecting proper braces care?
  • Neglecting to take care of your braces can lead to permanent damage to your teeth and gums. For instance, not taking the time to do proper braces cleaning can cause gum disease and tooth decay.

    While it can be treated, another consequence of neglecting your braces care is yellowing teeth. Because there are brackets on your teeth, it is more difficult to clean your teeth. If you do not take the extra time to clean your braces, you might see plaque buildup turning to tarter.

  • What are some tools for properly cleaning my braces?
  • Braces make it much more challenging to clean your teeth; that is why specialized tools have been created to help clean those hard-to-reach areas.

    If you are struggling to keep your teeth clean with braces on, using tools designed to clean your braces and the parts of the teeth covered by your braces can help significantly. You should ask your orthodontist to provide you with a cleaning kit designed specifically for brace care. This may include a specific type of mouthwash, toothbrush, and flossing tool.

  • What foods should I avoid while wearing braces?
  • Unfortunately, there are some foods you need to avoid while wearing braces. This is because there are foods known to loosen and break the brackets that are bonded to your teeth.

    If you want to avoid breaking these brackets, you should avoid hard and chewy food. For example, hard nuts, candy, and ice can break the brackets. Popcorn, corn on the cob, raw carrots, and celery can also loosen and break your brackets. Gum, particularly the kind with sugar, should also be avoided because it can easily get stuck in your braces and is particularly hard to remove.

  • Why do I have small teeth?
  • Everyone is different, and your teeth are no different. Some people have large teeth, and others have small teeth. If your teeth are smaller than the average, this is called microdontia.

    Microdontia is genetic; however, there are other known causes. For instance, if your front teeth are smaller than most people’s, it could result from teeth grinding. In addition, chemotherapy and other health conditions or syndromes can result in microdontia.

  • Is Microdontia normal?
  • There are two types of microdontia, true generalized microdontia and localized microdontia. True generalized microdontia is when you have a complete set of atypically small teeth, and it is rare. However, localized microdontia is when one tooth is smaller than the rest of the teeth, which is much more common.

    While microdontia may seem insignificant outside of aesthetics, it can cause more serious issues. For instance, it can lead to unnecessary wear and tear because microdontia can create an improper bite, creating weakness of the tooth structure and even tooth decay.

  • How do I fix small teeth?
  • Whether microdontia negatively impacts your self-esteem or oral health, there are options to fix your small teeth.

    Corrective methods, such as cosmetic dentistry to make your teeth larger can help build self-confidence and prevent further teeth and jaw damage. Based on your specific situation, you may have various options available to you.

    Options for fixing small teeth may include composite bonding, dental veneers, porcelain crowns, and gum reshaping. 

  • Why do I have large front teeth?
  • While some people have smaller teeth than the average person, some have larger teeth than others. This may include teeth that are wider or longer than average, and it is referred to as macrodontia and is typically the result of genetics. In addition, macrodontia can result from specific syndromes, hormones, and glandular imbalances.

    Macrodontia comes in three forms, isolated macrodontia, true generalized macrodontia, and relative generalized macrodontia. Isolated macrodontia is when only one tooth is affected, which is quite rare. True generalized macrodontia is extremely rare and is when all the teeth are larger than they should be. Finally, relative generalized macrodontia is when the teeth are large for the individual's facial structure whose teeth are actually of average size.

  • How do I fix large teeth?
  • If you want to fix your large teeth, several cosmetic dentistry options are available. These options may include shaving or trimming down the larger teeth, adding composite resin after reshaping, and replacing the tooth with a false tooth.

    Why you have macrodontia will also determine if you need to see a primary care doctor. For instance, if your condition results from a syndrome, simply fixing the teeth will not address the underlying problem. 

  • What is a toothache?
  • When you have tooth pain, that is a toothache, and it emanates either in or around the tooth that has an issue. Depending on the type of toothache you have, it may need to be treated by your dentist.

    Issues that cannot resolve themselves need to be seen by a dentist. Other types of tooth pain may result from sensitive teeth and can be treated with special toothpaste and mouthwash. However, it is best to see your dentist if you are unsure.

  • What does a toothache feel like?
  • Why you have a toothache can depend on the type of pain you feel. This pain may come in the form of sharp, biting pain, or it may be dull and chronic.

    Your toothache presents such significant pain due to what is in your tooth pulp—the nerves. Therefore, if you have any irritation or infection of the pulp, you will have some severe pain.

  • What are the symptoms of a toothache?
  • The symptoms of a toothache are not always simple tooth pain. Other symptoms may include jaw pain or sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks.

    If you have tooth or pain when you chew, experience sensitivity to hot, cold, and even sweet and sour food or drink, you should see your dentist to determine why you have pain and try to remedy it.

    Other symptoms may include headaches, jaw and even tooth swelling, bad breath, fevers, swollen glands, trauma to the mouth, and bleeding or discharge around the tooth or gums.

    If you notice any of these symptoms, you should be seen by your dentist, as these symptoms may result from a more severe problem and can be a sign of decay or gum disease.

  • What causes a toothache?
  • There are a variety of conditions that lead to toothaches. These conditions consist of things such as cavities, damaged fillings, broken or abscessed teeth, infections, eruptions, extractions, sensitivity, disorders, bruxism, sinusitis, and food particles accumulating between the teeth.

    Visiting your dentist is always the best option for determining the exact cause of your toothache and what treatments are needed to fix the pain.

  • How do I treat a toothache?
  • A toothache can cause considerable pain, and in some cases, it may feel like a dental emergency. If your pain is manageable, you might benefit from doing a cold compress, taking over-the-counter pain medications, and doing a rinse. If you are looking for a natural or herbal treatment, other options might include applying crushed garlic, vanilla extract, clove oil, or peppermint tea to the area.

    If your pain is not manageable, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. They may recommend an antibiotic if you have jaw swelling or fever due to your toothache.

  • What Is a Dental Bone Graft?
  • A dental bone graft is needed when bone loss is in your jaw. A bone graft corrects the loss of bone in your jaw by placing new material in the jawbone, which will help grow new bone in the affected area.

  • What are the different types of bone grafts?
  • To restore bone loss in your jaw, your oral surgeon may recommend one of several types of bone grafts, depending on the cause of bone loss. These different bone grafts consist of a socket preservation bone graft, ridge expansion bone graft, or sinus lift.

    After a tooth extraction, you may be recommended a socket or ridge preservation bone graft. A Ridge expansion bone graft is recommended for patients with significant bone loss. And finally, if there is bone or tooth loss in the part of your moth directly below your sinus, your surgeon may recommend a sinus lift bone graft.

  • What are the side effects of a dental bone graft?
  • The side effects of a dental bone graft are minimal. However, as with any procedure, there are risks of developing an infection, seeing bleeding, and issues directly related to the anesthesia needed for the procedure. More significant side effects may include nerve damage, which can occur with any dental surgery. 

  • How much does a dental bone graft cost?
  • The type of dental bone graft you need, where you live, if you have insurance, and the extent of the work required will determine the cost of your procedure.

    For instance, having insurance can lower your out-of-pocket expenses considerably. There are also a variety of dental plans and financing available through Smile Generation that can help cover the cost of your bone graft.

  • Where do bone grafts come from?
  • Bone grafts can come from various sources, such as a human donor, animal, or another area of your body. A bone graft from a human donor is referred to as an allograft and is the most common recommendation to those needing a dental bone graft.

    A bone graft from an animal source is known as a xenograft, and if you use bone from a different area of your body, it is known as an autogenous. There is also a synthetic option available for those who feel uncomfortable with using bone from a human or animal cadaver or do not want to use bone from their own body and is known as an alloplast.

    Your dentist may recommend one or all of these options. However, the recommendation may also result on what the dentist can offer you, what your insurance is willing to cover, and your specific needs.

  • What foods are safe to eat after having your wisdom teeth removed?
  • After having your wisdom teeth removed, you must eat foods that do not hinder healing. However, eating some foods can lead to more pain and even infections, which can be dangerous.

    Foods that are safe to eat consist of ice cream (a favorite for many), applesauce, yogurt, pudding, Jell-O (another favorite), broth, and mashed potatoes. Cold foods, in particular, are great options because they help with the pain common with wisdom tooth removal.

    If you are within the first 24-hours of the healing process, a liquid diet will be optimal. And as your healing continues, you can start to introduce soft foods that do not cause extra pain when chewing, such as eggs and oatmeal. In addition, most mashed-up, whipped, creamy, or smooth foods will not cause additional pain and are safe to consume as you recover from your wisdom tooth removal

  • What foods should you avoid after having your wisdom teeth removed?
  • After having your wisdom teeth removed, what you eat and do not eat can either help or hinder the healing process. Foods that can cause more problems and should be avoided consist of crunch or chewy things; this is because these foods can reopen the incision and cause excessive pain.

    Other foods that you should avoid if you do not want to add to the pain are high acid and spicy foods. Also, please stay away from anything that can get stuck in the socket. These types of food can create an infection, which is both painful and dangerous.

  • What does an infected wisdom tooth look like?
  • Having your wisdom teeth removed has already proven to be a painful experience, but it becomes excruciating if you also endure an infection. Infections are also quite dangerous and need to be treated immediately, as they can spread to other parts of the body.

    If you have an infected wisdom tooth, your dentist will likely recommend removing it. You will know your wisdom tooth is infected if there is pain around the tooth, you have a fever, swollen gums, pain in your jaw, bad breath, your lymph glands are enlarged, and you start having difficulty chewing. When you have an infected wisdom tooth, it may even be hard to open your mouth, and your jaw or the side of your face may become swollen.

  • When is a tooth extraction necessary?
  • Damaged tooth? You might need a tooth extraction. If your tooth is damaged below the gum line, chances are, your dentist will not be able to save it. When the tooth is either damaged wholly or severely broken, your dentist will likely recommend a tooth extraction.

    Other cases, such as advanced gum disease, will also constitute a tooth extraction because it can permanently damage both your teeth and jaw if not treated. And in some cases, if there is an abscess, you will also need a tooth extraction.

    There are also cases where there is no sign of disease, decay, or damage, yet a tooth extraction may be necessary. For instance, a tooth extraction might be recommended if you have overly crowded teeth.

  • How long does it take for a tooth extraction to heal?
  • There are two types of tooth extractions, and the type of extraction will determine the length of healing.

    The first type of extraction is a simple extraction and usually requires little intervention in the healing process. Simple extractions do not involve significant healing lengths as there is no required incision.

    The second type of extraction is a surgical extraction and will require weeks to heal. This type of tooth extraction requires cutting to get the entire tooth, including the roots out. While the healing process starts almost immediately, you are looking at several weeks before the site is completely healed. 

  • How much does a tooth extraction cost without insurance?
  • Without insurance, a tooth extraction can cost more than you might expect. The cost will also depend on a few things, such as where you live and the type of extraction you need. For instance, a simple extraction, where no incision was made, will cost less than a surgical extraction, where an incision and sutures were required.

    Typically, but not in all locations or offices, a simple tooth extraction will cost less than $100, while more complicated extractions can cost over $1,000.

    If you do not have insurance, consider a dental plan or financing through Smile Generation—dental plans typically cost less than insurance. 

  • What foods can you eat after a tooth extraction?
  • After having a tooth extracted, you will want to avoid any foods that could cause more damage, pain, or infection. For example, foods that are sticky, hard, acidic, spicy, or can get stuck in the socket are all foods that should be avoided.

    While many foods should be avoided, some will help with both oral and hunger pains. These foods consist of cold foods, such as ice cream and Jell-O, eggs, mashed potatoes, broth, yogurt, and oatmeal. As your healing progresses, you can slowly introduce soft food; just make sure to rinse with salt water after your meals to prevent infection.

  • What is a root canal?
  • If you have deep decay or the pulp is exposed to an infection, you might need a root canal. A root canal involves the removal of that pulp, which is the soft tissue inside of your tooth. This tissue provides your teeth nourishment and will need to be replaced if infected. Infection of the pulp is an issue that should be addressed as it can lead to significant pain, swelling, and abscess.

  • What does a root canal infection look like?
  • Decay, gum disease, and injury can lead to a necessary root canal. After removal, signs that you have an infection in your root canal include pain that does not get better, warmth around the tooth, and fever.

    While root canal infections after removal are not common, they do happen. So, if you have any of the symptoms listed above, it might be possible that bacteria got into the root canal. If this happens, follow up with your dentist.

  • How much does a root canal cost?
  • Root canals can be complex, and when things are complicated, they usually get costly. Root canals typically involve multiple office visits and might require both a general dentist and an endodontist, increasing the cost.

    Where you live, how many visits are required, referrals needed, insurance, and severity of the infection will all fact into the cost of your root canal. Depending on the necessities, you might pay less than $1,000, but the price can add up quickly if it is not a straightforward procedure.

    If you do not have insurance, look into the financing and insurance options available through the Smile Generation.

  • What foods can you eat after a root canal?
  • Just like a tooth extraction, you can eat a variety of soft foods and liquids such as mashed potatoes, ice cream, apple sauce, broths, and yogurt, to name a few. However, until you no longer have pain and swelling, you should stay away from hard or sticky foods.

    Also, ensure you wait until the numbness wears off before eating anything, as you do not want to risk biting your tongue or cheek.

  • Are there root canal alternatives?
  • Root canals are invasive and are considered a major dental procedure. As a result, your dentist should consider other options before making this recommendation.

    Alternatives to a root canal may include taking antibiotics to treat the infection. However, this may not be an option if the infection is too severe.

  • How do you fix a chipped tooth?
  • Did you chip a tooth? It can be fixed! Of course, the severity of the chip will deem what type of fixes are necessary.

    A small or simple chip can be fixed with bonding, using a composite resin mold and then shaping the composite into the chip. If you have a bigger chip, your dentist may recommend veneers, a porcelain cover intended to look like a smooth and natural-looking tooth. On the other hand, a more severe chip or break will require either dental crowns or implants.

  • What is a tooth cap?
  • A tooth cap, also known as a dental crown, fits over the tooth (like a cap). You might need a tooth cap if your tooth has lost its shape or size.

    A cap is placed over the tooth and secured with cement and may be necessary if your tooth has lost its shape from injury, wear and tear, or decay.

  • What are the different types of crowns?
  • There are a variety of dental crowns, and your needs will determine which type of crown your dentist recommends.

    The six types of dental crowns consist of various materials and, in some cases, a combination of the material. There are ceramic crowns, porcelain fused to metal, IPS e.max, base-metal alloy, and gold alloy dental crowns.

  • What is a dental implant?
  • Dental implants can be used to fix broken or chipped teeth and consist of either a metal post or frame. Dental implants are surgically attached beneath the gums to the jawbone. Once the posts have been inserted, your dentist should be able to mount replacement teeth, such as crowns, a bridge, or dentures.

    The two types of implants considered safe by the American Dental Association (ADA) are endosteal implants and subperiosteal implants.

  • What’s the difference between a dental implant and a crown?
  • Which should you get, a dental implant or a crown? The answer is going to depend on your needs and finances. For instance, crowns cost less than implants, so if you are paying out of pocket, a crown might be worth considering to help save money.

    However, dental implants may cost more upfront and less in the long term, as they tend to last 10 to 15 years before needing to be replaced. Dental implants also require a crown (otherwise, you will have an exposed post in your mouth), leading to increased costs.

    But, if you want to preserve your natural teeth, having a crown to complement your root canal rather than removing it could be beneficial since it is less involved.

  • What’s the difference between a dental bridge and implants?
  • Dental bridges fill the gap of a missing tooth between two existing teeth; they bridge your teeth together. If you have two healthy teeth with one or more teeth missing between them, your dentist may recommend a dental bridge.

    On the other hand, a dental implant is a surgical replacement of your missing teeth, which requires attaching an implant to the jawbone. This involves removing both the tooth or teeth and roots. 

  • How do you take care of a dental bridge?
  • If you want your dental bridge to last, you need to take proper care of it. Although a dental bridge typically lasts about five to seven years, it can last upwards of 10 years with care.

    To increase the years before a replacement is needed, you must maintain good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Regular appointments with your dentist are also important to help detect and deter issues that could lead to a necessary replacement.

  • What is an implant-supported bridge?
  • Implant-supported bridges combine a dental bridge and an implant and are commonly referred to as partial dental implants. The biggest difference between a fixed bridge and a partial dental implant is that dental implants secure the bridge instead of the adjacent healthy teeth.

    Your dentist may recommend this option if you do not have healthy teeth to support a traditional dental bridge. 

  • What’s the difference between a dental bridge and dentures?
  • Dentures are an option to replace missing teeth, whether it be complete or partial dentures. 

    Full dentures, commonly known as complete dentures, fit over your gums and are used when the patient is missing all of your teeth in the upper and/or lower jaws. Your dentist will likely recommend full dentures because you do not have any natural teeth to support a bridge.

    Partial dentures are used when you have one or more teeth missing and are also referred to as removable bridges. Partial dentures attach to natural teeth and have a metal framework and clasps. 

  • Can Diabetes Affect your Oral Health?
  • Diabetes affects more than your bodily health, it can also affect your oral health — your gums, teeth, and the tissue in your mouth can all show signs of diabetes. Here’s what to look out for:

    • Puffy gums
    • Burning sensation in your mouth 
    • Reoccurrence of mouth sores
    • Reduced salivary gland function 
    • Altered taste

    By attending regularly scheduled dental appointments, your dentist can see any changes and look for the symptoms listed above. If you do not have a regular dentist and notice any of the symptoms above, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist and/or primary care provider.

  • Can Diabetes Cause Tooth Loss?
  • If you have unhealthy teeth, it can introduce bad bacteria into your bloodstream, which can increase diabetic complications. So, if you have teeth that cannot be helped, you should have them removed to decrease the amount of harmful bacteria introduced to your system.

    For those who have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is recommended by the American Dental Association that you have your teeth cleaned at least three times a year. This also applies to those who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, therefore both diseases are recommended to a periodontal maintenance program.

  • Can a Dentist Detect Diabetes?
  • Yes, your dentist can detect signs of diabetes. In fact, a peer might also be able to detect the symptoms. This is because some detectable signs of diabetes can be found in your breath. If your breath gives off a fruity or acetone-like (nail polish smell) odor because of high ketone levels, then you should seek out medical advice/treatment.

  • What procedures are commonly covered by a dental plan?
  • If you have a dental plan, there are procedures commonly covered: office visits and regular cleanings, crowns and fillings, root canals, tooth extraction, and minor surgical procedures, braces and retainers, scaling and root planing, bridges, and dentures.

  • What procedures aren’t typically covered by a dental plan?
  • A dental plan does not typically cover dental procedures that fall into the cosmetic category. These procedures often fall into the cosmetic realm: whitening, veneers, contouring, and bonding.

  • What impact do dental benefits have on your oral health?
  • Dental insurance covers the costs that come with dental treatments. And those who have dental insurance are more likely to see their dentist. With regular cleanings and exams, you are working to prevent gum disease, which can lend itself to an array of issues both in and out of your mouth.

  • What impact do dental benefits have on your overall health?
  • Your mouth leads to the respiratory and digestive tract, and any bacteria collecting in your mouth cause significant health issues in those parts of your body. Poor oral health can lead to severe cardiovascular, endocarditis, pneumonia, diabetes type II, and pregnancy complications.

  • Can oral health impact heart health?
  • The short answer is, yes, oral health can impact your heart health. This is because things such as infections can spread when not treated. For instance, if you have an oral infection and do not get it treated, it can spread through your bloodstream to other areas of your body, including your heart.

    This is why oral health is so important. When you don’t have proper oral hygiene and do not visit your dentist regularly, it can lead to infections and other issues in the mouth. And when they are not treated, it can cause poor health in other parts of your body.

  • Can oral health impact the rest of my body?
  • Yes, your oral health can directly impact the rest of your body. For instance, gum disease or a mouth infection can spread and cause systemic problems such as a stroke. It is important to know that periodontal disease or gingivitis (both common, preventable, and treatable) is associated with a much higher risk for specific strokes.

    By simply maintaining good oral hygiene and routine care from your dentist, you can work to prevent periodontal disease and other infections.

  • Can oral health prevent heart disease?
  • There is a link between your oral health and heart disease; therefore, good oral health can decrease the chances of heart disease. 

    You have probably already heard that things such as exercising, diet, and a lack of tobacco products can help your heart. But did you know that healthy teeth and a healthy mouth can also reduce the risk of heart problems?

    Since your oral health and heart health are connected, easy steps you can take to prevent heart disease include good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist. 

  • How do I make brushing teeth a habit for my kids?
  • If you have children, you might wonder how you start making oral hygiene a habit. Here are some easy steps to start your kids off on the right track!

    1. Start early

    Start teaching your child to brush before they even have teeth. Kids pick up habits quickly, so start by “brushing” your baby’s gums every morning and evening. Simply using a soft bristle brush or silicone finger with no toothpaste will do the trick. This makes it much easier to transition to toothpaste and an actual toothbrush when your child is ready to start brushing because they are used to the process.

    2. Prioritized routine dental visits from a young age

    You should take your child for their first dental visit within six months of the first tooth coming in and no later than their first birthday. Not only does this set the standard that dental appointments are essential, but it also works to correct problems or potential problems early on.

    3. Set the example

    You already know, kids watch everything you do, including how you take care of yourself. So by letting your kids see you brushing your teeth and flossing, they start to learn that this is something they, too, should do.

    Let your kids see the steps you take to maintain good oral health. Talk about going to the dentist and show them foods that are both good for the body and their teeth. These are all effortless ways to set your kids up for success.

  • What are the consequences of poor oral health in children?
  • Cavities and infections are often a result of poor oral health, and they can make it quite difficult to complete everyday tasks. This can mean having trouble eating, speaking, and concentrating in school for a child.

    When looking at the consequences from a long-term perspective, research tells us that those with poor oral health are more likely to miss school and therefore struggle with grades than children who have good oral health.

    Something as simple as a cavity can make it difficult to concentrate, leading to other health issues if left untreated.

  • How do negative oral health consequences develop in a child?
  • Just like in adults, foods and drinks can stain the surface of the teeth. In addition, these same foods leave behind bacteria. If your child does not brush regularly and visit a dentist, this bacteria will eventually turn to plaque and then tarter.

    Plaque is an easily removed film over the teeth, and it can make the teeth look dull or discolored. However, tarter results from plaque hardening, and you need a dentist to remove this hardened surface. If you don’t prevent and remove plaque and tartar, it can lead to gum disease, decay, and other mouth and body issues.