Below is a list of some of the questions our patients most frequently ask. If you have a question that isn't answered below, feel free to give us a call, and our team at TruDental Spokane will be happy to assist you.
Why do our teeth turn yellow?
Our teeth consist of two layers; the outer layer is called enamel. When the enamel has worn down, the next hard layer, called dentin, shows through. Dentin has a yellow tint to its coloring. Yellow teeth is a sign that the enamel of your teeth needs to be built up.
What are the different types of teeth whitening options?
The three teeth whitening options available today are:
In-office teeth whitening
In-office teeth whitening is done under Truman Nielsen, DMD. This option offers a significant color change in your teeth in a short amount of time, usually within an hour. Because you are under his care, Dr. Nielsen is able to use a powerful dose of peroxide, giving fast results.
Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits
Purchased through a prescription from your doctor, this whitening kit is for use at home. Less peroxide strength than used in office, this system is more powerful than can be purchased at a store. This system requires the patient to wear trays for the prescribed amount of time as indicated by Truman Nielsen, DMD.
Purchased from stores, the over the counter teeth whitening kits use a lower concentration peroxide gel than can be prescribed. Though this is a cheaper option, it is also a less effective option.
How long does teeth whitening last?
Because we use our teeth so frequently, they are constantly subject to new staining. You may find that your teeth need touch ups every couple of years or so, based on your preference.
Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums
How often should I visit the dentist?
At TruDental Spokane, we recommend that you visit our Spokane, WA office at least twice a year. Regular checkups allow us to monitor the health of your teeth and catch problems when they are small.
How often should I brush and floss my teeth?
At a minimum, we would like our patients to brush their teeth at the end of every day. You may also find it necessary to brush following eating certain foods, such as steak, or anything else that easily lodges between teeth.
What is the proper way to brush my teeth?
There is a technique to properly brushing your teeth.
- Use a soft-bristled brush; you don't want to damage the enamel of your teeth.
- Angle your brush at a 45-degree angle, and be sure to brush along the tooth and gum line in addition to the rest of the tooth, both front and back.
- Use circular and short back and forth strokes.
- Don't scrub too hard; you don't want to damage the enamel.
- Be sure to brush all around each tooth.
- Make sure to brush for at least two minutes.
What is the proper way to floss?
To floss thoroughly, Dr. Nielsen recommends the following tips:
- Using about 18 inches of floss, wind it around the middle finger of each hand, using about 1-2 inches to floss and allowing space to use clean areas while you work.
- Making a "C" shaped motion, gently move the floss up and down in the spaces around your teeth.
- Don't rapidly snap the floss up and down; you want to remove debris, not damage the gum tissue.
What is plaque?
Plaque is a naturally forming sticky, clear film. Made from a blend of food debris and bacteria, this material is filled with bacteria and can lead to gum disease and cavities. Brushing and flossing every day is our best defense against plaque.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
What is periodontal (gum) disease?
Also known as gum disease, Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the base of your teeth and hardens into calculus, often due to poor brushing habits. The first stage of this disease, gingivitis, shows with signs of gums that are swollen and red. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing and tooth loss.
What are the signs of periodontal disease?
If you are experiencing the following signs, you should contact Dr. Nielsen:
- Gums bleed easily when brushing or flossing.
- Gums are red, puffy, swollen, or tender to the touch.
- Your gums appear to have pulled away from the teeth.
- Constant care of bad breath or sour taste.
- You see bumps filled with pus between your teeth and gums.
- Your teeth feel loose.
- You notice a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
- Your dental appliance, i.e., your bridge or partial doesn't fit as well.
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly. Also, make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth.
All About Dental Implants
Are implants the right decision for me?
To permanently replace a missing tooth, or to provide a base for a dental appliance, we may recommend a dental implant. Made of titanium, implants are a biocompatible material used to replace one or more teeth. Benefits of implants include:
- They are integrated into bone and act like a tooth root to support new teeth.
- They do not decay or have the same gum disease risk as natural teeth.
- Implants offer the look, feel, and function of natural teeth.
Are implants or bridges a better choice?
More and more, patients are leaning toward dental implants to replace missing teeth. Dental bridges require altering the neighboring teeth and damages them. With an implant, you only need a crown made on top of the implant itself to restore it, leaving the neighboring teeth undisturbed and completely intact.
Can implants be used to restore multiple teeth?
Implants can also be used to restore multiple teeth, a full set of fixed or removable teeth or even a complete denture. If you experience tooth loss, the bony ridges in your mouth start to decrease. Implants are placed and prevent bone from shrinking, leaving you many future options for tooth replacement not available otherwise.
Are implants expensive?
To replace a single tooth, an implant is usually less expensive than any alternative in our office. The cost of implant care increases with the complexity of the case, Dr. Nielsen is happy to consult with you and discuss possible expenses.
How long do implants last?
Research has shown that implants are 98% successful, the highest success rate of any other dental procedure. Under professional care, implants have a potential for lifetime durability. Ask us about our warranty.
What if I do not have enough bone in my jaw for implants?
When insufficient bone is available, Dr. Nielsen can perform minor grafting can improve and restore the bone lost from your extraction years ago. We do this in the office frequently where additional bone is required for success of our implant care. It is possible to have an implant for virtually any situation with expert care and planning.
When an implant is surgically placed, how long until I get my new tooth?
There is a healing time for dental implants and before placing the new crown over the implant. For front teeth, we strive to place temporary teeth the same day as the implant. Posterior, or back, teeth are often left to heal for 6-8 weeks prior to placing a dental crown. These teeth are used for more biting pressure, and we want to ensure more healing time. Each patient can be assured personalized clinical care and experience guiding our decision when to finalize the implant restoration. We always plan for long-term success, and we do not rush.
How can I get a full set of teeth in one day?
Ask Dr. Nielsen about methods of providing a new set of teeth in just one day.
What are veneers?
Porcelain dental veneers are a thin shell designed to cover the front, edge, and small portion of the back of anterior teeth. We use veneers for cosmetic as well as reconstructive purposes. They cover up stains, chipped or worn down teeth. They also straighten crooked teeth, can be used to change the shape, make teeth even, and change the color of your teeth.
How much of my tooth is removed with veneers?
Consult with Dr. Nielsen for the most updated information. Some veneers require significant changes to the original tooth, some require very little, and some require none at all. He can make recommendations based on your needs.
Will my veneers change color?
Porcelain veneers retain their original color and should not stain.
How long does it take to get a set of veneers, or even just one?
Dr. Nielsen is your best source for determining how long it can take to receive a dental veneer. Since there are so many varieties and options, the frame of time can change for the product you want.
How many veneers do I need?
Depending on the result you are looking for, most veneer candidates request 8 to 10 teeth to have veneers placed. Frequently a full makeover entails 20 teeth. A conservative plan considers 4 to 8 for a moderate change. In some cases, the patient is looking to cover a damaged tooth, and that requires just a single veneer.
How long do veneers last?
Veneers should last you several years. However, veneers can chip or break under severe conditions and may have to be replaced. In our experience, at TruDental Spokane, only the strongest materials we have today are more durable than the teeth they are restoring! We stand by our work unconditionally for two years.
Other Common Questions
What can I do about bad breath?
Bad breath can result from a variety of factors, including the types of food you ingest, periodontal disease, dry mouth, medications you are taking and other causes. Dr. Nielsen can help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so you can take steps to eliminate it.
Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene and regular checkups with our hygienist will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth, which emit odors. It will also help prevent or treat gum disease, caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. If you wear dentures, they should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution. Finally, make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any residue.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Are you unhappy with your smile? There are several options to improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry. Our options can range from whitening to veneers to crowns, with or without ClearCorrect orthodontics preceding your care. Essentially, anything to improve your smile could be considered Cosmetic Dentistry; however, Truman Nielsen, DMD has studied extensively and committed a large part of his practice to offering exceptional smile transformations, from the most subtle nuanced changes to extreme makeovers televised on the networks and in magazines.
What is the easiest way to improve my smile?
The least invasive route to improve your smile is through whitening your teeth. This can be done in the office or at home. Teeth whitening does not work well for teeth that have been stained due to some medications including Tetracycline and does not whiten tooth-colored fillings or porcelain well.
What are composite fillings?
Composite is tooth-colored resin/ceramic filling material of many different forms that can bond to your teeth restoring their shape and function. Resin is used for white fillings, and in some cases, as an in-office veneer material. Resin veneers are less expensive and less invasive than porcelain veneers but don't have the same longevity. These materials are not the most ideal since the resin plastic is excellent but not as ideal as the porcelain restorative choices available.
Should I get my mercury fillings removed?
Our position on mercury-based "amalgam" fillings is that their potential for toxicity, poor appearance and inability to bond to tooth structure makes them obsolete for most of our patients. The statistics from Harvard dental school list a 90% rate of decay under mercury fillings. Most have existed long after their designed lifetime. In our office, we offer replacement options for every mercury filling we encounter.
What are the options for mercury replacement?
The answer is a very definite: It depends! The larger the existing filling and defect, the more research shows that reinforcement with stronger materials is necessary. Today's onlay restorations are frequently made of extremely durable pressed ceramics. Smaller restorations can be replaced with cost-effective white fillings. These fillings can last quite some time but, again, size is the limiting factor as they are one-third the strength of porcelain or ceramic bonded restorations. We will advise you when we see you as to your options.
Is the mercury dangerous to remove?
For those concerned about the metal debris, we are prepared to use special measures to protect you. Removal is not considered a health risk by the profession.