Frequently Asked Questions
Dr. Mark Cloth's Top Ten Dental Questions
1. Why do I need a crown - can't you just fill it?
When a tooth becomes structurally flawed from decay, a failing filling or fracture there is often little tooth material left to work with and a crown is necessary. Filling material cannot be sculpted well to replace huge amounts of tooth resulting in a quick failure. The enamel layer must be replaced with a crown (cap) which forms proper tooth contours and encapsulates the remaining tooth to fit like a stocking cap on your head.
2. Why not pull out teeth if they are "bad" and just give me dentures?
Dentures are plastic teeth that sit freely on the skin in your mouth. Today, removable dentures are a last resort. The mouth is often poorly accepting of dentures resulting in pain, lack of denture wear, poor aesthetics and damage to remaining teeth. Studies have shown that as the number of natural teeth decrease so too does the dietary intake of fibre, fruits and vegetables. The continual movement of most dentures results in poorly chewed food (digestive problems), poorer nutrition, loose teeth and jaw bone deterioration.
3. Why do I need a root canal?
When the inner most part of a tooth (the nerve) is injured or infected (or we anticipate this) debilitating pain can result. The nerve is encapsulated within hard tooth with only a small opening to the jaw for blood flow. When increased blood flow happens due to injury or infection, pressure builds within the hard tooth resulting in pain. This pain ⁄ infection can only be resolved by removal of the nerve through extraction of the entire tooth or removal of the nerve by making a small hole in the top of the tooth and filling out the inner injured / infected position (a root canal).
4. Why not just take antibiotics for my nerve infection?
Antibiotics can prevent short term spread of a dental infection into the rest of the head/neck region. However, antibiotics do not get into the tooth in significant enough amounts to kill the bacteria and resolve the infection.
5. What happens to my cavities if I just leave them?
They grow. Decay grows until it reaches the nerve necessitating root canal or extraction (see question 3). Worn out, leaking fillings often break and damage the tooth. If a tooth is not sealed, tiny bacteria leak into the tooth decaying the tooth under the filling. Eventually this decay reaches the nerve setting up an infection (again see question 3).
6. Why do I need to fill baby teeth- they just fall out anyway?
Baby teeth allow children to smile, speak, and eat comfortably. Decay progresses quickly in baby teeth. Leaving decayed baby teeth leads to infections in the mouth damaging the permanent teeth and spreading infection throughout the body. Gross decay necessitates extractions. Once the baby teeth are prematurely gone, permanent teeth do not erupt in the correct position creating an orthodontic problem for the child.
7. Why do I need my teeth cleaned?
Once plaque sits on your teeth for greater than 24 hrs. it hardens into tartar. Plaque and tartar contain huge quantities of bacteria which release toxins causing deterioration of the bone and soft tissues holding your teeth resulting in eventual tooth loss. Tartar must be scraped off professionally with scalers and cannot be removed with a toothbrush or floss. 70% of the population suffers from gum disease. Recent medical studies have revealed a close connection between oral health and medical health. Oral bacteria and their toxins travel through your blood stream to the rest of your body causing damage elsewhere. It's beneficial to minimize these bacterial numbers with professional tooth cleaning. Read more and view videos on Teeth Cleaning and Preventative Dentistry.
8. How can I get a Hollywood smile?
Cosmetic dentistry can solve many smile problems. Treatments include tooth bleaching (to whiten and brighten your smile), recontouring chipped or fangy teeth, bonding filling material on the front of teeth, braces and the Hollywood favorite porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are very thin, custom made facings of porcelain glued permanently to the front of your teeth to customize the shape and colour of your teeth. Read more on Cosmetic Dentistry and Veneers
9. What is one of the most common, most damaging, under diagnosed dental diseases?
Tooth wear on biting surfaces is very common and very damaging. People commonly clench and grind their teeth resulting in significant damage to the biting surfaces of teeth, the temporomandibular jaw joint and facial muscles. Clenching and grinding may cause teeth to break, become sensitive or infected. In cases of severe wear facial collapse can be seen. Pain in front of the ear and at the side of face are common. Clicking and grinding noises in the joint and locking of the jaw are common. Commonly an acrylic bite plane splint provides relief of the symptoms and limits future wear.
10. What are the best ways to minimize dental problems in the future?
- Brush your teeth correctly (as our hygienists have instructed), for at least 2 minutes 3x/day.
- Floss daily- wrap the floss around your teeth (again the hygienist can provide assistance)
- Follow the dental treatment plan outlined by Dr. Cloth
- Return to our dental office for a regular maintenance and exams as instructed.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet, low in complex carbohydrates (sweets).