Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about dental care. For more information, visit the American Dental Association website.

Can periodontal diseases be prevented?

Ways to protect teeth from acid attacks:

  • Removing plaque
  • Reducing the number of times and amount sugar and starches are eaten
  • Using fluorides
  • Having plastic sealants applied to teeth
  • Regular professional cleaning of teeth by a dental hygienist
Common causes of tooth loss

Caries – Also known as tooth decay, it affects the gums and bone structure that supports the teeth. It is one of the most common causes of tooth loss and a major cause of tooth loss in children.

Periodontal Disease – An inflammatory disease that affects the soft and hard structures that support the teeth. The major cause of tooth loss in adults however, it too can afflict youngsters.

Trauma – A frequent cause of tooth loss is trauma. Anything from an automobile accident, participation in sports or just an unanticipated accident can cause tooth loss. When an accident occurs, seek treatment immediately.

How can I relieve a toothache?

Many people experience a toothache late in the evening, the middle of the night, or when they are not able to rush off to the dentist. If you ever find yourself in a situation where your tooth is hurting and you are not able to see a dentist right away, you can relieve the toothache by placing clove oil on the tooth. Clove is a natural sedative for the nerve in your tooth and it will help to calm the nerve down and ease the toothache.

  • Take a Q-tip and dip it into the clove oil
  • Dab the Q-tip on a piece of sterile gauze to get the excess oil off the end
  • Then place the Q-tip on the tooth and swirl it around the tooth
  • You should begin to feel some relief
  • Repeat as necessary

You will also want to take some over the counter pain reliever, at the recommended dosage even if you do not have a toothache. The medicine will work throughout the day and evening to keep the toothache at bay. It is is much easier than having the medicine wear off and then trying to treat the toothache when it’s at its peak

You should Schedule An Appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to evaluate what is causing the tooth-ache. Do not wait! It is much easier to treat a dental problem when it is diagnosed earlier than later.

How do I get rid of bad breath?

Often, bad breath results from less-than-optimal oral health. Sometimes people are not aware that they are not performing oral hygiene as effectively as they could be. A dental hygienist or dentist will be able to evaluate your oral health procedures and make recommendations for improvement. These professionals will be able to recognize any associated problems that might be contributing to an unpleasant mouth odor. In addition to evaluating and suggesting alterations to your brushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning are also methods that can be used to reduce bad breath.

How does plaque attack the gums?

Plaque can produce harmful byproducts that irritate the gums. Plaque can cause gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal diseases. If plaque isn’t removed daily, it will build up into a hard deposit called calculus. If plaque continues to form on top of the calculus, it can irritate the gums, and a pocket may develop between the teeth and gums. Plaque build up can eventually destroy the gums and bone that support the teeth.

How many times a day should I brush my teeth?

The American Dental Association advocates brushing twice each day. There is research indicating that brushing once a day is sufficient to disrupt the formation of plaque that feeds the bacteria that cause decay, this may not be enough for some people, depending on factors such as their diets and the efficacy of their brushing technique. ADHA recommends that you discuss this with your dental hygienist who understands your individual oral health needs and will be able to make a recommendation appropriate for you.

I really do not like visiting the dentist. Is there anything you can do to help me relax?

It all depends on what is making you uneasy. Every patient is different. At Dr. Breen’s, we talk to you to find out the source of your uneasiness so that we can do everything possible to make your experience better! Our friendly staff is always here to serve you and make you comfortable. Talk to us about your anxiety and we will be extra sensitive to your needs.

What causes periodontal diseases?

Caused by plaque, a thin, colorless, sticky film containing bacteria, which constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria use carbohydrates, sugars and starches, to produce an acid that attacks the enamel covering the teeth. After repeated acid attacks, the enamel can be broken down and a cavity begins. Continued acid attacks eventually dissolve the enamel and penetrate the softer, inner layer of the tooth. Decay can spread rapidly throughout the tooth’s structure. Acid attacks begin immediately after every meal or snack and last about 20 to 30 minutes.

What is a dental hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a licensed health care professional oral health educator.

  • A dental hygienist provides preventive, educational, and therapeutic services supporting total health for the control of oral diseases and the promotion of oral health
  • A registered dental hygienist has graduated from a minimum two-year college program that includes classroom studies and extensive supervised clinical experience
  • A dental hygienist also must pass a national written exam and a comprehensive state clinical exam to earn the RDH license
What is a root canal?

A procedure by which the nerve and pulp tissue are removed from the inside of the tooth. There are many causes of why the nerve in the tooth becomes sore. Decay and trauma are the two most common causes.

The tooth is held into the jawbone by 1-3 roots, depending on the tooth. Inside each root, is an area called the pulp. The pulp is very much like tissue in the rest of your body. It contains blood vessels, connective tissue, and yes nerve tissue. Unlike tissue in the rest of your body, the pulp is encased in hard tooth structure, so it has a limited capacity to become inflamed without dying. Once the pulp dies it cannot heal itself. This dead pulp tissue needs to be removed from the inside of the tooth to treat infection and to help prevent future infections in your jaw and the rest of your body. The root canal procedure is a relatively painless procedure and many patients are relieved when the tooth no longer hurts them anymore. Root canals eliminate the source of infection while saving the tooth.

What is the best way to get my teeth whiter?

Most people have teeth that are naturally darker than “pure” white. If you want them whiter, the best thing you can do is talk to your professional oral health care provider about your options. Different people respond differently to different procedures used to whiten teeth, and it will take an in-person consultation with a professional to determine what is best for you. There are many products and procedures available to brighten your smile.

Before you purchase any number of the tooth whitening products in the store or online, it is important to understand what is causing your teeth to stain, the risks, as well as the benefits to whitening your teeth. Your first step should be to schedule an examination and cleaning of your teeth. At this time, your dentist or hygienist can review your oral health with you, any medications that you may be taking, as well as make recommendations for any dietary changes or teeth bleaching products or procedures that will work for you. Sometimes all it takes is professional prophylaxis to remove stain and then abstinence from behaviors that stain teeth, such as drinking coffee or tea, or smoking tobacco. Some people respond well to the use of whitening toothpastes while some do not. Our office offers an at home bleaching system prescribed by Dr. Breen.