bad-breath

Bad Breath

Having bad breath can be an embarrassing problem especially if you are regularly face to face with other people. Known professionally as halitosis, bad breath plagues many people every day. Most cases of bad breath can be remedied by efficiently brushing the teeth. However, some types of bad breath are chronic or recurring which may warrant a visit to the dentist.
 

Did you know … that bad breath can be caused by something simple like eating too much garlic, or that it could be a serious symptom of a disease? Some of the most common causes of bad breath include dry mouth, certain medications, use of tobacco, poor dental hygiene, and oral infections. In rare cases, bad breath may be a sign of diseases like cancer or gastroesophageal reflux.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do I need treatment for my bad breath?

If your bad breath does not improve despite self-care techniques such as dietary adjustments and thorough tooth brushing, then you may need to see a dentist about pursuing professional treatment. Keep in mind that short-term remedies like gum, breath mints, and mouthwash may temporarily freshen breath, but they are not a solution to the underlying problem.

What should I expect my dentist to do about my bad breath?

Your visit will begin with an examination and questions about your daily habits such as the types of foods you eat and the medications you take. Your dentist may then inspect your mouth for signs of decay, infections, or gum disease that could be causing your bad breath. If your chronic bad breath cannot be traced to an oral problem or daily habit, you may be referred to a physician for further evaluation.

Is there anything I can do to maintain better breath?

Yes. If bad breath is a source of embarrassment for you, try to keep breath fresheners on hand at all times. Sleep with your mouth closed, as this prevents dry mouth and helps tame morning breath. Eliminate odor-causing foods from your diet such as garlic and onions, and make an effort to brush your teeth and tongue every morning and night. Finally, be sure to visit your dentist for professional cleanings at least twice per year to remove built-up plaque that can cause chronic halitosis.

how-to-brush

How to Brush Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is probably a standard part of your daily routine, but chances are you aren’t following the American Dental Association’s guidelines for cleaning your teeth properly. The ADA currently recommends that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably morning and night or anytime you eat foods that contain sugar. When you brush, your toothbrush should be tilted at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. As you brush, be sure to remove debris from every surface of the teeth including the backs of the teeth, near the gum line, and on chewing surfaces. It is also important to brush your tongue as bacteria can accumulate there and cause bad breath.
 

Did you know … that the type of toothbrush you use makes a difference in your oral health? The ADA recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a head that is ergonomically proportioned to the inside of your mouth. Many patients erroneously believe that medium or hard-bristle toothbrushes are more efficient; but these brushes can actually cause abrasions to the teeth and gums, making them more vulnerable to decay. The ADA also recommends replacing your toothbrush about four times yearly or whenever the bristles become frayed.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Should I change my brushing habits?

You may need to change your brushing habits if you are experiencing signs of poor oral hygiene. Examples of common symptoms include bleeding or reddened gums, excessive plaque build-up, decaying teeth, and receding gum lines. To find out if you are brushing correctly or if you need to change your brushing habits, make an appointment with your  dentist for a full consultation.

What should I expect if I begin brushing my teeth correctly?

The benefits of proper tooth brushing techniques may not be experienced immediately, but they will become noticeable in the long term. Over time, brushing too hard or not brushing enough can produce oral health complications that cannot be reversed and require special treatment. By adopting proper brushing habits, you may be able to avoid expensive dental bills in the future.

Is there anything else I need to do in addition to brushing properly?

Yes. It is important that you also floss daily and use toothpaste that contains fluoride each day. You should also schedule dental exams and professional cleanings in at least twice per year.

electric-vs-manual

Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush

Preventative dentistry is about more than just visiting your dentist twice yearly for an exam and thorough cleaning. In fact, the majority of your preventative care is done at-home as a part of your normal hygienic routine. Many residents use manual toothbrushes to remove debris and plaque from their teeth. However, electric brushes have become widely popular in recent years, leaving some to wonder whether one type is better than the other.
 

Did you know … the American Dental Association does not lean toward one type of brush over the other? It does, however, acknowledge that people with upper body mobility restrictions may better benefit from an electric toothbrush instead of a manual toothbrush. Regardless of which type you decide is right for you, the ADA recommends that all brushes be soft-bristled to avoid abrasions that can lead to decay and receding gum lines.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Which toothbrush should I be using?

You can effectively brush your teeth with either a manual toothbrush or an electric one. However, the rapid movements of motorized versions may be more effective at removing plaque from the teeth and gum line. If you have questions about which toothbrush is best for you, speak with your dentist about it at your next visit. The dentist may recommend an electric brush with an oscillating head or a brush that includes a timer to let you know how long to brush. The best toothbrush is the one that you will use everyday!

What types of results should I be getting from by toothbrush?

Regardless of whether you choose an electric or a manual toothbrush, it should be easy for you to maneuver in your mouth and behind your back teeth. If the head is too big, it may not be effectively removing plaque from your teeth.

My electric toothbrush was expensive. Do I need to change it as often as a manual brush?

Yes. Your toothbrush should be replaced at least once every three to four months or whenever you notice fraying. However, most electric toothbrushes come with interchangeable heads. In other words, you won’t need to replace the entire device; only the brush itself.

fluoride-decay-prevention

Fluoride and Decay Prevention

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that has been shown to help strengthen teeth in children and also prevent decay in people of all ages. Topical fluoride is especially helpful for promoting oral health. The American Dental Association has publicly endorsed the use of fluoride for the prevention of dental caries, as has the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.
 

Did you know … that you might be drinking fluoride every day without knowing it? Many communities add fluoride to the public water supply in an effort to promote better dental health. You can find out if there is fluoride in your tap water by contacting your local water utility. Keep in mind that if your primary source of drinking water is bottled, you may not be getting fluoride. You can contact your bottle water company or manufacturer to find out if fluoride is in your water. If not, speak with your dentist about getting professional fluoride treatments.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do I need fluoride treatments?

You may need fluoride treatments if your drinking water is not fluoridated or if you are experiencing certain symptoms such as receding gums. Fluoride treatments can also provide oral support and prevent decay if you wear orthodontic braces or are taking medications that cause dry mouth.

What should I expect during fluoride treatments?

Fluoride treatments are painless and can be administered in your dentist’s office at your regular check-ups and cleanings. Your dentist will distribute fluoridated gel, foam, or varnish into a tray and place it over your teeth. The treatment takes only a few minutes and is only required between one and four times per year.

Is there anything I can do to supplement my fluoride treatments?

Yes. The ADA recommends supplementing your fluoridated drinking water or fluoride treatments with a fluoridated toothpaste.

post-op

Dental Post-Op Questions

If you are undergoing a dental procedure or operation, you will be given a set of post-operative instructions to abide by in the hours, days, and weeks after your treatment. Following these instructions is essential to preventing infections in surgical sites, protecting restorations, and minimizing the possibility of experiencing complications. Post-operative instructions vary from procedure to procedure, but you are still sure to have some questions regarding care. Dr. Jang will be available to answer those questions and respond to any concerns you may have.

Try to anticipate some of the questions you may have about your post-operative care and ask them prior to your treatment. Some of the most common post-op questions include:

  • How should I manage pain following my procedure?
  • How long will I experience discomfort?
  • Do I need to follow any special dietary guidelines?
  • Is it safe for me to drink through a straw?
  • Will I be able to drive myself home after my procedure?
  • Will I need to take antibiotics?
  • Will I need to return to your office for a follow-up appointment?
  • When will my permanent restorations be ready?
  • How do I care for my removable prosthesis?

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Should I talk with my dentist about the questions I have regarding my post-operative care?

Yes. Your post-operative care is contingent on you understanding everything about the recovery process and your responsibilities in caring for your surgical site.

What should I expect when I speak with my dentist?

Your dentist should allocate enough time in your consultation and pre-operative exam to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. You should also be provided a phone number that you can call following your procedure to discuss any questions that may come up at that time.

Is there anything I can do to make the process easier?

Yes. Begin thinking of any questions you may have about your post-operative care and write them down so that you will be ready to ask all of your questions when the opportunity arises, without missing any important details.

digital-xray

Digital X-rays

For years, dental x-rays have been used to diagnose oral health complications and detect decaying or damaged teeth. X-rays provide a unique view of the mouth that isn’t possible with a visual exam alone. When x-rays are taken, the teeth and bones absorb the majority of the x-ray making them highly visible on film or on a screen. Nearly all new dental patients are x-rayed, although you may instead request that previous x-rays be transferred from another dental provider to your new dentist. By comparing your x-rays with your full mouth examination and dental history, your dentist can prescribe effective treatment and recommend a plan for preventative care.

Digital x-rays are a more streamlined way of taking dental x-rays. Requiring less radiation and no film to process, digital x-rays have become the standard for oral imaging. These systems produce instant digital images that can easily be enhanced and enlarged for a more accurate diagnosis. The images are captured, stored, and even transmitted via in-office computers. In fact, dentists can easily print or email copies of x-rays in just seconds.

Digital x-rays make for a better and more efficient patient experience. Office visits are faster, patients are exposed to less radiation, and the x-ray images can be sent to a specialist for review in a fraction of the time necessary for traditional film x-rays.

 

Did you know … that dental x-rays deliver very low levels of radiation and are considered completely safe? In fact, x-rays are even considered safe during pregnancy and while breastfeeding so long as a leaded apron and collar are used to protect your body from exposure. If you are pregnant or think you may be, tell your dentist so proper precautions can be taken.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Should I get dental x-rays?

Yes. Dental x-rays are capable of identifying tooth decay and damage beneath the surface of the teeth where cavities are less visible during an examination. Furthermore, x-rays provide a reference point for the progression of decay in your mouth over time. You should have x-rays taken on a regular basis, especially if you are experiencing oral health complications or are planning to undergo a dental procedure such as a root canal.

What should I expect when I get dental x-rays?

Getting traditional dental x-rays can take several minutes. A thick paper tab is placed into the mouth which you will bite down on. Most patients find that dental x-rays are completely painless and do not inflict any level of discomfort. In some cases, dentists will need extra-oral x-rays in addition to intra-oral x-rays. The extra-oral x-rays snap images of the face, jaw, and skull, and they are typically used to identify impacted teeth such as wisdom teeth.

What happens after my dentist has taken x-rays?

Your x-rays will be saved digitally. In the future, your dentist may request additional dental x-rays every few years to monitor the health of your teeth, gums, and jaw over time. If you are considered to be high risk for oral disease or are exhibiting symptoms of complications, your dentist may prefer to take x-rays more frequently.