How can we help you?
Patient education is very important to your Merced, CA dentist, which is why we encourage your questions. If you have a question not addressed below, or if you would like more information about our dental services, never hesitate to reach out to one of our friendly team members.
Dr. Spencer will often tell his patients, “The best toothpaste is the one that gets you to brush your teeth twice a day!” Several kinds of toothpaste will be equally effective for you, so choose one with a nice flavor.
He recommends that whatever toothpaste you select, that it contains fluoride. This is the one active ingredient that has been shown over and over again to fight cavities. Another criterion you can use is to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The American Dental Association has identified these products as being effective at what they claim to do.
For people who have sensitive teeth, Dr. Rowan recommends using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Most of the major toothpaste companies have a “sensitive” formulation. The active ingredients are the same across brands, so again, find one that you prefer and try it out! Toothpaste for sensitive teeth is pretty effective at reducing the amount of sensitivity, but it takes time to work. You should expect to use the toothpaste for at least three weeks before you notice a difference.
Most of the time, no! One of the most common misconceptions is that cavities are painful. A tooth is made up of three layers – a thin enamel layer, a thick dentin layer, and then the canal space.
When Dr. Spencer is evaluating x-rays, he’s looking to see any shadows that penetrate through the tooth's outer enamel layer.
If so, then this cavity needs to be treated with a tooth-colored filling. These types of cavities are rarely or ever noticeable to the patient but are important to treat before they grow and become a bigger problem.
If a cavity is left untreated for a long time, it will eventually work its way through the tooth's dentin layer and enter the canal space. This is where the tooth's nerve is, and this is where cavities can really start to hurt!
Routine dental exams are important because Dr. Spencer can identify and treat cavities while they are small before they cause any pain.
Dr. Rowan expects all dental restorations to last long into the future, but the answer to this question depends on two factors. First, how strong is the foundation of healthy, natural tooth structure? Second, how well do you take care of the restoration?
For tooth-colored fillings, the smaller the filling, the longer it will last. Huge fillings don’t have as much support from the surrounding natural tooth structure and may actually lead to the tooth chipping or breaking at some point in the future. The expected longevity of crowns depends on how much healthy tooth structure remains underneath the crown. If nearly all of the tooth has been destroyed by decay or a fracture, then the crown's foundation isn’t as strong.
Equally important is how well you take care of the restoration. If you maintain a clean and healthy mouth, restorations will last a very long time. Although the filling material and the crown material cannot get cavities, if you don’t keep the area clean, the surrounding tooth structure can still decay. Some people are also harder on their teeth than others. If you chew on ice or grind your teeth, your restorations will wear out more quickly.