Dental FAQ’s

Everyone has questions about and for the dentist. Whether someone has questions about general oral health or complicated dental procedures, we've got you covered. If you don't see an answer to any questions you have, please don't hesitate to call us at 818 688 7646. We're happy to help!

Dental Implants

Are dental implants better than your natural teeth?

Though surprising, in many ways the answer is yes. In general, we always want to save natural teeth that have become damaged. There are circumstances, however, when removing the infected tooth and replacing it with an implant may be the better option.

Implants Don’t Decay

Advanced tooth decay is one of the most common reasons a tooth needs an overhaul such as a root canal, build-up, and cap. Most teeth can be successfully treated. The problem is that the root of the tooth is still susceptible to decay in the future. The dental crown on top of a dental implant isn’t vulnerable to acidic attack by oral bacteria. The root of dental implants is surgical grade titanium that has been fused (Osseo integration) to the jaw bone. It’s also not vulnerable to acidic attack.

They Help Bone Density

Tooth loss doesn’t only create gaps in our smile but can actually damage our surrounding teeth. The jawbone requires stimulation to retain its shape and density, and the regular movement of teeth encourages it to replenish itself. When a tooth is lost, the jawbone can lose its stability, causing teeth to shift, affecting even that shape of our cheeks.

And infected tooth can also contribute to the presence of bacteria that attack the bone around the teeth. When infected teeth are removed, the jawbone can begin to heal. Because dental implants mimic the tooth root, it prevents bone loss around it.

They Last a Lifetime

Dental implants have two main components: (1) Surgical-grade Titanium, and (2) High-Quality Porcelain. When cared for properly, dental implants can last a lifetime. Studies up to 30 years in length have shown up to a 100% survival rate for implants. Other large studies show that over 90% of implants last more than 20 years.

How long does the dental implant procedure take?

It generally takes about an hour to complete a single implant. If you're getting multiple implants, the time for your surgery may take longer. Once your dental implant has been placed, it will take about 4-6 months to heal. During this time, the bone fuses around your new implant.

Can I return to work the next day after dental implant surgery?

The short answer is that many patients are able to return to work the day after dental implant surgery, and very few patients have to take more than a day or two off.

How are dental implants inserted?

An implant is surgically placed in an opening that your dentist makes in the jawbone. After the implant integrates (attaches) to your bone, it acts as a new "root" for the crown that will replace your missing tooth.

Can any dentist give me dental implants?

When you get implants, more than one dental professional may treat you. An oral surgeon, periodontist or general dentist with training in implants will place the implants in your jawbone. A prosthodontics or general dentist will make your crowns, bridges or dentures, which will look like natural teeth.

How successful are dental implants?

Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care , implants can last a lifetime.

Teeth Extraction

How long does it take to recover from a tooth extraction?

It usually takes gum tissue about 3-4 weeks to heal. The bone can take up to 6 months to heal completely. However, pain should be lessening by the second day. But it varies from person to person, and also depends on how easy or difficult the tooth removal was.

Is it dangerous to have a tooth pulled?

Although having a tooth pulled is usually very safe, the procedure can allow harmful bacteria into the bloodstream. Gum tissue is also at risk of infection. If you have a condition that puts you at high risk for developing a severe infection, you may need to take antibiotics before and/or after the extraction. Let your dentist know any medical conditions and medications you are taking including supplements and over-the-counter medications.

What can you eat after a tooth extraction?

For at least 24 hours after your tooth extraction, you should consume only soft foods and liquids. You can ease into a more normal diet when you feel comfortable doing so. Try to stick with easy-to-chew foods for a few days. Initially, choose cool foods like yogurt, pudding, Jell-O, and ice cream. If you choose ice cream, select a variety that does not contain crunchy or chewy candy pieces and avoid ice cream cones. Applesauce is a good choice after your tooth extraction because it will add some fiber to your diet. After the first day, you might try mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, and broth-based soups without large chunks of meat. Eat these foods lukewarm, not hot.

Can I drink water after tooth extraction?

Drink lots of water after the surgery. Don't drink alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated or hot beverages in the first 24 hours. Don't drink with a straw for at least a week because the sucking action can dislodge the blood clot from the socket.

Can I drive after tooth extraction?

You can drive immediately after the procedure if local anesthetic was used, but you should avoid driving for at least 24 hours if a sedative was used, or 48 hours if the procedure was carried out under general anesthetic.

How long does your gum hurt after a tooth extraction?

Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours after the extraction to avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket. After 24 hours, rinse gently with your mouth with a solution made of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water.

What are the signs of infection after tooth extraction?

In addition to prolonged bleeding, there are other signs that may indicate an infection after oral surgery:

• Throbbing pain that isn't going away with pain medication.

• Increased swelling of the face, jaw, or gums.

• Oozing discharge, especially pus.

• A fever, especially a low-grade fever that either persists or increases.

How long do you have to use salt water after tooth extraction?

Start rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water rinse (1/2 tsp. salt with 1 cup water) every 2-3 hours. Continue this for several days, then rinse 3-4 times a day for the next 2 weeks. You may start normal tooth brushing the day after the surgery or after bleeding is controlled.

Can I sleep with gauze after tooth extraction?

Change gauze every 30-60 minutes as needed until bleeding subsides (usually 2 - 3 hours after your procedure). If bleeding starts again, it's often controlled by these above measures. Ensure that you DO NOT sleep with gauze in your mouth. Keep head elevated, minimize activity, avoid spitting.

Is it normal for your gums to turn white after a tooth extraction?

If you have a tooth extracted by a dentist, you may notice that your gums near the tooth turn white. This is because of the trauma of the procedure. Your gums should return to their normal color a few days after the procedure.

Teeth Cleaning

What are the benefits of a dental teeth cleaning with a dentist?

One of the most underestimated processes that we do in our daily lives is undoubtedly the cleaning of the teeth. Many of the researchers done so far have proved time and again that people often do not clean their teeth properly, and in most case, their cleaning techniques and patterns do more damage than good. The tiny spaces between the teeth are the places where the germ buildup takes, and it takes an extraordinary effort to clean them regularly. As a result, people tend to cover only the basic parts and are left to wonder why they have dental problems in spite of proper cleaning. It is very much mandatory to have regular sessions with your dentist to clean your teeth. Most of the dentists would advise you to come for the cleaning procedures once in every six months. Most people associate the cleaning techniques with pain, jaw pain and prodding. The truth is much simpler. The cleaning techniques are sophisticated to the extent that you would not feel any pain or discomfort when undergoing the process. You can check with your dentist if you have any apprehension about the procedure and they would be in a better position to guide you properly.

Can a dentist remove tartar?

Once tartar has formed, only your dentist or hygienist can remove it. The process for removing tartar is called scaling. During a scaling, the dentist or hygienist uses special instruments to remove tartar from your teeth above and below the gum line.

How often should I floss?

It is recommended that you floss every time you brush your teeth, but at least once a day. Quality is more important than quantity. Doing one flossing well is much better than flossing poorly three times a day. The best time to floss is before brushing your teeth

Should you brush your teeth or floss first?

The sequence makes no difference as long as you do a thorough job. Brushing and flossing is the best way to remove decay-causing plaque from your teeth and help maintain optimal oral health. Choose a toothbrush that feels comfortable in your hand and in your mouth, and use it twice a day.

Should I floss before or after mouthwash?

The one thing most experts can agree on, however, is that rinsing with a fluoride-containing mouthwash should be your final step. After brushing and flossing, rinsing with a mouthwash, not water, keeps you plaque-free, prevents gum disease and keeps your breath fresh (an added bonus).


What is Invisalign clear aligners?

The Invisalign system is the virtually invisible way to straighten your teeth and achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. Using advanced 3D computer imaging technology, Invisalign depicts your complete treatment plan, from the initial position of your teeth to the final desired position.

Then a series of clear aligners are custom-made for your teeth — and your teeth only — to move them little by little. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks before being replaced by the next in the series until the final position of your teeth is achieved.

What are primary benefits of Invisalign?

Your teeth will be easier to clean and brush. If your teeth are too crowded, you might already struggle with brushing your teeth effectively. It may also be quite difficult to floss when your teeth are overcrowded. With Invisalign, your teeth will be more evenly spaced, and it will be much easier to clean your teeth properly.

You needn’t be burdened with the annoyance of metal braces. Metal braces are effective but can be painful and uncomfortable. It’s much harder to floss and keep your teeth clean when you have traditional braces, compared to with Invisalign.

As a result, you will have a better long-term dental health. Sometimes when you have crowded teeth, or too widely spaced teeth, you can suffer from discomfort in your gums. Over time, this can become a huge problem and result in bleeding gums or periodontal disease. Invisalign can help align your teeth so that your gums won’t be negatively affected.

How many patients are being treated with Invisalign?

More than 1,000,000 patients worldwide have been treated with Invisalign. The number of Invisalign smiles grows daily. At your next appointment, we can help answer any questions you might have, and get you started on the smile you’ve always wanted.

Will Invisalign treatment fit my lifestyle?

Since Invisalign is virtually invisible, chances are no one will even notice anything is different — until your new smile is revealed, of course. You can remove your Invisalign aligners, so you can brush and floss regularly, and keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Teeth Whitening

How does teeth whitening work?

Each of your teeth is made up of an inner dentin layer and a hard outer enamel layer, which protects the teeth. When you eat and drink - food, cigarette smoke, coffee, etc. - another layer gradually forms on top of the enamel layer. Eventually, it accumulates to form a film over the enamel layer.

A dentist can clean away this film, through scraping and chemical treatments. Regular brushing helps as well. The problem is, as this layer sits on your teeth for years and years, the foreign material gets into the enamel because it’s porous and stains into the tooth. These deeper stains are harmless, but unattractive.

Bleaching chemicals are used to whiten these deep stains. They get into the tooth enamel and set off a chemical reaction that breaks apart the staining compounds. Most tooth whiteners use one of two chemical agents: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. When used in the mouth, carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, with hydrogen peroxide being the active whitening ingredient.

Does teeth whitening damage your teeth?

Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of bleaching. Solutions that are more acidic can etch the enamel from the teeth, especially if used for long periods of time, so are to be avoided.

Dentists may be able to predict if you will have problems with or sensitivities to the procedure. They also may be able to help you alleviate sensitivity by recommending certain procedures and toothpastes designed to treat sensitive teeth. Dentists can also check for signs of root damage caused by tooth whitening and treat the condition if detected in time. If you have sensitive teeth, gum disease or teeth with worn enamel, your dentist may discourage tooth whitening.

Does teeth whitening work for sensitive teeth?

Yes teeth whitening does work for sensitive teeth, but some precautions can be made to alleviate any discomfort. If you have a whitening gel applied, it can lead to dry mouth or tooth dehydration causing discomfort. Natural re-hydration occurs through saliva production over the course of several hours.

If a whitening product is used, it can cause temporary tooth sensitivity as well. Avoid or minimize consumption of foods and drinks containing color, sugar, or acid. To help reduce the sensitivity, a desensitizing gel is recommended which is applied after the whitening process. The gel helps to rehydrate your teeth so the sensitivity is minimized.

Is tooth whitening safe?

A large body of research on bleaching has determined that low concentrations of peroxide, from a reputable source, are safe if used as directed, after a proper dental examination. You may experience some side effects from treatments such as teeth sensitivity and irritated gums.

You may experience teeth sensitivity on your first or second treatment, and it may diminish with time. Your dentist may recommend treating sensitivity with products that contain potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride gel.

Your gums can become irritated as well. This can happen because of contact on your gums with the whitening product. This side effect should go away after your treatments. Keep in mind that you cannot whiten your teeth on a permanent basis. You’ll need to seek whitening treatments every so often for both extrinsic and intrinsic discoloration. Also keep in mind that these products are for natural teeth. You’ll need to talk to your dentist about how to unify the color of your teeth if you have implants, crowns, bridges, or dentures.


Should I get veneers?

Veneers offer a quick, affordable fix for many common cosmetic dental issues. When considering whether or not to get veneers, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of what dental veneers are. You will also want to know if veneers are an effective fix for the specific problems plaguing your smile. Finally, you’ll need to verify that you’re a good candidate for this technology.

Crafted from porcelain or a composite resin, dental veneers are thin, custom-made shells that are bonded to the front of teeth to alter their shape, length, size, or color. Veneers can generally be applied in a visit or two, providing a quick fix that can make a major improvement in the look of your smile.

Ultimately, consult your trusted dentist first to determine if you should get veneers and make a decision on their feedback. However, there are few things to consider as well. Good candidates for veneers should clearly understand how veneers will help their teeths’ appearance with their dentists help They should also have sufficient healthy enamel due to its removal during fitting. And if the candidate grinds or clenches their teeth during sleep, that issue should be addressed first because grinding can break the veneers. Finally, you must have a healthy, diligent dental care regimen in place with flossing and brushing along with regular check ups.

Is there tooth decay beneath porcelain veneers?

Veneers are a thin porcelain facing that is bonded to the front surfaces of your teeth. Before the veneers are bonded, the teeth that will receive the veneers are disinfected and a composite cement is used to seal the teeth under the veneers. This seal is very strong and should not allow for contamination of the teeth under the veneers.

Because the teeth are sealed under the veneers there should be no risk for odors or bacteria. The teeth underneath are isolated from the oral environment. And when veneers are properly placed and regularly maintained like natural teeth with brushing and flossing, they can last a long time a provide you with many years of beauty.

How long do veneers last?

Veneers, when done properly, should last approximately ten to fifteen years, however, they can and do last much longer or shorter. Your dental care habits weigh heavily in their lifespan so always maintain a daily regimen of flossing and brushing. Any activity that can damage natural teeth will decrease the lifespan of veneers. Chipping and cracking can occur so refrain from biting into very hard foods or objects. Staining from coffee, wine or tea also affects veneers so it is recommended to use a straw or drink these in moderation.

Does it hurt to get veneers?

Before a veneer can be placed, a very tiny amount (usually less than half a millimeter) of the outer enamel of the tooth is removed. This ensures the veneers are the same size as the surrounding natural teeth and the thickness of the tooth is not dramatically changed and fits perfectly.

The surface of the tooth is roughened to create an etched enamel surface. A liquid bonding agent (etching gel) is then applied and once the liquid bonding agent hardens, it creates a strong base for the veneer. It’s then attached to the tooth with specialized cement that chemically bonds with the etching gel. The veneer is then gently pressed into place so that any excess cement can seep out from underneath the veneer to be removed for a clean finish.

In the majority of cases, the placement of veneers is a pain-free procedure. The tooth can be numbed, but for many patients, the amount of enamel that is removed is so tiny that they usually do not require any anesthesia. Ultimately, it depends on the amount of enamel that needs to be removed. After the veneers have been placed, there isn't any downtime. However, you may experience some mild temporary sensitivity to hot or cold, as well as chewy, hard, or crunchy foods. During this period, you should avoid such items until you can return to your normal dietary habits.

Do veneers ruin your teeth?

Veneers are not designed to ruin teeth in any way. Instead, these porcelain or resin pieces attached to the front surface of the teeth do the exact opposite by improving the aesthetic of discolored teeth. Whether the teeth are stained due to excessive fluoride, medications, coffee consumption or anything else, veneers will cover the discoloration.

Veneers will not damage your teeth if treatment is carried out by an experienced cosmetic dentist with the correct experience and training. Your dentist will fully examine your teeth and take x-rays beforehand to make sure the teeth underneath are healthy and not decayed so are suitable for veneers to be placed. However, they can still form decay down below with inadequate diet and poor hygiene. Do your part to keep your teeth clean, and you will be able to leave your dental veneer in place through your golden years without worry.

Information courtesy of the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association.