How can we help you?
Choosing a dentist to take care of your family's health is a big decision! We know making the right choice is important and we are here to answer any questions you have regarding your treatment. Some of the most common questions we hear are listed below. If you do not see yours on the list, give us a call. We are happy to help.
At our Naugatuck, CT dental office, we offer comprehensive oral evaluations to diagnose and treat common dental conditions. Millions of Americans suffer from a clenching and grinding habit known as bruxism. Bruxism can cause premature wear to your teeth, headaches, jaw pain, muscle pain, and even cracked teeth.
We incorporate bruxism exams into our regular exams and look for signs of clenching or grinding. This can include looking for signs of tooth wear, bite marks on the insides of your cheeks, bony growths beneath your tongue called tori, and tooth fractures. We also test your muscle tension.
Using an intraoral camera, we can show you many of these signs of wear. You may even be able to feel tori with your tongue. Left untreated, bruxism may cause long-term problems such as tooth sensitivity, headaches, facial tension, jaw conditions (temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJD), and even tooth loss.
We treat bruxism with a custom nightguard. Wearing a nightguard places a barrier between your upper and lower teeth, guiding the jaw into a more comfortable position and allowing for relief of muscle tension – a common cause of headaches.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, call us to learn more about how we can restore your comfort and protect your smile.
Brushing and flossing is the cornerstone of good oral health. Your home habits determine the health of your gums and teeth throughout your lifetime. By following the American Dental Association recommendation of brushing twice daily and flossing once daily, you are taking the best steps toward lifelong oral health.
Simply skimming the toothbrush along the surfaces of your teeth is not enough. A thorough job of brushing and flossing is essential. Here are some tips to help:
- Select a toothbrush that is soft-bristled and fits into your mouth easily.
- Angle the bristles toward your gums where plaque collects.
- Brush every surface of your teeth – tongue side, cheek side, chewing surface, and behind your back teeth.
- Brush for at least two minutes with gentle pressure. It’s the tips of the bristles that do the work. There is no need to press hard. Doing so can damage your gums.
- When flossing, gently move the floss up and down each surface of your tooth on either side of your papilla, the v-shaped tissue between your teeth.
- Move the floss as you go, giving yourself clean, unfrayed floss to work with.
- Use the right floss for you – dental tape for closely crowded teeth or woven floss for widely spaced teeth. Most people find that waxed floss is easier to move between teeth.
You do not need an electric toothbrush to do a great job of brushing, as long as you follow the guidelines. For some people with dexterity issues, an electric toothbrush can be a great way to make sure you reach every surface of your teeth.
In its early stages, a cavity usually does not hurt. Your teeth are made up of layers. The protective outer layer is made of enamel, the hardest substance in your body. Underneath your enamel is a softer bony layer called dentin. The internal layer that houses your nerve is called pulp.
Decay occurs when bacteria soften the protective enamel layer of your tooth. You can often avoid decay with a healthy diet, brushing, and flossing. Professional dental cleanings help to remove tartar from the areas of your teeth that your toothbrush and floss alone cannot reach.
Decay can grow quickly or slowly depending on a number of factors such as your home care habits, fluoride use, diet, and professional cleanings. By the time decay causes pain, it is often in the very advanced stages and may have caused irreparable damage to your tooth, requiring a root canal or an extraction.
We use digital x-rays to diagnose decay in its earliest stages. By using high-resolution imaging, we can often prevent decay from becoming painful and putting your health at risk.
When detected early enough, we can repair your tooth with a composite restoration. Our restorations will match the color of your tooth and feel smooth and natural. With proper care, restorations can last many years and provide comfort, protection, and stability for your tooth.
With all the news today about mercury and the effect on health, it is natural to question whether you should worry about your old amalgam fillings that contain mercury. Despite the fact that the American Dental Association has said that the small amounts of mercury in fillings are within the safe range for humans, many people still do not like the idea of having them in their mouths.
Generally, unless a filling is breaking down, we do not recommend removing it. Amalgam fillings are often larger than their composite counterparts because they require a larger portion of your tooth to be removed to place them. Disrupting them may cause your tooth to fracture, requiring a dental crown.
Removing silver fillings requires us to eliminate them from your tooth. If you do want them removed for cosmetic reasons, or just as a preference, we will use a rubber dam to prevent your from ingesting any amalgam material.
Most restorations, especially those placed early in life will require replacement at some point because they wear down or crack. When that time comes, we will gladly replace your amalgam fillings with a composite restoration or protective dental crown to improve your appearance while still providing strength and protection to your smile.
Most patients qualify for dental implants with no problem. In some cases, however, if you have experienced significant bone loss, you may require a bone graft to create a stable enough foundation to hold your dental implant securely in place.
In some cases, patients may have other biological landmarks, such as sinuses, that can interfere with dental implant placement. We work with some of the best oral surgeons in our area to make sure you get the best care possible and that you have the greatest chance of success with dental implants.
With today’s dental technology, the latest in treatment, and the skills of our dentists and specialists, you are in good hands when it comes to replacing missing teeth with dental implants.
Dental implants remain the best way to replace missing teeth because they have numerous health benefits. In addition to their natural appearance, they help to retain your bone, which supports your remaining teeth and facial structure. They also keep your natural teeth from shifting after tooth loss. Shifting teeth can cause problems with your bite.
If you have questions about whether you might be a good candidate for dental implants, contact our Naugatuck, CT dental office and schedule an evaluation with Dr. Almeida or Dr. Tannenbaum. We can help you determine the best course of treatment to improve your health and protect your smile.
Digital Dental X-Rays
When patients question the need for x-rays, they usually have one of two questions in mind:
Are they expensive? Are they safe?
We use digital dental x-rays to diagnose conditions such as decay and bone loss in our patients. By taking routine dental x-rays, we can monitor subtle changes over time and catch anything that may require our attention before it becomes serious.
Dental x-rays are not a catch-all when it comes to diagnosing dental conditions. They do, however, certainly help us make accurate diagnoses and alert you to anything you should be aware of in a more timely fashion so that we can address it while it is still small and manageable.
The cost of dental x-rays compared to major dental treatment is negligible. By making a small preventive investment in your health, you can save money in the long-term, not to mention time and hassle.
The safety of dental x-rays has always been high. Because we are taking images of your teeth, a very small part of your body, not much radiation is required. With the implementation of digital x-rays, we have decreased the levels of radiation by up to 90%, making them even safer. You can receive more radiation from the atmosphere when outdoors.