At Velasquez-Pierce Family Dentistry, we understand that coming to the dentist can bring up a lot of questions. Dr. Ximena Velasquez-Pierce and our team will do our best to answer any of your questions and explain treatments during your visit; however, should you have additional questions before or after your appointment, we welcome you to look through our frequently asked questions. By doing this, you can feel more prepared for your dental care in Venice, Florida. We welcome you to contact our office if you would like to discuss these or other questions further, and to schedule your appointment with our caring, talented dentist.
I have some old silver fillings that are beginning to look bad. What can I do to improve them?
Silver (amalgam) fillings are typically made up of 50% silver alloy and 50% mercury. Although they are durable, they will eventually need to be replaced, as their average life span is between 5 and 8 years. When you visit our practice, our dentist will help you know if your filling needs to be replaced due to wear, decay, or breakdown.
If you wish to replace your silver fillings simply for cosmetic reasons, we offer several treatment options that can give you a natural-looking restoration. These include composite fillings, dental inlays or onlays, dental crowns, or veneers.
How do I know which toothbrush is right for me?
The brand of your toothbrush does not matter as much as its size, bristle type, and head shape. We recommend that you use a toothbrush with a small head, as this allows you to get around each tooth more easily without injuring your gums. We also recommend that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Soft bristles will help your gum get less irritated from aggressive brushing.
A good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush every month. This ensures that your toothbrush is not housing extra harmful bacteria. We also suggest brushing at least twice a day, or more if your schedule permits.
What is an abscessed tooth?
An abscessed tooth means that it is infected. An abscess can cause several side effects of common infections, including pus and causing your gums to swell around the tooth. An abscess typically forms when your tooth’s enamel begins to wear away and bacteria gets inside and infects the tooth’s inner pulp or nerve.
Once an abscess develops, the infection can begin to spread to other areas of your mouth and even into your body. In most cases, patients who have an abscessed tooth will require a root canal. Contact our office right away if you think that you may have an abscessed tooth.
What causes tooth decay?
Decay is a result of when soft plaque and sugar or starches from foods combine and form on the teeth. This combination is highly acidic and causes your tooth enamel to wear away. The best way to prevent tooth decay is to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. You can also help prevent decay by eating healthy and avoiding foods that are sticky or high in sugar.
How often should I see the dentist for a checkup and cleaning?
Our dentist recommends that guidelines from the American Dental Association, which states that patients should visit the dentist at least once every six months. If your oral health is more susceptible to disease or decay, we recommend that you visit our office more frequently. Some other factors could cause you to benefit from more frequent visits, including pregnancy, tobacco and alcohol use, gum disease, poor dental hygiene habits, and certain medical conditions or medications.
By regularly visiting the dentist, we can help keep your teeth and gums healthy by detecting oral problems, such as gum disease or cavities, in their early stages. In addition to regular dental visits, you can care for your smile by maintaining good dental hygiene habits.
What is tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is a highly sensitive problem and can be caused by several different factors. It is most often identified by a feeling of pain or discomfort when eating or drinking foods and drinks in extreme temperatures, such as coffee and ice cream. Tooth sensitivity can also be felt from cold air, sweets, or salty foods. In some cases, people can experience tooth sensitivity from brushing and flossing. As painful as tooth sensitivity may be for some people, there are several steps that our dentist can take to help treat your tooth sensitivity and restore your comfort.
How does the digital X-ray system work?
Digital X-rays use a small sense that is attached to the end of a wire. This wire is placed into the patient’s mouth and positioned according to the area that our dentist wants to X-ray. The X-ray produces instant digital images that are sent to our dentist’s computer, and additional photos can be taken simply by adjusting the wire inside the patient’s mouth. The process if extremely non-invasive, and there is no waiting for images to be developed.
Once the images appear on the computer, our dentist can enlarge them and get a closer and more accurate look at your X-rays. This allows us and our patients to more easily locate any problems. Digital X-rays can be saved on the computer, which allows us to easily refer to past X-rays and compare any changes, as well as keep a more up-to-date record. Having digital X-rays also makes it easier to transfer images, when needed, to other health care providers. Digital X-rays are highly safe, producing up to 90% less radiation than other traditional X-ray systems.