Find the Answers to Many Common Dentistry Questions

Read Through Our Helpful Dental FAQs

Explore the FAQs below to find answers to many of the most commonly asked questions we receive here at David Bruce DMD. If you have any additional questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us today to speak with one of our experienced team members.

Are X-rays necessary?
Yes. X-rays are our way of evaluating the condition of your roots, the bone around your teeth, and the areas between your teeth where the teeth make contact with each other.

We also make use of a new technology called "computer generated X-rays" or "digital radiography" which reduces the amount of radiation that's required by each film by up to 90%.

Why is daily flossing important?
Dental floss is the only tool that gets to the area between your teeth where they touch. It's also the only tool that's able to reach the gums between your teeth.

Flossing helps to remove any food and debris that your toothbrush can't reach and disturbs any bacteria hiding in the gum pockets around your teeth, which helps to prevent disease.

Why are routine teeth cleanings important?
Different periodontal conditions require cleanings at different intervals. Healthy teeth and teeth with only mild gingivitis typically require cleanings every 6 months. The more gum pockets you have, the more places there are for bacteria to hide in your gums and the harder it is for you to maintain the health of your gums.

We often recommend a 3 to 4-month interval between cleanings, depending on the type and amount of periodontal damage you're experiencing.

Why should adults receive fluoride treatments?
People with certain conditions have the potential for an increased risk of tooth decay. These patients benefit from additional fluoride treatments during adulthood. These conditions include dry mouth, gum disease, a history of frequent cavities, existing fillings, crowns or bridges, and braces.

What causes bad breath?
Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in your mouth when you don't brush and floss on a regular basis. Certain food such as garlic and onions contain pungent oils which can contribute to bad breath. These oils are carried to your lungs and their odors escape through your mouth.

Another major cause of bad breath is smoking. People who smoke are also at a greater risk of periodontal disease or "gum disease." Periodontal disease itself can be a source of bad breath and the odor caused by periodontal disease can be so distinct that a dentist may anticipate gum problems before the examination has even begun.

Bad breath can also be caused by a dry mouth. Saliva provides a specialized form of moisture to your mouth, and people who have chronically dry mouths can suffer from frequently bad breath. Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medications.

How does "gum disease" affect my overall health?
Approximately, 75% of Americans suffer from some form of gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to a variety of serious health issues and dental problems that are often avoidable.

Gum disease may contribute or may be a warning sign of potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and premature births.

Is bleaching harmful to my teeth?
No. Extended bleaching does not damage the health of your teeth or gums. However, it can irritate your gums or teeth. If your teeth or gums become irritated, you should reduce the frequency of your bleaching regimen, but it is safe to continue at this reduced rate.

Why do I need oral cancer screenings?
Every year in the United States, approximately 34,000 individuals are newly diagnosed with oral cancer. The death rate from oral cancer is very high. Approximately, half of those diagnosed will not survive for more than 5 years. Even those who are not smokers are at risk.

I can't get over my fear of the dentist. What are my options?
Communication is the key to a successful, productive dental experience. You should feel comfortable expressing your fears and concerns with your dentist and their staff. In the case of some fears, easy solutions are available.

If the sound of the dental drill causes anxiety, bring headphones and some listening material to your next visit! Many offices even offer their patients a Walkman, iPod, or similar device, as these types of fears can be common.

You'll be amazed at the variety of treatment options that are available to those who struggle with a fear of the dentist. Those with severe anxiety should ask their dentist about the possibility of sedation dentistry.

Why do so many people need their wisdom teeth taken out?
Wisdom teeth are often removed because, in many cases, they're completely non-functional. This third molar can erupt and can crowd your teeth. They're also susceptible to decay and gum infection, and even cause problems without growing into your mouth.

It's recommended to have a dentist evaluate your wisdom teeth and suggest the best course of action for your unique situation. If extractions are recommended, it's much easier to remove them during your teenage years than it is later in life, simply because as time passes, the roots continue to form and further "lock in" the teeth.

Due to the locations of wisdom teeth and the possible complications, dentists often refer patients to a specialist for removal.
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We have been serving Madison, AL, for over 20 years.
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