Here we have gathered some of the most common questions patients have about general and cosmetic dentistry. If you have any other questions or are ready to schedule an appointment give us a call.

Click on a question below to see the answer.

A:  No one likes bad breath! It can be embarrassing and sometimes we may not even know we have it. But for many of us, our breath smells worst in the morning. Bad breath is caused by microbial deposits on the tongue. When you are sleeping, saliva flow almost stops which allows bacteria to grow and cause bad breath. Certain foods like garlic and onion can also cause bad breath. It is important to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after eating to remove food particles from your mouth before bacteria can grow. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, sinus infections, bronchitis and more can also contribute to bad breath.

To prevent bad breath you can practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice a day. See your dentist regularly. Stop smoking and chewing tobacco. Also, drink water frequently to help wash out bacteria from your mouth.

A: Brushing and flossing is the most important thing you can do at home to prevent plaque and bacteria from growing. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially before you go to bed, with an ADA approved toothbrush. Brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums in a circular motion. You should always feel the bristles on your gums.

We recommend using electric toothbrushes.

Daily flossing is important to disrupt plaque colonies from building up. Use 12-16 inches of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers. Use your thumbs and forefingers to insert the floss between each tooth using a sawing motion.

Rinse your mouth with water after you brush your teeth and after every meal if you cannot brush. Over the counter mouthwashes are great.

A: Amalgam fillings are a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc bound by elemental mercury. There is some controversy about exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury that might cause health problems. However, the American Dental Association states that silver fillings are safe and studies have failed to link silver containing mercury to any medical disorder.

If you have concerns about silver fillings feel free to bring them up with Dr. Choi. There are alternatives to silver fillings including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings.

A: You should have your teeth examined by a dentist twice a year. At these visits we will clean your teeth and check for cavities but we will also go over your medical history so we are aware of any medications or illnesses which might contribute to your dental health. We will use diagnostic x-rays for early detection of tumors, cysts, or bone loss. In addition, we will perform an oral cancer screening, gum disease evaluation, look for signs of tooth decay, check the state of your existing restorations, and remove any calculus (tartar) buildup as well as plaque. We will polish your teeth and give you any recommendations you may need to keep up your oral hygiene at home!

A: Checking for early signs of periodontal disease is very important. Most people are unaware of the disease because the initial stages are usually painless. Regular dental checkups with help detect any problems. Periodontal disease starts when plaque from food debris, saliva, and bacteria is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria produces toxins that can inflame your gums and destroy the bone. Brushing and flossing regularly will prevent plaque from building up.

Other factors that contribute to periodontal disease include:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Appliances such as bridges that no longer fit properly
  • Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, oral contraceptives, and even blood pressure meds that have side effects such as reduced saliva can make your mouth dry and easier for plaque to develop
  • Pregnancy or puberty and other life events that change hormone levels
  • Diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV/ AIDS and other systemic diseases
  • Genetics

Signs of periodontal disease include:

  • Red puffy gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus around teeth or gums
  • Receding gums
  • Discomfort of gums

A: Cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile and give you a beautiful, confident smile. If you are interested in changing or improving your smile, ask us about teeth whitening, veneers, composite fillings, crowns, dental implants, or braces. We offer a number of cosmetic dentistry solutions to give you the smile you have been dreaming of!