Frequently Asked Questions
Bad breath is certainly an unpleasant experience and can make you self-conscious. You might not even realize you have bad breath until a friend or family member tells you about it. It’s not uncommon to have bad breath in the morning or after eating certain foods.
Bad breath comes from a variety of sources. Mostly it’s due to deposits on the tongue. That’s one reason it’s important to brush your tongue regularly as it will help reduce bad breath in addition to removing harmful bacteria from the mouth.
Part of solving your bad breath is discovering what causes bad breath. Consider keeping a log of your daily activities and the foods you eat could help you solve the issue. Here’s a look at some sources of bad breath.
Mornings: saliva helps cleanse your mouth from bacteria growth, which causes bad breath. When you’re sleeping, saliva production slows or even stops, which can cause bad breath.
Odor-causing foods: some foods have natural odor-causing compounds. These compounds enter your blood stream where they then enter your lungs. You breathe out these compounds, which smell bad.
Improper hygiene: oral hygiene helps reduce and remove food particles from your mouth. This prevents bacterial growth and reduces bad breath.
Gum disease: patients with gum disease have food and bacteria living in their gums. This causes bad breath and requires immediate treatment.
Cavities: decaying teeth can lead to bad breath.
Dry mouth: some medications or mouth breathing can lead to extremely dry mouth, which makes for bad breath.
Using tobacco products: any tobacco products can cause bad breath.
Ketones: if you’re dieting, you might notice an increase in bad breath. That’s because the body releases ketones while it is burning fat, which can cause bad breath.
Dehydration or hunger: your body uses fluids and food to produce saliva. Failing to drink enough water or not eating regularly can lead to this reduction in saliva.
Medical conditions: patients with certain medical conditions are more susceptible to bad breath. These conditions include liver or kidney problems, bronchitis, diabetes or pneumonia.
Ways to Prevent Bad Breath
Use good oral hygiene practices: follow all oral hygiene guidelines from your dentist. This should include brushing your teeth and tongue at least twice a day. When brushing your tongue, try to clean as far back as you can. Floss at least once a day between your teeth and under your gumlines. Be sure to replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every two to three months. If you have removal dental appliances, such as dentures or removable bridges, remove and clean these thoroughly before putting them in each morning.
Visit the dentist regularly: you should see your dentist twice per year. Patients with gum disease might need more frequent visits and cleanings to prevent issues.
Drink water throughout the day: water consumption is important to keeping your mouth moist and reducing bacteria. Try to sip water throughout the day instead of guzzling it only a couple times.
Add mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine: over-the-counter mouthwashes are very effective at reducing bad breath. Talk to your dentist about what mouthwash might be best for you.
If you’ve tried some of these measures but are still experiencing bad breath, discuss the issue with your dentist. We can help you adjust your habits or clean up bacteria that’s causing your bad breath.
Brushing and flossing are the foundation of good oral hygiene habits. These activities remove plaque and bacterial from the mouth. Plaque is food debris mixed with saliva and bacteria. It sticks to your teeth and gums. Some foods once mixed with bacteria form an acid, which eats away your teeth and causes decay.
Plaque that remains on your teeth for an extended period can become tartar, which can be challenging to remove. If left on your gums, this can lead to gum disease, which can deteriorate your gum tissue and bone.
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day. It’s essential that one of these brushing sessions be before you go to bed at night. Use toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush that meets the American Dental Association guidelines.
Use circular motions while brushing the outside, inside and chewing surface of the tooth. You should always feel your toothbrush’s bristles on your teeth and gums throughout the brushing process. Brush your front teeth with the tip of your toothbrush.
Complete your toothbrushing session by brushing your tongue. This prevents bad breath and removes bacteria from your mouth.
It’s a good idea to invest in an electronic toothbrush. These brushes are good at removing plaque.
Floss your teeth at least once per day. Start by selecting a 12- to 16-inch strand of dental floss. Wrap it around your middle fingers. You should have about two inches of floss between your two fingers. Now guide the floss between your teeth using your thumbs and forefingers. Use a gentle sawing motion as you go between your teeth and then down under your gumline. If you have difficulty holding floss, use a floss holder.
When flossing, be sure to go between all your teeth and under your gumline. This process disruptions bacteria colonies before they can fully build-up. This is important to protect the health of your teeth, gums and jawbone.
Rinsing Your Mouth
After brushing, you should rinse your mouth with water. This is also a good habit to form after eating food if you’re unable to brush your teeth right away. Consult with Dr. Guller or your hygienist before using an over-the-counter mouthwash. This will ensure you use an appropriate mouthwash based on your oral health.
Some patients are concerned about the safety of silver amalgam fillings. These fillings are a blend of zinc, copper, tin and silver. Mercury bonds these fillings together.
This type of filling is time tested and dentists have been using it for 100 years. Even though advances in technology have allowed for composite fillings, about 76 percent of dentists still use amalgam fillings. However, some people are concerned about mercury participles in the air during placement.
The American Dental Association has found no health concerns behind amalgam fillings. No medical disorders are associated with them. The CDC, WHO, and FDA agree with the ADA in finding amalgam fillings safe.
Still, we know that exposure to mercury in uncontrolled settings can be dangerous to the body. ADA studies show that by mixing mercury with the other metals to make an amalgam filling, the substance becomes inactive, which makes it safe for use.
If you’re uncomfortable with amalgam fillings, talk to your dentist about composite, porcelain or even gold fillings. We’ll work with you to determine the best option for your needs and lifestyle.
We generally ask to see our patients twice a year for an exam and cleaning. However, some patients need more frequent visits.
An exam and cleaning helps us prevent diseases and ailments of the mouth. And when we prevent these issues in the mouth, we also protect your overall health. During these visits, we’ll clean your teeth and gums but also provide important screenings and check for cavities. Here are the important activities that take place during a dental exam and cleaning.
Review of medical history: understanding changes in your health, medications you’re taking or illnesses you’ve experienced can guide us in assessing your oral health as well.
X-rays: these tests help us check for early signs of tooth decay. But they can also show the formation of tumors or cysts. We can also spot bone loss long before it becomes a serious issue. We’ll also take a look at the roots of your teeth during X-rays to check this hidden part of your oral health.
Oral cancer screening: we’ll take some time to assess all parts of your face, mouth, neck, lips, throat, gums and tongue for oral cancer signs.
Gum health: we’ll review your gums and jawbone to check for signs of gum disease.
Tooth decay: we’ll assess each tooth for signs of tooth decay using dental instruments.
Existing dental restoration exam: we’ll review all existing dental restorations, such as fillings and crowns to make sure they are free of cracks or fractures.
Tartar removal: when plaque is left in your mouth for extended periods, it hardens to the tooth’s surface. Tartar can form both above and below your gumline. We remove tartar using special dental instruments.
Plaque removal: plaque forms on the teeth from bacteria, food debris and saliva mixing together. This toxin can make your gums inflamed, leading to gum disease and can cause tooth decay.
Teeth polishing we’ll remove stains and plaque through polishing and scaling your teeth.
Oral hygiene review: we’ll review good oral hygiene practices with you and make recommendations on how to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
Discuss dietary changes: your dietary choices could be impacting your oral health. If we see signs of that, we might recommend some minor changes and adjustments to your diet.
A dental exam and cleaning is about more than just making your teeth look great – though that’s a pretty great benefit. We check the health of your entire mouth and prevent serious oral health concerns during these visits.
Many people suffer from gum disease without knowing it until it becomes more severe. In the early stages, the main symptom is inflammation, which is easy to miss. Gum disease does not cause the kind of serious pain and discomfort that tooth decay does. Visiting the dentist for regular exams and cleanings can help in early gum disease detection.
Gum disease forms from plaque on your teeth and below your gumline. Overtime, the plaque releases toxins that destroy your gum tissue and even your jawbone. Regular brushing and flossing prevent plaque and the damage associated with it.
But oral hygiene is not the only factor in developing gum disease. Other habits and conditions can also increase the likelihood that you’ll suffer gum disease.
Using tobacco products: tobacco creates plaque and tartar on your teeth, which can become a breeding ground for gum disease.
Oral health conditions: overcrowding, defective fillings or poorly fitting bridges can all trap food debris and plaque in your mouth, which are the perfect conditions for gum disease.
Certain medication use: medications can reduce saliva production, which leaves the mouth dry. Plaque can form more easily in these conditions. Common medications that cause this issue include steroids, blood pressure medication, cancer therapy and oral contraceptives.
Hormonal changes: when the body undergoes hormonal changes, it can make gum tissue more sensitive. Some common causes of such changes include pregnancy, puberty and the use of oral contraceptives.
Certain diseases: some diseases affect your mouth. These diseases include diabetes, HIV/AIDS, blood cell disorders and more.
Genetics: some patients are simply more predisposed to gum disease than others due to genetics. If a close family member suffers from the condition, you should be especially aware of your oral health.
Gum Disease Signs and Symptoms
- Red, puffy or inflamed gums
- Bleeding gums
- Ongoing bad breath
- Increased space between teeth
- Loose teeth
- Pus near your teeth and gums
- Receding gums
- New gum or tooth sensitivity
To prevent gum disease, you should practice good oral hygiene, see your dentist regularly and eat a balanced diet.
Brushing your teeth removes plaque, bacteria and food debris from the surface of your teeth. But this activity is unable to reach between your teeth and below the gumline. That leaves these untouched areas susceptible to gum disease.
Flossing disrupts bacteria colonies from forming to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and bone loss. It prevents many oral health issues and creates a healthy mouth.
Instructions for Proper Flossing
- Start with about a foot to a foot and a half of dental floss. Wrap the ends of the floss around your middle fingers, leaving a small amount of floss between your hands.
- Guide the floss between your teeth using your thumbs and forefingers. Use a gentle sawing motion as you go between your teeth and under your gumline.
- Clean the side of each tooth by gently rubbing the floss up and down against the sides of your teeth.
We recommend that our patients who struggle with flossing use floss holders.
Cosmetic dentistry can help reduce or eliminate areas of your smile that you don’t like. That way, you can smile with renewed confidence.
Advances in cosmetic dentistry technology have made this form of dentistry more popular and readily available to patients. More than ever, patients are aware of their smile’s appearance and seek ways to improve their smile.
Cosmetic dentistry can fix a wide variety of issues affecting your smile. From teeth whitening to dental implants, you’ll be smiling wider and brighter than ever.
Cosmetic Dentistry Services We Provide
Teeth whitening: over time, teeth lose their brilliant white color due to foods we eat and drink, tobacco use, medications and more. We offer take-home whitening kits so you can improve your smile each day at home.
Composite fillings: amalgam fillings are a safe and effective way to fill teeth that have suffered from decay. Yet, they aren’t the most attractive restorations. We can replace these old fillings with composite fillings, which match the color of your teeth.
Porcelain veneers: a veneer is a thin porcelain shell that fits over your natural teeth. They can help improve the physical appearance and color of your natural teeth. Veneers hide misshapen, crooked, discolored or damaged teeth to give you the smile you’ve always wanted.
Porcelain crowns: crowns are tooth-colored coverings that fit over your natural tooth surface. They help restore your tooth’s original shape and look. Generally, crowns are necessary after severe tooth decay or when a patient needs a root canal.
Dental implants: missing teeth can affect the look of your smile immensely. Dental implants help replace lost or severely loose teeth. A dental implant surgically places a post into your jawbone to provide a permanent solution for missing teeth. This provides a stable and durable foundation for artificial teeth.
Orthodontics: you have many options for getting the smile and bite you’ve always wanted thanks to new orthodontic treatment options. From Invisalign® clear plastic trays to modern braces that are nearly invisible, we can straighten your teeth and improve your bite through orthodontics.
Veneers are thin porcelain shells that fit over your natural teeth. This durable dental device does not stain like the surface of your natural teeth, meaning you’ll enjoy a brilliant white smile for many years.
Veneers can improve your smile if you’re suffering from any of the following dental ailments.
- Discolored or deeply stained teeth
- Extra spaces between the teeth
- Tooth chips or severe wear
- Mild teeth overcrowding
- Poorly shaped teeth
- Teeth that are not an optimal size (too small or large)
You’ll visit our office twice to get your veneers. During the first visit, we’ll take impressions of your teeth and jaw. This allows us to customize your veneers to fit your smile.
During the second visit, we’ll buff the front of your teeth to prepare to apply your veneers. Then, we’ll bond the veneers to your teeth.
Patients with good oral hygiene can get 10 or more years out of their veneers.
Tooth whitening is one of the most sought-after dental procedures because of the impact it can have on the look of your smile. And patients have many options now to reduce stains and tooth discoloration.
Tooth whitening is a non-invasive treatment option that can restore the original brilliance of your teeth. Professional tooth whitening generally produces better results than over-the-counter treatments you can find at your local grocery story or drug mart. Plus, if you choose to use an over-the-counter product, be sure that it is approved by the American Dental Association before applying it to your teeth.
Tooth discoloration is a natural process that happens as we age. Slowly, your tooth’s enamel wears away, leaving behind darker, yellower teeth. Habits such as the foods we eat and drink, smoking or medication use can all lead to tooth discoloration. Using too much fluoride can cause fluorosis, which creates small spots on the teeth.
No matter the reason for your tooth discoloration or staining, you should consult your dentist before engaging in any form of teeth whitening. Also, be aware that whitening treatments are not effective on restorations, such as crowns or dental implants. To whiten these areas of your mouth, you’ll need to replace the restoration. Additionally, no teeth whitening treatment is permanent, so you might need regular touch-up treatments to keep your smile looking great.
You have two options when evaluating professional teeth whitening.
- Home teeth whitening: your dentist can fit you for custom trays that fit closely around your teeth. You’ll apply a gel and wear the trays for 30 minutes, twice a day. Or, you can sleep in the trays. Treatments normally last two weeks to achieve the desired results.
- In-office teeth whitening: this process is faster for seeing results. However, you’ll need to plan for a 30-60-minute visit to our office. We’ll first protect your gums. Then we’ll apply a bleaching solution to your teeth. We activate that solution using a special light.
After undergoing a tooth whitening procedure, you might have temporary tooth sensitivity. After a few days, your teeth should return to normal.