FAQs

Q. What causes tooth loss?

A. Tooth decay and periodontal disease are the most common causes of tooth loss. Tooth decay takes place when most of the tooth’s mineral makeup has been dissolved away and a hole (cavity) has formed. While tooth decay primarily affects children, periodontal disease, or gum disease, affects mostly adults. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums caused by the buildup of plaque, and its earliest stage is known as gingivitis.

 

Q. How many times a day should I brush my teeth?

A. Most dental professionals recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing after every meal (and flossing at least once a day) is also a good way to maintain dental health

 

Q. When should a child have his/her first dental appointment?

A. A child should have his first dental appointment no later than his third birthday. Many dentists recommend a child have his first appointment when the first tooth comes in.

 

Q. Is it important to floss your teeth?

A. Yes. flossing once a day prevents the buildup of plaque and deters the onset of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

 

Q. What is cosmetic dentistry?

A. Also known as “aesthetic dentistry” cosmetic dentistry is a branch of dentistry that implements many different procedures to improve the beauty of your smile.

 

Q. What is a root canal?

A. Root canal is necessary when the nerve or blood supply of the tooth (also known as the pulp) is infected due to injury or decay. Root canal treatment involves removal of the diseased pulp, followed by the cleaning and sealing of the pulp chamber and root canal.

 

Q. What are dentures and who needs them?

A. Dentures are a partial or complete set of artificial teeth used to occupy the upper or lower jaw, usually attached to a plate. Simply put, dentures are a set of false teeth. If you have lost most or all of your teeth, you are a perfect candidate for complete dentures. If you still have some natural teeth remaining, a partial denture is recommended to help improve chewing ability, speech, and support for facial muscles.

 

Q. What causes oral cancer and what are some of the warning signs?

A. Tobacco (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff) is the most common cause of oral cancer. Combining tobacco use with heavy drinking can also foster the development of oral cancer. Bad hygiene, prolonged irritation of the oral cavity, and extended exposure to strong sunlight on the lips are among other causes of the disease. Many dentists believe vitamins A and E can help prevent the acquisition of oral cancer. Early symptoms of oral cancer include: a sore on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat that does not heal; a lump on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat; a red or white patch found anywhere in the mouth; unusual pain or bleeding in the mouth; swelling of the mouth; and any difficulty or discomfort felt in chewing or swallowing.

 

Q. What are the treatments for periodontal disease?

A. If periodontal disease is caught at an early stage (when it has not progressed beyond the point of gingivitis), it can be treated with scaling and root-planing (removing plaque around the tooth and smoothing the roots’ surfaces). If the disease progresses to a later stage, the patient may need surgical treatment, which involves cutting the gums, eliminating the hardened plaque build-up, and repairing the damaged bone.

 

Q. What causes oral cancer and what are some of the warning signs?

A. Tobacco (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff) is the most common cause of oral cancer. Combining tobacco use with heavy drinking can also foster the development of oral cancer. Bad hygiene, prolonged irritation of the oral cavity, and extended exposure to strong sunlight on the lips are among other causes of the disease. Many dentists believe vitamins A and E can help prevent the acquisition of oral cancer. Early symptoms of oral cancer include: a sore on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat that does not heal; a lump on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat; a red or white patch found anywhere in the mouth; unusual pain or bleeding in the mouth; swelling of the mouth; and any difficulty or discomfort felt in chewing or swallowing.

 

Q. What is gingivitis?

A. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums around the roots of the teeth. It marks the early stage of periodontal disease and it is characterized by red, swollen gums.

 

Q. Who needs to have their wisdom teeth extracted?

A. Anyone who is in danger of developing impacted wisdom teeth (third molars that only partially erupt or get trapped or stuck in the jaw) should have them removed so that they do not damage adjacent molars and cause other oral problems. In addition, anyone who is getting dentures should have their wisdom teeth removed.

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I highly recommend Dental Associates of Northern VA Alexandria. The entire staff is friendly and courteous. Appointments have always been on time which is much appreciated. Dr. Lokitis is so sweet […]
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Dr. Fishman fixed a badly broken tooth on VERY short notice and did an excellent job, in the most minimally invasive way possible. I am so grateful! Also, the staff is superb — I couldn’t be […]
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