Common Dental FAQs
My morning doesn’t start until I’ve had my first cup of tea. How bad is this for my teeth?
Tea and coffee are safe to drink in moderation. However, over time, large amounts can cause staining and damage.
In addition to caffeine, tea and coffee contain chromogens, deeply pigmented molecules that adhere to dental enamel. They also contain tannins, which boost a chromogen molecule’s ability to attach to dental enamel. Black tea is worse than black coffee because coffee is lower in tannins.
Should I update my manual toothbrush to an electric?
When used correctly, a manual toothbrush is as effective as a powered toothbrush.
The key is to brush for the recommended two to three minutes, using short strokes at a 45-degree angle to the gums, and covering the entire tooth surface – inner, outer, and chewing.
An electric toothbrush can sometimes make it easier to brush correctly and can even be more fun for children.
How can I protect my teeth from damage?
The enamel on our teeth is hard, but as we all know, it can be chipped and cracked. In addition to following the instructions of your hygienist, here are some other ways you can protect your teeth:
- Avoid chewing ice, cracking nut shells, or opening packages with your teeth.
- Avoid “hard foods” such as popcorn.
- Limit acidic soft drinks and sugary foods that stick to your teeth.
- Decide against tongue and lip piercings, which can fracture teeth and increase infection risk.
Are dental X-rays safe?
New digital X-ray machines limit the low-dose radiation to a beam that targets only the areas needed to be filmed, faster film speeds allow for shorter exposure times, and the use of film holders prevents slipping, reducing the need for repeated exposure due to retakes.
Stray radiation is almost non-existent with the use of modern dental X-ray machines, but the use of lead-lined, full-body aprons protect against even that possibility.
Every two years, federal law requires X-ray machines to be checked for safety and accuracy, and some states have even more stringent regulations.
I’m pregnant. Is it safe for me to go to the dentist?
Congratulations! And YES, you should continue to see your dentist!
Pregnancy may contribute to or escalate dental issues. Be sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant and let him or her know if you’re experiencing any changes in your oral health.
“Love Dr Schloss! When I am more than nervous he finds a way to make me laugh and relax. I always walk out with a huge smile on my face.”
~ Kim Pasky Telliho
I’ve heard that my silver-colored fillings contain mercury. Should I have them replaced?
Dental amalgam (silver) fillings comprise silver, tin, copper, and liquid mercury, which are combined to form an inert (non-active) alloy. According to the FDA, CDC, the American Dental Association (ADA), and a number of other public health agencies, there is no link between this type of filling and any known health issue. Because of speculation and controversy, amalgam is the most researched and tested dental filling material on the market.
Tongue piercings seem to be a very bad idea. How bad?
Yes, they can look cool, but they can also fracture your teeth as well as make it much easier to get a nasty infection of the tongue and lips. Dentists have estimated that up to 40% of people who have metal rings or other oral piercings have had big problems from tooth fractures and infection.
Why is it important to have regular teeth cleaning?
Did you know “teeth cleaning” does more than just clean your teeth? Removing plaque is absolutely essential if you want to preserve your teeth. It builds up on the tooth surfaces and between the teeth. Brushing and flossing are, of course, vital, but everyone needs their teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Remember – only a dental hygienist can completely clean your teeth.