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Frequently Asked Questions

Cosmetic Dentistry
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does sugar cause cavities?
A: Plaque forms on your teeth daily. When sugar combines with the bacteria in plaque it produces acids that damage the enamel on your teeth. Although decreasing sugar intake will help, it is impossible to avoid sugar completely as it is naturally found in many of our foods, including fruits and vegetables. In order to maintain healthy teeth and gums you must brush and floss daily using good techniques to ensure the best results.

Q: Does Celiac Disease affect tooth development?
A: Celiac disease is an intolerance to gluten protein found in some grains. It can develop at any age but if it develops in children while teeth are developing, abnormalities in the structure of dental enamel can occur. Common oral manifestations of celiac disease include:

- Enamel defects (usually in permanent teeth)
- Delayed eruption of teeth
- Recurrent aphthous ulcers (canker sores)

Dental enamel defects can also be found in first-degree relatives of people with celiac disease even though they may have no other symptoms (silent celiac disease). Patients with unexplained enamel defects (especially bilateral symmetrical multi-quadrant effects) should see their physicians for screening.

Further information can be accessed at

Q: There are so many different toothbrushes. Which one should I buy?
A: The brand of the toothbrush is less important than the type of brush, and how often you brush your teeth. We recommend that you have a soft-bristle brush. This type of brush will effectively remove plaque and a soft brush will not damage your gums. We also recommend that you brush at least twice a day. The condition of your brush is also important, as when the bristles begin to bend over it is time to start using a new brush. When the bristles on your toothbrush are bent over they lose their ability to remove food and plaque. It is the tip of the bristles that clean your teeth the best.

Q: How does fluoride help my teeth? Does it prevent cavities?
A: Tooth enamel is hard but also has microscopic pores. Sugar combines with the bacteria in plaque, which forms on your teeth daily, to produce acids that seep into the enamel's pores. This causes the enamel to demineralize and become weak, contributing to the formation of cavities. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and speeding up the natural remineralization process. This keeps your teeth strong and healthy. Fluoride also fights cavities by reducing the amount of acids that are produced by plaque.

Cavities result from the interaction of dietary sugars, dental plaque and tooth structure in the mouth. They are the cumulative result of repeated cycles of demineralization and remineralization at the interface between the plaque and the tooth surface. Bacteria in plaque excrete acid after consuming sugar causing the tooth crystals at the subsurface level of the tooth to dissolve (demineralization).

The body's natural defense uses ions in saliva to rebuild a new surface on the crystal remnants. When fluoride is incorporated into the reformed crystals, they are much more resistant to demineralization. Fluoride inhibits demineralization, increases remineralization and may inhibit the bacterial activity in dental plaque.

Also, after the application of fluoride (as in toothpaste) it can be retained on dental hard or soft tissue and within the dental plaque to help provide ongoing benefits as it is slowly released. It should be noted that children's teeth are more at risk for demineralization than those of adults.

Q: Why do my teeth feel sensitive to hot or cold?
A: Tooth sensitivity is often experienced when the surface of the tooth has been worn down. One of the most common reasons for adults is that the roots of the teeth are exposed because the gums are receding. This allows the effects of heat and cold to penetrate to the pulp where the nerves are located. The problem gets worse as you tend not to brush your teeth properly if they cause you pain. If you are experiencing pain or sensitivity, let us know so we can assess your situation and recommend the best treatment to take care of your discomfort.

Q: Is there anything I should do before my appointment?
A: There are a few things that you should keep us informed about in order to ensure that we are most effective when treating you. Please keep us informed about:

- Whether your teeth or gums are more sensitive to heat, cold or sweets.
- Whether your floss catches on rough edges of teeth that causes the floss to tear.
- Any changes in the skin on the inside of your mouth, such as changes in colour.
- If you clench or grind your teeth, or if your neck and jaw muscles are tense or sore.
- Whether you have any allergies.
- If you are pregnant.
- Whether you are taking any medication.
- If your medicine has changed since your last check-up.
- Any health problems or medical condition that you are being treated for.
- Any other changes in your general health.
- Any changes in your gums, such as changes in colour, tenderness or bleeding when you brush or floss.

Q: Does Dr. Cavatassi take X-rays?
A: X-rays help us see problems in the early stages of development; this helps us treat problems often long before they become serious. If we catch a cavity early, we may be able to treat it without even having to fill or restore the tooth. If decay is not detected soon enough, you may not know you have a problem until it is causing you some pain or discomfort. Major tooth restoration may be needed to repair a tooth if the decay has advanced enough. X-rays reveal:

- Cavities between teeth, under the gums and around old fillings.
- Bone loss due to periodontal disease.
- Problems below the gums, such as long or crooked tooth roots.

Q: Are X-rays safe?
A: You are already exposed to low levels of radiation from the environment on a daily basis. This is caused by natural sources of radioactive substances: in the earth, from the sun and from naturally occurring radiation in our bodies. This is commonly referred to as background radiation. The amount of radiation you receive during a single X-ray is equivalent to a few days of background radiation. In addition to the low levels of radiation used, we target the X-ray machine only at those areas we need to review in order to ensure that you have healthy teeth. We also cover your body with a lead apron, providing you with additional protection.

At our Mississauga dental office we value your safety as well as that of our team. To even further reduce the amount of X-ray radiation you may be exposed to we use digital X-ray technology. This allows us even further enhance the results we can get from an X-ray as well as save the results digitally all while exposing you to lower levels of radiation. Ask us about Digital X-rays on your next visit.

Q: How common is gum disease?
A: Gum Disease is the most common dental problem in adults, and it can progress quite painlessly until you have a serious problem. The end result can be bone loss and the loss of teeth. Even though you may brush and floss regularly, regular visits to the dentist will help detect gum disease in the early stages.

Q: What if I am already in the early stages of gum disease?
A: If you already have gum disease, getting rid of plaque and tartar gives your gums a chance to recover. That's why in the early stages of gum disease, the best treatment is:

- Regular cleanings in our practice.
- Brushing twice a day.
- Flossing at least once a day.

Q: Why do I have bad breath?
A: Many people suffer from bad breath; in fact, 40% of the population has problems with bad breath at some time in their lives. Some reasons for bad breath may be:

- Poor dental hygiene.
- Eating certain foods, such as garlic or onions.
- Smoking or use of tobacco products
- Diseases, such as cancer or diabetes.
- Dry mouth (often called morning breath).

You can help reduce the incidence of bad breath by brushing and flossing each day to remove plaque. By avoiding certain foods you can also eliminate a lot of bad breath problems. If you wear a denture or removable partial denture, it is important to clean it thoroughly everyday and remove it at night so your mouth tissues can restore themselves daily. If a bad breath problem persists then let us know and we will try to discover what the problem is and recommend a treatment.

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