dental patient smilingYour Gilbert Dentist:  Fact Or Fiction

Patients often come to our office seeking answers to many common dental questions.  Dr. Rita Peck, your Gilbert dentist, gets to the truth of the dental matter.

Your Gilbert dentist:  Do I Have To Floss My Teeth?

“If you are only brushing your teeth and not flossing, you are only cleaning 60% of your tooth’s surface”, explains Dr. Rita Peck, your Gilbert dentist.  Next to brushing, flossing is the most important thing you can do for optimal oral health.  Your toothbrush cleans the insides, outsides and chewing surfaces of your teeth but it does not clean between your teeth.  Proper flossing cleanses between teeth, disturbing and decreasing bacteria-causing plaque.  If left on teeth undisturbed for more than 24 hours, accumulated plaque (the white, sticky substance that constantly forms on your teeth) builds up and can turn into tartar (calcified plaque) which is extremely irritating to gum tissues and must be removed by your Gilbert dentist.  The bacteria in your mouth secretes acids, destroying tooth enamel and causing cavities as well as gum disease, which can eventually lead to tooth loss. Floss at least once a day, preferably at night before brushing your teeth.  To properly floss your teeth, wrap dental floss around your index fingers, keeping the space between your fingers very small, approximately 1/2″ apart, allowing control of motion.  Slip the floss between each tooth, deeply cleaning between the small spaces between each tooth. Pull the floss up and around each tooth in a C shape scraping up and down each side of each tooth. Smell your floss; that’s harmful bacteria leaving your mouth!  Dr. Peck, your Gilbert dentist, reminds her patients to “Floss only the teeth you want to keep!”

Your Gilbert Dentist:  Do Whitening Toothpastes Really Work?

Whitening toothpastes work by aiding in the removal of surface stains from teeth.  Most whitening toothpastes contain special abrasives and chemicals which aid in polishing teeth and can be effective at removing stain from coffee, tea, red wine, tobacco, and certain foods.  Whitening toothpastes help make teeth appear less yellow by removing superficial stain but can not change the natural color of teeth, nor can it bleach them.  Teeth consist of different layers and it is on the outer most layer, or enamel, that whitening toothpastes help remove stain, thus making teeth appear whiter.  The inner most layer of teeth, or dentin, naturally darkens or yellows over time and will not lighten with the use of whitening toothpaste.  For noticeable results, Dr. Rita Peck, your Gilbert dentist, offers several options.  Custom fitted bleaching trays, used with whitening gel containing carbamide peroxide, will whiten teeth several shades.  For more of an impact, lumineers are an excellent option.  Lumineers are contact lens thin porcelain shields that are permanently bonded to the front surface of teeth to permanently whiten them.  Lumineers also fix uneven spacing, lengthen short teeth and reshape awkward teeth.  For beautiful and dramatic results for damaged or decayed teeth, your Gilbert dentist, Dr. Rita Peck may recommend porcelain crowns, which are custom made porcelain “hats” that completely cover teeth surface.  Like lumineers, porcelain crowns treat a multitude of dental issues, including uneven spacing, shape, length, crowding, and of course, whitening.

Your Gilbert Dentist:  Should I Have My Silver Fillings Replaced?

Silver fillings, also known as metal or amalgam fillings, have been used for decades.  The controversy centers on mercury in amalgam fillings and whether or not the amounts of mercury released from amalgam fillings could cause health problems in patients who have them.  Recent studies have shown that there is no basis for claims that amalgam poses significant health threats and no evidence to suggest that having amalgam fillings jeopardizes patient health. Studies have further shown levels of mercury in patients who have amalgam fillings are very low.  Your Gilbert dentist, Dr. Rita Peck, explains “Amalgam fillings are safe and long-lasting.  However, if decay is found under the filling, if the filling and/or tooth start to break down or if the tooth becomes compromised in any other way, the amalgam filling must be replaced.  Dental technology has developed composite resin, which is the material of choice by your Gilbert dentist. Designed to match tooth color, composite resin is an excellent material for fillings and is natural and beautiful in appearance.  Patients may choose to replace amalgam fillings with tooth colored fillings for esthetic reasons.  If you are concerned about your amalgam fillings, ask your Gilbert dentist, Dr. Rita Peck, if replacing them is the right option for you.