At Jonathan C. Wang DDS Inc. in Pleasanton, California, we strive to do the best to answer all of our patients’ questions or concerns about dental health.
Below you can find the answers to the most frequently asked questions we get from our patients. For more queries or if you want to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wang, you can reach us at (925) 399-6835.
Can I Prevent Bad Breath? How?
Bad breath is something most of us have experienced, especially in the morning. However, after brushing our teeth, it’s usually gone. If the condition is constant and also occurs after you brush your teeth, you may have halitosis or bad breath caused by dental issues or “stones” (calcifications) which hold bacteria and can be seen sitting in the crypt/crevices of the tonsils If you have these, the dentist can see them and gently push them out of those nooks in your tonsils using a cotton swab.
What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?
Here are the most common reasons for bad breath that are not medical:
- Morning bad breath is caused by reduced salivary flow at night. Since saliva helps clean and flush out oral bacteria, a low saliva flow may cause bad breath.
- Microbial deposits can also cause bad breath. To prevent them, you must regularly brush your teeth and tongue. Additionally, flossing is necessary to prevent bacteria accumulations.
- Eating foods that contain onions and garlic can cause bad breath because they have odor-releasing compounds.
- Tobacco products can decrease the flow of saliva and cause dry mouth and bad breath.
- Dieting can also cause bad breath when certain chemicals called ketones are released as you burn fat.
- Not drinking enough water will decrease your saliva flow and dry your mouth, resulting in bad breath.
- Certain medications can also dry your mouth and cause bad breath.
The most common medical reasons for bad breath are:
- Periodontal (gum) disease caused by bacteria accumulating under the gum line is one of the main causes of bad breath.
- Dental cavities are also known to cause bad breath.
- Dry mouth (xerostomia) can be caused by dehydration due to: not drinking enough water, taking certain medications, or by salivary gland problems. Dry mouth allows bacteria and its sulfur by-products to accumulate which leads to bad breath.
- Bad breath is also linked to medical conditions such as diabetes, pneumonia, and liver or kidney issues.
How Can I Prevent Bad Breath?
To prevent bad breath, you should always follow a good oral hygiene routine. Minimally, your daily routine should include brushing in the morning and in the evening, and flossing once every night.
Ideally, for the best home care, you should brush in the morning, brush and floss after each meal, and brush and floss before you go to bed. This is to remove the food sticking to your teeth and to decrease the amount of bacteria in your mouth that cause gum disease and tooth decay.
Ideally, you should brush using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval on the package.
You can also use mouthwash, a tongue scraper, or a dental irrigator to complement your routine.
Additionally, your oral care routine should include dental exams and cleanings at least once every six months. Your dentist may advise more frequent cleanings based on how much damage there is in your mouth from your gum disease.
Other ways to prevent bad breath are:
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or whenever the bristles show signs of wear
- Clean your oral appliances regularly
- Limit your intake of tobacco products
- Stay hydrated
- Get a dental checkup to identify and treat any dental conditions that may be causing your bad breath
How Often Should I Brush and Floss?
When we eat, food debris get stuck on and between our teeth. The bacteria in our mouths consume these deposits and turn them into acids that can attack tooth enamel resulting in cavities. The presence of the constantly multiplying bacterial colonies cause a defensive inflammatory reaction in your gums that result in what is commonly known as “gum disease.”
You can prevent plaque accumulations by brushing and flossing regularly. It is recommended for you to brush your teeth no less than twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Flossing should occur at least one time every night. The food stuck on teeth and containing live bacteria is called “plaque.” Plaque that is not eliminated by brushing and flossing hardens; this is commonly known as tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional; thus, proper hygiene is important and necessary.
How to Brush Properly?
The American Dental Association recommends you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth. You should do this twice a day (ideally also after every meal), once in the morning before eating (since bacteria build up during the night due to decreased salivary flow), and once before going to bed.
To brush as efficiently as possible, hold the toothbrush against the teeth at a 45-degree angle and use a circular motion to brush the entire surface of each tooth and the gumline. Also, brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth using a back and forth motion.
Make sure to thoroughly brush the tongue side of both the front and back teeth, as that is where most of the plaque accumulates.
When you are done, use the toothbrush or a tongue scraper to also brush your tongue, then rinse your mouth thoroughly using mouthwash or water.
How to Floss Properly?
Flossing helps eliminate food debris stuck between your teeth and is very efficient in preventing gum disease and bad breath.
To floss properly, use an ADA-approved floss and cut it into 12-16 inch strips. Wrap the floss aroung both index fingers, keeping a strip of about 2 inches between them. Make a “C” shape with that 2 inch piece as you floss between teeth on each side of a tooth. Move the floss up and down the entire height of the tooth and include the area slightly below the gumline. As you floss below the gumline, you should never see your gums blanch (turn lighter in color). Blanching indicates you are pushing down too hard against the gums with your floss.
Always use a new section of floss for each new side being flossed.
If you find this option challenging, you can also floss using floss holders.
Are Amalgam (Silver) Fillings Safe?
Although amalgam (silver) fillings have been used in dentistry for a very long time, in recent years, there have been some concerns that the very small amount of mercury in amalgam filling may have adverse effects on our health.
On the one hand, mercury is known to be toxic, and exposure to “high” levels of it can harm our health. In rare cases, amalgam or silver fillings have been known to cause allergic reactions in some patients.
On the other hand, none of the several studies conducted on this topic have concluded that there is a clear link between the mercury contained by dental fillings and any health disorders. Associations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the FDA, and the American Dental Association consider amalgam and silver fillings safe.
If you are concerned about the mercury in amalgam fillings, you can choose the more popular option of composite (tooth-colored resin) fillings or porcelain fillings.
How Often Should I Schedule a Dental Exam and Cleaning?
Dentists and dental associations generally recommend you schedule a dental exam and cleaning twice a year. However, in some cases, especially if you are suffering from gum disease or other conditions that need to be monitored more closely, you may require more frequent visits to the dentist.
Dental exams and cleanings are recommended for maintaining long-term oral health and preventing dental issues. They include a professional cleaning that will eliminate plaque and tartar deposits in hard-to-reach areas as well as a dental checkup that can identify issues like gum disease and cavities (decay) early on.
When oral problems are detected early on, their treatment is much simpler and more cost-effective. If oral issues are left untreated for long, the treatment can be far more complex and costly.
At Jonathan C. Wang DDS, Inc. in Pleasanton, California, a dental exam and cleaning includes:
- Reviewing your medical history
- Checking for cavities and tooth decay
- Checking previous dental work or restorations
- Taking and examining X-rays if required
- Professional teeth cleaning to eliminate plaque and tartar deposits
- Polishing the teeth
- Checking for signs of gum or periodontal disease
- Oral cancer screening
- Oral hygiene and diet recommendations
Dr. Wang recommends bi-annual dental exams and cleanings to prevent oral health issues and maintain their healthy smiles for a long time. Some patients may require more frequent check-ups and cleanings for the well-being and stability of their oral health.
How Can I Tell if I Have Gum Disease?
Gum disease or periodontal disease is a common dental problem that often goes undetected in its initial stages. To prevent gum disease, you should get regular dental cleanings to eliminate dental plaque deposits and regular exams that allow Dr. Wang to identify early symptoms and treat the problem in a timely manner.
Gum disease is caused by plaque deposits on the teeth and gums. These deposits allow bacteria to grow and flourish. As the bacteria multiply, your gums will slowly become inflamed. As gum disease progresses, your gums will start to recede from the teeth as the gums detach fromthe root.
This exposes your tooth roots, causing not only root sensitivity but also subsuquent bone loss. Gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss and even an abscess.
Risk factors for gum disease include:
- Improper oral hygiene
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Old fillings that were not replaced in time
- Certain medications such as blood pressure drugs
- Hormonal changes occurring during pregnancy or puberty
- Diseases that affect your immune system such as HIV / AIDS
Signs and Symptoms of Gum or Periodontal Disease
- Inflamed gums (red and puffy)
- Gums that feel sore or tender when you touch them
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Bad breath
- Pus around gums
- Loose teeth
If you have any of the signs and symptoms of gum disease above, schedule an appointment with Dr. Wang at Jonathan C. Wang, DDS Inc., in Pleasanton, California, as soon as possible.
Why Is Flossing Important?
Flossing is an important element of your oral hygiene and complements brushing by eliminating food debris and deposits stuck between the teeth where the brush does not reach. Eliminating these deposits will keep your teeth healthy and prevent gum disease.
You should floss between your teeth and along the gumline each day, morning or evening, to get rid of plaque accumulations. This plaque can inflame your gums and create gum pockets filled with bacteria that can not only cause permanent damage to the teeth but also cause them to loosen and fall out.
How to Floss
To floss properly, use an ADA-approved floss and cut it into 12-16 inch strips. Wrap the floss aroung both index fingers, keeping a strip of about 2 inches between them. Make a “C” shape with that 2 inch piece as you floss between teeth on each side of a tooth. Move the floss up and down the entire height of the tooth and include the area slightly below the gumline. As you floss below the gumline, you should never see your gums blanch (turn lighter in color). Blanching indicates you are pushing down too hard against the gums with your floss. If you find this option challenging, you can also floss using floss holders.
Be sure to use a new section of the floss as you floss another each new side.
How Can Cosmetic Dentistry Improve My Smile?
Cosmetic dentistry is designed to give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of by addressing smile imperfections such as gaps between the teeth, unsightly stains, or misalignment issues. The cosmetic dental procedures and treatments we offer at our office in Pleasanton, California, can restore your smile confidence.
In addition to fixing cosmetic dental issues, these state-of-the-art procedures will also improve your overall oral health.
The most popular cosmetic dental procedures we offer at Jonathan C. Wang DDS, Inc. include:
- Professional teeth whitening treatments that eliminate stains and signs of discoloration, while also brightening your teeth by up to eight shades.
- Composite fillings that fix cosmetic issues such as chipped, cracked, broken, or discolored teeth and protect exposed tooth roots.
- Porcelain veneers that instantly transform your smile and eliminate issues like misaligned, gapped, uneven, oddly shaped, broken teeth, or stains which cannot be eliminated by bleaching.
- Porcelain crowns that cover the entire surface of an imperfect, severely decayed, or damaged teeth are used to completely restore the shape and functionality of those teeth.
- Dental implants which offer a permanent solution for missing or severely damaged teeth.
- Discreet orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign for teens and adults that fix bite and alignment issues and give you a straight and pleasant smile.
What Are Porcelain Veneers and What Are Their Benefits?
Porcelain veneers are a popular solution for fixing a variety of tooth imperfections. They are thin durable shells that are placed over the visible side of the teeth to correct issues like:
- Discolored or stained teeth that cannot be bleached
- Uneven or misshapen teeth
- Gaps between teeth
- Worn teeth
- Chipped or broken teeth
The main benefits of porcelain veneers are:
- They instantly correct and improve your smile
- They are durable and stain resistant
- They fix a variety of dental imperfections
- They are custom-made to match your teeth and preferences
How Are Porcelain Veneers Placed?
At Jonathan C. Wang DDS, Inc, in Pleasanton, California, Dr. Wang creates porcelain veneers based on precise 3D scans or impressions of your teeth and customizes their appearance to complement your smile and features. A exam and any necessary x-rays will be done to make sure that veneers are a treatment option. During your first visit, the dentist prepares the surface of the teeth for the application of the veneers. During the next visit, your custom-made porcelain veneers are bonded (cemented) to the front part of the teeth and any required adjustments are made to ensure that they fit correctly.
How Can I Get Rid of Teeth Stains and Discoloration?
Over time, our teeth start losing their natural shine, and their color can turn darker and yellowish. In addition, tobacco, certain foods and drinks, or medications can cause teeth stains or discoloration, which can make you self-conscious about your smile.
Fortunately, the effects of age, diet, or lifestyle habits on your teeth can now be reversed.
The teeth whitening treatments we offer at our office in Pleasanton, California, are designed to give you great results in the shortest amount of time while also ensuring your comfort.
The two options for professional teeth whitening you can choose from at Jonathan C. Wang DDS, Inc. in Pleasanton, California, are:
- In-office teeth whitening: This teeth whitening treatment is performed in our dental office and offers excellent results in 30-60 minutes. During the procedure, your gums will be protected using a rubber dam (cover), and then a bleaching solution will be applied to your teeth. The procedure is repeated as required to produce the desired results.
- At-home teeth whitening: If you prefer to whiten your teeth at home, we offer at-home kits that include custom-designed, teeth whitening trays and a special whitening gel that is more concentrated and effective than over-the-counter products. Our gel also contains desensitizing agents to combat and minimize tooth sensitivity that commonly occurs when using regular bleaching products . The dentist will provide complete instructions on how to use the at-home kit to get good results.
For teeth stains or signs of discoloration that cannot be eliminated with bleaching, Dr. Wang can recommend alternative solutions such as porcelain veneers, crowns, or bonding.
We recommend you get a teeth whitening treatment to create or maintain a glowing and bright smile.
What Are My Options for Replacing Missing Teeth?
Missing teeth affect your appearance, self-confidence, and daily life, making it hard to speak or eat like you once did. In addition, even one missing tooth can affect the integrity of your other teeth and your overall oral health. This can lead to issues like bone loss, teeth shifting, uneven wear of existing teeth, temporomandibular (TMJ) problems, and gum disease.
Fortunately, advancements in dentistry are now making it possible to fully restore your smile and oral functions with several state-of-the-art solutions.
At our office in Pleasanton, California, we offer various tooth replacement options depending on your specific needs and budget. The most popular solutions for replacing missing teeth include:
- Dental bridges: Fixed or removable bridges can replace one or several missing teeth. Removable bridges (partial dentures) are held in place by metal clasps connected to the adjacent natural teeth. Fixed bridges are supported by crowns that fit on the two teeth adjacent to and on opposite sides of the space where the tooth is missing. Dr. Wang can also offer alternative solutions if you only have one healthy tooth adjacent to the one or two missing teeth, or if the missing teeth are not consecutive.
- Dentures: Dentures are designed to replace several missing teeth including an entire arch. It is recommended when most or all of your natural teeth are missing. Dentures can be removable or supported by implants, and look and function similar to natural teeth.
- Dental implants: Implants are the most popular option for replacing missing teeth. Implants can be used for individual tooth replacements, supporting bridges, or supporting dentures. The dental implant is embedded in the jawbone and integrates with the bone over time. A crown is placed over it and customized to fit with your natural teeth. This implant crown may instead be part of a bridge which replaces multiple teeth; implant crowns that act as supports for a bridge are called abutment crowns and are placed at multiple locations to support the length of the bridge.
- If you are missing one or several natural teeth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Wang at Jonathan C. Wang DDS,Inc., in Pleasanton, California. Dr. Wang will recommend the most suitable option based on your specific condition and requirements.
What Can I Replace Old Fillings With?
Fillings are very reliable tooth restorations. However, they are not indestructible nor everlasting and should be replaced if they break or become dark, worn, or leaky. Not replacing fillings at the right time may have adverse effects on your dental health. They can lead to issues like decay or even infections, as they may allow bacteria to enter and affect the tooth pulp.
During your regular dental checkups and exams at Jonathan C. Wang DDS, Inc., in Pleasanton, California, Dr. Wang will check your fillings and evaluate if they should be replaced or fixed.
At Jonathan C. Wang DDS, Inc., we use the most advanced materials and solutions available to fabricate durable and natural-looking fillings and can also recommend alternative solutions including:
- Composite fillings: These are resins fillings that match your natural tooth color and ensure a seamless restoration.
- Inlays/Onlays: If the affected part of the tooth is too large for a filling, Dr. Wang may recommend inlays or onlays. These restorations are custom-made to match your natural teeth and cover the chewing surface of the teeth to restore their structure and strength. Inlays or onlays can be made from composite resin, porcelain, or gold.
- Crowns:A crown covers the entire surface of a damaged tooth and fully restores its shape and functionality. Crowns are also custom-made and can be manufactured from composite resin, porcelain, or gold.
- Porcelain veneers: Veneers are often used for fixing smile imperfections and also for restoring the appearance of broken, chipped, stained, or discolored teeth. Veneers are especially recommended for front teeth and are a durable alternative to fillings.
What Is the Connection Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease or Other Conditions?
Your dental health and overall health are closely intertwined. Many studies have found links between oral issues such as advanced gum disease and illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
Gum or periodontal disease is essentially a bacterial infection located in your gums. It is caused by plaque accumulation and affects both your gums and the integrity of your teeth, causing issues like gum recession, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. When it progresses, this infection can make its way into your bloodstream and affect other parts of the body.
Unfortunately, the early signs of gum disease often go unnoticed; and, when you do not get regular dental checkups, you may not find out you have this condition until it has progressed to a more advanced stage. Gum disease has been linked to the following medical conditions:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory illnesses
- Premature birth
To prevent the development of gum disease and treat it in its early stages before it can affect the rest of your body, Dr. Wang recommends you schedule regular dental exams and cleanings minimally twice a year. Following the proper oral health home-care routine (regular brushing and flossing) and getting professional cleanings can keep you safe from gum disease and support your overall health.
Who Needs Dental Sealants and What Are Their Benefits?
The deep grooves in your molars and premolars are the areas most prone to develop decay (cavities), as they are most frequently used for chewing food and often a challenge to clean.
Dental sealants are a thin coating placed on the most vulnerable areas of your teeth. They act as a shield protecting the teeth from decay and also making your molars and premolars easier to clean, thus maintaining a healthy chewing surface.
Sealants are most often recommended for children and teenagers, as they tend to eat foods that are more likely to stick to their teeth and cause cavities. In some cases, baby teeth can also be sealed, especially when they are more prone to develop issues that may negatively affect the development of their adult teeth. Adults can also get dental sealants to make it easier to clean their teeth and maintain their oral health.
Applying sealants is a quick and minimally invasive procedure. The first step is prepping the surface of the tooth to ensure the sealing solution properly adheres to the tooth surface. This is done using a special solution. Next, the sealant is applied to each tooth and then hardened using a special curing light.
After the treatment, patients are instructed to avoid biting down on hard foods like popcorn kernels, ice cubes, etc. Regular dental checkups should be scheduled to ensure the sealants are not worn or chipped.
What Can I Do if I Have a Broken or Knocked-Out Tooth?
A dental emergency such as a broken or knocked-out tooth can occur at any time. If it does, it’s important to know that the natural tooth can be saved provided you follow a few rules and see an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
If your tooth has been broken or knocked out while you were playing sports or as a result of an accident, here’s what you should do:
- Keep calm and try to locate the broken piece of the tooth or the knocked-out tooth.
- Once you locate it, pick it up, and make sure you DO NOT touch the tooth root if the entire tooth was knocked out.
- DO NOT use any soap or chemicals to clean the fractured off piece or the lost tooth.
- DO NOT scrub the tooth clean.
- Place the broken piece or the knocked-out tooth in a container of cold milk or water. Minimally, wrap it GENTLY in a wet paper towel. It’s important to keep the tooth moist until you reach the dentist.
- If your mouth or cheek is swollen, apply an ice pack (wrapped in a towel) or a cold compress.
- Contact your dentist and schedule an emergency visit. The sooner you get there, the more chance you have to save your tooth.
To prevent broken or knocked-out teeth:
- Wear a mouthguard when engaging in contact sports.
- Do not use your teeth for opening packages.
- Do not chew hard food like popcorn kernels,ice cubes, etc.
- Always wear your seatbelt when driving.