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Utah Dental FAQ's

To help you better understand basic oral hygiene and the services we offer at Bishop Family Dental, Dr. Daniel Bishop and our team have compiled the frequently asked questions they encounter and endeavor to answer them here. If you have questions not covered here, please visit findatopdoc.com or contact our dentist in Salt Lake City, Utah, today!

Q: How should I deal with bad breath?

A: Everyone has had bad breath from time to time, especially in the morning.Bad breath, also called halitosis, is an unpleasant and embarrassing condition that has many possible causes. In healthy people, the major reason is microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. To address this condition, studies have shown that brushing the tongue reduces bad breath by as much as 70%.

Q: What causes bad breath?

A: There are many different causes:

Saliva almost stops flowing while you sleep, reducing its cleansing action which allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.

Certain foods like garlic and onions have odor-causing compounds that enter the bloodstream, get deposited in the lungs, and then exhaled as bad breath.

Poor oral hygiene habits leave food particles in the mouth, promoting bacterial growth.

Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by colonies of bacteria and food debris under inflamed gums. These same bacteria produce bad breath.

Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances could house bacteria and food particles that produce bad breath.

Dry mouth (Xerostomia) caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing could also produce bad breath.

Tobacco products dry the mouth and leave its distinct odor, both of which cause bad breath.

Dieting produces certain chemicals called ketones that are released in the breath as the body burns fat.

Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals also cause bad breath. 

Certain medical conditions and illnesses like chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, diabetes, liver problems, and kidney problems could contribute to bad breath.

To help identify the cause of your bad breath, keep a record of what you eat and review your current medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with your dentist.

Q: How can I prevent bad breath?

A: Practice good oral hygiene by brushing at least twice a day with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Also, floss once a day at least to get rid of food debris and plaque from spaces between the teeth and under the gum line. On top of these, brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper to clean it as well as reach the back areas.Don’t forget to change toothbrushes every two to three months. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, make sure to clean them thoroughly and properly soak them before placing them back in your mouth in the morning.

Regularly visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings. Do so at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend having more frequent checkups.

Stop smoking and/or chewing tobacco. Consult your dentist for the best strategy for you to help break the habit.

Drink water frequently because water keeps your mouth moist and helps wash away food particles and bacteria. 

Use mouthwash. However, some over-the-counter mouthwashes just mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist which mouthwashes have antiseptic properties that kill the germs that cause the problem, alleviating bad breath for a longer time.

In most cases, your dentist can treat bad breath by addressing its cause. If they find that your mouth is healthy but you have persistent bad breath, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the odor’s cause and treat it accordingly.

Q: How often should I brush and floss?

A: Brushing and flossing help minimize the multiplication of plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.Plaque is a filmy substance composed of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque feed on food particles and, in the process, produce acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus, also known as tartar, which needs to be professionally removed. If plaque and calculus are not removed, they will damage the gums and the bone bone underneath, causing periodontal (gum) disease.

Plaque formation and growth is continuous. The only way to manage this growth is by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, one of which should be done before going to bed at night.Use an ADA-approved toothpaste and soft-bristle toothbrush. Brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums, doing so in small, gentle, circular motions. Make sure that the bristles are in contact with the gums. Brush every reachable surface of the tooth — outer, inner, and top biting surfaces.Use the brush head’s tip to brush the inside front teeth. Brush your tongue to remove the bacteria that could cause bad breath.

We recommend electric toothbrushes. They are easy to use and can remove plaque more efficiently than standard toothbrushes. Simply place the electric toothbrush’s mechanically spinning head of bristles on your gums and teeth and allow it to scrub several teeth at a time.

Flossing every day is the best way to clean surfaces between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it also disrupts the buildup of plaque, protecting the gums, teeth, and bone from being damaged. Take 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm) of dental floss and wrap each end around your middle fingers while keeping about two inches (5 cm) of floss between the hands. Using your thumbs and forefingers to hold the floss taut, gently “saw” the floss between teeth then curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Move the floss up and down gently, cleaning the side of each tooth. We recommend using floss holders if you find using conventional floss difficult.

Rinse your mouth with water after brushing. If you are unable to brush after meals, at least rinseyour mouth with water.Consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on which mouthwash to use if you are planning on using an over-the-counter mouthwash.

Q: Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?

A: In recent years, many have become concerned about how safe amalgam (silver) fillings are. An amalgam filling is composed of silver, copper, zinc, and tin, all bound by elemental mercury. Dentists have used amalgam fillings to fill teeth for more than a century. The safety issue sprang from claims that the exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury can cause various health problems.On the other hand, the American Dental Association (ADA) states that silver fillings are safe and that studies to the contrary were not able to establish any link between silver containing mercury and any medical problem. The ADA also revealed that up to 76% of dentists use silver containing mercury to fill teeth and generally have not encountered any adverse effects. 

Health authorities generally agree that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe. Along with the ADA’s position, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and others support the use of silver fillings as a safe, cost-effective, and durable way of filling cavities.Furthermore, the U.S. Public Health Service says that the only reason silver fillings should not be used is when a patient is allergic to any component of this filling. In fact, the ADA has recorded less than 100 reported incidents of allergic reactions to components of silver fillings out of countless millions of silver fillings over the decades.

Although many studies found no measurable health risks to patients who have silver fillings, it is a fact that mercury is toxic at high, unsafe levels.For example, authorities have warned against consuming too much of certain types of fish because they carry high amounts of mercury.However, the ADA maintains that when the mercury combines with the other elements of the amalgam filling, it becomes inactive and thus safe.

In recent years, numerous other options to silver fillings have been developed, including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings. We could discuss these options with you and determine which is the best option for you.

Q: How frequently should I undergo a dental exam and cleaning?

A: You should undergo a dental exam and cleaning at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend that these be done more frequently. Regular dental exams and cleanings are essential in the prevention of dental problems and maintenance of the health of your teeth and gums. During your regular appointments, your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities. On top of these, many other things are checked and monitored to help detect and prevent dental problems and maintain your dental health.

These include:

Historyreview:Knowing the status of any current medical conditions, new medications, and illnesses gives us insight to your dental health and overall health.

Examination of diagnosticX-rays(radiographs):Dentists are trained to read X-rays to detect decay, cysts, tumors, and bone density loss. X-rays also help dentists view tooth and root positions.

Oral cancerscreening: The dentist will examine the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for growths, lesions, or any other signs of oral cancer.

Gum disease evaluation: The dentist will check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.

Examination of toothdecay: The dentist will use special dental instruments to check all tooth surfaces for decay.

Examination of existing restorations:The dentist will check the condition of current fillings, crowns, etc. and determine if they need replacing.

Removal ofcalculus/tartar: Calculus is plaque that has hardened because it has been left on the tooth for too long and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms both above and below the gum line, and can only be removed by a dental professional using special instruments.

Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, near-invisible substance that forms on the tooth's surface. It is a growing colony of living bacteria mixed with food debris and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums and initiate the development of periodontal disease!

Teeth polishing:Removes stain and plaque that has not been removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

Oral hygiene recommendations:The dentist reviews and recommends oral hygiene aids as needed (electric dental toothbrushes, special cleaning aids, fluorides, rinses, etc.).

Review dietary habits:Because your eating habits play a very important role in your dental health, your dentist will review these habits and might prescribe some changes to address certain dental issues.

As you can see, a good dental exam and cleaning involves a lot more than just checking for cavities and polishing your teeth. We at Bishop Family Dental strive to provide you with the best possible care. To do so, we will require regular checkups and cleanings.

Q: What symptoms would indicate that I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?

A: Though they may not know it, four out of five people have periodontal disease. Most people don’t know they have it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes pain and discomfort, periodontal disease could develop without noticeable symptoms. Having regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations will help detect if periodontal problems exist.

Periodontal disease begins when plaque, a sticky, colorless, film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, is left on the teeth and gums for too long.The bacteria feed on the food debris and produce toxins (acids) that inflame the gums and slowly damage the bone. Brushing and flossing regularly and properly will ensure that minimal plaque remains to do damage.

Other than poor oral hygiene, several other factors could increase the risk developing periodontal disease:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco. Tobacco users are more prone to form plaque and tartar than nonusers do.
  • Certain tooth or appliance conditions. Bridges that no longer fit properly, crowded teeth, or defective fillings that could trap plaque and bacteria.
  • Medications. Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure meds, oral contraceptives, and other medications sometimes have side effects that reduce saliva, making the mouth dry which enable plaque to stick easier to the teeth and gums.
  • Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty. All these cancause hormonal changes, causing gum tissue to become less resilient against bacteria.
  • Systemic diseases. Diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV / AIDS, and the like can make one more vulnerable to periodontal disease.
  • Genetics could play a role. Some patients are predisposed to aggressive types of periodontitis. If your family has a history of tooth loss, particular attention to their gums.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease:

  • Red and puffy gums. Gums getting red or swollen shows something is wrong.
  • Bleeding gums. Gums shouldn’t be bleeding, even when you brush hard or use dental floss.
  • Persistent bad breath. Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • New spacing between teeth. Caused by bone loss.
  • Loose teeth. Also caused by weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone) or bone loss.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums. This indicates an infection.
  • Receding gums. Loss of gum around a tooth.
  • Tenderness or Discomfort. Plaque, bacteria, and calculus irritate the gums and teeth.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental checkups help reduce your risk of getting periodontal disease.

Q: Why should I use dental floss?

A: Brushing of the teeth effectively removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from tooth surfaces, except in the spaces between the teeth. Unfortunately, your toothbrushcan’t clean these areas, making them highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Flossing at least once a day is the best way to clean the areas between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts the buildup of plaque, in effect preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

Plaque is a sticky, near-invisible substance that forms on the teeth. This substance consists of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce acids and toxins that cause cavities and irritate and inflame the gums. Also, plaque that stays on the tooth above and below the gum line hardens and turns into calculus (tartar). This will irritate and eventually inflame the gums and also slowly deteriorate the bone. This is how periodontal disease starts.

How to floss properly:

  • Take 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm) of dental floss and wind each end around your middle fingers, leaving the middle two inches (5 cm) of floss between the hands.
  • Grasp the floss with your thumbs and forefingers and, with a sawing motion, gently insert the floss between teeth.
  • Then, curve the floss into a “C” shape around the tooth and under the gum line.
  • Move the floss up and down gently, cleaning the side of each tooth.

We recommend using floss holders if you have difficulty using conventional floss. Flossing every day will help you keep a beautiful smile for life!

Q: How can cosmetic dentistry help improve my smile’s appearance?

A: If you’re feeling self-conscious about your teeth, or just want a better-looking smile, cosmetic dental treatments may have the solution that can give you a more beautiful smile and an improved confidence. Because of the advances in cosmetic dental procedures and the wider variety of materials available today, cosmetic dentistry has become more in-demand in the last several years than ever before.Additionally, patients are becoming more and more focused on improving their overall health, seeking dental prevention and having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile.

Many cosmetic dental procedures can improve your teeth and enhance your smile. Cosmetic dental treatments can restore a single tooth or go so far as provide a full mouth makeover,dramatically changing your smile.Consult your dentist about how you can improve your smile’s health and beauty with cosmetic dentistry.

Cosmetic Procedures:

Teeth Whitening:The whitening procedure lightens teeth that have been stained or discolored by age, staining foods and drinks, and smoking. Teeth that have darkened because of injury or taking certain medications can also be whitened, but by how much depends on the degree of staining present.

Composite (Tooth-Colored)Fillings:Also known as “bonding,” composite fillings are now more widelyused than amalgam or silver fillings to repair teeth with cavities.Composite fillings can also be used to replace old defective fillings as well as repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth. This type of filling is also very useful in filling in gaps and covering up sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession.

Porcelain Veneers:Veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells that are custom-made to be bonded onto the fronts of teeth to create a beautiful smile. They can help restore or cover discolored, damaged, misaligned, or poorly shaped teeth. Unlike crowns, veneers need little tooth structure to be removed from the surface of the tooth.

Porcelain Crowns (Caps): A crown is a tooth-colored covering that has been custom-made to encase the entire tooth surface, restoring it to its original shape and size. Crowns protect and strengthen teeth that can no longer be restored with fillings or other similar restorations. They are excellent for teeth that have large, fractured, or broken fillings and also for those that are badly decayed.

Dental Implants: Dental implants are artificial roots that are surgically placed into the jaw to serve as the foundation for prosthetics that replace one or more missing teeth. Porcelain crowns, bridges, and dentures can be custom-made to fit and attach to implants, giving a patient a strong, stable, and durable alternative to removable dental appliances.

Orthodontics:Near-invisible and more effective brackets and wires make straightening teeth with orthodontics much more appealing to adult patients. In some cases, custom-made, clear, removable aligners could straighten teeth without unsightly braces.

Thanks to these and other advances in modern dentistry, cosmetic treatments can make your smile shine better!

Q: What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?

A: Porcelain veneers are thin, tooth-shaped, porcelain shells that are individually crafted to cover the front surfaces of teeth. They are very durable and stain-resistant, making them very popular among those who want to restore or improve the beauty of their smile. Veneers can beused to correct the following conditions:

  • Severely discolored or stained teeth
  • Unwanted or uneven spaces
  • Worn or chipped teeth
  • Slight tooth crowding
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Teeth that are too small or large

Veneers are usually placed after two visits. Veneers are fabricated from an impression or moldof your teeth at a professional dental laboratory.Each veneer is custom-made according to the shape and color of your individual smile.

With little or no anesthesia, we will prepare your teeth by lightly buffing and shaping their front surface to allow for the thickness of veneers. The veneers are carefully fitted and bonded onto the prepared tooth surface with a special bonding cement and occasionally a curing light may be used to harden and set the bond.

Veneers are excellent dental prostheses that can dramatically improve your teeth and give you a natural-looking, beautiful smile.

Q: How can stained or discolored teeth be treated?

A: Because teeth whitening has become very popular, many products and methods for achieving a brighter smile have become available in the market.One of them is professional teeth whitening (or bleaching), a simple, non-invasive dental procedure to improve the whiteness of the tooth enamel, and is an excellent way of enhancing the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are more readily available, but they are not as effective than professional treatments. Some may not even be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).

The outer layer of tooth enamel wears away as we get older,revealing a layer of a darker or yellowish shade. Because the outermost layer of the tooth is partly translucent, our teeth’s natural color also comes from the inside of the tooth, which could become darker over time. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea, and wine could also discolor your teeth, making them yellow and dull. Sometimes, taking certain medications such as tetracycline could cause the teeth to become discolored. Fluorosis, brought about by too much fluoridation during tooth development,can also discolor your teeth.

Before undergoing a teeth whitening treatment, have your teeth checked by your dentist to determine if you qualify for bleaching. Tetracycline and fluorosis stains can sometimes be difficult to bleach and your dentist may offer other options like veneers or crowns to cover up the stains. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, check old fillings, crowns, or other artificial restorations if they need to be replaced before bleaching begins. Once the whitening process is done, your dentist can replace your restorations with new ones that are fabricated to match the shade of the newly whitened teeth.

The effects of teeth whitening are not permanent and wear off over time. Therefore, a touch-up may be needed every several years to keep the brightness of your smile.

The most widely used professional teeth whitening systems are as follows:

Home teeth whitening systems:At-home whitening systems usually come in a gel form that is placed in a mouth guard (tray) that was custom-made from a mold of your teeth. You can wear the trays either twice a day for about 30 minutes each, or overnight while you sleep. Depending on how severe the staining is and how white you want your teeth to become, the treatment usually takes several weeks to achieve the desired results.

In-office teeth whitening: This whitening treatment is performed in the dental office where you will see results immediately after. Sometimes, though, the treatment may take more than one visit, with each visit lasting 30 to 60 minutes. After taking steps to protect your gums, we will apply a bleaching solution to the teeth. We could also use a special light to enhance the whitening action of the agent on the teeth. Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity after the teeth whitening treatment. This sensitivity is temporary and wears off shortly after the bleaching process, usually within a few days to one week.

Teeth Whitening at Salt Lake City done by Bishop Family Dental can be very effective and can give you a brighter, and whiter smile you can confidently show to the world!

You can trust Bishop Family Dental as your Salt Lake City Dentist. Call for a free consultation today at 801-274-2500.

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2120 E 3900 S #102, Salt Lake City, UT 84124

Phone: (801) 274-2500

Office Hours

MON 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

TUE 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

WED 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

THU 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

FRI 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

SAT - SUN Closed

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Email: info@bishopfamilydental.com

Call or Text Us: (801) 274-2500


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