Answering your ORAL HEALTH concerns
At Hupfau Dental we try to answer all your questions and address your oral health concerns.
If you would like to ask us a question that is not addressed in this section please feel free to contact us.
How often do I need to visit the dentist?
For many people, getting a dental exam and cleaning every six months is recommended. However, if you have concerns with your gums or periodontal disease, it is recommended that you be seen every 3-4 months.
How often should I have dental X-Rays done?
Dental x-rays are essential for dentists to be able to examine the areas between your teeth and under your gums cannot be seen clinically. We use digital technology in the office to minimize radiation exposure. We recommend that dental x-rays should be done every 12 to 24 months, depending on your age and risks of dental disease. There are times that dental x-rays will be done more often depending on your specific situation.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay occurs when your tooth is demineralized by acid. This can happen in two ways; either you consume sugar and the bacteria on your teeth eat the sugar and produce acid, or you consume acid directly (lemon in your water, lots of citrus fruits and vinegar). The other source of acid can be from your stomach, so patients who experience health issues such as heartburn or reflux can also be at risk for decay. When the demineralization is limited to the outer surface of your tooth called enamel, it can be stopped. However, when it proceeds to the inner layer, called dentin, or occurs on the root surface, it must be restored.
Why should I floss?
Flossing addresses the plaque and bacteria underneath your gums and between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. We recommend flossing once a day to maintain optimum oral health.
How do I prevent dental decay?
We recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day – after breakfast and after dinner.
Preventing decay requires a three-pronged approach:
- Good oral hygiene
- A proper diet – avoiding lots of sugary or acidic foods and especially sticky sugary foods such as dried fruit, granola bars and candy
- Fluoride – brushing with fluoridated toothpaste. If you are at higher risk or have active decay, you may want to consider using a toothpaste with additional fluoride as well as calcium and phosphate which are the minerals your teeth lose during the decay process. In children, if they have had many cavities, you may want to consider fluoride supplements. We are happy to discuss these options with you in the office.
What is Dry Mouth?
Some medications and illnesses can cause you to have a dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to many dental problems such as decay and gingivitis. If you are experiencing dry mouth please speak to us about preventative measures you can take to minimize the risk of these happening.
How do I know if I have a cavity?
Many times, you do not know you have a cavity because it is small… and a dental exam combined with x rays are the perfect time to identify it.
If you are experiencing cold or hot sensitivity on a certain tooth or have a bad taste in your mouth, that could be an indication a cavity is present. This would be a strong reason to call our office and set up an appointment.
What causes gums to bleed?
Bleeding gums can be a sign of inflammation in your gums. Usually, this is caused by plaque that is being left undisturbed. It can also be an indication of a concern with your immune system. Unchecked, the inflammation in your gums can lead to bone loss around your teeth, and that is why it is so important to have regular visits with the hygienist and practice good oral hygiene. All of this can be assessed at your appointment.
Why do I grind my teeth and how can I stop?
Grinding and clenching, known as bruxism, can be caused by many reasons and the two main reasons are described below:
Occlusion describes the way your teeth fit together. If there is a problem with your bite, then the grinding is your body’s way of trying to ‘even things out’. If this is the case, addressing your occlusion and improving your bite can solve the problem.
Bruxism can also be a coping mechanism your brain uses and most commonly this is in reaction to stress. This can be addressed by fabricating an acrylic splint you wear over your teeth at night, (commonly known as a night guard).
Whatever the reason, grinding and clenching can cause damage to your teeth, muscles and jaw joint and should be addressed.
How do you deal with an anxious patient?
Our office environment is comfortable, warm and inviting and we are proud of the gentle approach and calm reassuring manner of our staff. You are the patient and we will listen to you, hear your story and your concerns and help you to decide how you would like to proceed. You will never be rushed and you will always be well taken care of. If you are struggling with extreme anxiety we can discuss sedation options with you and do whatever is necessary to make sure you are comfortable.
At what age should I first bring my child in for a visit?
Please tell us when you have your new baby and we will give you important instructions on how to care for your infant’s teeth. We usually see children in the office for the first time around 2 ½ to 3 years old. We also work with excellent pediatric dentists and can discuss if this is a good choice for the dental care of your child.
How does my dental health affect the rest of my body?
Your mouth is the leading portal to your body, and when we talk about oral health affecting your overall health, we are mainly talking about inflammation and infection. If you have long-standing inflammation your gums, those inflammatory mediators get into your bloodstream and affect your whole body. Therefore, you hear about gum disease being related to heart disease. The inflammatory mediators cause inflammation in your blood vessels, which can lead to coronary artery disease. Because of this, we recommend that all pregnant patients maintain excellent oral health, as there has been a link with poor oral hygiene and premature labour or low birth weight babies. The same goes if you have a chronic infection in your mouth… that means that your body is working all the time to contain the infection. On the flip side, poor conditions in your mouth can signal that something is going on with your immune system that needs to be investigated. Your oral health and your overall health are related which is why we feel it is so important to get your mouth healthy.
What food can affect the health of my smile?
Acidic foods like lemons, balsamic vinegar and drinking pop can demineralize your enamel, causing enamel loss and cavities. If you are going to have foods like this, don’t eat them frequently and swish with water or chew gum afterwards to promote salivation. Sugary food also provides fuel for bacteria that leads to acid production and demineralization. Sugary, sticky foods are the worst as they will stay stuck between your teeth or in the grooves until removed, which can be difficult, even with a toothbrush! We are saying you can never have these foods, enjoy them in moderation.
What if I have an emergency after hours?
Hupfau Dental is always there to help you in an emergency. Call our office to get the phone number of the dentist on call, and we’ll be happy to assist you.
Office policy APPOINTMENTS & CANCELLATIONS
When we make your appointment, we are reserving a room for your particular needs. We ask that if you must change an appointment, please give us at least 48 business hours notice. This courtesy makes it possible to give your appointment to another patient who needs it.
There is a charge for not showing up for scheduled appointments. Repeated cancellations or missed appointments will result in loss of future appointment privileges.
We feel that our patient’s time is valuable. When your appointment is made, a room is reserved, your records are prepared, and special instruments are readied for your visit. Except for emergency treatment for another patient, you can expect us to be prompt. We, of course, would appreciate the same courtesy from you.
We are a non-assignment office. We accept payment from patients at the time of service and then submit to your insurance carrier for reimbursement to you. Our patients usually receive their payment from the insurance carrier within a few business days. Please note that your insurance carrier may not follow the same fee schedule as our office.
If you ever have any questions or concerns about treatment costs, we are happy to provide an estimate and a predetermination so you can see the amount your insurance will cover.
We do accept Visa, MC, Debit & Cash.