Q: I am missing several teeth. A friend told me that she recently had implants to replace her missing teeth and is very happy.What are implants?

A: A dental implant is a metal device designed to replace missing teeth. The device is usually made out of titanium and is surgically placed into the jawbone where the tooth is missing. Unlike a dental bridge, adjacent teeth are not involved with dental implants.

Q:What is Plaque?

A:Plaque is the accumulation of bacteria, microorganisms and their products which sticks to the tooth surfaces. Dental plaque is soft and easily removed by brushing and flossing the teeth. Accumulation of plaque can lead to gum disease (gingivitis) and periodontal disease, as well as tooth decay.

Q:What is Calculus (Tartar)?

A:Calculus is dental plaque that has mineralized. Calculus can form when plaque is not removed from the tooth surfaces. This plaque becomes old and eventually forms into calculus. Calculus can form above or below the gumline. The bacteria that sticks to calculus can cause gum disease (gingivitis) or periodontal disease. Calculus cannot be removed by brushing and flossing. A dental hygienist checks for calculus formation when you visit the dental office. It is removed with special instruments designed to adapt to the tooth surface affected without causing trauma to the soft gums.

Q:What is Gingivitis?

A:Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Some common features associated with gingivitis are red and swollen gums, and the presence of bleeding while brushing and flossing. The cause of gingivitis is the bacteria in dental plaque. This disease is reversible with good oral hygiene practices.

Q:What is Periodontal Disease?

A:Periodontal disease affects the periodontium (the supporting structures of the teeth). The cause of this disease is multifactorial, but the presence of bacteria in plaque certainly plays a major role. The supporting periodontal structures begin to breakdown. This can mean that part of the bone that supports the teeth or the ligaments that hold the teeth securely in place are destroyed. This disease process is generally not reversible and may require treatment from a dental professional specializing in periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can develop as a result of poor daily plaque control (e.g. brushing and flossing). However, not everyone with poor brushing and flossing techniques will develop this condition. It is wise to visit your dental hygienist or dentist regularly in order to detect early stages of the disease and to prevent further damage.

Q:What is Tooth Sensitivity?

A:Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects millions of people. Basically, tooth sensitivity means experiencing pain or discomfort to your teeth from sweets, cold air, hot drinks, cold drinks or ice cream. Some people with sensitive teeth even experience discomfort from brushing and flossing. The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated.

Q: What are Dental stem cells?

A:Dental stem cells or Dental Pulp Stem Cells (DPSCs) are adult stem cells found in both, baby teeth (milk teeth of children in the age group of 6 -12 years.) and wisdom teeth in young adults. Studies have show that DPSCs have the ability to develop into more types of body tissue than other tyoes of stem cells.These cells contain mesenchymal cells,which have been shown to differentiate into bone, neural tissue, dental tissue, cartilage and muscle.

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