Prepare for your at Home Recovery
- Plan for ample down time to be away from work, school, or other activities to give your body the time to properly heal.
- Have ice packs on hand.
- Have plenty of beverages available; however, do NOT use straws.
- Have soft foods available: soup, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, cottage cheese, ice cream, etc.
Frequently Asked Dental Questions
We’ve compiled a list below of the most common dental-related questions we receive at our offices. If you have a concern that is not addressed here, please let us know as we are always looking to improve our Q&A and make it more helpful.
Plaque… What is it and why is it bad?
Plaque is constantly forming on your teeth. It is a clear, sticky film of bacteria and it forms a hard layer of tartar as it collects; mostly near the gum line and in hard to reach areas between your teeth.
Your gums can become irritated by the toxic chemicals in the bacteria found in plaque. This can lead to gum disease because bacteria eventually cause the underlying bone around the teeth to be destroyed. Gum disease is linked to other health issues that can include stroke, heart disease, pneumonia and complications during pregnancy.
You can fight gum disease by brushing and flossing twice each day, which removes the plaque from your teeth. And our dental hygienists will remove the tartar that has formed during your regular dental visits. It may be too late if you wait until the gum disease begins to hurt. By scheduling routine exams at Overland Park Dentistry, you can help gum disease and many other health problems.
Toothbrushes … which are best, electric or manual?
The most important aspects of brushing are time and technique. If a manual toothbrush is used for the appropriate amount of time (2 minutes) and done with proper technique, it can accomplish the same outcome an electric toothbrush. However, many people don’t brush twice a day for two to three minutes at a time, which is recommended. Children are good candidates for electric toothbrushes since their brushing habits and technique is still forming.
During your next dental exam, ask us if you have any questions about which brush is best for you.
Bad breath … what causes it?
Most of the time, bad breath originates in your mouth. Sometimes a low flow of saliva or dry mouth can cause bad breath. However, bad breath (or “halitosis”) can be linked to several diseases.
When it comes to managing bad breath there are two main goals you should keep in mind: controlling the bacteria producing the sulfur compounds and neutralizing those compounds.
It’s been awhile… What do I need to do if it’s been a long time since I’ve visited the dentist?
It’s never too late to get back into the routine of visiting our offices and scheduling regular dental exams. By the way, you’re not alone! Whether it’s been 6 months or 6 years, just do it!!
We can make sure you have a thorough dental exam at Overland Park Dentistry. For the past 20 years we loved sharing our knowledge and educating our patients during their visits. So take advantage of our experienced team. We’re here to help you and your family!
Why should I have my teeth cleaned twice a year?
In a perfect world, everyone would brush and floss twice a day. Plaque builds up over time and this sticky bacterial film can solidify and turn into calculus or tartar. This cement-like substance is removed by the hygienist at your regular cleaning visits. A six-month interval not only serves to keep your mouth healthy and clean, it allows potential problems to be found and diagnosed earlier.
In some instances, a six-month schedule in not enough. Based on your dental history, rate of calculus buildup, and pattern of decay a 3 or 4 month interval may be needed. We will work with you to determine what will be best for you.
For Moms and Dads
Now that I’m pregnant, why do my gums bleed easier and are more sensitive? What do I do if I have a dental problem while I’m pregnant?
During pregnancy, your changing hormone levels can cause normal, healthy gums to become red, swollen and irritated. This is known as “Pregnancy Gingivitis” and is the body’s exaggerated response to plaque and calculus.
It is very important while you are expecting to stay current with regular dental exams and cleanings to make sure dental infections don’t get missed and leads to bigger problems in the future. Typically, we will postpone any major treatment until after the baby is born, dental emergencies do happen and need to be taken care of promptly. Many of your baby’s organs are formed during the first trimester, so most routine treatment should be taken care of during the second trimester to reduce any possible risk.
At what age will my child get his first tooth?
When early hard teeth are growing, it’s a big event in your baby’s life and it can be difficult. When teeth erupt inflammation typically occurs and leads to drooling, congestion and discomfort.
Typically the first teeth begin to erupt between five and seven months of age. However, teeth may come in as early as one month or as late as one-and-a-half years of age. Typically, the lower front teeth come in first and girls’ teeth normally come in earlier than boys’.
My child has cavities in her baby teeth. If they’re going to fall out in a few years, why do they need to be filled?
Infection and pain are two reasons to have your little one’s cavity filled if baby teeth become diseased or decayed. If your child has cavities, it may be too painful for them to eat a healthy meal. Decay-causing bacteria can also increase in a mouth with untreated cavities, putting newly erupted permanent teeth at risk of developing cavities.
If the baby teeth are taken out too early or become decayed, the permanent teeth frequently become crowded which increases future need for braces, as the baby teeth hold space in your baby’s mouth for permanent teeth.
What are sealants and why are they necessary?
Decay loves to attach to the pits and grooves of the teeth. Sometimes regular brushing misses these tricky chewing surfaces on your teeth.
Thin coatings of sealants are applied to the biting surfaces, to help prevent bacteria from getting trapped in the deep crevices on your teeth.
Kiddos are great candidates for sealants as a preventative measure against bacteria, because decay has not set in yet. Children benefit most from sealants because the pits and grooves in their teeth are usually deeper.
X-Rays, Fillings and Other Procedures
Why doesn’t my tooth hurt if I have a cavity that needs a filling?
Until dental problems reach more advanced stages, they don’t have any symptoms. But don’t wait until you’re in pain! You should have a dental exam every 6 months, so any problems can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. If you wait to have dental treatment, your problem may become worse, more difficult to fix and more expensive.
What is a root canal?
Intended to save your tooth, a root canal procedure removes the living tissue from inside the tooth. Typically, each tooth has 1 to 3 roots and each root has 1 or 2 canals or tunnels the length of the root. These canals are filled with tissue. In a healthy tooth, the canals consist of nerves and blood vessels keeping the tooth alive, even providing hot and cold sensations. The tissue can become diseased or damaged because of a fracture, trauma or decay. With this, you can have no pain at all or a terrible toothache.
A hole is created in the top of the tooth during the root canal treatment to locate the canals. Dr. Kimes and Associates clean and disinfect these canals and seal them with a special filler material. Because of our technology, root canal therapy is very successful and many times painless.
Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe? What are they?
Of all materials that can be used in fillings, amalgam is the most thoroughly tested and researched. The CDC, FDA and World Health Organization view dental amalgam as a safe dental material.
Dental amalgam is used by dentists as a filling material to restore the proper shape and size of your damaged or decayed teeth. Amalgam is a blend of metals, including silver, copper, tin and liquid mercury that forms an alloy. And has been the most commonly used filling material in the world since the 1800’s.
Discuss what’s best for you with Dr. Kimes during your dental appointment.
Compared to other medical procedures, how much radiation do I get from a dental x-ray?
In comparison, a mammogram gives off around 60 times as much radiation and a traditional chest CT-scan exposes a patient to 2,800 times the radiation as a digital dental x-ray.
Today, we use digital x-rays that reduce the radiation by an additional 90% from that of a traditional dental film x-ray with very low radiation.
What if my tooth gets knocked out in an accident?
When trauma or an accident knocks out your tooth, you need to act quickly. First, locate your tooth (or teeth) and determine whether you have the entire tooth in one piece including the root or if the tooth came out in several pieces. Rinse any dirt or debris off the pieces you have gathered and avoid touching the root. Put the tooth in milk or your own saliva for transport.
Safely rush the injured person and tooth to our dental office. In an ideal situation, the tooth will be re-implanted. For a period of time, the tooth may be splinted with a wire to the adjacent teeth.
This is a true dental emergency. If it is after regular business hours, please call 913-647-8700. The more time that passes, the less likely your tooth can be re-implanted successfully. If you are out of town, visit the nearest Emergency Room or Urgent Care or contact a dentist in the area.
What should I do if I have a dental emergency and can’t get a hold of a dentist?
In the case of a dental emergency, before we can get you into one of our offices for an appointment, here are some helpful tips:
Rinse your mouth with a warm salt water* rinse (see below). Gently floss and brush the area to remove any debris or trapped food. If you can take Ibuprofen or other over the counter pain medications, this may help to sooth the pain. Sometimes Orajel or similar topical gels can help, but usually it will only sooth the pain for a short time. Even if the pain goes away, please call our office to see Dr. Kimes, because without proper dental care your condition could return or even get worse.
- Broken Filling or Broken Tooth:
Temporary filling materials can be purchased at most pharmacies and can be placed over the sensitive area until you see Dr. Kimes. Use sugar-free chewing gum to cover the area as a last resort.
- When a permanent (or temporary) crown comes off:
Brush the area, if it’s not too sensitive and rinse with warm salt water (below) to keep the area clean. Teeth can shift making it difficult or impossible to re-cement the crown at a later date, so avoid leaving the crown out for more than a few days. Until your emergency appointment time, toothpaste or denture cream can be placed inside the crown before it is gently put back into place.
*To make salt water rinse: mix 1 teaspoon table salt with 1 cup warm water
What are my options for replacing a missing tooth?
A series of events begin to occur when a tooth is lost:
- Remaining teeth can erupt into the open space or tilt and chewing on the affected side becomes more difficult.
- In most cases, we would recommend a dental implant, a partial denture or a bridge, depending on the location of the missing tooth.
- Please schedule a consultation to go over your case specifics at one of our offices, as each of these options have their pros and cons.
Are there any dental problems that are associated with diabetes? I’ve been diagnosed recently.
The risk for tooth decay and gum disease can be elevated, as diabetes impairs your body’s ability to fight off infections. Periodontal disease and receding gums are also common with diabetics.
Thorough brushing, flossing, good oral hygiene, and healthy glucose levels will help a lot in preventing dental problems that are related to diabetics.
I have a dry mouth… What can I do?
Lack of saliva is the basic problem in dry mouth (or xerostomia). Dry mouth can be caused by medications that decrease the flow of saliva as a side effect, by diseases of the salivary gland or naturally with age. Mouth infections, gum disease, tooth decay and other severe dental problems can be caused by a decrease in saliva.
Drinking plenty of water is the best way to naturally combat dry mouth. Sugar free gum or candy can be used. But do not use soda or sugared candy, as they can lead quickly to dental decay in patients with dry mouths. Symptoms can be helped with several over the counter products that are available. Contact Dr. Kimes if you’re concerned that you may have xerostomia what may work best in your situation and to determine its cause.
Why don’t my dentures seem to fit anymore?
It’s possible that your dentures no longer fit, if you’ve had them for more than 3-5 years.
You probably know that the bone in your mouth holds and support your teeth. But your teeth also support the bone. The bone begins to constantly shrink and changes shape when the teeth are removed, because the bone loses the support that the teeth provided. Therefore, when dentures are made to fit your mouth they fit well now, but may not fit in several years. Typically people try to make them fit better with more and more denture adhesive. Unfortunately, this can cause your dentures to fit worse and for you to have faster bone loss.
We have options to treat these problems. We may recommend relining your existing dentures for a better fit or making you a new set of dentures.