Questions about Dentist Appointments
How do I book a dental appointment with a great dentist near me in Brooklyn?
Now it is easier than ever to schedule a dental visit. If you live in Boerum Hill, Bushwick, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights, Clinton Hill, Cobble Hill, Crown Heights, or Dumbo, or if you are searching for a beautiful dentist office in East Flatbush, Flatbush, Fort Greene, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Park, or Williamsburg we are able to assist you. You can schedule your visit online at any time or over the phone during business hours by calling (718) 230-0908. We also serve patients in Bay Ridge, Borough Park, Brighton Beach, Brownsville, Dyker Heights, Greenpoint, Kensington, Midwood, Red Hook, and any other parts of Brooklyn. Additionally, we offer our dental services to patients in New York City (NYC) in lower Manhattan.
Does this particular dental office accept new patients?
Yes, if you are looking for a new dentist, contact us. We always welcome new patients into the ever-growing 1st Impression Dental family. You can see our availability online or by asking one of our team members over the phone. We do our best to make room for dental emergencies and same-day visits in our schedule if possible as alleviating pain and stress is our number one priority.
I want to have Taylor Swift's teeth. Is this a celebrity dentist office?
Even though we do have multiple celebrity patients, we would never reveal their names due to doctor patient confidentiality. Nor will be exploit our famous patients by not respecting their privacy. Having said that, achieving a model-worthy smile is possible, sometimes with just a few rounds of teeth whitening, and sometimes with more major cosmetic procedures. Please tell Dr. Shahin what your cosmetic goals are during your consultation, so you and him can come up with the treatment plan that gets you to the smile you deserve.
Is this dentist open on weekends?
Yes, we hold regular and emergency dental visits on Saturdays. Saturdays are typically busy days, so if you want to book an appointment on weekends because you have a toothache, facial swelling, issues related to impacted wisdom teeth, or any other type of dental emergency, please try to contact us before noon, so we can schedule your visit the same day. It is better to visit a private dental practice instead of going to the emergency room for dental-related pain.
Does this dentist take walk-ins or have same-day dentist appointments?
Yes and no. We usually leave one or two spots open in our schedule only for emergency dental services. If you are interested in seeing a dentist for a great cleaning appointment, please book your appointment online or by calling us at (718) 230-0908 ahead of time. However, if you are experiencing a dental emergency, please come in or contact us for same-day appointments. There might be some wait time for urgent dental care visits, but we will make every effort to accommodate you as quickly as possible.
Questions about Where Our Dental Services Are Offered
I am looking for a cool dentist in my neighborhood. Is this dentist in Fort Greene?
This spotless dental office is located in Crown Heights, however, we do serve patients in Fort Greene, and all other neighborhoods in Brooklyn, as well as patients in lower Manhattan (NYC).
Does this dentist offer teeth whitening near me in Park Slope?
Yes, we offer both Zoom® whitening and regular take-home teeth whitening for patients in Park Slope. The Zoom® whitening is typically done in one visit, and it takes about two hours in office. The take-home whitening is mostly done at home over a two week period. Dr. Shahin, one of the best dentists in Brooklyn, usually prefers the take-home option as in-office teeth whitening might cause temporary tooth sensitivity, especially on the lower front teeth.
Unlike popular belief, teeth whitening does not make your teeth whiter, but it works by removing yellow and brown stains that are deep into enamel, and by doing so, it reveals the natural color of your teeth. If your teeth are naturally white, and you have a lot of teeth staining due to smoking tobacco or drinking coffee, you should notice a significant whitening effect after teeth bleaching. However, if your teeth have naturally yellower shades, you might not notice much of a change. Please consult your Brooklyn dentist before proceeding with the treatment.
Does 1st Impression Dental have an exceptional dentist close by me in Bushwick?
Yes. 1st Impression Dental is not a chain, and it is only one super nice dentist office near you in Bushwick. We are a local dentist in Crown Heights, but we are easily accessible via public transportation. If you are a patient in Bushwick, Clinton Hill, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, or even a patient in NYC, you can take trains 2, 3, 4, or 5 to Franklin Avenue Subway Station. We are within walking distance of the Franklin Avenue Subway Station.
I have been looking for good family dental care in Fort Greene. Do you see children?
Yes. We have many regular families from Fort Greene that come to us for dental care for the entire family. We see children as young as one or two. If complex pediatric procedures are required, we will make the appropriate referrals to the best dental specialists (pedodontist, ortho, oral surgeon, etc) in Fort Greene or Crown Heights.
What if I need to find an affordable dentist office near me in Flatbush?
Our goal is to keep our fees as low as possible while offering the highest quality of care. We also provide pricing for any procedures we perform before it is offered, so our patients are never surprised with a bill. We also offer payment plan options if needed.
I need to get dental implants placed. Do you offer affordable dental implants near me in NYC?
Yes, we do our best to keep the cost of dental implants to a minimum, so more patients can benefit from them. We also have options for financing implant placements. The first step is to have an implant consult to find out what your options are. If you have any questions regarding the cost on implants in Brooklyn or NYC, or you are interested in scheduling your first dental appointment, please contact our skilled dental associates.
My orthodontist does not do Invisalign®. Is this an Invisalign® dentist near me in Park Slope?
Yes, Dr. Shahin does offer Invisalign® near you. You can book a consultation online or by calling us at (718) 230-0908 during business hours. The Invisalign® takes usually about 6 to 9 months for most mild or moderate crowding or spacing cases.
I need to have extensive dental work done, so I am looking for a dental spa near me in Prospect Heights. Can I choose this office for my dental journey?
Yes. Dr. Shahin is a top reviewed general dentist near you. If you need an awesome dentist to clean your teeth and improve your oral hygiene, or if you have dental crisis and you need emergency dental care, or you just want to find the most painless dentist to have an amazing dental experience, you can count on Dr. Shahin. He is a very skilled provider and a compassionate dentist here in Brooklyn. He will do his best to make 1st Impression Dental your dental home.
I need an amazing aesthetic dentist near me for my wedding. is Dr. Shahin a cosmetic dentist in Brooklyn?
Yes. Dr. Shahin is top rated cosmetic dentist near you and an advanced dentist who has performed countless and complex cosmetic cases and porcelain dental veneers, some of which have been published in dental publications. You can also see real examples of the cosmetic procedures performed at 1st Impression Dental on our Instagram feed.
Questions about Dental Procedures
Which dental procedures do you perform at 1st Impression Dental?
At 1st Impression Dental, which is near Dumbo, Clinton Hill, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Bushwick, and Carroll Gardens, we offer a wide array of specialty and general services. If you are trying to find the best dentist or an endodontist in Williamsburg or East Flatbush, or if you need a good periodontist or dentist in Fort Greene or Park Slope, or if you need an Invisalign® dentist in Prospect Heights or Prospect Park, or even if you have a dental emergency in Bay Ridge or Greenpoint, our skilled staff and clinical director, Dr. Shahin, will be able to help. Please feel free to contact us with any dental health-related questions.
In addition, we offer surgical procedures such as surgical placement of dental implants, simple and surgical tooth extractions, wisdom teeth removal, incision and drainage of a soft tissue or dental abscess, cosmetic dental procedures such as dental veneers, porcelain crowns and bridges, restorative dental procedures such as tooth-colored fillings and the most comfortable root canals ever, oral cancer screenings, as well as regular dental checkups and cleanings, deep cleanings, and more, and we serve patients in Manhattan, Brighton Beach, Brownsville, Dyker Heights, Kensington, Midwood, and Red Hook.
What are the latest technologies in dentistry?
With the approval of the FDA, the use of robotics in dental surgeries is certain to increase. Robotic dentistry for invasive dental procedures promises to increase accuracy, shorten the recovery period, and lead to higher success rate. For example, robot-assisted dental implant surgery can result in more precise placement of implants and lower implant failure rates. This technique is not the standard of care at this point, but serious research is being done on the subject to bring it to the market for public use in the following years.
What is the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in dentistry today?
The immediate use of AI in dentistry is primarily in analysis of dental imaging, diagnosis, and treatment planning. While AI is progressively integrating in every aspect of our lives, when it comes to healthcare and patient safety, we tend to keep the human aspect at the center of any decision making and utilize augmented intelligence instead of artificial intelligence for the time being.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), augmented intelligence can be used for robotics and automation, virtual reality, predictive analytics, and administrative support with serious emphasis on patient safety, data privacy and security, and ethical issues.
Does dental implant placement procedure hurt?
Implants are artificial roots (titanium screws) that fuse with the jawbone (a process called osseointegration) and anchor permanent tooth replacements such as implant crowns, bridges, or dentures, to restore your smile to its full function. Surprisingly, surgical placement of dental implants is generally a painless process during or even after the dental surgery. Some soreness is expected, however, our patients do not express having intolerable pain or discomfort even without the use of any painkillers. The recovery for dental implants is much quicker and easier than dental extractions.
What are the advantages of laser dentistry?
Laser dentistry in Brooklyn is becoming more and more prevalent for obvious reasons. When performing gum surgery and oral surgery procedures, which are very commonly performed by Dr. Shahin at 1st Impression Dental, gingival incisions and flaps are unavoidable. An incision made by laser is preferred over traditional incisions made by a scalpel for multiple reasons,
1. Gum tissue removal by laser is less invasive and the damage to the adjacent tissues is lower than with blades or a handpiece (dental drill).
2. Laser incisions have much shorter recovery time.
3. Bleeding (hemostasis) is much easier to manage with a laser cut, and therefore, the need for sutures is not as often.
4. Post-operative pain is much more tolerable by patients with laser dental surgery.
5. The risk of post-operative infection is much less when a laser tool is used for incisions.
How do I find an endodontist near me in Williamsburg?
An endodontist is a dentist who is specialized in performing root canals. A root canal is usually required to prevent or treat a tooth infection that is usually caused by a fractured tooth due to trauma, a deep tooth filling, or an untreated tooth decay that has reached the nerve and pulp tissues of a tooth. Root canal therapies are very technique sensitive, and we recommend you to be selective when it comes to choosing an endodontist in Brooklyn, as small mistakes during the root canal process could easily lead to a failed root canal and recurring tooth infections an abscess, and ultimately additional dental expenses and a missing tooth. Our great dentist, Dr. Shahin, is highly trained in root canal treatments including molar root canals and retreatment of failed root canals, and our dental office does offer its endodontic services to patients in Williamsburg and other parts of Brooklyn, so if you need to see an endodontist or a dentist near you in Williamsburg who is an expert in root canals, contact us or book a consultation online.
How can I fix a snaggle tooth?
A snaggle tooth is an irregularly shaped tooth, or a tooth that is our of the alignment with the rest of the arch, or it could be a protruded tooth. There are multiple ways to straighten a snaggletooth, and it depends on the tooth. Usually, if there are multiple snaggle teeth in an arch clear aligners or even braces can do the trick. In other cases, or for a single crooked tooth, a porcelain veneer or a permanent crown might be the best option. In minor cases of teeth crowding, recontouring of the enamel can be the fastest and easiest way to fix a snaggletooth. Please consult our excellent dental practitioner before making a decision, so you can come up with a plan of care together.
Do you put patients to sleep or do sedation dentistry?
Most dental procedures are performed on an out-patient basis. We do realize that many of our patients have considerable phobia and anxiety about getting dental treatments. There are multiple ways to manage dental phobia and anxiety, and Dr. Shahin is trained extensively to handle every case individually. Most patients will be very comfortable with an oral anxiolytic medication such as Xanax®. Others might respond better to the laughing gas. There are however, few who have severe anxiety that cannot be managed by medications(conscious sedation) or other remedies. In those cases, Dr. Shahin works with anesthesiologists to perform the required procedures under IV sedation.
How often should I get a dental checkup and cleaning?
For most, a dental exam and cleaning is recommended every 6 months. However, your dentist or hygienist might recommend more frequent teeth cleanings depending on your specific oral health risks.
Routine checkups and cleaning are essential for your dental and oral health. During these appointments, your dentist will check for signs of cavities and clean plaque and tartar off of your teeth to maintain the health of your gums and teeth. However, the dentist will also examine your mouth for multiple other conditions that you might not readily be aware of. Some of these include:
• Review of medical history: Your current medical conditions, illnesses, and medications can impact your dental health in many ways, therefore, your dentist must be informed of them.
• Review of current and previous X-rays (radiographs): Dental X-rays are extremely diagnostic for the detection of caries (tooth decay), bone loss, cysts, and tumors, and they reveal the position of teeth and roots.
• Oral cancer screening: Evaluate the head and neck, face, lips, throat, tongue, soft tissues and mucosa of the mouth, and gums for possible signs and symptoms of oral cancer.
• Evaluation of gum disease: Examination of jawbone and gums that surround teeth to detect any periodontal disease.
• Examination for tooth decay (check for cavities): Your dentist will use a special dental tool called a dental explorer to check all the surfaces of your teeth for soft enamel.
• Evaluation of existing restorations: Examine current tooth fillings, dental crowns, porcelain veneers, etc.
• Removal of tartar (calculus): tartar or calculus is mature plaque that is hardened when left on teeth surfaces for too long. Tartar adheres to tooth surfaces above and below the gum, and it is not easily removed with flossing and brushing. A special device is used that breaks up the tartar using ultrasonic waves and water pressure to remove them.
• Plaque removal: Plaque is a sticky biofilm that houses growing colonies of living bacteria. The bacteria using food particles produce toxins or poisons that start periodontal disease after resulting in inflamed gums.
• Teeth polishing: Polishing removes remaining plaque and teeth stains not removed by toothbrushing or during the scaling part of the teeth cleaning.
• Oral hygiene instructions: Your hygienists or dentists usually recommend oral hygiene aids such as special cleaning aids, electric dental toothbrushes, waterpicks, fluorides, or any new devices or tools they might find useful.
• Review dietary habits: Your diet is one of the most impactful habits on your dental well-being, so a close examination of it by your dentist is crucial.
A complete dental exam and cleaning, as you can see, includes a lot more than just checking for cavities and polishing your teeth. A complete review of your oral health is therefore recommended twice a year.
Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?
Amalgam (silver) fillings are a trusted type of dental fillings that have been used by dentists for over 100 years, but this doesn’t mean they haven’t been subject to criticism. The controversy over amalgam fillings came about due to claims that the exposure of the patient to mercury vapor and minute mercury particles has led to various health problems.
Amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin, and zinc bound together by elemental mercury. In large doses, mercury can be very dangerous. It is recognized as a toxic material at high, unsafe levels, but is practically harmless in moderation. Take fish for example. Certain types of fish carry high levels of mercury so consumption of them is regulated, but not banned.
Up to 76% of dentists use amalgam fillings, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA states that there is no known link between any medical disorders and amalgam fillings. After all, when combined with the other components of the filling, mercury becomes an inactive, safe substance. Along with the ADA, the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the FDA all approve of the use of amalgam fillings and believe they are safe, durable, and cost-effective.
However, amalgam fillings may still be dangerous to those who are allergic to a component of them. Fewer than 100 incidents of an allergic reaction to amalgam fillings have been reported over the decades, but this may still be a concern for those with severe allergies.
Overall, there are no major health risks linked to amalgam fillings besides allergic reactions. Alternatives to amalgam fillings include porcelain, composite (tooth-colored), and gold fillings. Discuss your options with your dentist to determine which filling option is right for you.
Can anyone get dental implants?
Endosteal implants are biocompatible metal fixtures that are the standard of care for replacing an extracted or lost tooth by functioning as sturdy anchors for artificial teeth. However, not everyone is a good candidate for them. In order to get a dental implant, one needs to have enough jawbone thickness to house an implant fixture. Additionally, a tooth implant requires a minimum depth of bone to hold it in place. In many cases, the inferior alveolar nerve (a branch of the trigeminal nerve) in the lower arch and the maxillary sinuses in the upper arch limit the depth of the jawbone, thus making it impossible or very difficult to get a dental implant. A Brooklyn oral surgeon, periodontist, or dentist who performs surgical implant placements will perform a comprehensive examination with the help of a cone beam scan, panoramic x-ray, or simple intraoral periapical x-rays to determine if you are a good candidate for implants.
Which cosmetic dental procedures can improve the appearance of my smile?
Cosmetic dentistry has become more and more popular in recent years thanks to innovations in cosmetic dentistry technology and a growing desire to achieve a healthy, whiter, more radiant smile. Cosmetic dentistry is primarily for those who struggle with feelings of self-consciousness about their teeth.
Depending on the patient’s particular expectations, a cosmetic dentist can transform the smile in countless ways, from restoring one tooth to doing a full-mouth makeover. Cosmetic dentistry does not just improve the aesthetic appeal of the teeth but improves the patient’s oral and overall health. It can also prevent health issues from arising in the future.
The most common cosmetic dental procedures
There are many types of procedures cosmetic dentists can offer their patients, but the most common are:
• Teeth Whitening – Stains on the teeth created by eating food, drinking, smoking, age, or taking certain medications can be removed with teeth bleaching. The effectiveness of this procedure depends on the degree of the stains present.
• Porcelain Crowns (caps) – For teeth with fractured, broken, or large fillings, or that have become badly decayed, custom-made, tooth-colored porcelain crowns can be the ideal solution. These crowns encase the entire tooth, restoring it to its original shape and size and protecting it from further discomfort.
• Porcelain Veneers – Veneers are custom-made, tooth-colored shells that bond to the front of the teeth and create a beautiful smile. They require minimal tooth structure to be removed from the surface of the tooth, unlike crowns, and can help camouflage or restore poorly shaped, misaligned, discolored, and damaged teeth.
• Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings – These fillings, also known as “bonding,” are commonly used to repair broken, discolored, chipped, and otherwise defective teeth. They have replaced amalgam (silver) fillings in recent years and are widely used to replace old fillings. They can also be used to fill in gaps in the teeth and protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces.
• Orthodontics – Custom-made, clear, removable aligners are a popular alternative to traditional braces that work to straighten the teeth. They are much more appealing to adult patients as they are less visible and more effective.
• Dental Implants – As a more durable and long-lasting solution to removable dental appliances, dental implants are used to replace one or more missing teeth. They are surgically attached to the jaw and can be specially fitted with porcelain crowns, dentures, and bridges depending on the specific needs of the patient.
Cosmetic dentistry can make a world of difference in the life of a patient. Thanks to the advances in modern cosmetic dentistry, more people than ever before can achieve the smiles of their dreams.
Who is a good candidate for porcelain veneers, and how do they work?
Those looking for a way to restore or enhance the natural beauty of their smile may benefit from porcelain veneers. These are individually crafted tooth-shaped porcelain shells that cover the fronts of the teeth. They are extremely thin and are made to blend in with the patient’s existing aesthetic.
Veneers can be used for a variety of reasons. These commonly include:
• Slight tooth crowding
• Misshapen teeth
• Unwanted or uneven spaces
• Severely discolored or stained teeth
• Teeth that are too small or large
• Worn or chipped teeth
To get veneers fitted to your teeth, you will have to visit the dentist twice. During the first visit, the dentist will create an impression (mold) of the teeth. This is sent to a professional dental laboratory where the veneers will be custom-made using specially chosen shapes and colors.
During the next visit, the dentist will prepare the teeth by lightly buffing and shaping their front surfaces to allow for the slight thickness of the veneers. This requires little to no anesthesia. The veneers will then be carefully fitted and bonded to the teeth using bonding cement and a specialized light.
Veneers are a wonderful solution for dramatically improving the teeth and restoring your beautiful, natural smile.
Who should consider getting sealants?
Up to 75% of dental decay starts in the deep pits and fissures of the teeth, and unfortunately, toothbrushes and floss cannot reach these areas of the mouth. Flossing and brushing help remove bacteria and food particles from the easy-to-reach tooth surfaces, but toothbrush bristles are simply too large to clean the entire mouth. With dental sealant, this is not a problem. A dental sealant is an incredible tool for strengthening the tooth and protecting it from decay.
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that create a smooth, protective barrier over the natural depressions in the teeth, making them easier to clean and keep free of decay. Sealants are mostly used on premolars and molars but work for any deep grooves or pits in the teeth.
Your dentist or dental hygienist can easily apply sealant to a tooth in minutes. First, the chewing surface must be roughened with an acid solution. This helps the sealant adhere to the tooth. The sealant is then painted onto the tooth surface. It naturally hardens and bonds with the tooth. A special light may be used to help the sealant material harden further.
Once the sealant treatment is complete, patients should avoid hard or sticky foods such as hard candy, popcorn kernels, and ice cubes. Sealants will be checked for wear or chipping at regular dental check-ups.
Who can benefit from dental sealants?
• Infants – If a baby is prone to cavities or their teeth have deep grooves, their teeth can be sealed.
• Children and teenagers – Children often receive dental sealant on their six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) once they appear. Their dentist may also recommend sealant throughout the years of 6-16.
• Adults – Anyone with deep grooves or depressions that are difficult to clean can receive dental sealant. If tooth decay is present, this must be dealt with first.
Dental sealant works best combined with a proper home care routine, a good diet, and regular dental check-ups.
Questions about Dental Diseases
Can I tell if I have gingivitis (gum disease) or periodontitis?
You might, but it is not very likely. 80% of patients who have early-stage periodontitis are not even aware of it because it is generally painless and does not present with noticeable symptoms or discomfort. This is another reason why your routine checkups are very important. The periodontal examination during your dental exam can reveal any signs of early periodontitis.
Periodontitis generally starts with plaque and tartar left on the teeth. The plaque is a biofilm filled with oral bacteria, which with food particles will produce toxins (acids) that damage bone and gums and cause gingivitis. Good brushing and flossing habits can reduce the risk of gum inflammation and therefore, lower the risk of periodontitis.
The following on the other hand can increase this risk:
• Specific tooth or restoration conditions – Ill-fitting dental bridges, teeth crowding, or defective fillings that may trap food, and attract bacteria.
• Chewing or smoking tobacco – Smoker tend to accumulate more plaque and calculus than non-smokers.
• Certain medications – Steroids, chemotherapy, diuretic meds for hypertension, oral contraceptives. These medications can produce xerostomia (dry mouth) as a side effect, which is a risk factor for gum and teeth disease.
• Systemic disorders – Diabetes, HIV, blood disorders, etc.
• Pregnancy and oral contraceptives – Hormonal changes can make the oral cavity and bones more sensitive to bacteria toxins and acids.
• Genetic factors – Some, especially with family history of early tooth loss should be vigilant as aggressive periodontitis can be genetic.
These are Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease:
• Bleeding gums – You should not see any blood when brushing or flossing. If you do, something is wrong.
• Swollen and red gums – Your gums should never be puffy or red. They should be pink.
• Bad breath – Caused by oral bacteria and food particles.
• Loose teeth – Bone loss around the tooth leads to the loss of ligaments and support for teeth.
• New gaps between teeth – Sign of bone loss and tooth mobility.
• Pus exuding the gum pockets – Sign of infection within the gums.
• Pain and tenderness – Tartar and bacteria byproducts can irritate and hurt the gums and teeth.
• Receding gums – Lack of bone and healthy gum around a tooth.
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by keeping a consistent and adequate oral hygiene practices, a healthy diet, and regular dental checkups.
What should I do if I have missing teeth?
Tooth loss is both traumatic and costly. Whether you have lost a tooth due to injury, fracture, accident, gum disease, or severe tooth decay, it is important for missing teeth to be replaced. This ensures that you avoid more serious dental and cosmetic problems in the future.
When a tooth is lost, the jawbone begins to atrophy, shifting the teeth on either side of the gap until they become misaligned. Meanwhile, the tooth above or below the gap will begin to move toward it. These misalignment issues can lead to gum disease, decay, excessive wear, and TMJ (jaw joint) issues. The health of the bite, the functionality of the jawbone, and the aesthetic beauty of the smile will all be compromised.
With modern dentistry, there are fewer reasons than ever before to extract (remove) teeth. Tooth extraction is a dentist’s last resort and is only done if every attempt to restore the tooth to its original functionality fails.
Some popular options for replacing missing teeth are:
Dentures – When most or all the teeth are missing, patients can benefit from dentures. These are removable artificial teeth made to resemble the patient’s natural teeth and blend in with their aesthetic.
Removable bridges – To replace one or more missing teeth, removable bridges are a good option. These are tooth-colored artificial teeth that attach to adjacent teeth with metal clasps. The metal clasps will be visible. A removable bridge may not be as aesthetically pleasing as other options, but it is the most economical option for tooth replacement.
Fixed bridges – Made of porcelain or composite material, this type of bridge is permanently anchored (cemented) to the adjacent teeth. This bridge is very sturdy and has a natural look. However, for this appliance to be attached, the adjacent teeth must be crowned (capped) to hold it in place.
Implants – Implants are the most aesthetically pleasing option for tooth replacement. A dental implant is an artificial root that is surgically attached to the jawbone. A realistic artificial tooth can be attached to the implant, giving the appearance of a natural tooth. Implants are very durable and can last for life.
Talk to your dentist about what tooth replacement options are best for you. To avoid problems with missing teeth in the future, discuss prevention and early treatment options as well.
I have old, unattractive, or discolored fillings. What can I do about them?
Many people’s fillings date back many years or even decades. Some people’s fillings were placed in their childhood and are still in use in adulthood. When fillings are left for many years, they can turn dark and unattractive, standing out when a person smiles, talks, or laughs.
Old fillings can also lead to serious oral health issues such as tooth decay. When fillings are old and defective, the space between the filling and the tooth can open up, leaving room for bacteria and food debris to enter.
Talk to your dentist about whether your old fillings can and should be replaced. Modern dentistry offers many state-of-the-art filling materials and procedures for replacing old fillings that can be done painlessly, quickly, and cost-effectively.
The most common options for replacing old, discolored, or unattractive fillings are:
Composite (bonding) fillings – As one of the best ways to improve the health and beauty of the smile, these fillings are commonly used to improve front teeth and visible areas in the smile. They are tooth-colored fillings that closely match the existing color of the teeth and are invisible to the naked eye.
Inlays/Onlays – These custom-made fillings are made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin in a dental laboratory and placed in the tooth by a dentist. They are commonly used to conservatively repair posterior chewing surfaces of teeth that have large unattractive/defective fillings or have been severely damaged.
Crowns (Caps) – These can be made of porcelain, gold, or other tooth-colored materials. They are used to restore teeth that are too damaged to be repaired with just a filling or other type of restoration. Crowns fully encase the tooth surface, restoring it to its original shape and size while protecting and strengthening the tooth structure.
Porcelain veneers – Veneers are thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain custom-made to be permanently cemented to the front surface of the teeth. They are very durable, stainless, and blend in with the natural teeth, making them a very popular solution for restoring old and unattractive fillings and for fixing chipped, malformed, crooked, or discolored teeth.
All these treatment options will provide you with long-lasting, natural, durable results. Talk to your dentist about which option will work best for your individual situation.
Is there a connection between periodontal (gum) disease and other medical conditions?
Studies show that there is a strong connection between oral and full-body health. Taking care of your oral health can contribute to better overall health, while poor oral health can have the opposite effect.
Poor oral health and periodontal disease are extremely common. In fact, they are more common than the common cold! Periodontal disease is characterized by the destruction of the gum tissue and jawbone that hold the teeth in place. It gradually irritates and weakens the oral cavity and is the number one cause of tooth loss. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of this disease and will develop into a more serious condition the longer it is left untreated.
Periodontal disease is caused by the build-up of plaque in the mouth. Plaque is made up of food debris, bacteria, and saliva and produces toxins that wear down tooth enamel and infect the gums. For those who develop periodontal disease, oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream, traveling to the major organs and creating new infections. In this case, there is a greater risk of developing another systemic disease.
Research shows that periodontal disease can:
• Increase the risk of stroke.
• Compromise the health of those with diabetes or respiratory diseases.
• Contribute to the development of heart disease.
• Increase a woman’s risk of having a preterm, low-birth-weight baby.
Although more research must be done on this subject, scientists have concluded that infections in the mouth can wreak havoc on the rest of the body.
Periodontal disease can be prevented by brushing and flossing twice per day and regularly visiting the dentist. Incorporating more home-care tools and maintaining a proper diet can also reduce disease-causing bacteria and plaque in the mouth.
What are treatment options for knocked out teeth?
Teeth that get knocked out can possibly be reimplanted into the mouth, but only if you act quickly. We’re all at risk for knocked-out teeth. In fact, more than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year! Dentists are well-versed on what to do in this situation, but it’s up to you to maintain the health and safety of the dislodged tooth until a dentist can take over.
If your tooth is knocked out, follow these steps:
1. Find the tooth and handle it only by the crown (the chewing part), not the roots.
2. Do not scrub the tooth with soap or chemicals. If it has debris or dirt on it, gently rinse it with your own saliva, whole milk, or water.
3. Go to the dentist within 30 minutes. The longer you wait, the less chance you have for a successful reimplantation of the tooth.
When traveling to the dentist, ensure that you are transporting the tooth properly. The better you follow these tips, the more likely your tooth will survive. Transporting your tooth properly can result in a successful reimplantation, allowing the tooth to last for many more years.
• Replace the tooth back into its socket immediately. Bite down on it to keep the tooth in place using gauze, a wet tea bag, or your other teeth. If there is any pain or swelling, apply a cold compress.
• If the tooth cannot be placed back into the socket, put it into a container and cover the tooth with saliva or whole milk. The tooth can also be placed under the tongue, or between your lower lip and gums. Whatever you do, the tooth must be kept moist at all times. Do not transport it in a cloth or tissue.
• Buy a “Save-A-Tooth” storage kit from the pharmacy. This is an optional tip. This kit will contain everything you need for transporting your knocked-out tooth, such as a travel case and fluid solution. Keep the kit as a part of your first aid supplies at home.
To avoid having your teeth knocked out or broken:
• Avoid fights.
• Avoid chewing hard items like hard bread, popcorn kernels, ice, etc.
• Wear a mouthguard when playing sports.
• Always wear your seatbelt.
Why should I straighten my teeth?
Overbite, underbite, overcrowding, and crossbite are all common malocclusions that negatively affect a person’s biting, chewing, and speaking functionality. Besides that, crooked teeth (malocclusions) can make a person feel self-conscious when they smile. Meanwhile, a straight smile is both more aesthetically pleasing and better for a person’s oral and overall health. Straight teeth can help prevent a variety of dental conditions.
Some of the main dental disorders associated with crooked teeth are:
• Uneven wear – When teeth are crooked, certain teeth are made to work harder than others, wearing them down while other teeth remain untouched. Straight teeth evenly share the workload and have better aesthetics and less risk of injury.
• Tooth injury – Crooked teeth are weak and often protrude undesirably, making them more vulnerable to external injury. Straight teeth create a strong wall and lie flat in the mouth, meaning they are less likely to be injured.
• Periodontitis – Also known as gum disease, periodontitis is a bacterial infection caused by a build-up of bacteria in the oral cavity. Crooked teeth are harder to clean, meaning more bacteria, plaque, and food debris can hide and multiply in those hard-to-reach spaces. Straight teeth are much easier to clean and are less likely to experience infection and decay.
• Temporomandibular Disorder (TMJ) – TMJ is a painful condition caused by improper jaw alignment. Side effects of TMJ include lockjaw, tooth grinding, jaw pain, and severe headaches. It can be a debilitating condition and crooked teeth can be a cause as they may keep the jaw from proper alignment.
Malocclusions can be corrected with an array of dental tools and treatments. The most common forms of treatment for crooked teeth are:
• Orthodontic braces – These traditional braces are affixed to the teeth for an extended period. They use brackets and archwires to gradually move the teeth into proper alignment. An orthodontist will tighten the archwires periodically throughout the treatment and remove the braces when treatment is complete.
• Fixed braces – Similar to traditional braces, these braces affix to the teeth for a period and gradually move them into place. They are used for most types of malocclusions. Fixed braces can be fixed to the front or back side of the teeth.
• Aligning trays – These fully removable dental aligning trays are used for less severe malocclusions or when the teeth must be moved a shorter distance. They are proven to be highly effective despite their removable nature. The trays must be replaced every few weeks throughout the treatment.
If you suffer from malocclusion, talk to your orthodontist about what treatment option is right for you.
Questions about Oral Hygiene and Home Care
What should I do if I have bad breath?
Bad breath or halitosis is embarrassing and unpleasant, and we may not even realize we have as almost everyone has bad breath from time to time, especially in the early hours of the morning. There could be many reasons for halitosis including GERD or acid reflux and upper respiratory tract infections, but most of the time, the bad odor is due to bacterial deposits on the back of the tongue. Research has shown that brushing the tongue can reduce bad breath by about 70%.
In most cases, with good oral hygiene, the help of your dentist, and great dental cleanings you can get rid of bad breath. If it persists, Dr. Shahin might refer you to a physician to treat possible medical conditions causing the bad breath.
What can cause bad breath?
Poor oral hygiene – Food particles left between the teeth due to poor brushing and flossing habits can promote the growth of microbes in the mouth.
Morning breath – Salivary flow is an effective cleanser but when you sleep, it is significantly reduced, which gives bacteria a chance to grow and cause bad breath.
Dry mouth AKA Xerostomia – Certain medications, such as antidepressants, some conditions that affect salivary gland functions, or habits such as mouth breathing.
Periodontal disease (Gum disease) – Plaque and tartar, which house bacterial colonies under inflamed gums, along with food particles and debris are commonly present in patients with periodontal disease.
Certain foods – Certain foods such as onions and garlic have odor-causing compounds. When these compounds enter the bloodstream, they can ultimately end up in the lungs and be exhaled as bad breath.
Dieting – When the body burns fat, certain molecules called ketones are released in each breath.
Dental caries and ill-fitting dental appliances – Can also become food traps.
Tobacco products – Can cause dry mouth and bad breath.
Certain illnesses and conditions – Many medical conditions such as liver and kidney problems, Diabetes, bronchitis, pneumonia, and chronic sinus infections can contribute to halitosis.
Hunger and dehydration – Chewing food and drinking liquids promote salivary gland flow, and therefore, clean and reduce the amount of oral bacteria.
Make a list of the foods you eat, past surgeries, current medications, and health conditions, and share it with your dentist, Dr. Shahin, so you can figure out the root cause of bad breath if needed.
How can I prevent bad breath?
See your primary dentist regularly – See your dentist, Dr. Shahin, at least every 6 months. If you have periodontitis, he might recommend more frequent cleaning and periodontal maintenance visits.
Practice good oral hygiene – Brush at least twice a day and for two minutes each time with an FDA-approved fluorinated toothpaste. Floss at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth and under the gums. Use a tongue scraper to clean the back and surface of the tongue. If you wear removable appliances such as dentures, make sure you clean them properly before putting them on.
Use mouthwash (rinses) – Certain over-the-counter antiseptic mouthwash brands such as Scope can fight bad breath and gingivitis at the same time by keeping the oral bacteria at low levels.
Drink enough water – Hydrating can increase salivary flow and keep your mouth clean.
Stop smoking (or chewing tobacco) – Your dentist can definitely give you tips on how to break the habit.
How often should I brush and floss?
One effective and non-invasive way to remove harmful bacteria and plaque from your mouth is by Brushing and flossing regularly. Plaque is a biofilm produced by bacteria that can turn sugar in your food into acid that causes tooth decay. On top of that, if plaque stays on the teeth for too long, it will turn into calculus (tartar), which is the main cause of periodontal (gum) disease and leads to gum deterioration and jawbone destruction.
The only effective way to retard the continuous growth of bacteria and plaque is by brushing, flossing, and using other dental aids.
Toothbrushing – Brush two times daily and for two minutes each time, especially before bedtime with a soft bristle or ultra soft bristle toothbrush and fluorinated toothpaste.
• Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth, aim for the gumlines, and brush with a circular and gentle motion.
• Do not ignore the inner surface of the teeth (the tongue side), as well as the top (occlusal) and outer (buccal) enamel surfaces of the teeth.
• Brush the back of the front teeth with the bristles at the tip of the brush.
• Brush the back and top surfaces of the tongue a few times to freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended by Dr. Shahin mainly because most of them have built-in timers to make sure you brush long enough (at least for two minutes). Simply put the bristles on your teeth the way described earlier and let it do the job without pressing on it.
Flossing – Flossing once a day is a great way to disrupt the plaque growth and bacteria colonies and remove them mechanically.
• You need 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss. Wrap it around your index fingers to leave only about 2 inches (5 cm) of floss between your two fingers.
• Use your index fingers and thumbs to guide the floss gently between your teeth.
• Push the floss against the tooth to form a “C” shape halfway around it and under the gums. Move the floss up while keeping gentle pressure on it to scrape any plaque off of the tooth.
Floss holders (floss picks) are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Rinsing – Using mouthwash or just water rinses after each meal is also a great way to reduce gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, please consult Dr. Shahin or your hygienists to find the product fit for you as different mouthwashes offer different benefits.
Why should I use dental floss everyday?
Daily flossing is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and a beautiful smile. Brushing our teeth removes plaque, food particles, and harmful bacteria from all tooth surfaces but it does nothing for the spaces in between the teeth. These spaces are highly susceptible to decay and must be dealt with just like the rest of the mouth.
Flossing regularly will not only clean these hard-to-reach spaces but will prevent the build-up of harmful plaque and protect the gums, bone, and teeth in the long term. Plaque, the sticky and nearly invisible film that forms on the teeth, is made up of toxic acids that irritate and inflame the gums. If left untreated, plaque can harden and become calculus (tartar), irritating and inflaming the gums further and destroying the teeth and jawbone.
To stop this from happening, brush and floss daily.
How to properly floss
1. Wrap approximately 12-16 inches (20-40cm) of dental floss around your middle fingers. Leave about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between your hands.
2. Gently insert the floss between the teeth with a sawing motion using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss.
3. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth. Curve the floss into the shape of a “C” around each tooth and under the gumline.
If you struggle with conventional floss, dentists recommend using floss holders. These can make flossing much easier!
What are my options if I have discolored or stained teeth?
As we age, the outer layer of our tooth enamel gradually wears away, revealing a darker, yellow color that can make some people feel self-conscious about their smile. Besides aging, drinking wine, coffee, and tea, smoking, and taking certain medications like tetracycline can also contribute to yellow or dull-looking teeth. Children who have had excessive fluoridation intake may develop discoloration as well.
Discolored teeth are a universal condition which is why teeth whitening is the number one aesthetic concern for most patients. There are many options for whitening teeth such as non-invasive professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) and over-the-counter treatments. However, non-professional options are less effective and may not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
If you are concerned about the color of your teeth, talk to your dentist about what procedures are best for you. Teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, so old fillings, crowns, and other dental appliances may need to be replaced. Your dentist can create new restorations for you to match the shade of your newly whitened teeth. The teeth will need to be touched up every few years, as teeth whitening is not permanent.
Fluorosis and tetracycline stains can be difficult to bleach so your dentist may recommend other options for covering these stains up, like crowns or veneers.
Teeth whitening options
At-home teeth whitening systems usually come in the form of a gel. This gel is placed into a custom-fitted mouthguard or tray that is specially molded to your teeth. The mouthguard is then worn twice a day for 30 minutes, or overnight, for several weeks. The time this takes depends on the desired level of whitening.
Professional teeth whitening is done in a dental office. Results are immediate, though the entire procedure may take multiple visits. During each visit, the gums are protected while a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth. A special light activates the solution to clean and whiten the teeth. Each visit lasts about 30 to 60 minutes.
Patients may experience tooth sensitivity after the procedure, but these side effects will subside within a few days to one week.