3986 N Campbell Ave Tucson, AZ 85719 520-795-3418
  • Mark A. Larsen, DMD
  • Johnny Icely, DMD

Q & A

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is called Gingivitis. This is caused from bacteria that surrounds the teeth and causes inflammation in the gum tissue, which may be sore and bleed. This may not always cause pain but it can lead to long term tissue damage. TO help prevent this we encourage regular hygiene visits where we can help the tissues heal and provide instruction for home care.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal Disease is a quiet disease that begins with little or no symptoms.  It is caused by bacteria that surrounds the teeth and enters the gums.  The immediate condition is known as ‘gingivitis’.  The gums become irritated, inflamed and often bleed.  If not properly treated, the condition worsens.  Noticeable symptoms now appear.  They include:

  • Bad Breath
  • Gum Recession
  • Gum Sensitivity to Acidic Foods
  • Abscesses
  • Tooth Pain
  • Tooth Loss

How Do You Treat Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a chronic condition that needs immediate attention.  The bacteria involved in the plaque and tartar build up will be thoroughly removed with fine dental instruments. This is referred to Scaling and Root Planing. Some people commonly call this a “deep cleaning.” This procedure is often painless and does not require surgery. Periodontal disease cannot be cured to help lost tissue regenerate, but the disease can be arrested and the tissue can be maintained to protect the longevity of the teeth and gums. If not treated, the teeth will eventually fail and need to be extracted.

How can I help prevent decay and gum disease?

Oral health starts with great habits at home. Brushing and flossing daily are the first line of defense.  It is most important to brush and floss before going to bed.  This is when bacteria may cause the most damage to our teeth and gums.  Some people may benefit from additional methods like: rubber tip (gum stimulator), interproximal brushes, prescription tooth pastes, oral rinses, and water piks.

Why are my teeth sensitive and what can I do about it?

Tooth sensitivity is often from the loss of gum tissue around the tooth.  This allows the root of the tooth to be exposed which can lead to sensitivity. The reason for tissue loss can vary.  The most common causes are:

  • Thin tissue type (this we can’t control.  It is our genetic makeup)
  • Bite forces.  The way our teeth come together can affect the forces on our teeth which may cause undue pressure resulting in wear of the teeth, bone, and tissues.
  • Diet.  Many foods we eat are acidic and abrasive.  This can wear down tissue and tooth structure, resulting in sensitivity.
  • Hygiene habits.  Without good oral maintenance bacteria may cause tissue damage and loss.  

To manage this, there are a number of toothpastes, gels and even some dental procedures that can be applied.

What is the difference between silver and white fillings?

Silver fillings, known as amalgam, have been used for decades as a long term restoration from dental decay.  It is an alloy of metals that is compatible with your tooth and oral environment.  They have been proven time and time again to be safe and last a long time.   This alloy is bacteriostatic, which means it helps to limit the growth of bacteria, thus reducing the likelihood for decay around the filling.   Another benefit to this material is that it is NOT moisture sensitive and can be placed in areas where there may be saliva and blood, which would inhibit the placement of tooth colored restorations.  

White fillings, known as composites, are a tooth colored material made of plastic polymers. These cosmetic fillings will look and feel just like your natural tooth structure.  This can be very helpful to keep a beautiful natural smile.

What is Tooth Whitening?

Tooth whitening is a non-invasive and simple way to improve your natural smile.  Teeth will discolor over time based upon our age, genetics, and the foods we eat on a daily basis.  Whitening products improve the way light reflects off your teeth making them appear whiter.

It is advised that a dental professional complete an examination of your oral health to make sure it will be safe to use whitening products.  The best and safest results will be achieved after a thorough cleaning of teeth.

Whitening products will not damage your teeth or make them more prone to dental decay.  

The whitening process can last for a number of years if maintained properly.  Beverages such as coffee, tea, cola and wine will reduce the lasting effect.  Remember, if it could stain a white shirt, it will stain your smile!

What is Bonding?

Bonding is a cost-effective and non-invasive way to create a lasting smile.  Sometimes teeth may be misshaped, be rotated, be too short, have gaps, or discolored.  By adding a tooth colored resin to the teeth you can have an immediate improvement to your smile.  The results are amazing.   

Bonding, like tooth whitening, may change color over time due to coffee, tea, cola and wine.

What are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain Veneers are like contact lenses for your teeth.  A thin layer of porcelain is attached to the front of the tooth. This entire procedure can take as few as two visits.   Veneers change the size, shape and color of teeth.  This often only requires a minimal amount of alteration to the teeth to create the esthetic result.

What are Crowns?

Crowns are used to cover the entire tooth.  This is often required when teeth have been fractured, decayed, or to improve the overall esthetic appearance of teeth.  This can be a long lasting way to protect your teeth from further fracture and bite forces.  

It is a common misconception that once a crown is placed the tooth cannot decay any more.  This is not true.  It will continually be important for proper brushing and flossing around teeth with crowns to protect the natural roots from further tooth decay. 

What is a Dental Implant?

Teeth are composed of two main parts: The crown (which is what you see in the mirror) and the root (which is what anchors our teeth in the jaw bone.)  

A Dental Implant is made of Titanium and acts as an “artificial root” which provides a new anchor in the jaw bone, upon which a new crown can be placed.  This is an excellent way to replace a tooth with something that will function, feel, and looks like your natural tooth.    Replacement for a missing tooth or tooth root. 

A relatively painless procedure is performed to place the implant in the jaw bone.  After a period of 3-4 months the bone will integrate with the implant and it will be a firm attachment in the jaw; even stronger than a natural root.  

Then a final restoration can be placed on the implant to complete the process.

What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

  • Dental Implants look and function like your natural tooth.
  • Dental Implants are a fixed solution for missing teeth.  (meaning you don’t have to take them in and out.)
  • Dental Implants are maintained by routine hygiene visits to your dental office.
  • Dental Implants decrease the possibility of further bone loss from the absence of teeth.  
  • Dental Implants focus only on the tooth or teeth that are missing.  A traditional bridge would involve the two or more adjacent teeth being compromised to create a false tooth in between.

Am I a candidate Dental Implants?

For most people the answer is YES!  A dental professional will review medical history for possible complications that would prevent an implant from healing in the jaw.  Also, a CT scan is taken to check the available bone to support the dental implant.

What is involved in a dental implant procedure?

After an examination for the proper site for an implant, a surgical procedure is performed to place the implant(s).  Then we wait for 3-4 months for proper healing and integration of the implant.  Then, during a few visits, an impression is taken; the crown is made and placed on the implant to complete the final tooth or teeth.

How long does a Dental Implant last?

Like most things in life, nothing will last forever.  However, with proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, an implant may last for 15 years to a lifetime.

Are implants expensive?

Implant treatments will vary from person to person.  The upfront costs of implant therapy may seem high, but the long term maintenance and replacement is really low.  It is a great, long-term, investment in your oral health.

Please contact us to discuss the options we have available to make your perfect smile today!


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