Frequently Asked Questions for San Ramon, CA Patients

From how often you should visit the dentist to what to do in case of a tooth emergency, Dr. Guri S. Dhaliwal DMD receives all kinds of questions relating to family, cosmetic, and pediatric dentistry. We want all patients to feel empowered to make the best decisions about the dental health of their family.

1. What Causes Bad Breath?

There are several reasons why someone might have bad breath, including dry mouth, different pungent foods like coffee, tobacco use, and medications. Also, poor dental hygiene, like not properly brushing and flossing where food particles are left in the mouth, will lead to a development of bacteria. Consult your dentist to learn what foods to avoid and how to effectively brush and floss your teeth to eliminate cases of bad breath.

2. How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?

Cavities are the most common dental problems faced by patients worldwide. Because a cavity stems from the decay of the teeth, some of the first telltale signs include bad breath as well as a sour taste in the mouth. Also, pain or sensitivity in a tooth, especially when drinking hot or cold liquids, is a sign that a cavity is present. If you can see dark spots, holes, or pus anywhere on or near a tooth, contact a dentist immediately.

3. Why Do My Teeth Need to Be Cleaned Twice a Year?

While good brushers and flossers will fare better in their visits to a dentist, everyone should make an appointment twice yearly to adequately remove plaque and tartar buildup. Once plaque has turned into tartar, it becomes an almost cement-like substance that only dental professionals can effectively remove. Those suffering from gum disease should make an appointment every three months. Regularly scheduling cleanings also instill good habits for protecting against gum disease.

4. Is an Electric Toothbrush Better Than a Regular One?

Regardless of which type of toothbrush you choose, you should always remember to brush for the recommended two-minute minimum, twice a day. Electric toothbrushes can be advantageous for removing plaque and preventing gingivitis, but brushing correctly with a regular toothbrush can often be just as effective. Be careful not to brush too aggressively; rough brushing with either type of tool can lead to excessive enamel wear, gum erosion, and sensitive teeth. With regular brushing, patients can prevent gum disease while maintaining a bright smile.

5. How Can Parents Help Prevent Tooth Decay for Their Children?

Parents should instill healthy dental habits in their children very early on. Before children are even showing teeth, practice wiping their mouth and gums clean after every feeding. Parents should also limit how many sugary juice drinks their children consume. Once the first tooth has erupted, schedule regular dental visits. Your dentist can recommend a program for brushing and flossing at home that parents and children can easily follow. By combining home dental care with regular dental visits and a healthy diet, children should have a great foundation for a healthy mouth.

6. What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are thin coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent molars to prevent food particles from getting caught in the teeth. Children who have had their permanent and premolars come in are typically the best candidates for this painless, preventative treatment because their teeth have yet to encounter decay. The sealants cover the depressions and grooves of the teeth and can last up to 10 years.

7. Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental X-rays help dentists pinpoint cavities or other signs of disease that they may not be able to see through a visual examination. The amount of radiation given off from a dental X-ray is very low—radiation from four bitewing X-rays is equivalent to a normal day spent walking around outside. Regardless, we use lead aprons and thyroid shields to protect patients from radiation. Children may need one to two X-rays a year to track developing teeth, and patients who encounter dental or decay problems may need more X-rays compared to healthy mouth patients.

8. What Should I Do If My Child Knocks Out a Permanent Tooth?

Most importantly, remain calm. Pick up the tooth by the crown and try to re-insert it back into the socket if possible. If you are able to re-insert the tooth, have your child softly bite down on a piece of gauze and proceed to the dentist. If this is not feasible, place the tooth in a container of milk, salt water, or saliva and bring your child and the tooth with you to a pediatric dentist.

9. What Is a Root Canal?

The inside of each tooth contains roots, pulp, and living tissue inside small canals. When these canals decay or become infected, a root canal is needed. The common causes for a root canal treatment include a cracked tooth, repetitive cavities, or trauma to the tooth. Your dentist will create a hole in the top of the tooth, clean and disinfect any decayed pulp or tissue in the canals, and then fill and seal the tooth with a mercury-free composite filling material. A crown is then cemented onto the tooth to create a natural appearance that mimics enamel.

10. If I Fear of Going to the Dentist, What Can I Do?

Between 9-15 percent of Americans state that they avoid going to the dentist because of fear or anxiety. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to talk about your concerns. He or she can work with you to find a way to make you more comfortable. Some clinics use sedation medication, chairs with massage features, noise canceling headphones, and lasers instead of traditional drills to calm patients. It’s every dentist’s goal to keep your mouth healthy and your mind and body comfortable.

If you have further questions, visit Dr. Guri S. Dhaliwal DMD. With several advanced degrees and a commitment to outstanding care in a relaxed environment, Dr. Dhaliwal will answer any concerns you have to make sure your dental experience is comfortable.

  • (925) 244-9770