Our experienced dentist and team are committed to helping you understand your oral health and be as prepared as possible for your appointment.  We have compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions our patients have about their dental care.  If you have further questions, or to make your appointment with Dr. Paul Agyekum, please contact our office today.

What should I do if I have bad breath?

Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant, embarrassing, and often frustrating condition.  Many people experience bad breath from time to time, but persistent halitosis may occur as a result of one or more of the following causes:

  • Morning time
  • Certain foods
  • Poor oral hygiene habits
  • Gum disease
  • Dental cavities
  • Improperly-fitted oral appliances
  • Dry mouth
  • Tobacco products
  • Dieting
  • Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals
  • Certain medical conditions and illnesses, as well as certain medications.

To avoid or alleviate bad breath, we recommend that you:

  • Practice good oral hygiene
  • Keep all your regular dental appointments
  • Stay hydrated
  • Use mouthwash/rinses
  • Stop smoking or chewing tobacco

Our dentist can often treat the cause of your bad breath.   However, if your mouth is healthy and halitosis persists, we may refer you to your medical physician to determine the cause of the problem and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

How often should I brush and floss?

We recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially before going to bed at night.  You should use an ADA-approved soft-bristle toothbrush and an ADA-approved toothpaste containing fluoride.  Electric toothbrushes are also recommended, as they are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently.

You should floss daily, and you may want to consider using a mouth rinse after brushing and after meals where you are unable to brush.  Our hygienist can recommend an appropriate mouthwash when you visit our office.

Why is flossing important?

Flossing is the most effective way to clean between your teeth and under the gum line.  Flossing daily will help clean these space by disrupting the plaque colonies in your mouth before they can build up and cause damage to your teeth, gums, and bone.

Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?

Amalgam (silver) fillings are a blend of copper, silver, tin, and zinc, bound by elemental mercury.  This material has been used for over 100 years to fill teeth.  The American Dental Association (ADA), along with the Center for Disease Control, The World Health Organization, the FDA, and many other organizations support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost-effective.  While silver fillings are safe for use, many patients prefer composite (tooth-colored) fillings for their aesthetic appeal.

Are dental X-rays safe?

Yes.  Dental X-rays produce only minimal amounts of radiation.  Advances in technology have further reduced the amount of radiation you are exposed to while taking an X-ray.  Digital radiography produces 80-90% less radiation than traditional film X-rays.  Additionally, federal law requires that each X-ray machine be checked every 2 years to ensure safety and optimal performance.

How often should I have a dental cleaning and exam?

You should visit our dentist for a dental cleaning and exam at least twice a year.  We may recommend more frequent visits if we feel that your oral condition requires additional care.

How can I tell if I have gum disease?

It can be difficult to identify periodontal disease in the early stages because it may not produce noticeable symptoms.  Regular dental checkup, including periodontal exams are a crucial part of determining if you have gum disease and which treatments will be most effective for you.

There are several factors which may increase your risk of developing gum disease:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Certain tooth or appliance conditions, such as defective fillings, crowded teeth, or poorly fitted appliances
  • Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty
  • Systemic diseases (diabetes, heart disease, blood cell disorders, etc.)
  • Genetics

Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • New spacing between teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus around the teeth and gums
  • Receding gums
  • Tenderness or discomfort

How can cosmetic dentistry help me improve my smile?

Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last decade, in part due to the advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials, but also because patients are becoming more aware of and more interested in improving their oral health and appearance.  There are many cosmetic treatments available to enhance your smile, ranging from a single-tooth restoration to a full smile makeover.  Some common cosmetic procedures include:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Composite (tooth-colored) dental fillings
  • Dental veneers
  • Porcelain crowns and bridges
  • Dental implants
  • Orthodontics

Cosmetic treatments are designed to improve the appearance of your smile by enhancing or restoring the natural beauty of your teeth.  Call us today to learn more about how you can benefit from cosmetic dentistry, and to schedule your consultation with our skilled dentist.

What are porcelain veneers, and how do they improve my smile?

Porcelain veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells.  Each shell is individual designed and created to perfectly fit your teeth, covering the front surfaces to provide you with a durable, naturally-beautiful smile.  Veneers are a popular cosmetic treatment because they can provide you with a picture-perfect smile in just a few comfortable appointments.  Veneers may be recommended to correct:

  • Severely discolored or stained teeth
  • Uneven or gapped teeth
  • Worn or chipped teeth
  • Slight tooth crowding
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Teeth that are too small or large

What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?

The most common treatment to improve stained or discolored teeth is teeth whitening.  Professional teeth whitening is a quick, non-invasive, and effective way to improve the color of your teeth.  While over-the-counter whitening products are available, they are not as effective as a professional whitening treatment, and they may not be ADA-approved.  The two most common forms of professional whitening are in-office whitening treatments and take-home whitening systems (such as custom trays).

I’m afraid of visiting the dentist.  What should I do?

Dental anxiety and fear are fairly common.  Our dentist and team are committed to making your experience at our practice as comfortable and stress-free as possible.  Please speak with our dentist or with a member of our team if you experience any fear or anxiety.  We will work with you to help you feel more relaxed during your appointment and improve your experience.

At Ryan-Eight Mile Family Dentistry and Paul Dental Group, we are pleased to provide quality dental care in Detroit, Michigan, and surrounding areas, including Warren, St. Clair Shores, Royal Oak, Southfield, and Dearborn, Michigan.  Please call or visit us today to learn more, and to schedule your appointment with Dr. Paul Agyekum.