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Both choosing a dental care facility, and knowing when you should seek their services can be a daunting task. As oral care professionals, we are often asked questions regarding treatment and other related areas. Here we try to answer some of the more frequently asked questions.

Q What causes tooth loss?
A Tooth decay and periodontal disease are the most common causes of tooth loss.… Tooth decay takes place when most of the tooth's mineral makeup has been dissolved away and a hole (cavity) has formed. While tooth decay primarily affects children, periodontal disease, or gum disease, affects mostly adults.… Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums caused by the buildup of plaque, and its earliest stage is known as gingivitis.

Q How many times a day should I brush my teeth?
A Most dental professionals recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day.… Brushing after every meal (and flossing at least once a day) is also a good way to maintain dental health.

Q When should a child have his/her first dental appointment?
A A child should have his first dental appointment no later than his third birthday.… Many dentists recommend a child have his first appointment when his first tooth comes in.

Q What causes oral cancer?
A Tobacco (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff) is the most common cause of oral cancer.… Combining tobacco use with heavy drinking can also foster the development of oral cancer.… Bad hygiene, prolonged irritation of the oral cavity, and extended exposure to strong sunlight on the lips are among other causes of the disease.… Many dentists believe vitamins A and E can help prevent the acquisition of oral cancer.…

Q What are the warning signs of oral cancer?
A Early symptoms of oral cancer include: a sore on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat that does not heal; a lump on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat; a red or white patch found anywhere in the mouth; unusual pain or bleeding in the mouth; swelling of the mouth; and any difficulty or discomfort felt in chewing or swallowing.

Q How do I choose a dental office?
A First, you must decide what type of dental specialist will fit your needs.… Visit the Dental FAQ homepage to figure out what type of dentist you want to see.… Next, go to Dental Directory and click under the appropriate link in the "Find a Dentist" section to locate a qualified professional near you.

Q What is an endodontist?
A An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in root canal procedures.… In addition to dental school, endodontists have two or more years of education in this kind of treatment.

Q What is a root canal?
A Root canal is necessary when the nerve or blood supply of the tooth (also known as the pulp) is infected due to injury or decay.… Root canal treatment involves removal of the diseased pulp, followed by the cleaning and sealing of the pulp chamber and root canal.

Q Can existing porcelain crowns or laminates be bleached?
A No, porcelain does not change color when exposed to dental bleach.

Q How do you get rid of spaces between teeth?
A You can get rid of spaces between the teeth with porcelain laminates or bonding.… Crowns may be used to fix more severe gaps between teeth.

Q Does it hurt to have teeth prepared for laminates?
A No.… Preparing teeth for laminates is a painless, two-visit procedure. … Local anesthesia can be given to highly sensitive patients, but… is usually not necessary.

Q What are the advantages of laminates versus orthodontic treatment?
A Orthodontic treatment takes 18 months to 2 years and often requires braces, while porcelain laminates correct crooked teeth in just two visits.