Dr. James Tran DDS


FAQ(s)

1. What is the difference between a crown and a veneer?

2. What is the difference between composite (tooth color filling) material and Amalgam (silver) fillings? 

3. How does a traditional dental bridge compare to a dental implant? 

4. What is a deep cleaning? 

5. Why is a root canal necessary? 

6. What types of bleaching methods are available?  

7. What is a post and why is it needed? 

8. What is a build up for a crown? 

9. What should I do if a tooth is accidentally knocked loose? 

10. What do I do if my temporary crown comes off? 

11. What can be done to prevent staining of your teeth? 

12. What recommendations would help with bad breath? 

James Tran

 

 

  1. What is the difference between a crown and a veneer? - The primary difference between porcelain veneers and dental crowns is the amount of a tooth’s surface each restoration covers.  Dental crowns typically encase an entire tooth while porcelain veneers cover only its front aspect. Additionally, crowns necessitate the removal of more tooth structure in their preparation. Another term used by patients is “bonding.” Bonding is merely composite tooth-color filling material used to fill small gaps or chips in the front teeth. A disadvantage of bonding is that, over time, stains become trapped at the margins and become visible. They are also prone to chipping and breaking.

  2. What is the difference between composite (tooth color filling) material and Amalgam (silver) fillings? - Metal fillings or amalgams are made up of silver combined with other metals and mercury. The American Dental Association describes the amount of mercury release from old amalgam fillings as insignificant and, thus, not a threat to general health. The FDA has concurred in these findings. Composite fillings are made up of modified resin and silica. Their main advantages are their aesthetic appearance (virtually invisible) and their lack of mercury. Dr. Tran generally uses composite filling materials because they allow him to be more conservative with tooth preparation. He will recommend amalgam in areas where he is unable to obtain sufficient isolation (dryness) for the proper bonding of composite fillings. Where there is an option, Dr. Tran believes in educating his patients regarding the filling materials in order for them to make an informed decision on the material they ultimately choose.

  3. How does a traditional dental bridge compare to a dental implant? - Oftentimes when a tooth needs to be removed, the choice is usually to replace it with either an implant or a bridge. Traditionally, the bridge was the first treatment of choice. However, with advancements in the design of implants, it has become a more suitable choice for replacement of teeth in most instances. The advantages of implants are that they have better long-term prognosis and the adjacent teeth do not have to be involved. With a bridge, it does require that the adjacent teeth be ground down in order to attach and support it.

  4. What is a deep cleaning?-  This is the term dental professionals use to describe scaling and root plane, a procedure similar to regular cleaning but more extensive. It is usually performed by the dental hygienist over two or four appointments in order to thoroughly clean the entire mouth. The hygienist will usually use an anesthetic to ensure the patient’s comfort during the procedure. Diagnosis of the type of cleaning required is based on pocket readings (probe depth), x-ray, and visual examination. Plaque that remains on teeth for a long time can become calcified and trap excessive bacteria. This calcified material cannot be removed by brushing or flossing. Leaving it untreated will ultimately result in bone loss around the teeth. This procedure is considerably different than periodontal surgery which is more extensive and requires a longer post-op healing time. With a deep cleaning, there is usually minor soreness of the gums for a day or two following the procedure.

  5. Why is a root canal necessary? -  For many infections in the human body, antibiotics can help eliminate the bacteria. Unfortunately, this does not hold true for infections involving teeth. For antibiotics to be effective, there must be adequate blood flow to carry the medication to the infected area. Teeth do not have enough vascularization for antibiotics to be effective. Therefore, manual removal of the infected material inside the teeth (root canal therapy) is necessary to affect a cure.

  6. What types of bleaching methods are available? - Bleaching of the teeth can be separated into three categories: In-office bleaching (often referred to as laser bleaching); custom-tray home bleaching; and over-the-counter bleach products. In- office bleaching usually takes a few hours and gives fast, short-term results. Teeth tend to return to their former dark shades within a few days. Over the counter products work, but results are slow and inconsistent. Dr. Tran recommends home bleaching with custom trays because it affords patients the ability to do touch-up bleaching every couple of months to maintain a white smile. The active bleaching agent in the custom-tray, home method is carbamide peroxide. Tooth enamel is made up of mineralized tubules which can trap stain over time. Carbamide peroxide opens these tubules so the stains can be released. Research has shown that there is no weakening of tooth structure as a result of using this product. However, when the tubules are open, teeth can be temporarily more sensitive to changes in temperature. Using fluoride rinse or Sensodyne toothpaste can help reduce the sensitivity. Dark liquids such as coffee, black teas, and red wines should be avoided during the treatment period. Bleaching cannot change colors of existing fillings, veneers or crowns.

  7. What is a post and why is it needed? A post is usually required following a root canal if there is not enough tooth structure to support the filling and crown. It is a separate procedure in which either a resin or metal rod is placed and secured inside the involved tooth. A build-up around the post is done at the same appointment. The actual preparation or reduction of the tooth for placement of the crown is done at a subsequent appointment.

  8. What is a buildup for a crown? A buildup for a crown is often required if there is a large fracture or decay inside the tooth. It is (similar to?) a large filling that will help support the new crown. The buildup is done as a separate procedure in the same appointment prior to the actual preparation or reduction of the tooth for a crown.

  9. What should I do if a tooth is accidentally knocked loose?  Handle the tooth at the crown and not the root. Transport a knocked-out tooth in saliva, whole milk, or saline solution and schedule an emergency appointment with a dentist.

  10. What do I do if my temporary crown comes off? Line the temporary crown with denture adhesive and reinsert until you are able to schedule an appointment to have it cemented..

  11. What can be done to prevent staining of your teeth? You should rinse with water immediately after having food or drinks that can stain your teeth (such as red wine, coffee, tea, etc).

  12. What recommendations would help with bad breath? The main cause of bad breath is bacteria.  Some ideas that may help is to drink lots of water, floss regularly, brush between meals, brush your tongue, and have your teeth cleaned by your dentist at least twice a year. 

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Dr. James T. Tran D.D.S.
179 Auburn Court, Suite 4, Westlake Village, CA 91362
805-495-7064 phone . 805-495-4989 fax
www.westlakevillagedentistry.com

Copyright © 2011 James T. Tran, DDS