My morning doesn’t start until I’ve had my first cup of tea. How bad is this for my teeth?
Tea and coffee are safe to drink in moderation. However, over time, large amounts can cause staining and damage.
In addition to caffeine, tea and coffee contain chromogens, deeply pigmented molecules that adhere to dental enamel.
They also contain tannins, which boost a chromogen molecule’s ability to attach to dental enamel. Black tea is worse
than black coffee, because coffee is lower in tannins.
How can I protect my teeth from damage?
The enamel on our teeth is hard, but as we all know, it can be chipped and cracked. In addition to following the
instructions of your hygienist, here are some other ways you can protect your teeth:
- Avoid chewing ice, cracking nut shells, or opening packages with your teeth.
- Avoid “hard foods” such as popcorn.
- Limit acidic soft drinks and sugary foods that stick to your teeth.
- Decide against tongue and lip piercings, which can fracture teeth and increase infection risk.
Should I update my manual toothbrush to an electric?
When used appropriately, a manual toothbrush is as effective as a powered toothbrush. The key is to brush for the
recommended two to three minutes, using short strokes at a 45-degree angle to the gums, and covering the entire tooth
surface – inner, outer, and chewing.
Does Dr. Gravino check for oral cancer?
Yes, he does. As part of your new patient exam, and at every preventive visit thereafter, Dr. Gravino and our expert
hygienist will perform a thorough check of your oral tissues, including the lips and tongue. We will monitor any
changes and inform you if treatment by a specialist is needed.
Dentists and hygienists are your first line of defense in detecting and treating oral cancer. Each year in the U.S.,
approximately 30,000 people are newly diagnosed with this disease. The good news is, when found early, oral cancers
have an 80 to 90% cure rate.
When should my child receive his/her first dental check-up?
Ideally, you should seek a dentist for your child around the age of three, unless there are extenuating circumstances,
such as visual decay and trauma, or if you see areas of concern. We would also be happy to give your child a “ride” in
the dental chair in order to build trust and help him or her feel comfortable.
I’m pregnant. Is it safe for me to go to the dentist?
Congratulations! Yes, it’s even more important to see your dentist during pregnancy so that changes can be monitored and
addressed quickly. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase your risk for developing oral health problems like
gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (gum disease).
In addition, the increased levels of progesterone in pregnancy may make it easier for certain gingivitis-causing bacteria
to grow. This may also make gum tissue more sensitive to plaque and exaggerate the body’s response to toxins that result
from plaque. In fact, if you already have a significant gum disease, being pregnant may make it worse.
Are dental X-rays safe?
Yes, dental X-rays are a useful diagnostic tool that Dr. Gravino uses to detect damage and disease not visible with the
naked eye or dental loupes. How often X-rays are taken depends on your present oral health, your age, any signs and symptoms
of oral disease, and your risk level for such disease.
Our new digital X-ray machines limit the low-dose radiation to a beam that targets only the areas needing to be filmed, and
digital sensors allow for much shorter exposure times and 75% less radiation. Stray radiation is almost non-existent with
the use of modern dental X-ray machines, but the use of lead-lined, full-body aprons protect against even that possibility.
Every two years, federal law requires X-ray machines to be checked for safety and accuracy.
I think I’m grinding my teeth. How can I be sure?
Waking up with pain in your jaw is a clear sign that you are grinding your teeth (called bruxing) while you sleep. You may
also be subconsciously clenching during the day, which can also be the cause of pain and persistent headaches.
Not only is it uncomfortable, but persistent bruxing/clenching can damage teeth and cause them to wear. This wearing will
eventually interfere with your occlusion (bite), which will cause harm to other teeth due to the forces from an incorrect
bite. All of this may also damage your temporomandibular (jaw) joints and result in the common disorder referred to as TMD
If you suspect that you are bruxing or clenching, please call for an appointment as soon as possible. Dr. Gravino will
diagnose your condition, take steps to restore your occlusion (bite), and most likely prescribe a custom occlusal guard to
protect your teeth and gums from future grinding habits.
I’ve heard that my silver-colored fillings contain mercury. Should I have them replaced?
When choosing a material to restore your teeth in the strongest, healthiest way possible, Dr. Gravino only uses natural-colored
composite material. We believe that the possibility exists for amalgam fillings to leech toxins into your body, and since we
are unaware of the amount and effect of those toxins, we choose to avoid amalgam materials altogether.
I’ve heard that gum disease can lead to heart disease. Is this true?
Yes. Several studies have shown that periodontal disease is, in fact, associated with heart disease. While a cause-and-effect
relationship has not been proven, scientists believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease is responsible for the
association. One theory is that the inflammatory proteins and the bacteria in the periodontal tissue enter the blood stream
and cause various effects on the cardiovascular system.
For many reasons, including its effect on our systemic health, we believe in taking aggressive action to eliminate periodontal
disease. We also provide our patients with the education, tools, and techniques for excellent home care and prevention.
Why don’t my dentures fit right anymore?
The tissues and bones of your mouth may shrink (atrophy) with the passage of time or with the gain or loss of body weight, causing
a change in the fit of your dentures. A simple reline may help them fit snugly again. However, if you’ve worn your dentures for
a number of years, or the bases are too far out of shape, it may be time for replacements. It is counterproductive to use more
denture adhesive to try to make them hold better, because this may lead to faster bone loss and additional problems with the fit
of your dentures.
This is just a sampling of often-asked questions. Have one of your own? Don’t hesitate to give us
a call at (440) 871-7040 so we can assist you.