Thanks to the World Wide Web, information now comes to us with the click of a button. If you have a question about your oral health, you can easily search the Internet for an answer instead of paying a professional for their advice. The problem is, patients often come to our practice overwhelmed with either too much information or they’ve been duped with misinformation. Read on as cosmetic dentist Dr. Jamie Elizabeth Sands sets the record straight for some of the most common myths related to restorative and cosmetic dentistry.
1. All dental procedures must be avoided during pregnancy: Fiction
Pregnant women should avoid X-rays or dental surgery during pregnancy, but a dental check-up and cleaning is harmless and important during pregnancy. In fact, dental cleanings are encouraged during pregnancy because a woman’s gums are more sensitive and more susceptible to gum disease at this time. Furthermore, recent studies have suggested that gingivitis during pregnancy, often called “pregnancy gingivitis,” may be an independent risk factor for preterm delivery of low-birth-weight infants (PLBW). PLBW is a leading cause of neonatal death and can result in neurodevelopmental disturbances and other health problems. More studies are necessary to determine whether gum disease can be considered a direct cause for PLBW, but expectant mothers should nonetheless keep their regular dental appointments to prevent and detect any problems.
2. Porcelain veneers involve filing down the whole tooth: Fiction
Porcelain veneers do not require the entire tooth to be filed down, but in order for the veneer to look natural amongst the rest of the teeth, a very small amount of enamel must be etched away. Since a veneer can be made as thin as a contact lens, only a very small amount of the natural tooth needs to be removed to make room for the veneer.
3. Gum disease is painful: Fiction
Many people do not know they have inflamed or infected gums until they visit their dentist for a routine cleaning. Usually, these patients are in the beginning stages of gum disease (also called gingivitis), which may not be very painful. Dr. Jamie Elizabeth Sands recommends visiting her practice in Studio City, CA for a routine cleaning every six months to help detect and prevent serious gum problems.
4. Chewing gum is harmful to your teeth: Fiction
Chewing gum is good for your teeth for a couple of reasons. First, it stimulates saliva production, which limits the growth of bacteria and reverses the erosive process. Second, the mechanical act of chewing frees food particles that might otherwise remain stuck on the teeth. It is a proven scientific fact that regularly chewing gum fights plaque buildup, strengthens teeth, and prevents enamel erosion. For more information about the advantages of chewing gum, visit our previous blog post about how chewing gum is good for oral health.
5. Placing an aspirin tablet next to an aching tooth will relieve pain: Fiction
At-home remedies like placing an aspirin tablet next to an aching tooth can result in a white chemical burn on the gums and cheek where the aspirin touched. Since aspirin can only work to alleviate pain when it enters the bloodstream and interferes with the pain signals in the body, it will do nothing when placed on the surface of the tooth. If you have a toothache, it is best to visit your dentist for a diagnosis rather than try to treat the pain yourself.
6. Teeth whitening will damage enamel: Fiction
Past treatments for teeth whitening involved harsh chemicals that would sometimes cause damage to enamel if not properly monitored. Advancements in both at-home teeth whitening kits and in-office whitening products like Zoom!® have made teeth whitening safe for patients. Always follow directions with at-home whitening kits, and consult your cosmetic dentist about possible treatment options to avoid damage.
7. The cost of dental implants is very high: Fiction
While it’s true that dental implants will likely have a greater up-front cost than other tooth restoration options, they can be worth the investment in the long run. Dentures and bridges that are attached to a natural tooth root need periodic replacement and can lead to bone loss over time and loss of additional teeth. Dental implants fuse to the jawbone to create lifelong, permanent tooth replacement.
If you have a question or concern about your oral health, always consult an expert. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Jamie Elizabeth Sands has been perfecting smiles in the Los Angeles area for over fifteen years with treatments like porcelain veneers, Invisalign®, and dental implants. If you are interested in one of these procedures, please contact her Studio City practice to schedule an appointment. Call (818) 306-5153 today, or fill out our online contact form for more information.