Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What's the difference between the Faculty Dental Practice and the LSU School of Dentistry Clinics?
A: At the Faculty Dental Practice, our providers are the faculty who teach the students at the LSU School of Dentistry. Most are also Alumni from the School of Dentistry.
The fees we offer at the Faculty Dental Practice are fees that are in sync with other Dental Practices in the area. Our fees are not a discounted fee since our providers are faculty and not students.
Appointments at the Faculty Dental Practice do not take as long as the appointments at the school, and in most cases, extensive treatment can be completed within a couple of visits.
Q: How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
A: You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.
Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. At these visits, your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities. Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to help detect, prevent, and maintain your dental health.
Q: How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?
A: If you’re feeling somewhat self-conscious about your teeth, or just want to improve your smile, cosmetic dental treatments may be the answer to a more beautiful, confident smile.
Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last several years, not only due to the many advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials available today, but also because patients are becoming more and more focused on improving their overall health. This includes dental prevention and having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile.
There are many cosmetic dental procedures available to improve your teeth and enhance your smile. Depending on your particular needs, cosmetic dental treatments can change your smile dramatically, from restoring a single tooth to having a full mouth make-over. Ask your dentist how you can improve the health and beauty of your smile with cosmetic dentistry.
Q: What does heart disease and other medical conditions have to do with periodontal (gum) disease?
A: Many people are unaware that having periodontal disease (the destruction of gum tissue and bone that hold our teeth in place) can affect your overall health. Periodontal disease is one of the most common infections; often more prevalent than the common cold! Periodontal disease is not only the number one reason people lose teeth; it can also affect the health of your body!
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, and in its earliest stages, it’s called gingivitis. It starts when an accumulation of plaque (a colony of bacteria, food debris, and saliva) is NOT properly removed from the gums and teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins/acids that irritate and infect the gums. Eventually, if left untreated, it will progress and destroy the jaw bone that supports the teeth. When periodontal disease is not treated it can eventually lead to tooth loss!
There are numerous studies that have looked into the correlation between gum disease and major medical conditions. These studies suggest that people with periodontal disease are at a greater risk of systemic disease and indicate that periodontal disease may cause oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel to major organs and begin new infections. Research suggests that periodontal bacteria in the blood stream may:
- Contribute to the development of heart disease
- Increase the risk of stroke
- Compromise the health of those that have diabetes or respiratory diseases
- Increase a woman's risk of having a preterm, low-birth weight baby
Researchers conclude there is still much research to be done to understand the link between periodontal disease and systemic diseases, but enough research has been done to support that infections in the mouth can play havoc elsewhere in the body.
To ensure a healthy, disease-free mouth, we recommend regular dental check-ups and cleanings, which include a periodontal evaluation. Also, diligent home care and a proper diet can help reduce the plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
Q: What should I do if I have bad breath?
A: Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning.
There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent.
What may cause bad breath?
- Morning time -- Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
- Certain foods -- Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.
- Poor oral hygiene habits -- Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth.
- Periodontal (gum) disease -- Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums.
- Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances -- May also contribute to bad breath.
- Dry mouth (Xerostomia) -- May be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.
- Tobacco products -- Dry the mouth, causing bad breath
- Dieting -- Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat.
- Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals -- Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away.
- Certain medical conditions and illnesses -- Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath
What can I do to prevent bad breath?
- Practice good oral hygiene -- Brush at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gum line. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning.
- See your dentist regularly -- Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits.
- Stop smoking/chewing tobacco -- Ask your dentists what they recommend to help break the habit.
- Drink water frequently -- Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria.
- Use mouthwash/rinses -- Some over-the-counter products only provide a temporary solution to mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist about antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath, but also kill the germs that cause the problem.
In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.
Q: How often should I brush and floss?
A: Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that causes dental disease.
Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease.
Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, the use of other dental aids and a professional cleaning at least two times per year.
Tooth brushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
- Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
- Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on the tooth where it meets the gum and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
- Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
- Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
- Curve the floss into a "C" shape around each toothe and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.
Q: Why is it important to use dental floss?
A: Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrush can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that cause cavities and irritate and inflame the gums. Also, when plaque is not removed above and below the gum line, it hardens and turns into calculus (tartar). This will further irritate and inflame the gums and also slowly destroy the bone. This is the beginning of periodontal disease.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.