Ask The Dentist – September 2023

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Written and Medically Reviewed by

Medically Reviewed

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts. Dr. Daniel Cho strives to provide unbiased and honest feedback regarding dental topics. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Should I Only Take Out The Wisdom Teeth That Are Bothering Me?

Generally speaking, there are not very many circumstances in which wisdom teeth are actually useful. More often than not they are problematic, whether it be due to a periodontal issue, an infection around the gum tissue, cavities or even rotting away the tooth in front. It is most predictable if the wisdom teeth are removed at a young age. Thus if one wisdom tooth is bothering you, it is in my opinion best to have all the rest removed if you are a good candidate. The older you are or more complicated the extraction may change this opinion, however if you are able to, it is best to remove all your wisdom teeth in my opinion.

What Are The White Fillings Made Of?

White fillings, also known as composite fillings, are made of synthetic resin. They are an extremely versatile material that, prior to curing, is soft and malleable. This allows for the composite to fit into oddly shaped areas. Once cured, the material hardens and becomes very tough. Composite has become the main type of filling material used today, however amalgam (also called silver or mercury) fillings are still used occasionally. 

Should I Go See A Specialist For My Procedure?

The answer, like many, is it depends. A few factors to take into consideration include the procedure itself, the complexity, the skill/education level of the providing dentist, as well as how comfortable you are with whoever is doing it. While many general dentists, including myself, have excellent experience and knowledge to provide many specialty procedures, there are some instances where the treatment is higher risk. For instance extracting a lower wisdom tooth whose roots are split with the nerve running through may be better for a specialist. However a straightforward procedure can be easily done by a competent general dentist. Choose whoever you feel most comfortable with and whose skill you trust.

How Many Cleanings Do I Need A Year?

Pretty much everyone gets between 1 to 4 cleanings per year. Most people without a past history of periodontal issues get 2 cleanings per year and those with past periodontal problems get, typically, 3 to 4 a year. This number will vary depending on a few factors which include: how quickly tartar builds up, how well you are able to keep your teeth clean, the severity of previous periodontal disease, your manual dexterity, your preferences, the doctor’s opinion, and caries risk to name a few. While the number of cleanings you receive may vary, you should get at least one per year.

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