Frequently Asked Questions
Please see the answers to some of our more frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t answered here, please contact our office and let our dental professionals help.
How can I whiten my teeth?
Teeth become less white due to organic molecules (stain) bonding to the outer enamel making the enamel less white, yellow, or brown.
The good news is that teeth can be whitened very easily without great expense or time spent in the dental chair.
Dental stain can be removed by the use of carbamide peroxide (dental bleaching), a potent version of hydrogen peroxide. Unlike store bought whitening strips, the use of a carbamide peroxide bleaching system from a dental office can have an almost immediate effect.
The faster method is to have a two hour in-office bleaching. The dental hygienist will use a rubber dam to protect your gums, tongue, lips and cheeks from the bleach. The hygienist will clean your teeth with pumice and the once they are clean, apply the bleach. The whitening process is accelerated by the use of shining a bright blue light on the teeth. The bleaching goes at a faster rate using the extra energy from ordinary visible blue light. In two hours, you will have beautiful noticeably white teeth.
A second method is done at home. Clear thin plastic bleaching trays are made from impressions taken at the first visit. The trays are made using a vacuum system that pulls a sheet of heated thin plastic over the dental stone models. The trays are carefully cut out of the vacu-form to extend just to above the gum line.
The patient fills the trays with a conservative amount of bleaching gel and places the trays over their rag-dried teeth and leaves them on their teeth for three hours a day. Usually the patient will elect to use them at night and fall asleep with the trays over the teeth. At some point in the night, patients will spit them out after they have done their job.
After about 7-10 nights, the teeth will have achieved their best brightness. The home system is great because the patient can redo the bleaching about every 3-4 months for a couple of nights to update the whiteness if they feel it is necessary.
How is gum disease treated?
The periodontium is the supporting structure of the teeth. You can have very nice, white, cavity-free teeth, but if they become loose from gum disease, they will eventually hurt when you eat Even worse, they will through the years painfully abscess and fall out of your mouth or need to be extracted.
Teeth are secured and supported by bone, a periodontal ligament (not unlike ligaments that hold your bones together), and the gums, or gingiva.
The periodontal sulcus, where the gum meets the tooth, is extremely strategic to care for. It is where plaque, the white furry stuff on your teeth in the morning, is most commonly trapped. If the sulcus is overlooked in daily brushing, calcium in the saliva will harden it and it will stick to the teeth along the gum. Calculus is full of bacteria which over time will erode the bone supporting the teeth. This is called periodontitis.
Periodontitis is progressive, meaning it builds on itself over years in an unhealthy mouth. Dentists and dental hygienists can identify periodontitis and treat it for you. However, once bone loss occurs, it cannot grow back. This is why regular checkups and cleanings are so important.
For those patients who have periodontitis, the degree of damage can be assessed and treated by cleaning, or scaling and root planing, with the use of local anesthetic (numbing) to minimize any pain. Perio patients will have to be carefully followed up to ensure that the diseased periodontium remains healthy.
As for all patients, brushing “harder” or with a hard bristle toothbrush does not eliminate perio disease or make the teeth cleaner. You should only use a soft bristle toothbrush to ensure not damaging the gums. Also, use the Modified Bass Brushing Technique rather than brushing the sulcus briskly as a heavy hand can actually damage the gums. Please ask the dentist or dental hygienist at Brook Trout Dental how to brush your teeth properly and what the Modified Bass Brushing method is.
What is oral surgery?
Oral Surgery at Brook Trout Dental involves the removal of teeth as needed, the repair or remodeling of bone of the jaws due to disease or trauma, and the repair of the mouth’s soft tissues due to trauma.
Although he is not an oral surgeon, Dr. Weinhandl does a great deal of oral surgery because he spent an additional year after dental school studying at Denver Health Medical Center in downtown Denver, CO. This is a Level 1 trauma center where under the direction of oral surgeons, he extracted tens of thousands of teeth and treated many emergency patients who had often experienced significant trauma (such as car accidents) or were experiencing severe dental infections with terrible purulent (pus) swellings.
Oral surgery does not need to be scary. Dr. Weinhandl does not believe in trying to get a tooth out as fast as possible to the detriment of the patient. He takes time to first explain what needs to be done and how it will be done. He takes his time with the numbing to always be gentle, again, explaining things in advance of what to expect. During the extraction, he offers the patient every chance to rest and catch your breath if you need a moment. Never will he continue if you are hurting.
If you need a tooth to be taken out, Dr. Weinhandl will be very caring and empathetic. We do not want to purposefully hurt people at Brook Trout Dental and will do our best to help you with your extraction in the kindest manner.
In addition to extractions, we often treat patients who have painful swellings that are filled with pus and need to be drained.
If a patient has been hit in the face where the teeth have been displaced or avulsed, Dr. Weinhandl is proficient in splinting teeth into place so they will heal, as well as suturing gums or other soft tissues of the mouth that may have been injured, such as a split lip or cut tongue.
Are root canals painful?
A root canal treats the tooth for the condition in which the nerve and blood vessels inside the tooth (the pulp) are dying or have died. Pulp death occurs because of advanced dental decay (cavities) or trauma. The mouth is a very warm place, 97F, and dead pulp tissue can abscess quickly because of bacteria, resulting in a great deal of pain and swellings caused by pus.
People often think a root canal is very painful and is the worst thing you can possibly have done in a dental clinic. This is untrue. Having a root canal or anything else done to an already hurting tooth is going to hurt, even touching it can hurt. That’s why Dr. Weinhandl will prescribe you an antibiotic and painkiller so you can recover and have no pain before he starts a root canal on your tooth. Most root canals he does don’t even require numbing because the tooth is already dead, there is no longer any nerve, and it is not hurting. As long as care is taken to get your tooth to the point that is not hurting anymore, a root canal can be painless and very routine.
Treatment involves removing the dead tissue with special files that are directed through the tooth to its root tip. All of the dead tissue is removed, and the interior of the tooth, or the canal, is disinfected. Once the canal is clean, it is filled with natural rubber or gutta-percha (GP). GP is inert and lasts for decades. It has been used as a root canal filling for over 150 years.
After the root canal is finished, the tooth will need a filling and possibly a crown. The mineral of teeth becomes dry and brittle after a root canal. If the tooth is in the front and relatively intact, it may not need a crown. A back tooth, a premolar or molar, will require a crown to keep it from breaking down. The last thing you want to do is to put a lot of effort into a root canal and then have it break apart when you bite down on something hard, like a piece of bone that is sometimes found in ground meats or the tine of a fork.
Do you provide children's dental care?
What is a dental office without children? A very lonely place.
Dr. Weinhandl believes one of the most beautiful sounds in the world is a child’s laugh. We enjoy kids and their innocence and the way they look at the world as they learn all about it. We want kids to learn that dentistry is easy and also that they are esteemed and welcomed by the staff at Brook Trout Dental. We don’t talk down to kids. Their beliefs and concerns about their teeth and their care are very important to us.
We love to talk to children about their dental questions. If they are afraid, this is the first place to start because a little information answering questions can go a long way to removing fear.
Pedodontic dentistry is the dental care of children and their teeth. All aspects of general dentistry are utilized as needed for their care but predominantly the prevention and treatment of cavities are the first issues.
Why treat cavities if they can first be prevented? Regular checkups, where the teeth are checked for cavities and then cleaned are vital to good dental health.
Pit and fissure sealants are often suggested to parents for the prevention of cavities in their children’s teeth. The biting surface grooves can be kept clean of food debris by using sealants. A small amount of very durable resin coating is sealed into the grooves which prevents food from accumulating and staying on the tooth for hours throughout the day. If a child can’t brush their teeth after snacks and meals while on the run through the school day, sealants will give their teeth a much better chance at dental health.
Numbing isn’t necessary for sealants. The vast majority of kids tolerate the procedure without any problems at all.
We offer the use of nitrous oxide or laughing gas. Nitrous is a safe sedative gas that is breathed in by the patient through a nosepiece. It is not intended to put the patient to sleep, but rather to relax the patient. Nitrous is used mixed with oxygen and once the procedure is over, the child will breathe only pure oxygen until they recover from the sedative effect. In the meantime, Dr. Weinhandl will have completed their filling, extraction, or whatever is necessary for treatment before children are even aware it is done.
What are removable partial dentures?
Removable Partial Dentures (RPDs) are dentures that replace partial edentulism (missing one or more teeth) to a full set of teeth.
There are two types:
1. Flipper denture- a RPD made entirely from acrylic resin. These are bulkier because they have to have strength not to break and resin is not strong unless it is thick.
Flippers are used after implants have been placed during the osseointegrative healing phase before an implant can be loaded with chewing pressure and the patient wants a plastic tooth to complete their smile.
Flippers are a less costly denture than one with a metal framework but because they are bulky, they retain more food debris. They cover the gum lines and promote gum disease unless the patient takes exceptional care of them and the remaining teeth.
2. Metal framework RPD- an RPD that uses a metal framework to be less bulky in the mouth by greater strength. The metal is usually designed to be completely hidden by the patient’s lips and tongue.
The metal framework unites the plastic teeth and retentive arms, giving a much better feeling of a less covered palate and unwanted bulk under the tongue at the front of the mouth or at the back of the mouth, depending on where the missing teeth are being replaced.
RPDs are a very cost-effective treatment to replace missing teeth, being much cheaper than fixed porcelain or gold bridges, or titanium implants.
How do you treat dental anxiety?
We have nitrous oxide or laughing gas available for the nervous patients. Nitrous is not general anesthesia, nor is it IV sedation. It is a gas that is breathed in through a nosepiece, always mixed with pure oxygen.
The laughing gas unit has a fail-safe so that at no time are you breathing in only nitrous oxide, you will always breathe in some room air but more importantly, it is designed so that it can only provide a maximum of 70% nitrous, the remainder being pure oxygen.
If you decide to use laughing gas, it will help you to relax. It is not designed to put you to sleep but often relaxed patients do fall asleep once their worries have been sedated.
We take some time to explain how nitrous works and also to show the equipment before we begin to use it. A small rubber nosepiece is placed over the nose, leaving the mouth free. Small percentages of nitrous are begun to be introduced incrementally from 0% to 5, then 10, and up to 55-65%. This is done slowly over a period of 10-15 minutes. Once the dental procedure is finished, the amount of nitrous is likewise reduced slowly back to 0% and the patient is allowed to breathe our oxygen until they feel themselves again.
Laughing gas is great for patients who are extremely worried or nervous about dental procedures.
What dental restorations are offered?
When teeth are repeatedly breaking after fillings have been done, have had root canals, or are unattractive to the patient, the patient can opt to have the teeth splinted and covered by white ceramic or porcelain, or gold. It is entirely up to the patient what material is used and depends on what the patient’s long-term goals are.
Root canals dry out teeth and make them brittle. If you bite down on something hard, like the time of a fork, or a piece of bone, the tooth will break. Sometimes it will break so badly that it will have to be extracted and all of the trouble gone through for a root canal is lost. For this reason, a molar or premolar tooth that has had a root canal should be covered by a crown. Front teeth that must be restored following the root canal with a large filling should also be crowned.
This is also true if a normal tooth without a root canal repeatedly breaks after having had a large and complicated filling completed.
Sometimes patients have premolars that have grayed because of silver fillings, leaving teeth in a smile that is noticeably dark. Sometimes patients have fluorosis, or a similar browning of front teeth that is equally dissatisfying. In such cases, a porcelain crown or veneer will change altogether to the positive how a patient feels about their smile.
Esthetic dentistry, or dentistry done to improve the looks of a smile is very personal and not for everyone. Some people don’t mind an imperfection or two, for others, this can be very embarrassing and they want a solution to a whiter, more perfect smile. Crowns and veneers are something the latter group can explore and Dr. Weinhandl will spend time with you answering your questions about this if you think this is something you want.
Our dental office provides attentive family dental care at fair prices. We will relieve your pain, protect your pocketbook, and provide you with treatment that will function for years and look fantastic. Visit today to see why patients of all ages choose Brook Trout Dental.
Excellence in Dental Care for the Entire Family
Contact Us Today for an Appointment
Don’t wait, schedule your appointment with our friendly dental team today and keep your smile healthy and bright.