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Dr. Neeta Somani D.D.S

Frequently Asked Questions


  • A - A comprehensive examination is necessary in order to determine if there are potential tooth or gum problems that could cause you serious problems in the future. It is much better to treat problems early before they cause pain. Often times, the delayed detection and treatment result in more complicated and more expensive treatment. Prevention and early treatment is the best course of action.

  • A - The most common reason for bleeding gums is inflammation (gingivitis) which is caused by not brushing and flossing teeth effectively on a regular basis. This causes plaque to be left on the surface of your tooth along the gum-line. Bleeding gums is your body's natural reaction to the chronic presence of bacterial plaque. It is very important to have a professional evaluation of your mouth, as bleeding gums may indicate the possibility of gum disease (periodontitis).

  • A -Brush and floss daily and have your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis. This is a simple but often neglected treatment. Believe it or not, gum problems can often be prevented by regular care/checkups. Proper brushing and flossing is the best and most inexpensive way to prevent most dental problems from occurring in the first place.

  • A - If the soft plaque has not been cleaned off your teeth on a consistent basis, your body may undergo localized inflammation, which causes your gums to bleed and will cause you to lose the bone surrounding your teeth. The plaque can begin to harden and turn into tartar (calculus). This build up of tartar sticks to the root surfaces of your teeth. The surface of this is very porous and rough and can lead to increased accumulation of soft sticky plaque, which in turn can cause inflammation and destruction. Unfortunately, once you loose this bone it will never grow back. This destructive process is called PERIODONTITIS (gum disease). Periodontitis is thought to affect 50% of the population. Some individuals are more susceptible than others.

  • A - A deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) is a conservative procedure to treat gum disease. The plaque and tartar are thoroughly cleaned off of the root surfaces of your teeth and the infected gum pocket lining surrounding each tooth is removed. Any rough surfaces on the root are smoothened so that they are easier to keep clean. This is usually done while the patient is numb to minimize any discomfort. Doing this procedure allows us to remove the source of the irritation so that healing can occur. Most patients find the procedure comfortable and very tolerable. The end result will be improved health of the gum tissue and prevention of further bone loss.

  • A - Your Soft Tissue Management program (Home Care, Deep Cleaning, and Use of medicaments) is a non-surgical approach to control periodontal disease. There is NO CURE for periodontal disease, it can only be managed or control.

    The bacteria that causes periodontal disease re-establishes in 3 months after treatment. A 3-month RECARE visit is critically timed to disrupt these bacteria in pockets greater than four millimeters n order to disable the destructive process at its critical stage. The critical stage is when bacteria and their poisons do the most harm to the supporting structures, namely, the periodontal attachment.

    According to the ADA, for patients with adult periodontitis, supportive 3-month recare is not an option - but a requirement for successful therapy.

    Waiting longer than three months for re-care may result in advanced inflammation and may require anesthesia to eliminate when treating. Your re-care interval will be determined by your dentist to best manage your oral health.

  • A - Persistent tooth sensitivity can be caused by any of the following:

    • - tooth decay
    • cracked tooth or filling
    • grinding or clenching of your teeth
    • a dying pulp within your tooth
    • exposed root surfaces of your teeth

    It's always best to be evaluated by a dentist to determine the cause of your discomfort. There are various simple tests that can be done by your dentist to help determine the cause of your sensitivity. Ignoring these signs can lead to further complications.

  • A - Teeth that have had a root canal treatment are extremely brittle as they no longer have a nerve and blood supply. Often times, these same teeth have large fillings in them which also makes the remaining tooth structure weak and prone to breaking. However, the reverse is not true. Not all crowned teeth will need root canals.

  • A - YES! Although the crown itself can't become decayed, the root surface below the edge of the crown can develop a cavity. To prevent this, it is crucial to brush and floss around the crown just as you would with your other teeth to removed any bacterial plaque that would cause decay.

  • A - Yes, by scrubbing too vigorously or by using a hard or medium bristled toothbrush. To avoid this, always use soft, nylon brushes and brush in circular motion thinking of one tooth at a time -- not 2 or 3 teeth at a time. This will slow down your brushing and give you a chance to lighten your grip on your toothbrush. You should also angle the brush to about 45 degree angle to the gums. Change your brush every 3-4 months.

  • A - There are several options available to you for replacing a permanent tooth. The following is a list of the most common treatments:

    • a fixed bridge (a permanent restoration that is cemented in place)
    • An implant with a crown (a permanent restoration that uses a titanium screw that is placed into your jaw bone)
    • A removable partial denture (a permanent removable appliance best used in cases where there are teeth missing on both sides of your mouth
      and there is a question about loosing some teeth in the future due to gum disease)

    It is always best to have a thorough exam and x-rays taken in order to customize a treatment plan that is best for your situation. There are always options for any treatment and we feel it is extremely important to inform you of your options and to discuss with you an questions or concerns you may have before beginning any treatment.

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  • A - Also known as "esthetic dentistry," cosmetic dentistry is a branch of dentistry that implements many different procedures to improve the beauty of your smile. Cosmetic dentistry gives people a chance to have a smile that they always wanted, and boost their confidence. For numerous reasons, a person may not like his/her smile. Cosmetic dentistry can improve their smile to match their overall image, so they don't feel embarrassed of their appearance. The dental situations cosmetic dentistry can possibly address include:

    • Missing teeth or spaces between teeth
    • Darkened, yellowed or grey, stained teeth
    • Crooked teeth or "mismatched" teeth
    • "Gummy" smiles, where a larger proportion of the gums show when smiling
    • Too small, too large, too short or too thin teeth
    • Change silver amalgam fillings to natural appearing, tooth-colored restorations
    • Replace old crowns that show black lines with non-metal crowns
  • A - Some of the most common causes of tooth discoloration are; natural aging, staining food or drink (such as coffee, tea, cola, tobacco, etc.), trauma, dead nerve (pulp), old leaking fillings, and decay. Other causes of tooth discoloration are decalcification due to the chronic presence of plaque, excessive fluoride consumption (fluorisis) and tetracycline taken while the tooth is forming. Everyone's teeth darken with age due to pitting and permanent staining from years of coffee, tea or tobacco use. Also, calcification of the pulp can occur over time in response to repeated trauma (decay, grinding of your teeth, clenching of your teeth, accidental impact). Calcification can cause your teeth to appear a darker yellow or gray.

  • A -You may get a slight amount of lightening but it is not as effective or as long lasting as doing 2 weeks of home bleaching with bleaching gel and custom made bleaching trays or an in-office whitening procedure, that takes about an hour. Our office is proud to offer ZOOM! - one of the most popular whitening solutions today, as seen on the hit TV-show "Extreme Makeover". We can help you achieve your best results.

  • A - By following some simple post whitening care instructions, your teeth will always be lighter than they were before. To keep your teeth looking their best, we recommend flossing, brushing twice daily, and occasional touch-ups with at-home whitening kit.

  • A - Yes. Extensive research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth under the supervision of a dentist is safe. In fact, many dentists consider whitening the safest cosmetic dental procedure available.

  • A - Often times this is due to the shadow created by the metal at the margin of a porcelain crown. The metal is often used for strength and reinforcement for the overlying porcelain. There is a way around this problem. Your dentist can instruct the lab fabricate eithern an all porcelain crown or a metal and porcelain crown with an ALL porcelain edge (margin) to create a more natural cosmetic appearance. At our office, it is very rare for us to make crowns with metal margins.

  • A -No, porcelain does not change color when exposed to dental bleach.

  • A - Dental insurance usually does not cover cosmetic dental procedures.

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  • A - The American Dental Association recommends that a child be seen by a dentist as soon as his/her first tooth erupts, but at least no later than the first birthday. A dental visit at an early age is a "well baby checkup" for the teeth. Besides checking for early problems, the dentist can demonstrate how to brush your baby's teeth and address any adverse problems such as thumb-sucking.

  • A - If the impact was significant enough to cause concern, your child should be seen by a dentist to have the tooth evaluated. Often a tooth can recover, but occassionally the tooth may become abscessed (dead), turn dark, and cause pain. Even if the tooth appears to be OK, it is best to have it looked at and an x-ray taken so that an infection can be ruled out and also so that there is a picture to compare it to in follow up evaluations. It is important to have your child's tooth evaluated every 6 months at the time of his/her regular exam because the tooth can gradually develop a problem over time.

  • A -It is very important to retain baby teeth until they are ready to come out. Your child will be loosing his/her first tooth around age 5 and will loose the last one around age 12 to 13. Decayed baby teeth left untreated can cause your child great pain and can lead to a life threatening systemic infection. Baby teeth are important in your child's ability to eat comfortably and to chew food into easy to digest pieces. Teeth are also important in learning to speak properly and to be understood. Also, baby teeth that are extracted too early can cause early eruption of the underlying permanent tooth which may not have adequate room or the adjacent teeth may start drifting. This causes less space for the permanent tooth which therefore may lead to crowding and the need for orthodontic intervention.

  • A - In many cases, a space maintainer can be placed in order to hold the space open so that the gap doesn't close and block out the permanent teeth. An evaluation by your dentist can help you make this decision.

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  • A - Invisalign is the invisible way to straighten teeth without braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten teeth, without metal or wires.

  • A - Invisalign uses 3-D computer imaging technology to depict the complete treatment plan from the initial position to the final desired position from which a series of custom-made, clear "aligners" are produced. Each "aligner" moves teeth incrementally and is worn for about two weeks, then replaced by the next in the series until the final position is achieved.

    • Invisalign is clear. You can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing
    • Invisalign is removable. Unlike braces, you can eat and drink what you want during treatment. You can also brush and floss normally to maintain good oral hygiene.
    • Invisalign is comfortable. There are no metal brackets or wires as with braces to cause mouth irritation, and no metal or wires means you spend less time in the doctor's chair getting adjustments.
    • Invisalign allows you to view your own virtual treatment plan before you start-so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete.
  • A - Aligners are made of clear, strong medical grade plastic that is virtually invisible when worn.

  • A - Aligners are clear and look similar to tooth-whitening trays, but are custom-made for a better fit to move teeth. Some orthodontists and dentists have referred to them as "contact lenses for teeth."

  • A - For years, orthodontists and dentists have used removable appliances for limited treatment. Today, with the application of computer technology and custom manufacturing, Invisalign treats a broader range of cases with greater precision.

  • A - Worldwide, almost 250,000 patients have been treated with Invisalign. The number grows daily.

  • A - Yes, the FDA has reviewed our application and in August 1998 determined that Invisalign is exempt from 510(k) pre-market notification.

  • A - Invisalign Express is an orthodontic treatment designed to correct mild orthodontic problems such as minor crowding and spacing. Since it's designed for mild problems only, treatment time is generally less than six months. Ask your Invisalign certified doctor for more information on this new treatment.

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