If you are considering dental care in Riverside, we know you'll have lot of
questions. For your convenience, we would like to take the time to answer the
most commonly asked questions below.
If you have a specific question you would like to ask the Dr, please call the office: (951) 788-0858
What Are the Different Parts of a Tooth?
- Crown: the top part of the tooth, and
the only part you can normally see. The shape of the crown determines
the tooth's function. For example, front teeth are sharp and
chisel-shaped for cutting, while molars have flat surfaces for
- Gumline: where the tooth and the gums
meet. Without proper brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can build
up at the gumline, leading to gingivitis and gum disease.
- Root: the part of the tooth that is embedded in bone. The root makes up about two-thirds of the tooth and holds the tooth in place.
the outermost layer of the tooth. Enamel is the hardest, most
mineralized tissue in the body - yet it can be damaged by decay if
teeth are not cared for properly.
- Dentin: the layer of the tooth under the
enamel. If decay is able to progress its way through the enamel, it
next attacks the dentin - where millions of tiny tubes lead directly to
the dental pulp.
- Pulp: the soft tissue found in the center
of all teeth, where the nerve tissue and blood vessels are. If tooth
decay reaches the pulp, you usually feel pain.
What Are the Different Types of Teeth?
Every tooth has a specific job or function (Use the dental arch in this section to locate and identify each type of tooth):
- Incisors: the sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth (four upper, four lower) used for cutting food.
- Canines: sometimes called cuspids, these teeth are shaped like points (or cusps) and are used for tearing food.
these teeth have two pointed cusps on their biting surface and are
sometimes referred to as bicuspids. The premolars are for crushing and
- Molars: used for grinding, these teeth have several cusps on the biting surface.
What Are Cavities?
"Cavities" is another way of saying tooth decay. Tooth decay
is heavily influenced by lifestyle - what we eat, how well we take care
of our teeth, the presence of fluoride in our water and toothpaste.
Heredity also plays a role in how susceptible your teeth may be to
While cavities are generally more common among children, adults are also at risk. The types of cavities include:
- Coronal cavities - the most common type occurring in both
children and adults, coronal cavities usually are located on chewing
surfaces or between the teeth.
- Root cavities - as we age, our gums recede, leaving parts
of the tooth root exposed. Since there is no enamel covering tooth
roots, these exposed areas easily decay.
- Recurrent decay - decay can form aroun existing fillings
and crowns. This is because these areas may have a tendency to
accumulate plaque, which can ultimately lead to decay.
Adults are especially at risk for cavities if they suffer from Dry
mouth, a condition due to a lack of saliva. Dry mouth may be caused by
illness, medications, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, and may be
either temporary (days to months) or permanent, depending on its cause.
Cavities are very serious. Left untreated, a cavity can destroy your
tooth and kill the delicate nerves at its center, which may result in
an abscess, an area of infection at the root tip. Once an abscess
forms, it can only be treated with a root canal, surgery or by
extracting the tooth.
How Do I Know if I Have a Cavity?
Only your dentist can tell for sure whether you have a cavity.
That's because cavities develop below the tooth's surface, where you
can't see them. When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates (sugars
and starches), these carbohydrates are eaten by the bacteria in plaque,
producing acids that eat into the tooth. Over time, the tooth enamel
begins to break down beneath the surface while the surface remains
intact. When enough of the sub-surface enamel is eaten away, the
surface collapses, forming a cavity.
Cavities are most likely to
develop in pits on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, in between
teeth, and near the gumline. But regardless of where they occur, the
best way to spot them and treat them before they become serious is by
visiting your dentist regularly for checkups.
How Can I Help Prevent Cavities?
- Brush at least twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth and below the gumline.
regular dental checkups. Preventive care can help stop problems from
occurring and keep minor problems from becoming major ones.
- Eat a well-balanced diet that limits starchy or sugary
foods. When you do eat these foods, try to eat them with your meal
instead of as a snack to minimize the number of times that your teeth
are exposed to acid.
- Use dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste.
sure that your children's drinking water is fluoridated. If your water
supply does not contain fluoride, ask us for more information.