Common Dental Questions and Answers

Dr. Alexander Ash of Studio Dental Care in Studio City, CA answers dental questions patients may have pertaining to oral care.

What are teeth made out of?

The exterior surfaces of teeth are made of an extremely hard, mineralized substance called tooth enamel. The enamel encases the dentin of a tooth, and deep within the tooth lies the pulp, which is full of nerves and blood vessels. Each tooth also contains a cementum or a ligament that attaches the root of the tooth to the jaw bone.

What is the difference between a dental hygienist and a dentist?

The difference between a dentist and dental hygienist is experience, training, and capabilities in the office. A dentist is a doctor who can perform invasive dental treatments, such as injections, fillings, root canals, bridges, and veneers. Dentists may also write prescriptions for pain medication. Dental hygienists are certified to clean teeth, perform sealants, whiten teeth, and perform deep, quadrant cleanings.

What is the purpose of a tooth polish at the dentist’s office?

At the end of a regular teeth cleaning in a professional dental office, a dental hygienist will polish teeth to remove mild surface stains and prevent bacteria from sticking to the surface of teeth. The polish is not abrasive enough to destroy the enamel of the tooth; it just buffs the surface for an overall cleaner oral feeling.

Why is fluoride helpful for teeth?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has been proven to reverse and prevent tooth decay especially in developing teeth. The mineral helps to repair teeth before decay becomes a serious, and expensive, issue.

Do you need to remove all wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth extraction is performed on an individual need basis. For example, some patients may have one wisdom tooth removed at a time, while others have all wisdom teeth extracted at a single dentist office visit. If patients have healthy wisdom teeth that do not impact other molars, and there is enough room in the mandible for additional chompers, wisdom teeth may not need to be removed. If you are unsure of whether your wisdom teeth need to be extracted, please consult a professional dentist.

Dr. Ash is the founder of Studio Dental Care. He earned his Doctorate at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, followed by two General Residencies at New York-Presbyterian / Weill-Cornell Hospital and the UCLA Sepulveda VA Hospital.

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