Dental FAQs Gillette WY
Dental QuestionsMy 12-year-old likes to chew ice. Is this harmful?
Tooth enamel is very hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break it. Try to avoid eating “hard foods” such as popcorn. Don’t crack nut shells with your teeth or chew on ice. Opening packages with your teeth can also damage the enamel.

What kinds of drinks are bad for my teeth?
Anything with sugar and acid attacks teeth. Examples include soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, and candy. Because of the acid content, Mountain Dew seems to be the worst of the worst. Dentists even have a name for the damage it does – they call it “Dew Mouth.” These soften the tooth enamel, making it highly susceptible to decay. Parents, watch your kid’s consumption of these, because young children’s enamel hasn’t developed fully. This makes these drinks even more damaging for kids. As well as eliminating the above (or at least reducing their consumption), use a sugar-free xylitol chewing gum after meals. Also, rinse your mouth with a high-quality dental mouthwash.

Can tongue piercings cause damage?
Yes, they can look cool, but they can also fracture your teeth as well as make it much easier to get a nasty infection of the tongue and lips. Dentists have estimated that up to 40% of people who have metal rings or other oral piercings have had big problems from tooth fractures and infection.

Is fluoride bad for you?
Fluoride is fine…in small amounts. Excessive fluoride can cause tooth enamel irregularities. Young children, especially, often swallow too much toothpaste while brushing. So parents, supervise your young kids while they brush. Kids (and even adults) often use way too much toothpaste (a pea-size drop is plenty). A little goes a long way.

Teeth GrindingWhat can be done if I grind my teeth at night?
Do you wake up with pain in your jaws or a persistent headache? If so, you may be grinding (also known as bruxing) while you sleep. Persistent bruxing can damage teeth and shorten them, over time. It can also damage your temporomandibular (jaw) joints and even affect your hearing. If you suspect that you are a bruxer, tell Dr. Hopp. He may recommend a night guard or other oral appliance.

What can I do to prevent oral cancer?
When found early, oral cancers have an 80 to 90% cure rate. This means that seeing a dentist who is trained to detect and treat oral cancer is your greatest method of prevention. Each year in the US, approximately 30,000 people are newly diagnosed with oral cancer. Worldwide, the problem is far greater, with new cases annually approaching 300,000. In the US alone, a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. If you add the sub category of laryngeal cancers, the rates of occurrence (about 10,000 additional new cases per year) and death are significantly higher. We make an oral cancer exam part of every visit.

Why is it important to have regular teeth cleaning?
Did you know “teeth cleaning” does more than just clean your teeth? Removing plaque is absolutely essential if you want to preserve your teeth. It builds up on the tooth surfaces and between the teeth. Brushing and flossing are, of course, vital, but everyone needs their teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Remember – only a dental hygienist can completely clean your teeth.

TMJ DisordersHow do I know if I have a TMJ disorder?
The joint on either side of your jaw is your TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint. Pain, discomfort, or tenderness in or around these joints is usually diagnosed as a TMJ disorder.

Signs that you might have a TMJ disorder are:
   •  Facial pain or tenderness
   •  Jaw pain
   •  Pain in or around the ears
   •  Neck pain
   •  Jaw stiffness
   •  Discomfort while chewing
   •  Headaches
   •  Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
   •  Jaw “locking up”
   •  Jaw makes a clicking sound
   •  Teeth that don't come together properly when eating or chewing
There are a variety of treatment options for TMJ. Be sure to ask Dr. Hopp about these.

Do you have questions we haven’t answered here? Don’t hesitate to give us a call at
(307) 687-0444 so we can assist you.