Our dentist, Dr. Amy Fournier and her team at Fournier Family Dentistry are here to answer your most commonly asked questions. If you have a question that is not answered here, please give our dental office in Lincoln, Nebraska, a call at 402-486-4744 today for more information.

Does an electric toothbrush clean my teeth better than a manual toothbrush?
It has been proven by a great deal of studies that regular use of an electric toothbrush is more effective in the reduction of plaque bacteria than regular use of a manual toothbrush is at the same task. Electric toothbrushes can also have helpful additional features, like a timer or a shut off if too much pressure is being applied.

Dental Insurance or Dental Assistance?
Dental benefits are NOT dental insurance. For those who have needs beyond their regular cleanings, your dental care will need more of an investment than what insurance will provide for. Your benefits package will assist you in preventive measures, but are not intended to be the only thing you need.

What do I do in a dental emergency?
Rinse out your mouth with warm water to clear food debris. Floss out any food that is trapped between your teeth. If you notice swelling, press a cold compress gently on the outside of the cheek at the site of the ache. Don’t use heat or place aspirin directly on the tooth or gum tissues that are giving you problems. Be sure to call your dentist as soon as you can.

Orthodontic Problems:
If you notice a wire jabbing your mouth or otherwise causing irritation or discomfort, put a small cotton ball, some beeswax or a bit of gauze on the end of the wire until your you can see the dentist. If a more serious condition, like a wire becoming embedded in any soft tissue in your mouth (cheek, gums, tongue, etc.), don’t try to remove it yourself. Go to your dentist as soon as possible. If a fixed appliance comes loose, or pieces break off, take all pieces of the appliance to the dentist.

Knocked-out Tooth:
Gently rinse the tooth in running water. Do not scrub the tooth. Try to gently insert the tooth into its socket to hold it in place. If you cannot do this, drop the tooth in a small container of milk or cool water. Get to the dentist ASAP (within half an hour if you can). Bring the tooth with you.

Broken Tooth:
Clear any debris or dirt from the area by rinsing gently with warm water. Press a cold compress on the outside of the face near the injury to minimize any swelling. Go to the dentist as soon as possible.

Bitten Tongue or Lip:
Apply direct pressure to the injury with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. If there is swelling, use a cold compress. If you cannot stop the bleeding, go the hospital emergency room as soon as possible.

Foreign Object Wedged Between Teeth:
See if you can get the object out using dental floss. Guide the floss with care to ensure you don’t cut your gums. If you can’t remove the object with floss, go to the dentist. Don’t attempt to remove the object with a sharp or pointed object.

Possible Jaw Fracture:
Immobilize your jaw with any means available to you (handkerchief, necktie, towel, etc.), being sure not to choke yourself or cut off your air supply. If there is any swelling, use a cold compress. Call your dentist or go directly to the hospital emergency room as soon as possible.

Do I need a root canal treatment on a tooth that already has a crown?
Sometimes. Crowns are intended to restore a tooth’s shape and function. They are put in place when the tooth is fractured, or if there is not a sufficient amount remaining in the tooth’s structure to prevent additional breaking.

If a tooth has previously been treated with a crown, you may need a root canal treatment if the tooth becomes infected or abscessed, or if injury, fracture or decay cause severe further damage to the tooth. If enough of the tooth’s structure is missing, you may need a root canal and post to retain the crown and restore the tooth.

How are periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease linked?
The bacteria that contribute to and cause gum disease also create proteins that cause inflammation and find their way into the bloodstream, having potentially disastrous effects on the cardiovascular system by making blood vessels thicken.

What is the difference between a bridge and a removable partial?

Bridges and partial dentures can both be used to replace missing teeth. The main difference being that bridges are bonded in place by the dentist and partial dentures are an oral appliance that can be removed for cleaning and sleeping.

What is xerostomia?
Xerostomia, or “dry mouth,” is a problem faced by one in four adults. This happens when the salivary glands cease to function or fail to function properly. Many medications are known to cause dry mouth, including antihistamines (for allergies), antidepressants, painkillers, diuretics/anti-hypertensives (for blood pressure) and tranquilizers. Dry mouth can be brought on by cancer treatments like radiation therapy and chemotherapy. It can also be affected by diseases like diabetes, lupus and Alzheimer’s. There are many methods of treating and managing xerostomia, including saliva substitutes, special mouthwashes, gels and sprays. You can also mitigate discomfort through regularly brushing and flossing twice a day, chewing sugarless gum, having regular dental checkups and drinking an adequate amount of water.

How do I minimize tooth wear?
You can minimize the wear on your teeth by using the correct ADA®-approved toothpaste for you and brushing using the proper technique. Be sure to use short, gentle strokes in a circular pattern with soft bristle toothbrushes.

How do I figure out what toothpaste is best for me?
Be sure to look for a toothpaste that treats and manage your particular oral health needs. Some help to lessen pain from sensitivity, some cut down plaque and tartar and others help remove stains and discoloration. Talk to your dentist to see what is most appropriate for your teeth.

What type of toothbrush should I use?
Toothbrushes take many forms and are used for many oral health functions including head size and the consistency of the bristles. Be sure to pick a toothbrush with soft or extra soft bristles with a head size appropriate for your mouth. Many patients think that harder bristles will help them to brush more effectively, but these can cause harm to the gum tissue.