Frequently Asked Questions

At Bjerke Dental Family Dentistry, we specialize in dental care for all ages. When you are looking for a family dentist in Eagan, Minnesota, contact us to set up your appointment.

Q: When should children start seeing a dentist regularly?

For most children, regular checkups should begin when all 20 primary teeth have erupted, or by age 2 1/2 to 3. However, we find that children are typically difficult to manage below the age of 4 for anything other than a checkup. Some children may become traumatized if they are not given the right care. We generally advise parents to bring their children in around the age of 4, but with discretion. If your child has oral pain or something doesn’t seem right, a trip to the dentist is appropriate at any age.

Q: Should a cavity be filled in an 11-year-old boy’s baby tooth? The particular tooth in question is the baby tooth in one of the top eye-teeth spaces. The Orthodontist says fill it because it’s holding the space for the eye-tooth (…braces just came off and the teeth are now straight); however, the Dentist says pull it so that the eye-tooth can drop down quicker.

This is a question of philosophy. An eye tooth will typically erupt by age 11 or 12, but not every child conforms to the schedule. We prefer to let nature take its course and let the tooth exfoliate naturally. If this would happen more than 6 months in the future, it would be appropriate to fill the cavity. Sometimes, a primary eye tooth will be ankylosed, or fused to the bone. In this case, the tooth will not loosen and exfoliate normally, and will obstruct the normal eruption of the permanent tooth. In this case, we would advocate extracting the primary tooth.

Q: What are the effects of whitening your teeth? Can it damage the teeth?

Dentist-administered bleaching treatments are thought to have little risk, except for short-term soreness of a gums and a slight increase in tooth sensitivity to heat, cold, contacts, and sweets. Please note that this technology is still new, so any long-term effects are not known. Bleaching may need to be repeated to maintain the whitening. These risks are only known for professional treatments. Over-the-counter bleaching agents often contain unknown content, making their side effects difficult to predict.

Q: Why do some people’s teeth discolor a yellow to brownish color upon aging? There are no injuries to the teeth. I have been told that it is just a part of aging.

Typically, this is just a part of aging. After a lifetime of chewing, it’s normal for your surface enamel to become worn. This allows the darker color of the underlying dentin to shine through or become exposed to the surface. Central pulp tissue them becomes calcified, and the surrounding dentinal tissue becomes sclerotic, which results in darker and opaque teeth. Recession of the gum also exposes the root surfaces, which are darker than the crowns of the teeth. These are the natural causes of darkening. Of course, some people become less motivated to clean their teeth, or may become physically incapacitated. This can cause their oral hygiene to suffer, allowing the accumulation of extrinsic staining.

Q: Well for the longest time now my gums have been really sore. They bleed all the time and I have holes in between my teeth. Is there anyone who can let me know what it is and how I can treat it? Someone told me that it was gingivitis or something like that.

Periodontal disease can be anything from mild gingivitis to severe periodontitis with bone loss. Most people are not equipped to make a precise diagnosis by themselves. We are unable to make an accurate diagnosis just from a description, and recommend you visit a dentist as soon as possible.

Q. Is there any way to reverse a receding gum line?

Gum grafting procedures are intended for this purpose. They are variable in their success, and we suggest a consultation with a periodontist (gum specialist) if you wish to investigate this treatment.

Q: Is it possible to restore gums that have receded because of disease?

Gums can be restored to their previous health, but not position and shape. If you have periodontal disease, priority should be given to eliminating the inflammation and infection. The issue of re-positioning the gum tissue higher on the roots of the teeth can then be addressed. If you do not have periodontal disease, it is sometimes possible to surgically re-position the gum tissue for greater root coverage. Again, modern techniques have improved the results of late. This is primarily a cosmetic procedure, but may also soften any root sensitivity you experience.

Q: Is a root canal for you?

Please call and schedule an evaluation to determine if a root canal is for you. Not all teeth that need this procedure will cause pain. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may need a root canal:

  • Sensitivity to Hot or Cold That Lingers
  • Pain When Chewing or Biting
  • Dull Ache
  • Spontaneous Pain
  • Throbbing or Pulsing Pain
  • Pain That Wakes You up at Night
  • a Bubble or Pimple on Your Gum That When Pressed May Release Pus or Blood (Most Likely Not Painful)
  • Pain That Persists 4 to 6 Weeks following a Filling or Replacement of a Filling
  • Chronic Pain and/or Pressure That May Extend to the Ear, Eye or Neck
  • A Tooth That Feels Loose
  • One Tooth Is Distinctly and Consistently More Sensitive than the Other Teeth
  • Your Dentist Has Diagnosed the Need for Root Canal Therapy, Either by Clinical Exam or X-Ray

Q: I came for a filling, don’t have any pain, and the doctor told me that I need root canal treatment, why?

When a deep cavity exists, it is impossible to tell for sure whether a simple filling can be placed to treat the tooth. A filling can be placed only after all decay is removed and the pulp chamber is left intact. If during the removal of decay, the pulp chamber is invaded, root canal treatment must be performed.

Q: If root canal is performed, won’t the tooth be dead?

Yes, the tooth will be considered non-vital (dead), but if the endodontic treated tooth is properly restored, it should last for many years to come comparable to a live tooth.

Q: Am I justified in spending money for root canal treatment?

The alternative is extraction and replacement of the tooth with a bridge or an implant. Besides losing and important member of the dentition, the artificial substitutes usually cost more than root canal treatment and the permanent restoration of the tooth.

Q: Will the tooth darken after treatment?

In some situations, discoloration of the tooth may occur. There are special bleaching techniques available for endodonticly-treated teeth to restore color.

Q: Will the tooth crack or fracture?

Measures will be taken while root canal treatment is in progress to prevent this from occurring. It is strongly recommended to place a crown on the endodonticly-treated tooth to prevent fracture.

Q: Can a root canal treated tooth be used as an anchor for a bridge?

Yes. With proper bone support, a nerveless tooth is an excellent bridge anchor.

Q: Is it normal for the tooth to hurt after Root Canal Treatment?

Sometimes after the RCT completed, a patient may experience pain, especially biting on the tooth. Most pain and discomfort would happen 2 – 4 days later, and then pain gradually will come down. If it happens, Tylenol or Ibuprofen, along with salt-water rinses will ease the pain.

Q: Can root canal infection always be treated successfully?

Unfortunately not. Sharp curves due to unusual root growth and extremely narrow canals occasionally make instrumentation and medication impossible; however, this does not mean the tooth necessarily must be lost, since other procedures can often save the tooth.
Contact us today to learn about the options from our dentist in Eagan, Minnesota. At our office, we handle dental care for patients in and around Eagan, Apple Valley, Burnsville, and surrounding areas.