Whether you’re looking for a solution to whiter teeth or have a nagging toothache that simply won’t go away, you may sometimes find yourself wishing that you could call up your dentist at any given moment for answers to your pressing questions and concerns. That’s why we’re officially starting a multi-part series on our blog called Ask The Dentist. Every so often, we’ll be sitting down with Dr. Paltsev at the Little Green Building so he can give us a complete overview of all the most common questions that he and Dental Hygienist Margherita Zuccaro get from their patients. We’ll be posting a new instalment of the series every month right here on the Little Green Building blog, so you don’t have to ask Google or wait for your next checkup to get all the answers to your dental health-related questions.

Take a look below and feel free to leave us a comment or a Facebook message with the questions you’d love Dr. Paltsev to answer next time:

Q: I still have my wisdom teeth. Should I get them removed?

Dr. Paltsev: Not necessarily, because not all wisdom teeth need to be extracted. It’s recommended to have your dentist look at your situation and take some X-Rays. With the X-Rays, they’ll be able to examine your particular case and determine your best recommendations.

Q: I’m not too happy with my smile  – I would like my teeth to be whiter. What are my options?

Dr. Paltsev: First, see your dentist so they can evaluate your teeth. It’s also important to mention that many stains are external and can be removed by a simple cleaning, so you should start by booking a complete cleaning and polishing with your dentist. If after your cleaning you’d still like your teeth to be whiter, by then your dentist will have an idea of what kind of whitening will be most effective for you. This might be over-the-counter products like Crest Whitening Strips. Or, your dentist may determine that you’d benefit from a professional whitening treatment. Which we offer at the Little Green Building.

Q: I noticed that my jaw keeps clicking and it’s sore when I wake up.  What do I do?

Dr. Paltsev: Jaw pain, soreness and persistent clicking are symptoms of a TMJ problem, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.  Definitely have your dentist look at it, as you might need a night guard. Most of the time, night guards help control the grinding habit that lies at the root of this problem. TMJ problems are caused by nighttime clenching, grinding and all kinds of unnecessary movements that we do. Unfortunately, most people often do it in their sleep without knowing it, which explains why your jaw is sore when you wake up. Even if it clicks and doesn’t hurt, it’s still worth having it looked at because it will likely get worse sometime in the future.

Q: How do I know if I have a cavity? What are the “warning signs”?

Dr. Paltsev: Because most cavities are asymptomatic, there’s no way for you to assess whether or not you have one. The only time when we’d actually be aware of a cavity is when it grows so big that it becomes apparent. But, at that point, it’s usually too late and you may need a root canal or some other major treatment. So, the only way to know for sure is to see your dentist regularly –  at least every six months – and to have your X-Rays taken at regular intervals.