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San Jose, CA • (408) 479-6848

Frequently Asked Questions


Woman thinking of questions for her dentist.Below is a list of some of the questions our patients most frequently ask. If you have a question that isn't answered below, feel free to give us a call and our team at Nancy Shiba, DDS will be happy to assist you.

Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums


How often should I visit the dentist?
How often should I brush and floss my teeth?
What is the proper way to brush my teeth?
What is the proper way to floss?
What is plaque?

Periodontal (Gum) Disease


What is periodontal (gum) disease?
What are the signs of periodontal disease?
How can I prevent periodontal disease?

Teeth Whitening


Why do our teeth turn yellow?
What are the different types of teeth whitening options?
How long does teeth whitening last?

All About Dental Implants


Are implants the right decision for me?
Are implants or bridges a better choice?
Can implants be used to restore multiple teeth?
Are implants expensive?
How long do implants last?
What if I do not have enough bone in my jaw for implants?
When an implant is surgically placed, how long until I get my new tooth?
How can I get a full set of teeth in one day?

Porcelain Veneers


What are veneers?
How much of my tooth is removed with veneers?
Will my veneers change color?
How long does it take to get a set of veneers, or even just one?
How many veneers do I need?
How long do veneers last?

Other Common Questions


What can I do about bad breath?
What is cosmetic dentistry?
What is the easiest way to improve my smile?
What are composite fillings?
Should I get my mercury fillings removed?
What are the options for mercury replacement?

Answers to FAQ

How often should I visit the dentist?


You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before they get worse and harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach.

How often should I brush and floss my teeth?


The general rule for a healthy person is to brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. You should floss once a day as well. When you visit us, we will prescribe a hygiene regimen that is customized to meet your oral health goals.

What is the proper way to brush my teeth?


The following guidelines are important to brushing correctly:
•  Make sure to use a soft bristled brush. Hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth
•  Place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gum line
•  Use short back and forth strokes or tiny circular movements to brush your teeth. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth
•  Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth
•  Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth
•  Electirc toothbrushes work well, too. We can make specific recommnedations for you
•  Don't cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes

What is the proper way to floss?


The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly:
•  Take 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand. You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1–2 inches in between for cleaning
•  Gently move the floss up and down in the spaces around your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage
•  As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it up and down against the surface of one tooth. Gently clean at the gum line as well. Repeat this for the other tooth
•  Repeat this process for all of your teeth

What is plaque?


Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth, from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.

What is periodontal (gum) disease?


Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums, which can lead to the loss of bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing and tooth loss.

What are the signs of periodontal disease?


The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact your dentist if you experience any of these:
•  Gums that bleed while brushing
•  Red, swollen or tender gums
•  Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
•  Bad breath that doesn't go away
•  Pus between your teeth and gums
•  Loose teeth
•  A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
•  A change in the fit of partial dentures

How can I prevent periodontal disease?


Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. Also make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth. Periodontal disease is treated in a number of ways depending on the lcoation, severity, and your individual medical conditions. Dr. Shiba will assess and recommend the best treatment for you.

Why do our teeth turn yellow?


While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel, the outer layer of our teeth, wears down and our teeth pick up food stains. The wearing down of enamel allows the inner layer of dentin, a yellow color substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint. Colorful food, such as coffee, tea, juices, tomato sauce, soy sauce, etc. also will progressively stain our teeth with time..

What are the different types of teeth whitening options?


In-office Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening works by producing a significant color change in your teeth in a short amount of time, usually within an hour. The procedure is done at the dentist's office, by applying a high-concentration peroxide gel on the teeth after they have been protected with a special shield.

Professionally dispensed whitening films
For those who would like a disposable method, a whitening strip that is more like a pliable film, is more effective than the usual over the counter whitening strips that are less flexible. Whitening works by having the gel in direct contact with your teeth. Since the film is more pliable, it is in greater contact with the shapes of your teeth especially if there are slight misalignments.

Over the Counter Whitening Strips
Over the counter teeth whitening kits strips are store-bought and use a lower concentration gel than both in-office whitening and Custom take-home kits purchased from your doctor. While they are less expensive cheaper, they typically are less effective than methods that can be performed by your dentist because of the low concentration gel. Additionally, over the counter trays are not custom fit for your teeth, which can result in irritation to your gums while wearing the trays or incomplete whitening of your teeth.,.

How long does teeth whitening last?


That depends on your diet! Do you drink coffee daily? On average Teeth whitening usually lasts from one to two three years, before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only "touch ups" are required to maintain the whiteness.

Are implants the right decision for me?


Implants are made of titanium, a biocompatible material. They are used to replace one or more teeth, and can be an attractive option for most people. Some benefits to implants include:
•  They are integrated into bone and act like a tooth root to support new teeth
•  They do not decay or have the same gum disease risk as natural teeth
•  Implants look, feel, and act like natural teeth, unlike other options

Are implants or bridges a better choice?


A missing tooth would historically be replaced by a bridge. To anchor a bridge, the majority of the external tooth structure of the teeth on either side of the gap must be removed. With an implant, you only need a crown made on top of the implant itself to restore it, leaving the neighboring teeth undisturbed and completely intact.

Can implants be used to restore multiple teeth?


Implants can also be used to restore multiple teeth, a full set of fixed or removable teeth or even a complete denture. If you experience tooth loss, the bony ridges in your mouth start to decrease. Implants are placed and prevent bone from shrinking, leaving you many future options for tooth replacement not available otherwise.

Are implants expensive?


The cost of an implant in comparison to a bridge over time is less expensive as a bridge is typically replaced several times over a lifetime. The cost of implant care increases with the complexity of the case, the history of tooth loss and the position of the implant in the mouth.

How long do implants last?


Research has shown that implants are 98% successful: a higher success rate than almost anything else in dentistry! Under professional care, implants have a potential for lifetime durability.

What if I do not have enough bone in my jaw for implants?


Bone grafting can improve and restore the bone lost from your extraction years ago.

When an implant is surgically placed, how long until I get my new tooth?


In every case, clinical experience along with the prevailing research guides our decision to finalize the implant restoration. We always plan for long-term success and we do not rush. In some instances implants with temporary restorations may be placed in the same day. In most cases, though, your bone is allowed to heal for an average of 4 months before placing the new tooth restoration.

What are veneers?


A porcelain veneer is a thin shell of porcelain that covers the front, the edge, and a small portion of the back of an anterior tooth. Veneers are used for cosmetic as well as reconstructive purposes: to cover up stained and worn down teeth, as a means to straighten slightly crooked teeth, to change the shape and color of your teeth or to restore teeth with failing older, unsightly white or mercury fillings.

How much of my tooth is removed with veneers?


Compared with older fashioned crowns, you don't have to take away a lot of enamel with veneers, and some veneers don't require any removal of tooth structure at all! Proper planning and expertise always leads to the optimal aesthetic success and beauty.

Will my veneers change color?


Porcelain doesn't stain like most other dental materials or even natural teeth, keeping the shade of the veneers stable for their lifetime.

How long does it take to get a set of veneers, or even just one?


We can work quickly if that is your request, or we may take a longer period of time to ensure your satisfaction with the aesthetic result. Cosmetic dentistry is an art as well as a technical exercise. It is not always easy to arrive at the beauty that is in your mind's eye. We take the time necessary to produce exquisite smiles.

How many veneers do I need?


This question is best answered by looking into your own smile. If you examine your smile from the side as well as the front, a veneer candidate will frequently count 8 to 10 teeth that comprimse a good smile. Frequently a full makeover entails 20 teeth. A conservative plan considers 4 to 8 for a moderate change.

How long do veneers last?


Veneers can chip or break under severe conditions, and may have to be replaced. In my experience only the strongest materials we have today are more durable than the teeth they are restoring!

What can I do about bad breath?


Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, including the types of food you ingest, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and other causes. Going to your dentist will help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so you can take steps to eliminate it.

Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene and regular checkups with the dentist will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth, which emit odors. It will also help prevent or treat periodontal disease (gum disease) caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist). Finally, make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any bacteria.

What is cosmetic dentistry?


Are you unhappy with your smile? There are several possible ways to improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry. Options can range from whitening to veneers to crowns, with or without orthodontics preceding your care. Dr. Shiba has studied extensively to offerexceptional smile transformations, from the most subtle nuanced changes to extreme makeovers televised on the networks and in magazines.

What is the easiest way to improve my smile?


The least invasive is to whiten your teeth. This can be done in the office or at home. Keep in mind, whitening does not work well for tetracycline stained teeth, and does not whiten tooth colored fillings or porcelain. We can make specific recommendations for you.

What are composite fillings?


Composite is a tooth colored resin filling material of many different forms that can be bonded to your teeth to create an excellent restoration. Resin is used for white fillings and, in some cases, as an in-office veneer material. Resin veneers are less expensive athan porcelain veneers, but don't have the same longevity.

Should I get my mercury fillings removed?


Silver amalgam fillings were historically the material used for years. However, now we use composite fillings, which do not require the larger amount of tooth reduction that an amalgam required. Using air abrasion to remove decay, also allows us to remove only a minimal amount of tooth structure thus maintaining as much original tooth structure for overall strength. Amalgam fillings should be removed when they are worn out or have decay. Some patients elect to have amalgam fillings removed for cosmetic or health concerns.

What are the options for mercury replacement?


The answer is a very definite: It depends! We will advise of your options as it will depend on the size, location and function of the particular area. Treatment options may range from a small white composite filling to a ceramic crown.




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125 N Jackson Ave Suite 103
San Jose, CA 95116


Get in Touch
Tel: (408) 479-6848
Fax: (408) 929-8997
Email: info@nancyshibadds.com


Nancy Shiba, DDS | | (408) 479-6848
125 N Jackson Ave Suite 103 ,San Jose, CA 95116
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