Family |17 min read

Ask a Dentist: Your Top Dental Questions Answered!

Do you have questions you’ve always wanted to ask your dentist but are scared or embarrassed to?

Welcome to Teeth Talk with Dr. Charles Ashley Mann… This text opens a new tab to the Apple Podcast website….

In our radio show podcast with WPTF News Radio… This text opens a new tab to the WPTF News website…, you can ask our dentist your top dental questions and get the answers!

In this episode, you’ll learn:

    • Why you may be getting frequent mouth sores
    • How x-rays help keep your teeth healthy
    • What type of whitening treatment you can use for extremely stained teeth
  • And more!

Click above to listen or read the transcript below!

Jason: Welcome to Teeth Talk with Dr. Charles Ashley Mann on FM 98.6 Am 680 WPTF News Talk Traffic. Good afternoon to you. I’m Jason here with Dr. Charles Ashley Mann, head of Charles Ashley Mann Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.

Dr. Mann, how are you doing today?

Dr. Charles Ashley Mann: I’m doing wonderful. You know, even though we’ve had a lot of rain, we haven’t had the hot weather yet.

Jason: No, it’s a little sticky out there, but now we haven’t approached the 90’s yet, but that’s to come, right?

Dr. Mann: It’s coming, man. We better enjoy this.

Jason: Yeah, I’m going to enjoy this cool area inside the studio here. And we are also going to enjoy some questions from our listeners.

We love doing these shows from time to time. Our email inbox gets filled up with your questions, and we will read those questions to Dr. Mann. Then, he will answer them for you here on the show.

If you ever want to send us an email or have a question for Dr. Mann, you can email Dr. Mann at “Mann” has two “n’s” in it.

Dr. Mann, are you ready for our first question here?

Dr. Mann: I am ready.

Jason: All right, here we go. This one comes from Susan in Cary, and she says:

“Dr. Mann. I am constantly getting sores in my mouth that last for a week or more. What are these, and what is causing it?”

Dr. Mann: She’s not the only one. This is a very common thing that we see. Most of the time, it’s usually a condition called aphthous ulcers.

Some people are more prone to getting aphthous ulcers. They are created by a virus or bacteria in your mouth, and they can be very small or very large, but super, super painful.

It lasts anywhere from seven to 10 days.

We see this regularly in the office. People complain and say,

“It’s very hard to eat because it’s so painful.”

One of the reasons why it is so painful is when salt or anything acidic hits it; it really sends it off.

Or if you touch it with your tongue, if it’s on your lip – it can really interfere with your quality of life for seven to 10 days until it heals up.

One of the things that I always tell people is to avoid a high citric diet.

If you’re really prone to getting them, citrus plays a big part in creating them.

It allows the virus or bacteria to thrive. You want to stay away from acidic drinks and fruits such as pineapple or oranges.

People come in and say, “Hey, you know, I just had a pineapple, or I eat a lot of oranges or drink a lot of orange juice.”

The other thing you can do to prevent them is taking an over-the-counter supplement called lysine. And lysine has been shown to help people who get cold sores, a herpes-type virus on the lip.

But it’s also shown to help people with aphthous ulcers.

Another product that you can take is acidophilus, a supplement you can get in milk. It also has been shown to help reduce aphthous ulcers in patients.

Now, if they last longer than ten days, especially on the side of your tongue or your lips, you really want to see a dentist.

There’s a chance it could be oral cancer, which we want to jump on immediately.

But usually, aphthous ulcers disappear within seven to 10 days.


If it’s really painful you’ve had it for a couple of days; you can visit our office.

We use a laser, and it’ll take the pain away immediately.

So that’s an alternative treatment if a patient has unbearable pain with their ulcer.

Jason: For these ulcers, Dr. Mann, do they usually occur in the same spot, or is it just kind of random where they show up?

Dr. Mann: That’s a very good question, Jason.

If it’s occurring in the same spot, it’s usually a sign that it is NOT an aphthous ulcer.

An aphthous ulcer will move all over your mouth, such as switching sides of the tongue. Or it might be around the base of a tooth on your gum or on your lips.

If it’s coming out on the same spot, that is an indication that it could be oral cancer.

It needs to be looked at very closely to make sure that it’s not.

Aphthous ulcers and herpes or viruses on the lips can move around. They can occasionally come out to the same spot, but with any kind of soreness in your mouth, you don’t want it to occur in the same place.

Jason: Oh, that’s good to know. And if that’s something that you’re experiencing, as Dr. Mann has said, that’s something that you need to get checked out because it could be on the serious side.

All right, Dr. Man, let’s get to our next question here. This one comes from Cindy in Garner, and Cindy says:

“Dr.Mann, I do not want to take x-rays. When I visit the dentist, why is it required to establish as a patient at a dental office to have these sessions?”

Dr. Mann: This is always a tough question and uncomfortable conversation with people because many people don’t want to take x-rays.

They think they’re unnecessary.


There needs to be a baseline when you need to establish yourself at a dentist’s office and haven’t been to the dentist in a while.

Such as:

What are your teeth looking like?

We take x-rays because we’re looking for three things:

  • Bone loss around the teeth: An indication you have periodontal disease, or you’ve had it in the past
  • Decay: Looking for decay between your teeth
  • Infections at the bottom: This could indicate you need a root canal

There are multiple types of x-rays.

There’s something called bitewings, and bitewings determine if you have decay between your teeth.

We recommend taking these at least once a year, as decay can pop up within a year.

Suppose you’re prone to getting decay or going through some kind of radiation and cancer treatment. In that case, we recommend that you take these bitewings x-rays every six months.

The other type of x-ray is something called a periapical or a PA.

That’s when we take a picture of the bottom of the root and would help us determine if the nerve in the middle of the tooth was infected. It shows up as a dark circle around what we call the apex of the root, also known as the top of the root.

With the last type, called panoramic x-rays, we recommend once every five years.

It allows us to look at the jaw, the joints, the sinuses, and the airway.

It makes sure there are no lesions, cysts, or anything within the bone.

It allows us to look and see if you have any polyps in your sinus. And we can evaluate your airway to make sure it’s wide enough and that you’re getting enough oxygen.

If you have a narrow airway, it’ll put us on alert. Or possibly determine any sleep breathing disorders.

Suppose you’re not very prone to decay. In that case, I always tell people that the maximum amount of time you want to go without getting bitewings is about two years.

We do need that baseline.

I tell people, if you can provide a baseline for us from a previous dentist that’s a year old, then we don’t need to take x-rays.

But it’s just like a cardiologist doing tests.

If your arteries are clogged, how clogged they are will determine what procedures they can do to help you.

X-rays are much the same way in the dental office.

If we can’t see that decay in between your teeth, we need x-rays to diagnose it for us to treat it before it becomes a major problem.

Jason: It’s a powerful tool. And also, if Cindy hasn’t been to the dentist in some time:

It’s a lot more comfortable to get an x-ray these days than it was maybe even five or ten years ago, especially at your office.

The technology is better, less invasive, and a lot more comfortable.

If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment to see Dr. Mann, you can do that by going to It’s a wonderful website, and it’s easy to book an appointment.

You can also find information about Dr. Mann’s three locations. He’s got a location in Cary… This text opens a new tab to the Google Maps website…, Garner… This text opens a new tab to the Google Maps website…, Fuquay-Varina… This text opens a new tab to the Google Maps website….

Jason: Dr. Mann, you ready for some more questions?

Dr.Mann: Yes. Looking forward to it!

Jason: All right, this next one comes from Philip in Raleigh.

Phillip says:

“Dr. Mann, I have severe stains on my teeth and have been told I cannot whiten my teeth by my dentist. Is this true? And what are my options other than porcelain veneers?”

Dr.Mann: If you’d asked me five years ago if you had the option of whitening, I would say no.

Severe stains can occur from early antibiotic use, especially in the older generation when they use tetracycline for earaches and things like that.

Suppose tetracycline was used while the permanent teeth were being formed under the gum line. In that case, you get something called tetracycline staining, which is a deep stain within the tooth.

Traditional whitening does not work.

The same thing happens if you get too much fluoride. You can get something called fluorosis, which is dark stains or very bright, chalky stains.

In the past, there wasn’t a lot we could do with traditional whitening.

But now, we do have a process called KöR whitening… This text opens a new tab to the KOR website….

You’re more than welcome to look that up online.

KöR whitening is very effective for people who have those deep intrinsic stains, which are deep down into the tooth.

It’s very effective in getting the teeth white.

We’ve done quite a few tetracycline and fluorosis cases with KöR whitening, and they’ve all come out very good.

The patients were very pleased.

Most people who have perfect teeth as far as shape size and how they’re arranged in the mouth – if they had that dark staining, they don’t want to cut their teeth down to get these veneers.

Before like I said, the only option was porcelain veneers, but now they can do this with KöR whitening.

In about a month or two of using KöR whitening, they’ll have bright white teeth, and they’re smiling again.

Sometimes, people can be very antisocial, all because they really have darker teeth. But don’t let that be a deterrent because there is an affordable and prestigious KöR whitening that you can do to help.

Jason: Yeah, that’s good to know Dr. Mann!

We got another question here. This one comes from Jennifer in Knightdale. Jennifer says:

“My four-year-old child has an open bite on his front teeth. Do I need to be concerned?”

An open bite is basically when the baby teeth in the front don’t touch. When you bite your bottom jaw down, there’s an open space that you can see into, like the tongue and throat.

This is an indication of two things.


Your child is a tongue thruster, which means they’re thrusting their tongue forward, causing the teeth to open up.

When you put force against your teeth, they’re going to go opposite of that force. And the tongue is a very powerful muscle in our body.

Another thing that can create an open bite is a mouth breather.

A lot of times, these go hand in hand with tongue thrusting.

But if your child is breathing through their mouth while they’re sleeping, that’s a sign of mouth breathing. You also can watch for it during the day.

If you’re a nose breather, which is what we want, then your lips will be together, and you’ll be breathing through your nose.

We need to stop mouth breathing as early as we can.

One, because it’s a bad habit. It won’t develop their upper airway and lower airway.

Reason two, it creates what we call open bites. This includes skeletal problems such as having enough room in the mouth for permanent teeth coming in to adjust the bite, even with braces.

A lot of times, if you’re a severe tongue thruster or a mouth breather, then you may have surgery.

Another thing is, if your child is using a pacifier or sucking their thumb, that will also create an open bite. That’s a habit that needs to be stopped as well.

Jason: If you go to… This text opens a new tab to the The Healthy Start website…, you’ll see how some of these habits can be corrected.

The Healthy Start Program is something that we talk about a lot. There are also past episodes of Teeth Talk that you can listen to at Just click on the podcast section there and find Teeth Talk.

This is from James in Fuquay-Varina.

“I am a 55-year-old, and my dentist keeps recommending fluoride at my cleanings, and my insurance doesn’t cover the cost. Is it necessary? And should I bite the bullet and pay out of pocket?”

Dr. Mann: That is a very good question. Fluoride was found to help deter cavities.

This is how we found that out:

Two Indian populations were about 50 miles apart. When their oral health was evaluated, they determined that one had a high incidence of decay and one didn’t.

Yet, they had the same diet.

What they determined was it was in the water they drank. One naturally had fluoride in it, and one didn’t.

And so that’s where fluoridation became a very big thing to help prevent decay.

Of course, it’s in most municipal water. But for adults, it’s a different type of fluoride.

This fluoride is a sticky fluoride that goes around the teeth and all surfaces.

It stays there and infuses down into the teeth.

What we have determined as we get older is that our gum starts to recede.

That means they start moving down on the bottom and up on the top. That exposes a part of our tooth that’s softer called cementum.

It’s highly likely that as we get older, we start getting decay around our gum line. As we’re younger, we tend to get it in between our teeth.

But this type of topical fluoride will actually help prevent that decay around the gum line.

It also helps prevent sensitivity.

The other thing is, if you have a lot of crown and bridgework, you do have something called a margin.

The gum to where that crown meets has a micro gap there, no matter how good the dental work is.

You’re always going to have a micro-gap on that floor. Fluoride goes in and seeks out that micro gap, and it helps keep back that decay from forming around what we call the margins of the crown and bridge.

It’s a very inexpensive treatment. You shouldn’t really pay more than 15 to 25 dollars per application.

I hate that insurance doesn’t cover it because it does prevent a lot of expensive, unnecessary work, such as decay around a crown. If you get decay around a crown, then you have to spend the money and replace that crown.

Decay around the gum line ends up causing root canals quicker than if you have decay between your teeth.

I would recommend that you bite the bullet and do it at least once a year, if not twice a year, depending on your decay rate and the amount of recession you have.

And you can discuss that with your hygienist and your dentist.

Jason: Well, Dr. Mann, speaking of insurance, I want to squeeze in this last question here, before the buzzer. And this one comes actually from another James here in Raleigh.

“Dr. Mann, I do not have dental insurance, and I have some crowns and fillings that need to be done. Should I get it? Should I get insurance before starting treatment?”

The answer is no, no, no.

Dental insurance is a great benefit if your employer is paying for it. And if you have a good plan that you’ve been on for a while.

A lot of plans will require that you’re on it for a certain amount of time before they cover anything major, and crowns are considered major.

If you don’t have insurance, I would recommend that you seek out an office membership plan in the office.

We provide an office membership plan that you pay one fee for the whole year, and it includes:

  • Your cleaning twice a year
  • Your x-rays
  • Any emergency visits that you may have
  • 15% off dental work

Most dental insurance companies have a maximum that they will pay out per year, and it can be anywhere from $500 to 1500. We don’t have a maximum with a dental office membership plan.

You’re getting a large percentage off at 15% off, and you can put that premium that you were paying for your dental insurance towards the cost of the work.

I always recommend that a patient seek out a dental office membership first because it’s a better bargain for them.

Jason: Well, I appreciate you explaining that. We’re just about out of time here. If you have questions for Dr. Mann, we love doing these shows where we answer your emails. You can always email him, Dr. Mann, at

You can go to book an appointment, see Dr. Mann, or find information about the services that Dr. Mann provides.

Dr. Mann, what do we have on tap for next time?

Dr.Mann: We’re going to talk about dental implants and why it’s the number one post for replacing missing teeth or forgetting that loose denture.

Jason: Excellent. Looking forward to that show. We hope you will join us again next Sunday. You have been listening to Teeth Talk with Dr. Charles Ashley Mann on FM 98, 680 AM WPTF News Talk Traffic. Have a great day.

Looking for your permanent dentist in North Carolina?

At Charles Ashley Mann, DDS & Associates, we have the answers and solutions you need for your dental problems.

We offer dental services for you and your family, including cosmetic dentistry, family dentistry, sedation dentistry, and more! We also provide extended hours, financial solutions, and comfortable amenities. You’ll experience high-quality dentistry with a team that cares.

Become a part of our dental family now.

We happily welcome patients from all over North Carolina, including Cary… This text opens a new tab to the Google Maps website…, Garner… This text opens a new tab to the Google Maps website…, Fuquay-Varina… This text opens a new tab to the Google Maps website…, Raleigh, Angier, Lillington, Willow Spring, Holly Springs, Apex, and Clayton, NC.

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