Here are answers to some of our more frequently asked questions. Should you have a question or concern that is not addressed in the following information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Someone from our staff will be more than happy to assist you.
The ideal time is six months after your child’s first teeth erupt. This visit can be with a pedodontist or a pediatrician. This visit will be to evaluate the eruption and discuss proper care and safeguard against problems such as baby bottle tooth decay, and teething irritations.
We start seeing children at our office as young as 3 years old. We recommend the first visit they come and watch their parent get their teeth cleaned. We have a children’s rocking chair, toys, and cartoons on. They will receive a sugar free sucker, and a trip to the treasure chest. On their first official visit, we will attempt to polish their teeth, and examine for cavities. Each visit builds trust, and as we progress, we will eventually try x-rays and fluoride treatments, as needed.
Whenever there are two teeth that are touching.
It is a possibility. Start them on toothpaste with no fluoride. They have training toothpaste you can buy at the grocery store. Then move on to the toothpaste with some fluoride. These usually come in “Little Bear” or “Thomas” training tubes. Make sure they only use a pea size amount, and spit. Do not proceed to regular toothpaste until they can really spit out all the excess. Breastfed babies should get fluoride supplements from their pediatrician if they are exclusively breastfed. Formula mixed with city water (tap water) has fluoride. Well water and most bottled water (including nursery water) do not have fluoride unless specifically labeled. Children under the age of 8 should be monitored. Your dentist will help you decide what is best as an individual. Fluoride can be an excellent tool to fight tooth decay, and help sensitivity. As with anything, too much of a good thing, can be bad. Also, use white grape juice sparingly. It has high fluoride content.
It isn’t wise to wait until wisdom teeth bother you. Early removal is recommended to avoid problems, such as an impacted tooth, pain or swelling. Studies show that extraction of wisdom teeth before the age of 25 is best. The reason is that your bone will more fully fill in the area of extraction and you will heal faster. Typically we will refer you to an oral surgeon for any complicated extractions.
General dentists are trained in all areas of dentistry. We will be happy to assist you in every area we feel we can do the best job possible for you. If there is a tooth that is more difficult to treat because of impaction, a calcified canal, severe bone loss, or any complicating factor, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist. This is in accordance to the ADA code of ethics, and the standard of care. We pride ourselves in treating each patient the same as we would treat our own families.
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is an infection of the gums and bone caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria. Plaque forms constantly on teeth and can build up if it is not removed through daily cleaning. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that chew through your gums and bone if not removed. The early stage of irritation from plaque is called gingivitis. Eventually, the tissue separates from the tooth and forms pockets. This is periodontitis. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. Proper treatment and maintenance must be done in order to control gum disease. It is treated with a special therapy called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning). Gum disease effects your entire body. The bacteria in gum disease have been linked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, low birth weight in pregnancy, osteoporosis, respiratory disease, and pancreatic cancer.
A crown is a dental restoration that covers or “caps” a tooth to restore it to its normal shape, size and function. A crown can restore a tooth when there is not enough tooth structure remaining to support a large filling. It can attach a bridge or cover a dental implant to replace missing teeth. Crowns protect weak teeth from fracturing, or restore an already fractured (or cracked) tooth. They can also cover a badly shaped or discolored tooth. They come in several types of materials. Gold, types of ceramics or porcelain, or a combination of materials. Our crowns are made in the USA, most of them by our onsite laboratory.
We have in-office whitening, custom bleaching trays, and sell professional strength Crest Whitestrips. Individual sensitivity levels should be a deciding factor in how you approach whitening. Bleaching does not whiten crowns or fillings that you have in your mouth. We will be happy to discuss this with you at your next appointment.
TMJ is short for your temporomandibular joint. If you are having pain, you may have TMD, which is temporomandibular disorder. That is treated with short term medication, in combination with moist heat and an appliance that you sleep in that is custom made. Clenching or grinding is treated with a different nighttime appliance that covers your teeth to protect them. Each case is different and has to be treated on an individual basis.
Many diseases of the oral cavity cannot be seen when we examine your mouth. An x-ray may help the dentist see small areas of decay between the teeth or below fillings, an abscess or cyst, bone loss, developmental defects, some types of tumors, the effects of trauma, and the position of unerupted teeth in children and adults. Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and unneeded discomfort and help prevent more serious health problems. Dental x-rays require very low levels of radiation exposure. A set of bitewing x-ray images taken at your cleaning creates only a small fraction of the radiation you are exposed to when flying on an airplane. You may notice the cone beam on our equipment that limit’s the size of the beam to the size of the film being used, and helps prevent scatter radiation. Our equipment is tested to ensure we keep all exposures to a minimum. We always use lead aprons to enhance protection.
Yes. Our oral cancer screening is usually done by a visual examination. We also have ViziLite Plus as a screening tool for more at risk patients. One person dies every hour from oral cancer in the United States. Oral cancer is on the rise due to age, tobacco use, and the HPV virus. We also have a brush biopsy as a painless option for any suspicious areas. We take oral cancer very seriously. We also have many tools for patients undergoing cancer treatment. For example: Clinpro5000, fluoride trays, MI paste, and Xylitol products to name a few.
We accept most insurance policies. It is important that you don’t let insurance dictate your treatment. They are not concerned with individual health, but their own bottom line. That being said, we will do everything we can to help you get the most out of your benefits. Visit our Insurance page for more information regarding insurance and payment options.
These are general post-op instructions for certain procedures we perform. If you are having symptoms that are not covered or have a dental emergency, please contact the office directly or go to your local Emergency Room.