How often should I see a dentist?

The American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines recommend you visit your dentist, for a professional cleaning and comprehensive oral examination, at least twice a year. Our office also recommends visiting us a minimum of twice a year to maintain optimal oral health.

What can I expect during my first appointment?

A staff member will compile your medical and dental history at your first visit to our office. We will then examine your teeth and gums by not only one of our licensed clinicians, but with the help of dental radiographs and intra oral pictures. These images will show the hygienist and the dentist what is visible underneath your gums and what is not visible to the naked eye. We will also complete an oral cancer screening and complete a TMJ (temporomandibular or jaw joint) exam.  After we review all of this information we will provide you with a diagnosis and present you with a treatment plan to discuss your options for care and the fee payment to aid you in choosing the plan that best fits your needs.

Can I get my teeth whitened at your office?

Yes! We offer are multiple options for bleaching teeth: daily, custom-daily, or in-office. Daily, over the counter bleaching products are available at your local grocer or available for purchase in our office at stronger professional strength levels (i.e. Crest Professional Whitestrips). Custom-daily bleaching requires us to make an impression of your teeth to allow us to make a custom whitening gel delivery tray that fits your teeth. We provide you with bleaching gel that gets put into the tray and can be worn for a few hours during the day or overnight depending on the strength of gel selected. This process takes approximately two weeks. Our in-office bleaching option takes approximately 90 minutes and a stronger gel is applied directly by a dentist for immediate results. Patients often leave the office with 3-6 shades lighter teeth and trays are made for home use to get further results. We consider the in-office treatment an excellent “jump start” for those with impatience for results or an upcoming event.

Does bleaching damage my teeth?

  • No. When carbamide peroxide, the active whitening agent in whitening products, contacts water and hydrogen peroxide is released, this whitens the teeth. Bleaching does not soften, demineralize or weaken the teeth. During bleaching, teeth are more affected to discolor and staining agents (i.e. smoking, red wine, dark beverages, soy sauce, etc.) should be avoided.
  • You may experience hot/cold sensitivity following whitening. If this occurs, contact your dentist for ways to help in eliminating discomfort. Follow directions precisely, do not extend bleaching time beyond directions.

What can be done for painful ulcers or canker sores in the mouth?

Ulcers can be very difficult to treat. There is no proven technique or treatment that can be done to eliminate ulcers or to cure them. There are however, a few over-the-counter medications (Oragel, Ambesol, Colgate Peroxyl mouth rinse) that can aid in temporary relief from the pain and symptoms that come with ulcers.  An in-office application of Debacterol medication can lessen the discomfort and decreases healing time. Ulcers will generally diminish and disappear on their own in 7-10 days.

What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in your mouth reacting with the plaque (build-up of sugars and carbohydrates in your food) left behind on teeth after eating. This reaction produces acid which damages the enamel over time and weakens the tooth. Once tooth decay eats through the tough outer enamel layer, it can spread more quickly through the next dentin layer and may or may not cause pain before it reaches the pulp or nerve of the tooth.  Early cavity detection and treatment with a restoration (filling) can help prevent the need for root canal therapy or tooth loss.  See More >

What is gum disease?

Periodontitis or periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease. Early gum disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. This leaves deep pockets where plaque and bacteria can build up. Periodontitis can progress until the bones that support the teeth are damaged. Teeth may get loose and fall out or need to be removed.

Does periodontal disease hurt?

Not always. Periodontal complications can become very serious and advanced without any pain at all. This being said, it is particularly important to be aware of the warning signs: swollen gums, receded gums, bleeding gums when brushing and flossing, teeth rotating or changing position, pus or swelling around gums.

What is scaling and root planing and why is it done?

Root planing is a technique performed by a hygienist in a dental office to stop the advancement of periodontal disease. The procedure consists of cleaning below the gum line and smoothing the roots. When the roots of the teeth are smooth, the gums will usually reattach to the root stopping the bacteria from spreading and attacking the bone supporting the teeth. This aids in helping stop the progression of periodontal disease.

I grind my teeth at night, how can I stop?

Grinding your teeth can be very damaging to the teeth and also very difficult to stop. If grinding is occurring at night, teeth can be worn down to the gumline because you may not be aware of your habit. You may also grind your teeth as a result of stress. If this is occurring, first try removing the stress trigger. If grinding persists, a night guard can be made to prevent further damage to the teeth. Over the counter guards are available as well, but often do not provide as good of comfort, balance, or longevity as would a custom made dental nightguard made by your dentist.

What are dental implants and how do they work?

  • Dental implants are substitutes for natural tooth roots. They consist of a metal post or appliance that replaces the patient’s tooth root or roots. They rely on the jawbone for support just the way natural teeth do. The patient’s new teeth feel, work, and look just like natural teeth. When well placed, implants can now be used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture.  ***ANY STRAUMANN EDUCATION LINK? or SCAN BROCHURE
  • Dental implants have lasted in a patients mouth for 30+ years when the patient has stayed on a preventive maintenance regimen to help insure the long-term success of the implants and teeth

When is the best time to remove wisdom teeth?

When the removal of wisdom teeth is determined necessary, it is best done when the roots are not fully formed; typically between the ages of 15-23. Removal at this time allows for an easier procedure and decreases the risk of complications.

At what age should my child first see a dentist?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends regular dental check-ups, including a visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth, and no later than the child’s first birthday. Preventive care such as cleanings and if necessary, fluoride treatments, provide children with ‘smile’ insurance. Routine dental exams uncover problems that can be easily treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems like dental anxiety and tooth decay. It can also be a great learning experience for parents to know the proper ways to clean their child’s teeth and identify his or her needs. Bringing your child to the dentist early can lead to a lifetime of good oral care habits. If an area of concern is noticed, then the child should see a dentist as soon as possible.

Why is it important to fix decay in baby teeth? Aren't they going to come out anyway?

Maintaining the baby teeth is extremely important because they hold the space for the future eruption of permanent teeth.  If a baby tooth is lost too early, whether due to decay or accident, the space necessary for the permanent teeth needs to be protected by a space maintaining device (cemented band and loop or similiar device) or the space for the new teeth is lost and can only be regained through orthodontic treatment (braces). Baby teeth with decay can also cause permanent teeth to develop unhealthy or with stains or pits.

Are payment plans available for my dental treatment?

Yes. We accept multiple types of dental insurance and will process your claim for you upon receipt of your co-payment. We also accept most major credit cards and can provide you information regarding Care Credit. Care Credit is a part of GE Capitol which offers health care financing for consumers for procedures that are not covered or fully covered by insurance. http://www.carecredit.com/

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