FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following are answers to questions we hear on a routine basis. Please take a moment to see if your question is answered here. If not, or if you would like additional information, please feel free to contact us.
I REALLY DO NOT LIKE VISITING THE DENTIST. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP ME RELAX?
Our practice functions in a relaxed atmosphere, allowing you to feel comfortable throughout your visit. For apprehensive patients and for certain procedures, we also offer oral sedation.
WHAT DIFFERENT PAYMENT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE?
We proudly offer a variety of payment options to our patients. We accept cash, check, most major credit cards, and CareCredit. As a courtesy to our patients, we also accept dental insurance. However, dental insurance often does not cover all treatment costs, so we also ask for additional financial information in such an event.
I had a filling done a few weeks ago and that tooth is sensitive. Is that normal?
Sometimes when teeth are worked on, it can create some temporary sensitivity that hopefully ultimately goes away. There are many variables that determine whether or not this happens, how long the sensitivity lasts, and whether or not it returns to normal after enough time passes. The depth of the decay or old restorative material is one big factor. The closer those things are to the nerve of the tooth, the more likely you are to have residual sensitivity. In most cases, time will resolve these issues but if you experience pain that is spontaneous (waking you from sleep, etc.), that is usually a sign that there may be more serious problems with the nerve. If you feel like you are hitting that tooth first (it is high in your bite), a simple adjustment will almost always fix the problem. Please let us know if you feel like there is a problem.
I had a tooth extracted a few days ago and it feels like there is still some tooth present.
Let me assure you that we do not leave tooth structure behind when we extract teeth. There are however times when small bony chips may begin to work their way through your gums as the extraction site heals. Sometimes these come out on their own and other times we have to go in and retrieve them. It is not a major problem to do this although we do normally have to get you numb so that you are comfortable as we do it.
One of my front teeth looks like it is getting darker. Why is that?
We hear this question all the time and unfortunately the answer usually lies in an event that happened years before. Any time a tooth has a traumatic event (getting hit with a softball, the steering wheel of a car, the handlebars of a bicycle, the bottom of a swimming pool, etc.) there is a good chance that the nerve in that tooth may actually die over a period of time. That period of time can sometimes be decades long and in most cases there never is any pain or swelling associated with this event. As the nerve dies, the tooth begins to slowly darken and it is so gradual that it isn’t even noticed at first. Textbooks will tell you that the tooth needs a root canal and then should be restored appropriately, usually with a crown. Sometimes an internal bleaching procedure can buy you some time in that it will lighten the tooth structure from the inside out after the root canal is completed and thus delaying the immediate need for a crown.
Why can’t I just buy a sleep guard at the drugstore instead of paying more for one that I get at the office?
People who have bruxism issues (grinding and/or clenching their teeth) can have all kinds of symptoms resulting from their habits. The first step in getting a handle on this problem is to have a bite splint fabricated. This is a hard appliance that fits over the biting surfaces of either your lower or upper arch. If done correctly, it helps put you in an anatomical position of comfort that hopefully will keep your muscles from triggering in the first place, but even if they do still fire up you are moving on a smooth surface instead of your teeth battling against each other. There is significant scientific data to suggest that the types of appliances that are bought at a drugstore not only don’t resolve your problem but in many cases can actually make it worse. Most of the store bought appliances are soft (like a football mouthguard) and encourage you to want to chew or grind through it.
What is a dry socket?
After a tooth has been extracted a blood clot will form in the socket. This protects the bone and will aid with healing. If the blood clot becomes dislodged the bone will be exposed to air and debris, thus causing it to dry out causing a "dry socket." This is a very painful condition that will require as much as 10-14 days to heal after the onset. Following post operative instructions is crucial in preventing this from occurring.
What type of toothpaste and mouth rinse do you recommend?
Fluoride is one of dentistry’s greatest inventions. Fluoride is proven to prevent decay and strengthen weak spots in our teeth. We strongly recommend hygiene products containing fluoride, which will be listed on their packaging. Be careful with whitening toothpastes, many of them are abrasive and can harm your teeth as they whiten. Contact our office for more effective and safer whitening options.
Do I actually need to floss?
Of course! Even if it’s just a couple times each week, it will greatly improve your oral health. While brushing cleans the majority of your mouth, flossing makes direct contact in between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. This disturbs the bacteria in between your teeth and prevents plaque from forming. This bacteria is known to cause gum inflammation, periodontal disease, bad breath and tooth decay. If you notice your gums are bleeding when you floss, simply make it more of a habit. Over time your gums will toughen up and become healthier. Healthy gums are pink and firm and will enhance your smile esthetically as well!
Is an electric toothbrush better than my manual toothbrush?
Although most people brush adequately with a manual toothbrush, some electric brushes have built in timers for 2 minutes, which is the recommended brushing time. They are known to remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes. Generally, electric toothbrushes have smaller heads than manual brushes making it easier to clean the “hard-to-reach” surfaces. Bottom line, twice per day use of any toothbrush is the preferred practice!
I feel like I suffer from bad breath, is there something I can do to help it?
There are several causes for bad breath, formally known as “halitosis.” Foods and bacteria are the main culprits. Using a mouth rinse is a short term solution, but removal of the bacteria will provide best results. When brushing and flossing your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue as well! Your tongue gathers the majority of the bacteria in your mouth. If you think your breath is severe, there are products such as tongue scrapers and brushes to help with the condition.