Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: How can I make my teeth whiter?

ANSWER: There are many products and procedures available to brighten your smile. Before you purchase any number of the tooth whitening products in the store or online, it is important to understand what is causing your teeth to stain, the risks, as well as the benefits to whitening your teeth. Your first step should be to schedule an examination and cleaning of your teeth. At this time, your dentist or hygienist can review your oral health with you, any medications that you may be taking, as well as make recommendations for any dietary changes or teeth bleaching products or procedures that will work for you.

QUESTION: When should my child first see a dentist?

ANSWER: This is a common question asked by many first time parents. It is recommended by the American Dental Association, American Academy of General Dentistry, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, that your child's first dental visit should take place around 12 months of age or shortly after the eruption of the first baby tooth. Do not wait until your child has a toothache or a dental emergency to take him/her to the dentist for the first time. The experience may be very traumatic and one the child will probably remember for many years to come. As a result, the child may develop a fear of the dentist and that fear is sometimes very hard to overcome.

QUESTION: What is a missing tooth clause?

ANSWER: About 90% of dental insurance plans have what is called a "missing tooth clause". What this clause means, is that the dental insurance will not provide coverage, (will not pay), for any dental procedure that replaces a missing tooth or teeth prior to the date in which the dental coverage became effective. In other words, lets say that you had a tooth extracted on March 1, 2006. Your dental coverage did not begin until August 7, 2006. It is now October 26, 2006 and you have consulted with your dentist about options for replacing a missing tooth. (A partial, bridge, or implant) Because the tooth was extracted in March, but your dental coverage did not begin until August, your insurance will not pay for the partial, bridge, or implant if the policy has a "missing tooth clause".

QUESTION: My dentist told me I need a root canal. What is a root canal procedure?

ANSWER: A root canal procedure is a procedure by which the nerve, (pulp tissue) , is removed from the inside of the tooth. There are many causes of why the nerve in the tooth becomes sore. Decay and trauma are the two most common causes. This irritation of the nerve is called pulpitis. The tooth is held into the jawbone by 1-3 roots, depending on the tooth. Inside each root, is an area called the pulp chamber. The nerve branches off from the center of the tooth into each root. Whenever the nerve becomes sore and irritated, the nerve begins to die. This dead nerve tissue and miscellaneous debris needs to be removed from the inside of the tooth to treat any infection and to help prevent future infections.
The root canal procedure is a relatively painless procedure and many patients are relieved when the tooth no longer hurts them anymore. This procedure is also a necessary procedure in order to save the tooth. If an abcessed tooth is left untreated, other dental problems can occur such as bone loss, swelling, and severe toothaches.

QUESTION: How often should x-rays be taken?

ANSWER: If you are a new patient, if you have had a full set of x-rays taken within the past year, ask to have your x-rays transferred to your new dentist. If you have not had x-rays taken within a year, a full set of x-rays may be taken on your first visit. Depending on your health and oral health, you may only need x-rays once every year. Other people will require more frequent x-rays due to continued treatment, diet, oral hygiene, and/or health related issues. Consult with your dentist or hygienist and together come up with an x-ray schedule that is right for you.

QUESTION: What is a dental implant?

ANSWER: A dental implant is a small titanium screw that is surgically placed in the jawbone. Dental implants are permanent and they are used to replace a missing tooth or teeth.

QQUESTION: Which toothpaste should I use?

ANSWER: There are many varities of toothpastes on the market. There is everything from gels, whitening toothpaste, tartar control toothpaste, to natural toothpaste, toothpaste made for children, and sensitive teeth. The brand of toothpaste you choose is not as important as what is in the toothpaste itself. Even if you have fluoride in your drinking water, it is still wise to choose atoothpaste that contains fluoride. Another thing to consider is, the more chemicals that are added to the toothpaste the higher at risk you are for your teeth and gums to become irritated and sensitive. Before using any of the whitening toothpaste, tartar control toothpaste, sensitive tooth toothpaste, and the likes, consult with your dentist or hygienist to see if any of these toothpastes are recommended for you.

QUESTION: How can I relieve a toothache?

ANSWER: Many people experience a toothache late in the evening, the middle of the night, or when they are not able to rush off to the dentist. Some people wait the toothache out to see if the tooth feels any better tomorrow because they just really hate going to the dentist. If you ever find yourself in a situation where your tooth is hurting and you are not able to see a dentist right away, you can relieve the toothache by placing clove oil on the tooth. Clove is a natural sedative for the nerve in your tooth and it will help to calm the nerve down and ease the toothache. You do not need to drown the tooth in clove oil for it to work. All you need to do, is take a Q-tip and dip it into the clove oil. Dab the Q-tip on a piece of sterile gauze to get the excess oil off the end. Then place the Q-tip on the tooth and swirl it around the tooth. You should begin to feel some relief. Repeat as necessary.

You will also want to take some over the counter pain reliever, at the recommended dosage even if you do not have a toothache. The medicine will work throughout the day and evening to keep the toothache at bay. It is is much easier than having the medicine wear off and then trying to treat the toothache when it's at its peak.

Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to evaluate what is causing the toothache. Do not wait. It is much easier to treat a dental problem when it is diagnosed earlier than later.

QUESTION: What can I expect on my first visit?

ANSWER: We will ask about your dental concerns, review your health history, and any medications you take. You will have a complete adult set of digital x-rays taken, a complete exam of teeth, gums, jaw movement, oral cancer screening and a periodontal evaluation. Some photos will be taken of your teeth. Our findings and recommendations will be discussed with you. Finally, we will prioritize your treatment needs and schedule the appropriate appointments. The first visit is never ‘just a cleaning’ because we need to do a thorough evaluation and gather all the important facts about your dental health first.