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Q&A

Office Policy

Oral Hygiene

Our Services


Office Policy

Can I complete the new patient forms before my first appointment?

Yes, you can download and print out the forms on the new patient forms page.  Please fill them out and either mail the forms to us or bring them with you to for your first appointment.

Which dental insurance or discount plans do you accept?

accepted

What do I do if I have a dental emergency?

Even if it’s after our regular hours, please call our office if you have a dental emergency.  If the office is closed, there will be a pre-recorded message with instructions on what to do and who to contact in case of an emergency.

What if I need to reschedule my appointment?

Every patient is important to us and therefore we schedule appointments carefully to set aside the appropriate amount of time everyone needs to receive the best treatment possible. However, we understand that there may be times when you must make changes to your appointment.  If you need to reschedule, please call our office no later than 48 hours before your scheduled appointment to reschedule.  Please try to avoid last-minute cancellations whenever possible.


Oral Hygiene

What are some tips for daily oral care?

The best way to remove plaque is by brushing and cleaning between your teeth every day, twice a day, with a soft-bristled brush.

Make sure the size and shape of your toothbrush allows you to reach all areas of your mouth easily.  Use toothpaste that contains fluoride, which helps protect your teeth from decay.  A fluoride mouth rinse, in conjunction with brushing and flossing, is also a good daily oral care habit.

Another important oral hygiene habit is to clean between your teeth once a day with floss or inter-dental cleaners.  This process removes plaque from in between your teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach.  Flossing is a key element in preventing gum disease.

We also stress the importance of eating a balanced diet and having regular dental checkups (twice a year) to keep your teeth healthy and your smile always looking its best.

How can I tell if I have gingivitis or gum disease?

Did you know that four out of five people are walking around with periodontal disease (gum disease) and don’t even know it?  Since gum disease is often painless in the early stages, many people ignore or don’t notice the early signs.  Periodontal disease can occur without evident symptoms.  It is essential to come in for regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations.  That way we can help detect and correct the problems caused by periodontal disease before it is too late. 

Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums when you brush your teeth
  • Red, swollen and tender gums
  • Gums that have started to pull away from your teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Discharge between your teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in your bite
  • Partial dentures that no longer fit properly

How often should I visit the dentist?

This depends on the state of your dental health.  For patients with healthy gums, little or no history of decay, good home dental care and no significant medical conditions, we can usually help you maintain optimal dental health with cleanings and check-ups twice a year.  However, everyone is different and some patients may require more frequent cleanings or certain dental procedures.  After performing a comprehensive dental exam, we will discuss your treatment needs and options.  Then we will develop a customized treatment plan and discuss all of your treatment options, along with the advantages and any disadvantages of each one.

It is really that important to floss every day?

In one word – Yes!  Regular flossing loosens food particles in the tight spaces where your toothbrush cannot reach.  It gets rid of plaque build-up that toothbrushes cannot remove and even exercises your gum tissues.  All such actions will help to prevent gum disease.

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath (halitosis), while unpleasant and often embarrassing, is usually an avoidable and treatable condition.  Halitosis can be caused by improper dental hygiene, lifestyle or a dental condition.

Maintaining good oral health, both at home as well as through regular cleanings and dental checkups, is essential to reducing bad breath.  Daily brushing and flossing is critical because food particles that remain in the mouth collect bacteria, which in turn cause bad breath.  Food that collects between your teeth, on your tongue and around your gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor.  By brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, you are able to remove food debris and plaque.  It is important to brush your tongue as well.  Use floss or an inter-dental cleaner once a day to thoroughly clean between your teeth.  For our patients who need extra help in controlling plaque, we recommend using a special antimicrobial mouth rinse.

Bad breath can also be caused by what you eat (such as onions or garlic).  Foods that have a strong odor continue to convey that odor through the air we exhale as they are being digested and eliminated by the body.  Even if you do brush, floss and use mouthwash, this only masks the odor temporarily until the food is finally eliminated. Tobacco products can also cause bad breath.  If you use tobacco, we strongly encourage you to kick this bad habit!

Bad breath can also be caused by what you eat (such as onions or garlic).  Foods that have a strong odor continue to convey that odor through the air we exhale as they are being digested and eliminated by the body.  Even if you do brush, floss and use mouthwash, this only masks the odor temporarily until the food is finally eliminated. Tobacco products can also cause bad breath.  If you use tobacco, we strongly encourage you to kick this bad habit!

There are many medical disorders that can impact your breath, such as a respiratory tract infection, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance and liver or kidney ailment.  If an exam reveals that your mouth is healthy, we might refer you to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the exact cause of bad breath.

If you think you have constant bad breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take.  Be sure to tell us if you’ve had any surgery or illness since your last dental appointment.  If you find you are constantly using a breath freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, come see us for an examination.   This could be a sign of an underlying medical or dental condition of which halitosis is a major symptom.

What is “dry mouth”?

Reduced saliva flow, or commonly referred to as “dry mouth,” can be caused by a number of conditions.  It may not sound very serious, but left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth and gums.  Some medications can lead to dry mouth, such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and certain diuretics.  We can help find the source of your dry mouth and recommend methods to restore moisture in your mouth once the cause is determined.  Artificial saliva, sucking on sugarless hard candy and increasing fluid intake are some common solutions to dry mouth.

What causes dulling and discoloration of teeth?

Discolorations on your teeth can be caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage.  Smokers and people who drink coffee or tea on a regular basis accelerate the discoloration process and require more frequent dental cleanings.  This is one of the most common reasons for teeth whitening.

What causes sensitive teeth?

The pain associated with tooth sensitivity can be sharp, sudden and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.

This discomfort, felt in one or more teeth, can be triggered by hot, cold, sweet or sour foods and drinks.  It can also be felt by simply breathing in cold air.

The cause of sensitive teeth is the exposure of the underlying layer of your teeth (called dentin) as a result of receding gum tissue (the protective covering of the tooth roots).  There are many factors that may lead to sensitive teeth, including brushing with too much pressure, tooth decay near the gum line, recession of the gums or plaque build-up.


Our Services

Do you do teeth whitening/bleaching?

We want you to look your best and whitening your teeth is one way to do that.  At your next appointment, we can take an impression of your upper and lower teeth and make a custom whitening tray for you to use at home.  From the comforts of home, you simply place the whitening gel in the tray and wear the bleaching trays for an hour once or twice a day. Whitening your teeth is painless and simple.  However, some people have experienced a slight increase in tooth sensitivity during the whitening process.  We recommend using sensitivity toothpaste for a week prior to starting and during the whitening process.

How can jagged teeth be corrected?

In some cases, simply reshaping (referred to as contouring) the front teeth may produce a dramatic result to correct jagged, chipped or slightly uneven teeth.  A cosmetic dentist simply utilizes sanding discs and experience to create a natural look with your existing teeth.

How often should digital x-rays be taken?

In order to help us identify any underlying conditions and perform a complete examination for new patients, we take a full set of digital X-rays on your first visit.  If you have had a full set of X-rays taken within the last year at another dental office, we ask that you have those digital X-rays transferred to us.  Depending on your overall health and your oral health in particular, you may only need digital X-rays once a year.  Some people will require them to be taken more frequently depending on their continued treatment, diet, oral hygiene and/or health-related issues.

What are dental sealants? Are they really necessary?

Dental sealants are a preventive dentistry measure that protects your molars from developing cavities.  Sealants are a polymer resin that is brushed on the chewing surface of your adult teeth and then bonded to the tooth surface with high intensity light.

Since your teeth have many grooves on the chewing surface, food particles and bacteria can accumulate in these grooves.  As the bacteria consumes the food particles, they can release an acid that destroys tooth enamel.  The end result is a cavity.  The sealant can act as a protective coating of the pits and grooves on your teeth.  Sealants fill the deep grooves with acid-resistant resin, denying the bacteria a place to live and render the tooth surface more cleanable.  This procedure is considerably less expensive than filling a cavity.

What can be done for missing teeth?

We will usually install a “bridge,” a false tooth or teeth which anchor to surrounding teeth, to replace missing teeth.  A bridge is both cosmetic and restorative in that it fills the unsightly space left by lost teeth and also supports the teeth adjacent and directly opposite to the missing teeth.  Depending on your situation, we may recommend a dental implant to fill in the space instead.

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