Below 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.
When should my child first see a dentist?
Child's First Visit ---------
We suggest bringing your child at three years of age, when you are having your teeth cleaned. At that same visit or subsequently, 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.
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.
What is gum disease?
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 affects 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. Our crowns are made locally insuring quality control. We do not use overseas laboratories.
Why are X-rays necessary?
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 or crowns, 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 limits the size of the beam to the size of he 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. With the recent addition of digital Xray capability, we are now able to see better, larger images at half the radiation, further protecting the patient..
We accept most insurance policies. They typically pay 80% of fillings and 50% of “major” restorations (i.e. crowns and bridges).However, 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.
What can I expect after having treatment for a new crown?
Expectations after treatment for a crown ---------
Temporary: Please be careful when cleaning around the temporary restoration. Do not pull up on the temporary when flossing this area. Make sure to brush this area gently and not to chew any sticky foods on the restoration.
If your temporary comes off It is best to refrain from eating for at least 2 hours or until the anesthesia has worn off to prevent possibly injury to your soft tissue. If your temporary comes off between appointments, please call our office so that we can recement it for you.
Sensitivity: Sensitivity to hot and cold is to be expected following treatment. For the first few days, try to avoid extremely hot or cold foods and beverages. It is normal to have discomfort in the gums around the tooth after the anesthesia wears off. If you feel discomfort in the gum tissue, rinse the area with warm salt water. You can also take an Advil or Tylenol if the discomfort persists.
Permanent Crown/Bridge: When the final restoration is placed, your bite may feel a little different. This is just your mouth adjusting to the new addition. If it still feels off in a few days, please call the office for a slight adjustment.
Home Care: It is important to resume regular brushing and flossing immediately. A consistent daily home care routine will increase the longevity of the restoration.
Bleeding: It is normal for minor bleeding to occur for the first 24 hours following surgery. If slightly heavier bleeding occurs:
1. Place a piece of gauze over the surgery site. If that doesn’t seem to work, wet an individual serving tea bag in the sink and wring out as much water as possible, then bite down on it over the surgery site for 45 minutes. The tea contains tannins that aid in clot formation, allowing the bleeding to slow considerably. Do not chew on the gauze or tea bag.
2. If a steady stream of blood continues, call the office.
3. Do not suck on area where surgery occurred or drink through a straw during the first 48 hours.
1. Don't spit or rinse the surgical area on the day of the surgery.
2. The day after surgery you may gently rinse with warm salt water.
3. You may brush your teeth and your tongue after the surgery. Be careful of the surgical site.
Eating: You should start with liquids and very soft foods for the first 24-48 hours following the surgery. If the area feels a little better, you can then move on to a normal diet. Be careful of chewing on hard foods near the surgical area.
Pain & Swelling: It is normal to experience some degree of swelling. If you do experience swelling, you can place ice over your face for 20-30 minutes at a time during the first 24 hours. This should help to reduce pain and swelling. Do not ice after the first 36 hours.
Be sure to take pain medication before the anesthetic wears off. Most patients will fill their prescriptions and take as directed. For those patients who don’t like taking medicine, a couple of Tylenol or Advil may do the trick, especially if the surgery was a simple one. If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office or leave us an email. We will respond to your email by the end of the next business day.