Q. How often should I see a dentist?
A. The American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines recommend visiting a dentist at least twice a year for a check-up and professional cleaning. Our office makes specific recommendations based on each patient’s dental needs. It is most common to recommend a minimum of two visits per year. Regular healthy visits allow our patients to feel comfortable “at the dentist” and maintain an optimal level of dental health. They also make it more likely that dental issues will be discovered while they are still small, making them easier and typically much less time consuming and costly to address.
Q. What should I expect during my appointment?
A. One of our staff members will compile your medical and dental history during your first visit. We will then examine your teeth and gums, screen you for oral cancer, make X-rays of your teeth as needed and complete a TMJ (temporomandibular or jaw joint) exam. After we review your dental profile, we will discuss your dental needs with you.
If treatment such as a root canal (endodontics), braces (orthodontics) or oral surgery is indicated, we will plan to treat you in our office or refer you to a specialist. We will discuss your options for treatment and fee payment and help you determine the best plan to fit your needs.
During regular follow-up visits, we will examine your teeth and gums, screen you for oral cancer, clean your teeth and make plans for treatment, as needed. We will discuss any pain or problems you may be experiencing and answer any questions you may have. We also make sure to note and show you areas in your mouth that show a need for modification of your brushing and/or flossing techniques.
Q. What does “painless dentistry” mean?
A. Painless dentistry is a means of ensuring your total experience in our office is as stress-free and pain-free as possible. We will discuss treatment options that may require no local anesthetic and whenever possible, alleviate pain by the means most comfortable to you.
Q. What if I have an emergency?
A. Please call our office as soon as you determine that you have a dental emergency. We will be glad to work you in to our schedule if you have a dental emergency during regular business hours. After hours, over the weekend, and during holidays, please e-mail us. If your dental emergency involves pain and/or swelling, and requires immediate attention and you are unable to reach us, please go to the emergency room.
Q. Are payment plans available for my dental treatment?
A. Yes. We accept many types of dental insurance and will process your claim for you upon receipt of your co-payment. We offer a low interest rate payment plan and also accept most major credit cards. We also accept Care Credit, which is a service you can apply for that acts as a credit card specifically for dental care.
Q. Can the dentist whiten my teeth?
A. There are several methods available for whitening teeth: in-office or professional trays for use at home. One session of in-office bleaching generally lasts two hours. For at home, professional bleaching, we make an impression of your teeth and create a custom whitening tray. You fill the tray with a small amount of whitening gel for each tooth, and wear it at home. The length of time that you wear the trays at home is determined by the strength of the whitening agent that is prescribed. The wear time varies from three minutes to a couple hours per day. The at-home process takes approximately two weeks to achieve your desired shade.
Other over-the-counter daily bleaching products are available, but it is important to use any bleaching product only under the supervision of a dentist. To achieve the whitening results you desire, the ADA recommends that you seek the professional advice of a dentist, including examination and diagnosis of the cause of tooth discoloration, before you begin any whitening program. Some discoloration may not be receptive to whitening treatments, and may require other dental procedures such as placement of resin or porcelain restorations. The dentist will be able to assess your unique dental situation and recommend the best course for you to achieve the whiter smile you desire.
Regardless of the method that you choose for teeth whitening, maintenance will be required to preserve your new shade.
Q. What if I have a gap in my teeth, a chipped tooth or teeth that do not respond to normal bleaching methods?
A. We have many different procedures that can help these problems. Porcelain veneers are designed to look like your natural teeth and are individually attached to the fronts of your existing teeth. Veneers can be positioned to close gaps. Bonding utilizes a composite material made of resin to fill in areas of your teeth and correct chipping and shape problems. Both porcelain veneers and bonding are color-matched to the rest of your teeth.