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We Answer Your Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I have a cleaning, X-rays, and fluoride?

Depending on your oral health status, cleanings and fluoride treatments may be recommended every three, six or 12 months. Your dentist may also recommend additional preventive measures if you are at a moderate or high risk of developing caries. These measures may include over-the-counter or prescription therapeutic products such as fluoride mouth rinses, gels or antibacterial mouth rinses.

The schedule for needing radiographs, (X-rays), at recall visits varies according to your age, risk for disease, signs and symptoms. Recent films may be needed to detect new cavities, to determine the status of gum disease or for evaluation of growth and development. Children may need x-rays more often than adults. This is because their teeth and jaws are still developing and because their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay than those of adults.

What are sealants?

A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, (premolars and molars). This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. They act as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

Amalgam vs. Resin filling: Which should I have?

There are several types of tooth-colored materials that can be used to repair damaged or decayed teeth. Advances in dental materials and techniques offer new ways to create more pleasing, natural-looking smiles.

Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and expense of dental fillings. These factors include the components in the filling material; where and how the filling is placed; the chewing load that the tooth must bear; and the length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth.

Amalgams are composed of a mixture of silver, copper, tin and mercury, all of which combine to form a strong, stable filling material. It is durable, easy to use, and highly resistant to wear.

Resin fillings are a mixture of acrylic resin and finely ground glasslike particles that produce a tooth-colored restoration. It is preferable for obvious cosmetic reasons. Because it is bonded to the tooth it will not allow moisture to leak underneath the filling. It provides durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid-sized restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure.

The ultimate decision about what to use is best determined by the patient and the recommendation from your dentist.

Why is my dentist recommending a crown?

You may need a crown to cover a tooth and restore it to its normal shape and size. A crown can make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance. It can cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth left. It can be used to protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that’s already broken. A crown is a good way to cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped. It’s also used to cover a dental implant.

If your dentist recommends a crown, it’s probably to correct one of these conditions. Your dentist’s primary concern, like yours, is helping you keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright.

Which type of whitening is best for me?

Everybody loves a bright white smile, and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of yours. You can take several approaches to whiten your smile:

In-Office Bleaching - If you are a candidate for bleaching, your dentist may suggest a procedure the can be done in his or her office. This procedure may require more than one office visit. Each visit may take from 30 minutes to 2 hours. In our office we use the Zoom system which is the same system used in the television program “Extreme Makeovers.”

At-Home Bleaching - There are several types of products available for use at home, which can either be dispensed by your dentist or purchased over-the-counter. Usage regimens vary. Some products are used for about twice a day for 2 weeks, while others are intended for overnight use for 1-2 weeks. If you obtain the bleaching solution from your dentist, he or she can make a custom-fitted mouthguard for you that will fit your teeth precisely.

Toothpastes - All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpastes have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness.

Will your staff be able to answer dental insurance questions?

Dental office staff cannot answer specific questions about your dental benefits or predict the level of coverage, because plans written by the same benefits company or offered by the same employer may vary according to the contracts involved. Your plan sponsor, (often your employer), usually is the best resource to explain the individual design features of your plan and answer specific questions about your coverage. Our staff will gladly get a basic run-down of your insurance plan and print out an estimated treatment plan for you to review.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call us at 317-706-1111.