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 checkup and a professional cleaning. Our office also recommends a minimum of two visits per year.
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, take 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 a diagnosis with you. If treatment such as a root canal (endodontics), braces (orthodontics), or oral surgery is needed, we will plan to treat you in our office or refer you to a specialist. We will discuss your options for treatment and fees and will help you determine the best plan to fit your needs.
Q. How can I stop the spread of gum disease?
A. Periodontal disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Early and moderate periodontal disease may exhibit few, if any, symptoms. However, warning signs of advanced periodontal disease may include red, swollen, or bleeding gums; persistent bad breath; permanent teeth that are loose or separating; or, changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
During your routine checkup, your hygienist will examine you for periodontal disease. A periodontal probe is used to determine if there is any breakdown in the gum tissue attachment or if pockets have developed between your gums and teeth.
Treatment will depend on the type of periodontal disease and how far the condition has progressed. If deep pockets are found and bone has been destroyed, your dentist and hygienist may recommend deep cleaning.
To help protect against periodontal disease, it is key to prevent the buildup of plaque. Remember to have a regular professional cleaning in addition to brushing and flossing every day.
Q. What is tooth whitening?
A. Tooth whitening is a well-established procedure in cosmetic dentistry. Furthermore, carbamide peroxide, the active ingredient, has been safely used for many years in the treatment of gums and other oral soft tissue. The whitening process is effective on most discolored teeth. Darker stains, such as those caused by antibiotics, may take longer to respond to treatment. The degree of whiteness will vary from patient to patient, depending on the duration of time that the system is used. We offer two different options for whitening:
- ZOOM! in-office whitening – you will leave the office with whiter teeth after just two hours
- palescence take-home whitening – do-it-yourself whitening in the comfort of your own home (with desired results achieved in about a month)
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 into our schedule if you have a dental emergency during regular business hours. If after-hours, over the weekend, or during the holidays, please call our office for the doctor’s emergency contact number.