New Patients
FAQ
 
Are you taking new patients?
YES. Because our patients love us they often refer their friends and family because they want to see them receive the same level care. We are proud of the confidence our patients have placed in us.
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How safe are dental X-rays?
There is very little risk in dental X-rays. We are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.
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How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then we can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.
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What happens at my first visit?
In order to treat each and every patient, as an individual with unique dental needs it is vital to completely assess their current oral health. We perform an oral cancer screening, we look at muscles and joints that open and close the mouth. We will look at your teeth, and gums and bone that hold the teeth in (the peridontium). We then take photos and x-rays when necessary. With this information we can determine the type of treatment that is right for you.
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How can I make my teeth whiter?
There are several methods to make teeth whiter. We can "whiten" them in the office or place porcelain veneers. The best whitening technique has been dentist-prescribed whitening systems; they change the color of teeth with minimal (if any) side effects. Veneers are an option for more difficult cases. There are many other ways to improve the appearance of your smile. If you are interested in a cosmetic consultation to assess your cosmetic needs please let us know.
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What kind of toothpaste is best?
The most important part of brushing your teeth is the technique used.  Toothpaste is important for what it supplies, fluoride and tartar control. Be careful of the whitening brands because some are abrasive and they can remove enamel from teeth.
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Electric or manual toothbrush?
After testing numerous brushes, we have concluded that electric, if used, is the best. We usually recommend electric toothbrushes because of their design, ease of use, and availability. There are numerous models on the market that work well. If you have a question about a specific brand, please ask us.
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What do you offer for the nervous, anxious patient?
We realize that even though dental care has come, a long way in terms of patient comfort there are still those with concerns and fears.  Dental care should not be an unpleasant experience so we provide a full array of options for those patients. We offer several techniques to help you relax so please ask us about the different methods we offer.
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Crowns and Bridges

What is a Crown?
The portion of the tooth covered by enamel. Also a type of restoration that covers all or most of a decayed or damaged tooth. Restorative crowns are usually made of gold, porcelain or a combination of both and are used when a tooth cannot be restored with a filling.
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What's a Bridge?
Often used when one or more teeth are missing, a bridge consists of a replacement tooth that is attached to crowns on the adjacent teeth.  The replacement tooth is shaped to fit the contours of its adjacent teeth, and the bridge is cemented to the teeth so it doesn't come off.
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What's the procedure for a Crown or Bridge?
The procedures for making and fitting a crown or a bridge are very similar. Both require two trips to the dentist's office. During the first trip, the tooth or teeth that will be crowned will be reduced, that is, prepared to support the crown structure. This involves removing the 1-2 millimeters of tooth structure. Of course, if the tooth damage is the reason for the crown, that is the part that is removed. The reduction process leaves a thimble shape that will receive the crown or crown ends of the bridge.  An impression is made of the reduced teeth and a temporary crown or bridge is put in place to function while the final bridge or crown is being made. The laboratory uses the impression to custom make the final restoration. It is important that the crown or crowns of a bridge fit exactly to avoid decay in the future and provide good function of the artificial teeth. During the second trip, the temporary crown or bridge is removed, the area cleaned, and the final crown or bridge is cemented or bonded into place.
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What's the recovery period?
With bridges or crowns, recovery is quick, with teeth feeling back to normal within a day or two. If the teeth remain sensitive for a period longer than this, or there is pain that cannot be controlled by over-the-counter medication, you should return to your dentist. Further adjustments may need to be made with the crown or bridge placement.  Because bridges can be great traps for food, it is especially important to brush, floss, and have regular visits to the dentist after it has been placed in the mouth. As the false tooth and the crown are a single, solid piece it is not possible to floss between them. Thus, you will need to use a special flossing tool called a floss threader to go under the false tooth and keep this area of the gum healthy.
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Dentures

What will dentures feel like?
New dentures may feel awkward for a few weeks until you become accustomed to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place.  It is not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness. You may find that saliva flow temporarily increases. As your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures, these problems should diminish. One or more follow-up appointments with the dentist are generally needed after a denture is inserted. If any problem persists, particularly irritation or soreness, be sure to consult your dentist.
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Will dentures make me look different?
Dentures can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that little change in appearance will be noticeable. Dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face and profile.
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Will I be able to eat with my dentures?
Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same
time to prevent the dentures from tipping. As you become accustomed to chewing, add other foods until you return to your normal diet.  Continue to chew food using both sides of the mouth at the same time.  Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.
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Will dentures change how I speak?
Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will help. If your dentures “click” while you're talking, speak more slowly.  You may find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile. Reposition the dentures by gently biting down and swallowing. If a speaking problem persists, consult your dentist.
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How long should I wear my dentures?
Your dentist will provide instructions about how long dentures should be kept in place. During the first few days, you may be advised to wear them most of the time, including while you sleep. After the initial adjustment period, you may be instructed to remove the dentures before going to bed. This allows gum tissues to rest and promotes oral health. Generally, it is not desirable that the tissues be constantly covered by denture material.
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Should I use a denture adhesive?
Denture adhesive can provide additional retention for well-fitting dentures. Denture adhesives are not the solution for old, ill-fitting
dentures. A poorly fitting denture, which causes constant irritation over a long period, may contribute to the development of sores. These dentures may need a reline or need to be replaced. If your dentures begin to feel loose, or cause pronounced discomfort, consult with your dentist immediately.
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How do I take care of my dentures?
Dentures are very delicate and may break if dropped even a few inches. Stand over a folded towel or a basin of water when handling dentures. When you are not wearing them, store your dentures away from children and pets.  Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food deposits and plaque. Brushing helps prevent dentures from becoming
permanently stained and helps your mouth stay healthy. It's best to use a brush designed for cleaning dentures. A toothbrush with soft bristles can also be used. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes that can damage dentures.  Some denture wearers use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid, which are both acceptable for cleaning dentures. Avoid using other powdered household cleansers, which may be too abrasive. Also, avoid using bleach, as this may whiten the pink portion of the denture.  Your dentist can recommend a denture cleanser. Look for denture cleansers with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Product with the ADA Seal have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness.  The first step in cleaning dentures is to rinse away loose food particles thoroughly. Moisten the brush and apply denture cleanser.  Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage.  Dentures may lose their shape if they are allowed to dry out. When they are not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. Your dentist can recommend the best method. Never place dentures in hot water, which could cause them to warp.  Ultrasonic cleaners are also used to care for dentures. However, using an ultrasonic cleaner does not replace a thorough daily brushing.
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Can I make minor adjustments or repairs to my dentures?
You can seriously damage your dentures and harm your health by trying to adjust or repair your dentures. A denture that is not made to fit properly can cause irritation and sores.  See your dentist if your dentures break, crack, chip, or if one of the
teeth becomes loose. A dentist can often make the necessary adjustments or repairs on the same day. A person who lacks the proper training will not be able to reconstruct the denture. This can cause greater damage to the denture and may cause problems in your mouth.  Glue sold over-the-counter often contains harmful chemicals and should not be used on dentures.
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Will my dentures need to be replaced?
Over time, dentures will need to be relined, rebased, or remade due to normal wear. To reline or rebase a denture, the dentist uses the existing denture teeth and refits the denture base or makes a new denture base. Dentures may need to be replaced if they become loose and the teeth show signs of significant wear. Dentures become loose because a mouth naturally changes with age. Bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink, causing jaws to align differently. Shrinking bridges can cause dentures to fit less securely. Loose dentures can cause health problems, including sores and infections. A loose denture also makes chewing more difficult and may change your facial features. It's important to replace worn or poorly-fitting dentures before they cause problems.
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Must I do anything special to care for my mouth?
Even with full dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Every morning, brush your gums, tongue and palate with a soft-bristled brush before you put in your dentures. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important for maintaining a healthy mouth.
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How often should I schedule dental appointments?
Your dentist will advise you about how often to visit. Regular dental check-ups are important. The dentist will examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit properly. The dentist also examines your mouth for signs of oral diseases including cancer
With regular professional care, a positive attitude and persistence, you can become one of the millions of people who wear their dentures with a smile.  Information courtesy of the ADA at www.ADA.org
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Children's Dental Care

What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.
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When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.
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Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
Primary, or “baby,” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.
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What should I do if my child has a toothache?
First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible.
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Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth arrive, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.
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How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child's teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child's first birthday.
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How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
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Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?
Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced when a child is 2-3 years of age. Prior to that, parents should clean the child's teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. When toothpaste is used after age 2-3, parents should supervise brushing and make sure the child uses no more than a pea-sized amount on the brush. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
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How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?
Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy
products, and meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child's teeth from decay.  You can also ask your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your children's teeth.
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How do dental sealants work?
Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.
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How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
Have your pediatric dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child's primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting
enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without
fluoride), then your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.
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What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?
Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted
mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.
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What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist.
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How safe are dental X-rays?
There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children
are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.
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How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.
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Answers courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. If you would like to learn more, visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry web site.
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Teeth Whitening

What is in-office bleaching?
If you are a candidate for bleaching, your dentist may suggest a procedure that can be done in his or her office. This procedure is
called chairside bleaching and may require more than one office visit. Each visit may take from 30 minutes to one hour.  During chairside bleaching, the dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues.
A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent.  A number of in-office bleaching agents have the ADA Seal of Acceptance, your assurance that they have met ADA standards of safety and effectiveness.  Lasers have been used during tooth whitening procedures to enhance the action of the whitening agent. No whitening products using lasers currently are on the ADA list of Accepted products.
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What are at-home procedures and products?
There are several types of products available for use at home, which can either be dispensed by your dentist or purchased over-the-counter.  Bleaching solutions . These products contain peroxide(s), which actually bleach the tooth enamel. These products typically rely on percent carbamide peroxide as the bleaching agent, carbamide peroxide comes in several different concentrations (10%, 16%, 22%).  Peroxide-containing whiteners typically come in a gel and are placed in a mouthguard. Usage regimens vary. Some products are used for about twice a day for 2 weeks, and 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. Currently, only dentist-dispensed home-use 10% carbamide peroxide tray-applied gels carry the ADA Seal.  You also may want to speak with your dentist should any side effects become bothersome. For example, teeth can become sensitive during the
period when you are using the bleaching solution. In many cases, this sensitivity is temporary and should lessen once the treatment is finished. Some people also experience soft tissue irritation—either from a tray that doesn't fit properly or from solution that may come in contact with the tissues. If you have concerns about such side effects, you should discuss them with your dentist.
Toothpastes . All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpastes in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these ADA Accepted products do not alter the intrinsic color of teeth.
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How should I choose a whitening product?
When selecting a whitener or any dental product, be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance—your assurance that they have met ADA standards of safety and effectiveness.
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