Frequesntly asked questions from our patients.
What should I expect at my first preventative maintenance visit?
Regular dental visits are an important part of maintaining your overall health and well-being. We look forward to welcoming you to your new dental home and beginning a life-long partnership. Before your visit, you will save time by completing your new patient packet online through our secure portal. Completing your new patient packet at least 24 hours before your scheduled reservation allows us to review your health history, special requests, concerns, and perform a complimentary benefits check. When you arrive at our office, expect to be greeted by our friendly front desk coordinator who will complete check-in procedures and collect any remaining necessary information. At the time of your reservation, your clinician will meet you in the reception room and give you a tour of our modern facility. The tour will end in your treatment suite where the clinician will get to know you, offer you items from our comfort menu, review your dental and medical history, and discuss any of your concerns. Other parts of your first visit may include: taking any necessary x-rays, a physical exam, plaque and tartar removed, teeth polished, then flossed, rinsing, fluoride treatment, a warm scented towelette, comprehensive or periodontal exam with the doctor, diagnosis and treatment planning, oral cancer screening, Oral ID, home care instructions, and discuss your optimal visit frequency. You will also schedule any future treatment and discuss insurance benefits and payment arrangements with our financial coordinator. Most adults can expect their first preventative maintenance visit to last 90 minutes. Kids and teenagers can expect an hour or less.
Are electric toothbrushes better than manual toothbrushes?
Dentists generally recommend an electric toothbrush over a manual toothbrush. The vibration of electric toothbrushes allows for more micro-movements every time the bristles move across your teeth. Studies have shown electric toothbrushes decrease more plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. Oscillating (rotating) toothbrushes work better that just vibrating toothbrushes.
When should my child visit the dentist for the first time.
Children can get cavities as soon as teeth erupt, so it’s important to schedule their first dental visit no later than their first birthday. Studies show 21% of American children between 2 and 5 have cavities. If your child’s teeth are already beginning to show signs of decay, our dentists will work with you prevent further damage.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath is typically caused by bacteria present on the teeth and debris on the tongue. Poor oral hygiene, gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis, and dry mouth. A visit to our practice will help you identify the cause of bad breath and choose the treatment option best for you.
I am anxious about my dental visit. How can you help?
Over a quarter of all Americans report experiencing dental anxiety, so we have developed a Comfort Menu thoughtfully designed with items such as a neck pillow, blanket, chapstick and warm scented towelettes. Please tell any member of our team if you have any requests to feel at ease while at our practice. Our team members will also ask about your comfort levels at all steps of your visit and our dentist can recommend a sedation option that will help ease anxiety. It’s never a smart idea to skip visits to the dentist, so we encourage you to communicate openly with our considerate team so we can work together to make your visits enjoyable.
How many times a year should I have my teeth cleaned?
The connection between oral health and overall health is well known. It is important to discuss your appropriate dental visit frequency with your hygienist and dentist. Many patients with no periodontal disease symptoms or history may only need to visit the dentist for preventative maintenance visits every six months while patients who are at a higher risk of cavities or have gum disease may need to visit the dentist every three or four months. Also, some patients greatly enjoy the clean, polished, refreshing feeling following a visit with their hygienist, so they choose to schedule extra visits with us before a special event or just to feel proud of their smile.
How does pregnancy affect dental health?
Preventative maintenance visits during pregnancy is a vital part of pre-natal care. Hormonal changes in the mouth may cause cavities and swelling of the gums as well as loose teeth and bleeding. Also, studies show a link between gum disease and premature birth. Visiting the dentist during pregnancy is so important that many insurance policies include an allowance for an extra professional cleaning during this time. Many dental procedures and digital x-rays of teeth are safe to be performed during pregnancy, but we always ask that pregnant women talk to their OB before beginning treatment.
Will my treatment hurt?
Due to advances in dental anesthesia and sedation, dental procedures are more pain free than ever. We ensure the comfort of our patients during every step of their reservation and give patients full control during visits by encouraging them to raise their arm if they are experiencing any discomfort during a procedure so we can find a solution. Your clinician and dentist will discuss post-procedure care with you and prescribe medicine as needed to avoid discomfort during recovery.
What should I do if I have a dental emergency after normal working hours?
We have after-hours team members ready to help you! Call our main office phone number and leave a message with your name, phone number, and dental emergency. A caring member of our team will return your call and work with you to develop a resolution to your emergency.
What can I do about tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity can be caused by several factors including worn tooth enamel, exposed tooth roots, recession, cavities, cracks, whitening and gum disease. Fortunately, there are options to treat tooth sensitivity including specially formulated toothpaste, nightguards, rinses, and other treatments applied at home or in our practice. If you are having sensitivity during preventative maintenance visits, we can apply a paste to desensitize affected areas before treatment begins. Talk to your doctor and hygienist about where and when you experience tooth sensitivity so they can recommend a home care routine to help manage the discomfort.
Are dental x-rays safe and needed?
Our practice takes digital X-rays which uses up to 80% less radiation that traditional film-based X-rays. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) estimates a dental radiation dose is 1.5 millirems, while the average American is exposed to 30 millirems of radiation in just their food and water each year. In addition, our X-ray equipment is licensed and inspected by local and state authorities, and we only take the minimal number of required X-rays to evaluate our patients’ oral health. Dental X-rays allow our dentists to see and accurately diagnose dental problems not visible to the naked eye. They give your dentist the entire picture of your dental health. Without dental X-rays, we cannot partner to be proactive in your dental health and certain oral diseases may go undiagnosed.
Is fluoride safe & needed?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that appropriate levels of fluoride are beneficial in reducing and controlling tooth decay and promoting oral health across the human lifespan. The CDC also reports using fluoride products along with fluoridated water found in many water systems lowers the risk for tooth decay, especially for people who are at a higher risk for decay. The fluoride products we use in office and recommend for home use are at safe levels when used as recommended and are proven to reduce cavities.