What should I look for when choosing a dentist?
You may wish to consider several dentists before making your decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine if this is the right dentist for you.
- Is the appointment schedule convenient for you?
- Is the office easy to get to from your home or job?
- Does the office appear to be clean, neat and orderly?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques that will help you prevent dental health problems? Is dental health instruction provided?
- Are special arrangements made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
- Is information provided about fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled?
- Is your dentist a member of the ADA? All ADA member dentists voluntarily agree to abide by the high ethical standards reflected in the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct as a condition of their membership.
How often should I have dental cleanings and check-ups?
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visits to the dentist at least once every six months for a professional exam and cleaning. Regular dental visits are necessary for the maintenance of healthy gums and teeth. We may recommend more frequent visits, depending on the status of your oral health.
When should my child have his/her first dental appointment?
A child should have his first dental appointment no later than his third birthday. Many dentists recommend that a child have his first dental appointment when his first tooth comes in. Many insurance companies now make an allowance for an exam on a child less than three years of age.
Is it bad if my gums bleed after I brush my teeth?
It’s certainly not desirable to have bleeding gums following brushing. Depending on the source of the problem, bleeding gums can be caused by any of the following: improper, rough scrubbing instead of gentle, circular brushing motions: using a hard-bristled toothbrush instead of a soft one; plaque and/or tartar build-up below the gumline: or gum sensitivity due to gingivitis or periodontal disease. If this problem persists despite correct brushing and flossing methods, or occurs every time you brush, we suggest you contact our office to set up an evaluation appointment.
Why do I need x-rays? Isn’t the radiation from x-rays dangerous?
X-rays produce an image of the hard tissues in your mouth (or teeth). Teeth appear almost white on the film, while tooth decay, infections and gum disease show up as dark spots that may not be detected by a visual examination. Your dentist uses these x-ray images to determine the health of your teeth and gums. As a result, your dentist is able to treat dental problems in their earliest stages, thereby saving you money and more difficult procedures.
The radiation exposure you will have from dental x-rays is minimal. Most people do not realize that they are exposed to radiation every day from various sources, including small home appliances and minerals in the soil. Radiation from dental x-rays is very low; however, we take every precaution to minimize radiation exposure. Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Why should I be concerned about oral cancer?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), oral cancer kills more people nationwide than either cervical cancer or melanoma (skin cancer). Currently only half of all patients diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years. Good news is that it is now easier than ever to detect oral cancer early, when the opportunity for a cure is great.
Regular dental check-ups are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. You may have a very small, but dangerous, oral spot or sore and not be aware of it. In about 10% of patients, the dentist may notice a flat, painless, white or red spot or a small sore. Although most of these are harmless, some are not. To ensure that a spot or sore is not dangerous, your dentist may choose to perform a simple test, a biopsy, which can detect potentially dangerous cells when the disease is still at an early stage.
Signs of oral cancer that you may want to be aware of may include:
- a sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- a color change of the oral tissue
- a lump, thickening, rough spot, rust or small eroded area
- pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
Although oral cancer occurs most often in those who use tobacco in any form, more than 25% of oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and have no other risk factors.
Remember to see us regularly, because in many parts of the mouth you may not be able to see a small spot or sore yourself. If you do notice any of the above signs, you should call us as soon as possible.
I grind my teeth at night. Do I need treatment for this?
Patients are often concerned about the nocturnal grinding of teeth (bruxism). Often, the first indication is the noise created by the grinding on your teeth during sleep. Or, you may notice wear (teeth getting shorter) to the dentition. One theory as to the cause of grinding is stress. Another theory relates to pressure in the inner ear at night.
The majority of cases of bruxism do not require any treatment. If excessive wear of the teeth (attrition) is present, then a mouth guard (night guard) may be indicated.
I would like to have whiter teeth. What are my options?
Several options are available to help make your smile brighter and whiter. In-office whitening, at-home whitening, or Lumineers. Ask us which technique is the best suited for you.
What sets your office apart from any other dental practice I can visit?
There are several aspects of our practice that sets us apart. We strive to provide you with the excellent customer service and patient care that you deserve. We take pride in our clean and organized office, and offer several services that utilize state-of-the-art equipment, such as oral cancer screening with Velscope, digital x-rays, and monitors at your dental chair to help you view your x-rays, intra-oral camera pictures, and patient education materials. Our priority is to help you achieve a healthy smile. Our extensive knowledge allows us to provide you with many options to help you achieve maximum dental health, in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.