Frequently Asked Dental Questions

  • How long do I have to wear Invisalign?

    Invisalign is worn everyday 24 hours a day. The aligners should only be removed to eat. Typically the aligners are worn for a period of 6-18 months and changed every 2 weeks.

  • How do I get dental insurance?

    Dental Insurance is readily available through a number of different sources. Your employer likely offers a plan you can buy into. You can also contact the Dental Insurance providers directly and purchase a plan from them. There are also plans available through organizations such as AAA and AARP. It should be noted that dental discount plans are available, which are not insurance, but participating dentist will honor discounted fees to members.

  • What does a cavity look like?

    Seen with the naked eye a cavity or caries looks like a dark spot on the tooth. It can be brown or black. Depending on the size of the cavity you may be able to see part of the tooth missing from decay. If you see any staining or decay on your teeth you should go to the dentist before the issue gets worse. The dentist can see cavities with xrays. Xrays are an important part of diagnosing issues with teeth and the oral cavity. On an xray a cavity shows as a dark spot within the tooth. Remember not all cavities can be seen with the naked eye – especially in between teeth.

  • What is a dental dam?

    A thin rubber sheet with a small hole cut into it is stretched on a ring. The rubber sheet is placed in the mouth leaving the tooth exposed. This isolates the tooth keeping it dry and making it easier for the dentist to work on. The dental dam also helps diminish the likelihood of swallowing debris and can make it more comfortable for the patient.

  • What is a dental bridge?

    A dental bridge is a prosthetic that can be permanently cemented into the mouth to replace missing teeth. The bridge will span between two existing teeth to take the place of the lost teeth. A bridge can replace one tooth or multiple teeth and can be made to look very natural.

  • What are dental implants?

    There are several options to replace missing teeth. The best method is a dental implant. A titanium screw is placed in the jaw bone. Over time the screw fuses to the bone. Once the healing and fusing process is complete (usually a few months) the dentist will place a crown onto the abutment which is screwed into the implant. The crown will be custom made to match your existing teeth. Dental implants are easy to place and the procedure is relatively pain free.

  • What is a dental crown?

    When a tooth has been damaged or compromised the tooth becomes weaker. This is the case after a root canal as well as a large cavity or broken tooth. A dental crown is made from metal, metal with a porcelain outer shell, porcelain or a rugged composite material. The crown is made to match your existing teeth. Once the damaged tooth is strengthened using either a fiber or metal post or a strong composite core the crown or cap is cemented over the tooth. The dental crown will look and feel just like a natural tooth and provide protection.

  • What do dentists or hygienists do when they clean your teeth?

    A very important part of oral and overall health are dental cleanings and checkups. These should be performed twice per year. During these visits the dental professional will perform several tasks. They will conduct an oral cancer screening, examine teeth for signs of decay and probe the gums to measure pockets. (Deep pockets harbor bacteria) During the cleaning process the clinician will remove tarter and plaque above and below the gum line and most importantly from between the teeth.They will then polish the teeth to remove accumulated staining.

  • When should I be making my dentist appointment?

    You should be visiting your dentist two times per year for a periodic exam, x-rays and teeth cleanings. These preventive services keep your teeth clean and healthy. If you make these regular visits and a problem is found it is usually small and can be easily repaired. You should always visit your dentist immediately should you feel any pain or discomfort.

  • When do I take my child to the dentist?

    The American Dental Association recommends that children should visit the dentist for a checkup once they have turned 1 year old. Having the child visit at this age helps to acclimate them to the dentist therefore as they age a visit to the dentist becomes normal. It is important to keep baby teeth healthy and vital until they naturally fall out. Baby teeth help with chewing, involve speech development, save space for permanent teeth and a healthy smile helps children feel good about themselves.

  • What to eat after tooth extraction?

    After having a tooth extracted you should be careful what you eat. Eating hard foods, drinking through a straw and smoking can cause irritation to the extraction site. Hot or cold liquids can also irritate the site. Eating warm liquids and soft foods such as soup, smoothies, yogurt and applesauce for 24 – 48 hours is the best way to encourage healing.

  • What are the types of dental fillings?

    There are two types of dental filling materials used today. Amalgam and composite. Amalgam is the silver filling material and has been used for many years. Recently amalgam has been found to contain mercury and can expand and contract causing cracked teeth. The more modern composite resin is tooth colored and very durable. It should be noted that most states require dental offices to have an amalgam separator which removes amalgam from the environment.

  • When can kids get braces?

    Children should be seen by the family dentist once they turn one. The child should return to the dentist two times a year for cleanings, x-rays and exams. If the general dentist recommends that the child should consult an orthodontist then it is time to do so. The age of the child at which this can happen varies. Sometimes getting to the orthodontist early helps with future treatment.

  • How do I replace missing teeth?

    There are several ways to replace missing teeth. Each case is handled differently depending on many variables, including patient need and treatment cost. The most permanent option is a dental implant. Other options include dentures, partials and bridges