Frequently asked questions

We've compiled a list below of the most common dental related questions we receive. If you have a concern not addressed here please let us know. We are always looking to improve our Q&A and make it more helpful.

You’re not alone! Whether it’s been 6 months or 6 years, it’s never too late to get back into the routine.

In a perfect world everyone would brush and floss twice a day. Plaque builds up over time and this sticky bacterial film can solidify and turn into calculus or tartar. This cement-like substance is removed by the hygienist at your regular cleaning visits. A six-month interval not only serves to keep your mouth healthy and clean, it allows potential problems to be found and diagnosed earlier.

In some instances a six-month schedule in not enough. Based on your dental history, rate of calculus buildup, and pattern of decay a 3 or 4 month interval may be needed. Your dentist can work with you to determine what will be best for you

At our office, we can arrange for you to have a thorough and educational exam appointment. We have been taking care of people just like you for over 30 years - take advantage of our experience! We’re here to help!

Dental amalgam is a filling material used by dentists to restore the proper size and shape of decayed or damaged teeth. It is an alloy, meaning a blend of different metals, that includes silver, tin, copper, and liquid mercury. It is the most commonly used filling material in the world and has been used extensively since the early 1800’s.

Amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested of all filling materials. Despite controversy over the mercury content, no health disorder or illness has ever been found to be linked to it. The FDA, CDC, and World Health Organization all view dental amalgam as a safe dental material.

If you are unsure whether amalgam is right for you, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each filling material with your dentist.

Periodontal disease is inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting bone structure, which if left untreated, can cause permanent jaw bone destruction and possible tooth loss. Untreated periodontal disease has been linked to increased risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, low birth weight babies, pre-term delivery, respiratory disease, and prostate cancer. An advanced stage of periodontal disease exhibits inflamed gums pulling away from your bone and teeth. Other signs of periodontal disease include:

  • Bad breath
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Loose teeth or teeth that have moved
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Pus coming from around the teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Tender gums
  • Bleeding gums

Treatment of early periodontal disease can be performed in-office. However, advanced stages may require surgery. Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated successfully by seeing your dentist and dental hygienist regularly and following recommended care plans.

This will vary among individuals. No bleaching method can whiten teeth permanently. Typical results vary from six months to two years. However, some people's teeth remain white for over 10 years with no touch-up treatment.

 

Does bleaching have any effect on existing dental work, such as fillings, veneers or crowns?

Tooth-colored composite (plastic resins) or ceramic (porcelain) tooth restorations can't be lightened with bleach. They remain the same color. Therefore, you will have to consider what your smile will look like if your natural teeth get lighter but your restorations do not. This is a good topic to discuss with your dentist, who can run through the options in your particular case.

 

What can I do to make the results last as long as possible?

Keep up with your regular oral hygiene routine at home and your professional cleanings at the dentist's office. Avoid tobacco and beverages that stain, such as red wine, tea and coffee. You can also consider a bleaching touch-up once or twice a year at home or at the dentist's office. Your dentist can advise you about maintenance protocols that best serve your particular needs. It is important to remember that all aspects of tooth whitening are best performed under professional supervision.

People often respond to bleeding gums with the wrong method of treatment. Usually, gums that bleed are a symptom of the onset of periodontal disease or gingivitis. But often, people stop brushing as frequently and effectively because it may be painful or it may cause the gums to bleed again. However, when gums are inflamed, brushing could help reduce the inflammation. More importantly, you should see your dentist to have a periodontal screening and recording performed in order to determine the level of disease present and the best treatment course to pursue.

It is also worth noting that chronic dental pain and discomfort are obvious signs of a problem. Over-the-counter drugs may provide some temporary relief. These medications usually only mask the existence of a problem and should be taken on a temporary basis.

It is important to see your dentist as soon as possible if your gums begin to bleed.

 

About half of women who are pregnant experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. This condition can be uncomfortable and cause swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue. A more advanced oral health condition called periodontal disease (a serious gum infection that destroys attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold teeth in the mouth) may affect the health of your baby. Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and preterm, low birth-weight babies. In fact, pregnant women with periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that's born too early and too small. The likely culprit is a labor-inducing chemical found in oral bacteria called prostaglandin. Very high levels of prostaglandin are found in women with severe cases of periodontal disease.