Ask the Doctor

  • How does sedation dentistry work and is it safe?

    You are given a small pill to take an hour prior to your dental appointment. Your companion will accompany you to the office. When you arrive in our office and are comfortable, our experienced clinical team will take care of your dental needs. When your treatment is completed, your companion will return you home to finish your comfortable, relaxing day.

    Sedation dentistry is very safe. Complex dental treatments that often require six to eight appointments can be done in as little as one... all while you are in a deeply relaxed state. You will have little or no memory of the experience. You won't remember any sounds or smells. You may sleep for up to five to six hours after taking the pill. The time you are asleep will vary depending on your needed treatment.

    People who have difficulty getting numb will find that sedation dentistry eliminates this problem. Sleep dentistry is a safe way to reduce the fatigue of extended dental treatment requiring long visits. If you hate needles, have an extreme fear of dentists, experience bad gag reflex or have complex dental problems, then sedation dentistry may be your best solution.

    What causes bad breath?

    Bad breath is generally a result of dental decay and periodontitis, a disease affecting the gums and bone. Periodontitis occurs when the gums become inflamed and infected, ultimately spreading pockets of plaque and tartar from the gums to the bone that supports the teeth. The teeth may become loose and eventually fall out if left untreated. Periodontitis is treatable, but good oral hygiene is the best method of avoiding this problem.

    Is there an easy way of repairing my chipped tooth?

    Cosmetic bonding is an affordable, quick and comfortable way to repair many cosmetic flaws or injuries, including:

    • Gaps in teeth
    • Spots or stains
    • Chipped teeth

    Dental bonding sculpts individual teeth without requiring removal of any tooth structure. This technique bonds a composite material that looks, acts and feels like the real thing, to an existing tooth. This procedure usually doesn't require the use of an anesthetic; is relatively quick to apply; gives an immediate result and is less expensive than veneers.

    Is teeth bleaching safe?

    Teeth whitening may be one of the best ways to quickly whiten and brighten your smile. We offer several options for whitening your teeth:

    • In-office bleaching- A bleaching solution is applied to your teeth and is activated by heat and light. This in-office procedure typically lasts 30 minutes to one hour and significantly whitens teeth after only one visit. Although stubborn stains may require another visit, results generally last for years and can be maximized with regular dental hygiene.
    • At-home bleaching- During a visit to your dentist, you will be given a whitening gel and fitted with a custom-made whitening tray. Once you return home, you apply the gel to the tray and wear it for two to three hours per day for two or three weeks. Even with today's advanced whitening techniques, not everyone's teeth will whiten with the same results. During the visit with your dentist, your situation will be carefully evaluated and you will be advised accordingly.

    What are porcelain veneers?

    You can change the shape, color and length of your teeth using veneers. They are thin, durable shells designed to cover the front of the tooth. They are typically made of porcelain and are extremely durable, stain resistant, natural-looking and easy to maintain.

    Veneers are custom-fitted to your teeth by removing a small amount of enamel and bonding the veneer to your teeth using a safe, high tech polymer resin. You can expect veneers to stay bright and strong for many years by performing good oral hygiene.

    Why do I need a crown instead of a bigger filling?

    Teeth are often restored using silver or porcelain fillings. However, when too much of a tooth's structure is removed to support a filling, a crown or "cap" may be needed. A crown may be needed to:

    1. Restore a tooth when it is unable to support a large filling
    2. Attach bridges
    3. Protect a weak tooth from fracturing or restore fractured teeth
    4. Cover badly shaped or discolored teeth
    5. Cover dental implants

    Why should I replace silver-mercury fillings?

    Until recently, dentists used a silver and mercury amalgam to fill and seal cavities. Because a larger amount of the original tooth must be removed, these types of fillings often weaken teeth. Recent innovations now allow us to replace old silver fillings with composite or porcelain fillings that are stronger, safer and more natural looking. Say goodbye to "metal mouth" and hello to a beautiful new smile.

    What do I do if my tooth is loose or knocked out?

    If the tooth is loose, but still in the socket, leave it in place and see your dentist immediately. If it has been knocked out, pick it up by the crown, not the root. Gently rinse, but do not scrub it or attempt to dry it off. If possible, gently push it into the socket or place it in a glass of milk. Do not let the tooth dry out! Time is of the essence; see a dentist within 30 minutes.

    How do I manage dry mouth?

    More seniors today have retained their own teeth, avoiding the trauma of removable dentures. Many are on medications creating dryness of the mouth as a side effect. Without the natural benefit of saliva to decrease bacterial action, we see an increase of cavities on the root surfaces of these patients. Anyone on a medication causing a dry mouth effect should be encouraged to see their dentist for regular dental cleanings and topical fluoride rinses.

    What is periodontal disease?

    Periodontal (gum) disease is a serious chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bones of the mouth. Gum disease generally starts when plaque forms around the teeth, inflaming the gums. The gums swell and bleed easily. Early stages of gingivitis are reversible with treatment by a dentist. However, untreated gum disease will eventually lead to periodontitis, an infection that moves below the gum line and attacks the tissue and bone supporting the teeth. As the infection progresses, tissue and bone are destroyed, and teeth become loose and must be removed.

    What are dental implants?

    The loss of just a single tooth can set a course that can destroy an entire mouth. Teeth will drift and tip into a space that is created by missing teeth. When you lose a tooth, a dental implant may be needed to replace the tooth root and crown. Dental implants are simply "anchors" that permanently support replacement teeth. They are secure and durable and can be cleaned and cared for much like your natural teeth.

    What is tooth decay?

    The procedure requires a titanium root be fitted into your jaw to replace the lost tooth's root. Once the implant is anchored into the bone, the bone around the implant requires six weeks to six months of healing. Once the bone has healed, a support post and replacement tooth is anchored onto the implant.