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FAQs about Cosmetic Dentistry

What is cosmetic dentistry, and how is it different from general dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry combines both art and science to give you a healthy, aesthetic, flawless smile.  While general dentistry is aimed at maintaining the health of your teeth and gums, cosmetic dentistry provides comprehensive treatment options that improve and preserve the way your smile looks and feels.  Common cosmetic treatments include:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Contouring/tooth reshaping
  • Bonding
  • Bridges
  • Veneers
  • Dental implants
  • Tooth colored fillings
  • Smile makeovers

Why should I see a cosmetic dentist?

A cosmetic dentist is trained to safely and effectively provide a variety of treatments that are designed to enhance your smile.  If you have missing teeth, you feel that your teeth are crooked, or you're an adult looking for an alternative to braces, a cosmetic dentist can help you achieve the beautiful smile you've always wanted.

How long will each cosmetic treatment take?

Just as every smile we treat is unique, so are the treatments we provide.  While cosmetic treatment times may vary, some treatments are completed within one office visit.

Will my insurance cover cosmetic dental care?

Insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses for cosmetic treatment vary.  Our practice will work with you to provide several different treatment options, and we will coordinate with your insurance provider, if coverage is available.  You will know all of your treatment costs up-front so that you can choose the best payment plan for your needs and your budget.

Additional payment options include Care Credit and Citi Health.

To apply for Care Credit, click below.

To apply for Citi Health, click here http://www.healthcard.citicards.com

 

Am I a good candidate for teeth whitening?

Patients who experience the most benefit from having their teeth whitened:

  • Are in good dental health
  • Maintain good dental health (i.e. brush three times a day, floss, receive regular dental checkups every six months, etc.)
  • May suffer from slightly discolored, or yellow, teeth
  • Wish to improve the look of their smile for aesthetic purposes
  • Are in good physical health

Are there any side effects with teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a safe, effective procedure, and does not typically include any negative side effects. Minor side effects may consist of:

  • Increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
  • White spots on the surface of the teeth (a potential side effect of at-home whitening systems)
  • Nighttime whitening trays may cause additional gum sensitivity or irritation

What is periodontics?

Periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association, focusing on the study and treatment of the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth and jaw.

Who is a periodontist?

A periodontist is a dental specialist who has the training and experience required by the American Dental Association to diagnose, treat, and prevent different forms of periodontal/gum disease.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, often begins as a buildup of plaque on the tooth's surface near the gum line.  If this plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing regularly, it can harden into what your dentist calls tartar.  Plaque will continue to build up over the tartar, eventually causing the gums to become red, swollen, and irritated.  This is known as gingivitis and is the first stage of periodontal disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

  • Red, swollen, sore gums
  • Gums that bleed when brushing and flossing
  • Teeth that appear longer or become loose
  • Large spaces that form between the teeth
  • Gums that begin to pull away from the teeth
  • Chronic bad breath

Periodontal disease, if left untreated, can contribute to other health problems including heart disease and diabetes.  If you're pregnant, having periodontal disease is also linked to premature birth or low birth weight.  Your smile's health affects the overall health of your body.

Is periodontal disease treatable?

Gum disease is both preventable and treatable.  Today's periodontal treatments provide you with a variety of options that are gentle, safe, and effective.  If you have been diagnosed with gingivitis or gum disease, your periodontist can help you determine what treatment best meets your needs.  Periodontal treatments include:

  • Non-surgical treatment
  • Periodontal surgery
  • Periodontal therapy
  • Dental implants
  • At-home care (special toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, and prescription treatment trays)

Am I at risk of having periodontal disease?

You may be at risk of having periodontal disease if you smoke or use tobacco products, you do not brush your teeth and floss regularly, you have health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or osteoporosis, or if several of your family members have had gum disease as it can, in some cases, be genetic.  If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist, who can help determine if treatment is necessary.

Will my insurance cover my periodontal treatment?

Many insurance plans will provide assistance for periodontal treatment.  Our practice understands how important your dental health is, and we want you to get the most out of any dental treatment you receive.  We will help you work with your insurance provider to make sure that your treatment is easy on your budget, and your peace of mind.


What is dentistry?

Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions, disorders, and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw.  Often considered necessary for complete oral health, dentistry can have an impact on the health of your entire body.

Who is a dentist?

A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems.  Your dentist has completed at least eight years of schooling, and received either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree, or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree.  If your doctor is a pediatric dentist, this means that he or she specializes in caring for children from infancy through their teen years.  A pediatric dentist has received the proper education and training needed to work with young kids.  Other specializations include:

  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
  • Periodontics (gum disease)
  • Prosthodontics (implants)

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy.  Dental care is important because it:

  • Helps prevent tooth decay
  • Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
  • Prevents bad breath – brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath
  • Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence
  • Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco
  • Strengthens your teeth so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!

My teeth feel fine. Do I still need to see a dentist?

Your teeth may feel fine, but it's still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing.  Your smile's appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep your smile healthy and looking beautiful.  With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth.  Today's dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:

  • Professional teeth whitening
  • Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
  • Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers

What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?

Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important, and you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision.  During your first visit, you should be able to determine whether the dentist is right for you.  During your appointment, consider the following:

  • Is the appointment schedule convenient?
  • Is the office easy to get to and close by?
  • Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
  • Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
  • Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
  • Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
  • Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?

How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once!
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse.  This will help prevent cavities.
  • Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities) and avoid tobacco (this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).
  • Don't be afraid to brush your tongue!  By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria.  Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkup . It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months.

At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year of age.  During this time, your child's baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child's first few teeth.  After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.

How often should I see the dentist?

Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months.  Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year.  Your doctor will help determine how often you should visit the dentist for regular checkups.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth because of tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat.  This produces an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth.  If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems.  Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss between teeth at least once.

What is a filling?

A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed.  Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic.  Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic.  If you need a filling, be sure to talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.

How often should I brush my teeth?

According to your dentist and the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth at least two times a day.  Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria-causing plaque.  It is also recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your teeth.  You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!

When should I change my toothbrush?

Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time.  Your dentist recommends that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months.  If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently.  Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep any bacteria from spreading.  After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean.  If you've been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.

What is gum disease?

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage.  Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics.  Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease.  Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease.  Common signs of gum disease:

  • Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gum line
  • Abscessed teeth

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes!  In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly.  With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach.  This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease.  Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.

How do I schedule my next checkup?

Simply call our practice!  Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience.  If you are a new patient, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need for your first dental visit.


Emergency Dental Care

If you experience a dental emergency, be sure to call our practice as soon as possible.  If you need immediate attention after hours, call our emergency phone number and our on-call staff member will help you.  If you are unable to reach our office during an emergency, dial 911.

We are here to help you, any time, any day.  When your dental health is at risk, we will do everything we can to make sure that you're treated as soon as possible.  While dental emergencies are rare, they can happen, and it's important to know how to take care of your teeth no matter what.  Common dental emergencies include:

  • Broken or cracked tooth/teeth
  • Broken jaw
  • Permanent tooth knocked out
  • Object caught between teeth
  • Severe toothache