First Appointment FAQs

1. How early do I need to come in for my first appointment?

Please arrive about 15 minutes early to fill out the patient forms so that you can be seen in a timely manner.

2. What do I need to bring to my first appointment?

Please bring the following items with you to your appointment:

  • Patient Information Form

  • Dental Insurance Card (if applicable)

  • Identification such as Driver's License, Military ID or State ID

  • Patient Health History Form

  • HIPAA Consent Form

  • Patient Authorization Form

General Dentistry FAQs

Have a question that is not answered below? Feel free to give us a call and ask!

1. Why should I go to the dentist regularly?

If patients are not seen by a dentist on a regular basis, they may come down with problems that often ends up costing much more over time. This happens because many dental problems do not have symptoms until they reach the advanced stages of the disease process.  For example, a tooth decay often does not hurt until it gets close to the nerve of the tooth. This can lead to complex treatments such as root canal treatment or even surgical extractions.

2. Is flossing necessary?

Cavity and gum disease causing bacteria reside in plaque that accumulate around the tooth including in between them.  Brushing your teeth gets rid of some of the bacteria around your teeth but flossing gets rid of the bacteria from the areas a toothbrush can't get to such as bacteria hiding in the tiny spaces between your teeth. If you do not floss the accumulated plaque can eventually harden into tartar. Plaque can be removed by brushing but only the dentist or hygienist can remove tartar.

3. My kids don't like to brush their teeth. What do I do?

You can try to make it a fun event.  It can even be a family fun event. They are more likely to brush and enjoy brushing if it doesn't feel like a chore.

4. Can cavities be prevented or reversed?

Best way to prevent cavities is sticking to the oral hygiene routine.  By brushing and flossing regularly, we remove the accumulated plaque reducing the bacterial load in your entire mouth.  Reducing the consumption of sugary or acidic food/beverage will also aid in preventing cavities.  Cavities can be reversed in the first stage of development called demineralization.  Beyond that, it there is no reversing it no matter how well you maintain your oral hygiene.

Regular dental visits will not prevent the start of cavities but a dentist can prevent the continued growth of cavities already present but repairing the tooth and reducing the bacterial load in your mouth.

5. Are X-rays necessary?

A dentist cannot see all the cavities present just by looking into the mouth.  X-rays can disclose hidden problems such as:

  • small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings)

  • infections in the bone

  • periodontal (gum) disease

  • abscesses or cysts

  • developmental abnormalities

  • some types of tumors

Discovering and treating oral diseases at an early stage saves time and money.  Any additional concerns about X-rays can be discussed by your dentist

6. What does fluoride do for your teeth?

Fluoride is a natural mineral that is present in many foods and in water.  Fluoride prevents dental decay by making the tooth enamel more resistant to dental cavities.  Studies have shown that children exposed to fluoridated water reduces the occurrence of dental decay.   

7. What are  sealants?

The American Dental Association recommends dental sealants as an effective way to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are a thin coating placed on the chewing surfaces of back molars.  Dental sealants functions as a protective barrier to protect your teeth from dental decay.  Its a cost effective way to prevent possible future problems.

8. Oh No!  My tooth got knocked out.  What can I do?

Oral injuries are common.  It is important to see your dentist's help as soon as possible.

If you have knocked out a tooth, please follow these steps:

  • Rinse, do not scrub, the tooth to remove dirt or debris

  • Place the clean tooth in a cup of milk.

  • Do not attempt to replace the tooth into the socket.

  • Get to the dentist ASAP. Success rate of re-implantation of the tooth depends on how quickly it's done.

9. What causes morning breath?

When we sleep, the salivary production in our mouth decreases.  Our saliva constantly washes away the odor causing bacteria in our mouth through out the day.  When the production decreases when we sleep, the accumulating bacteria produces sulfur compounds leading to the bad breath.  Saliva also functions to dissolve the sulfur compounds and reducing the foul smell. 

Chronic, long-term mouth odor can be a sign of more serious illness. See your dentist if this is a concern.

10. What can I do about sensitive teeth?

Sensitive teeth are typically the result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. Sometimes, however, tooth discomfort is caused by other factors, such as a cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, a worn filling, or gum disease.

Sensitivity toothpastes containing strontium chloride or potassium nitrate are somewhat effective in reducing sensitivity of the teeth. Acidic foods such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons, as well as tea and soda can increase tooth sensitivity, and work against sensitivity toothpaste. If using desensitizing toothpaste does not reduce sensitivity, see your dentist.

11. What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is inflammation and or infection of the gums and surrounding bone.  If untreated, can cause permanent jaw bone destruction that can lead to tooth loss. Untreated periodontal disease has been linked to increased risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, low birth weight babies and pre-term delivery. An advanced stage of periodontal disease exhibits inflamed gums separating from your 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

Early periodontal disease can be addressed in-office. However, advanced stages may require surgery by a gum specialist (periodontist). Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated successfully by seeing your dentist and dental hygienist regularly and following recommended care plans.

12. How does teeth whitening work and how long does it last?

The whitening agent (either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) penetrates the enamel to reach the discolored molecules inside your tooth. Oxygen molecules from the whitening agents react with the discolored molecules in your teeth, breaking the bonds that hold them together. The length of time you can expect it to last will vary depending on your habits.  If you smoke, drink red wine or coffee, or consume other acid-containing foods, your bright smile may begin to yellow more quickly than you expect. In general, teeth whitening procedure can last up to two years.  However, occasional touch-ups or boosters can will help maintain the beautiful smile gained from the whitening treatment.

13. How do whitening tooth pastes work?

Over-the counter whitening toothpastes vary greatly in how they whiten teeth.  Some use special abrasives that gently polish the outer layer of the teeth. Some contain peroxide or other chemicals that help break down or dissolve superficial stains.  Other whitening toothpastes contain the chemical blue covarine, which adheres to the surface of the teeth and creates an optical illusion that can make teeth appear less yellow.

However, unlike professional whitening, some whitening toothpastes do not alter the intrinsic color of the teeth. Toothpastes that are effective in removing stains can also wear down the tooth enamel in the process. These toothpastes use mild abrasives. With repeated use, the abrasives begin to thin the tooth enamel and can contribute to increased tooth sensitivity. 

14. What causes canker sores?

The exact etiology of canker sores is unknown. Possible factors may include genetics, allergies, stress, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Trauma to mucous lining of the mouth can lead to the development of canker sores. Citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables can make a canker sore worse.  If you have a canker sore, rinse your mouth with antimicrobial mouthwash or warm water and salt. Over the counter treatments are also available. If the canker sore is present longer than two weeks, speak to your dentist.

15. Why does my gum bleed?

When gum bleeds, it usually indicates the onset of periodontal disease or gingivitis. People often blame the brushing and flossing as the cause of the bleeding.  However, when gums are inflamed, brushing and flossing helps reduce the inflammation. You should also call your dentist to have a periodontal screening to determine the level of disease present and the best treatment course to pursue.  It is important to see your dentist as soon as possible if your gums begin to bleed.

16. How does diabetes affect my mouth?

Studies suggest a strong link between diabetes and gum disease. People with diabetes are more prone to different levels of gum disease. Uncontrolled blood glucose level may lead to developing gum disease and could potentially lead to teeth loss. Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and follow strict home care recommendations. Make sure to inform the dentist of any changes in medications.

17 How does pregnancy affect my mouth?

Many women who are pregnant experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis can cause swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue.  If this condition is uncontrolled, it may end up having an effect on 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. High levels of prostaglandin are found in women with severe cases of periodontal disease.

18 Do I need to take antibiotics before my dental appointment?

There are certain conditions that require pre-medication with an antibiotic prior to dental treatment to prevent adverse effects and infection that can be caused by bacteria that enter the blood stream during certain treatment. You will want to consult with your dentist and primary physician before dental treatements.