Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.
Click on a question below to see the answer.
Is dental insurance worth it?
Some dental services can be very costly. Having basic dental coverage can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars every year, especially if you have multiple beneficiaries in your household. The most popular dental plans will cover the cost of biannual cleanings, and depending on your premiums, you can also receive partial coverage for fillings and other restorative dental services.
How are wisdom teeth removed?
Wisdom teeth extraction is one of the most commonly practiced dental procedures. The entire process is usually performed while the patient is under some kind of anesthetic.
- Once anesthesia is administered (usually nitrous oxide or IV sedation), your dentist will also apply a local numbing agent around the wisdom teeth to be removed.
- Gumline tissue must be removed in order to access your wisdom teeth (this may require an incision if your wisdom teeth are found to be impacted through a 2D x-ray).
- Your dentist will drill through the surface layer of bone to uncover your wisdom teeth if they are impacted. Otherwise, the wisdom teeth will be carefully separated from their surrounding connective tissue.
- To make sure your wisdom teeth do not break before removal, your dentist may cut each tooth into sections.
- Once each section is removed, the open socket will be stitched closed and you will be brought out of sedation for recovery.
What does a dentist do?
There are different types of dentists who specialize in specific areas of dentistry. These are the most commonly visited dental practitioners:
- General Dentists provide many services covered in basic dental insurance plans, including x-rays, teeth cleanings, cavity fillings, and oral cancer screenings.
- Pediatric Dentists perform most if not all of the same dental services as a General Dentist; however, these providers use smaller dental tools to accommodate the smaller mouths of children.
- Endodontists are root canal specialists who you may be referred to if you have any advanced stage cavities.
- Orthodontists install braces and perform other dental services to improve teeth alignment and jaw symmetry.
- Periodontists focus on restoring the health of your gums, and will provide treatment to help you reverse periodontal disease.
- Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons perform many services using sedation dentistry techniques, as they handle the tissues of the mouth and jaw.
Does a deep cleaning hurt?
Since deep cleanings target the area underneath the gumline, some patients might find the procedure to be painful. However, a deep cleaning is a thorough and effective way to disinfect pockets of bacteria trapped in your gums which would otherwise lead to periodontal disease. If you cannot withstand the pain of a deep cleaning even with a local anesthetic, the service can be scheduled across multiple sessions.
What does fluoride do for the teeth?
Fluoride is a special mineral found in natural bodies of water. Our drinking water contains a sufficient amount of fluoride to galvanize our teeth, and consuming traces of this mineral is completely safe. Studies show that fluoride is not only essential for the prevention of dental caries (cavities), but it can also reverse early signs of tooth decay.
Is periodontal disease curable?
If you’ve been diagnosed with periodontal disease, the good news is symptoms can be reversed with proper care and maintenance of your gums and teeth. You may be required to undergo several deep cleaning sessions, which involve a process called scaling and planing. Your dentist or periodontist will be able to eliminate bacterial pockets that have accumulated on your gumline from a lack of flossing. Once you’ve been treated and you’ve dedicated yourself to a proper mouth care routine, there’s a good chance you’ll reverse periodontal disease.
Do I need my wisdom teeth removed?
The only way to know for certain whether or not to have your wisdom teeth removed is to ask your dentist during your next appointment. Opting not to have your wisdom teeth removed can lead to aches or infections, especially if your wisdom teeth are impacted. In addition, if you do not have enough space to accommodate your incoming wisdom teeth, your existing teeth could shift, affecting the functionality and appearance of your mouth.
What is the best way to whiten teeth?
You can whiten teeth from home using a number of oral care products sold at most big-box retailers. Whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, and hydroxide strips can effectively whiten your teeth in a relatively short amount of time. However, if your teeth are deeply stained and you wish to retain a brighter smile for a longer period of time, your dentist can offer professional whitening services.
How do dentists remove tartar?
Plaque and tartar buildup results from the proliferation of bacteria between teeth and around the gumline. Even with regular brushing and flossing, it is possible to develop plaque in hard-to-reach places, especially around our back molars. Removing tartar is fairly straightforward; using a scaler tool, your dental hygienist will scrape plaque buildup wherever it has accumulated.
How often should I go to the dentist?
Our mouths host a plethora of bacteria from the foods and beverages we consume, so it is recommended to schedule a dentist appointment every 6 months. A routine dental check-up will include an x-ray exam, followed by a regular teeth cleaning. Your dentist will also be able to screen for potential oral health issues, such as cavities, periodontal disease, or oral cancer.