FAQ

How Often Should I See A Dentist?

A. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visiting a dentist at least twice a year for a check-up and cleaning.  Our office also highly recommends a minimum of two visits per year.

What Should I Expect During My Appointment?

A. On your first visit one of our staff members will compile your medical and dental history.  We will then perform a complete dental exam which includes your teeth and gums, a screening for oral cancer, X-rays of your teeth as needed, and complete a TMJ (temporomandibular or jaw joint) exam. After we review your dental profile, we will discuss a diagnosis with you. If treatment such as a root canal (endodontics), braces (orthodontics), or oral surgery is needed, we will put together a treatment plan that will take place in our office if possible or refer you to a specialist.  We will discuss your options for treatment and payment and help you determine the best plan to fit your needs.

During regular follow-up visits, we will examine your teeth and gums, screen you for oral cancer, clean your teeth and make plans for treatment, as needed. We will discuss any pain or problems you may be experiencing and answer any questions you may have.

What Does “Painless Dentistry” Mean?

A. South Sound Dental Care wants your dental visit to be the best experience it can be.  Painless dentistry is a part of this and means ensuring that your total experience in our office is as stress-free and pain-free as possible.  We will discuss treatment options that may require no local anesthetic and whenever possible, alleviate pain by the means that is most comfortable to you.

What If I Have An Emergency?

A. Please call our office as soon as you determine that you have a dental emergency. We will do everything we can to work you into our schedule if you have a dental emergency during regular business hours.  After hours, over the weekend, and during holidays, please call our office for the doctor’s emergency contact number.

Are Payment Plans Available For My Dental Treatment?

A. Yes. We accept many types of dental insurance and will process your claim for you upon receipt of your co-payment. We offer a low interest rate payment plan and also accept most major credit cards.

Can The Dentist Whiten My Teeth?

A. There are several methods available for bleaching your teeth.  We have an in-office option as well as an overnight or daily option.  One session of in-office bleaching generally lasts one and a half to two hours, and you can read or relax during the treatment. For overnight bleaching, we make an impression of your teeth and create a mouth guard that fits your bite. Each day you fill the mouth guard with a small amount of bleaching gel and wear it overnight or for a few hours during the day. The overnight bleaching process takes approximately two weeks.

Other over-the-counter daily bleaching products are available, but it is important to use any bleaching product only under the supervision of a dentist. To achieve the whitening results you desire, the ADA recommends that you seek the professional advice of a dentist, including examination and diagnosis of the cause of tooth discoloration, before you begin any bleaching program.

What If I Have A Gap In My Teeth, A Chipped Tooth Or Teeth That Do Not Respond To Normal Bleaching Methods?

A. We have various procedures that can help with these problems. Porcelain veneers are designed to look like your natural teeth and are individually attached to the fronts of your existing teeth. Veneers can be positioned to close gaps.  Bonding utilizes a composite material made of plastic to fill in areas of your teeth and correct chipping and shape problems.  Both porcelain veneers and bonding are color-matched to the rest of your teeth.

What Kind Of Toothbrush Should I Use?

A. Adults should use a small to medium size toothbrush with soft to medium bristles. The head of the brush needs to be small enough to reach all areas of the mouth thoroughly, specifically the back of the mouth, which can at times be hard to brush. Children should use small toothbrushes with soft bristles. People with sensitive teeth often benefit from using gentle, soft bristled toothbrushes.  There are many kinds of toothbrushes on the market and we can help you decide which type of brush is most suitable for you.

How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

A. The American Dental Association recommends that you replace your brush every 3 to 4 months. With each use the bristles become worn which causes it’s cleaning effectiveness to decrease. Depending on your oral health, you may need to replace your brush more often.  Typically, children’s toothbrushes need to be replaced more regularly than adults.

Is A Powered Toothbrush More Effective Than A Manual Toothbrush?

A. For the most part, manual toothbrushes are just as effective as powered toothbrushes. Children often find brushing with a powered toothbrush more exciting.  If you have difficulty using a manual toothbrush, a powered toothbrush may be much more comfortable and easier to use.  Regardless of what toothbrush you choose, be sure to select one you like and find easy to use.

Is One Type Of Toothpaste Better Than Others?

A. No. However, we recommend you use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which means it has been assessed for safety and effectiveness. Studies consistently show that fluoride helps strengthen and rebuild tooth structure, and helps prevent cavities.

How Often Should I Floss?

A. You should floss at least once daily to prevent cavities from forming in between the teeth. Flossing is also important for preserving the health of your gums.

Should I Brush Or Floss First?

A. As long as you brush and floss thoroughly, it does not matter which comes first. But flossing before brushing enables the fluoride in your toothpaste to better reach the areas between the teeth.

What’s The Difference Between A Cap And A Crown?

A. A cap is the same as a crown. Both restorations are designed to restore a tooth that is severely broken, fractured or decayed by literally covering or capping the tooth.  Dentists often use the term crowns.  But most people call stainless steel or gold restorations crowns, and tooth-colored restorations caps.

What’s The Difference Between A Partial Denture And A Bridge?

A. Both are used to replace missing teeth. A bridge is sometimes called a fixed partial denture. It fills a space previously occupied by a tooth. There are three main types of bridges. A fixed bridge is the most popular, and consists of a filler tooth attached to two crowns, which fit over existing teeth and hold the bridge in place.

A partial denture is removable, and typically consists of replacement teeth attached to gum-colored bases that are connected via metal framework. The denture is attached to natural teeth with either metal clasps or precision attachments, which are virtually invisible.

If I Get A Root Canal, Do I Need A Crown?

A. Not necessarily. While, most teeth do need a crown following a root canal, every tooth that needs a crown does not require root canal treatment.