Frequently Asked Questions
I am a new patient and would like to get started. What will my first appointment be like?
During your first visit at All Smiles Family Dental, a set of x-rays will be taken, additional digital photographs may be taken, a thorough cleaning, and comprehensive evaluation including an extra and intra oral exam in addition to oral cancer screenings. The doctor will listen to any concerns you may have and will review all extra and intra oral findings and customize a treatment plan for you.
I am a new patient with your office and only want my teeth cleaned. Why is a New Patient Exam necessary just to get my teeth cleaned?
We hope you have chosen our practice because you want to receive excellent dental care. Our goal is to provide excellent treatment for our patients. That includes thorough exams for the purpose of understanding your overall oral health. Even if you had a small cavity that did not hurt, and the doctor did not do a thorough exam, the tooth may become abscessed later and may need a root canal and crown or extraction. As any medical issues, the earlier a problem is detected the better. Oral cancer is easily undetectable and by finding it in the early stages, prognosis is much more favorable. We want to provide excellent treatment for you and, in order to do so, a thorough exam is highly recommended in order to understand your overall oral health.
What are veneers?
Porcelain veneers are used to create beautiful smiles. Veneers are very thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded to your teeth, improving their shape and color. The porcelain bond is nearly as strong as the natural enamel bond of your natural teeth. Depending on the history of your teeth, Porcelain Veneers may be the best way for you to achieve the gorgeous smile you want and deserve.
What are Lumineers? How are they different from other veneers?
Lumineers are a brand of porcelain veneers made by Den-Mat Corporation. They are a little thinner than other porcelain veneers. They can be pasted or bonded over the top of your teeth with no drilling or contouring, because they add little bulk to the teeth. That makes them seem easy to place. However, there are complexities in all cosmetic cases that must be considered before deciding what type of treatment you want or need.
For instance, if your dentist is not going to contour your teeth beforehand, the smile design process becomes more complicated. Your dentist has very little room to work to make things look good. And no matter how great the ceramist, the lab cannot make up for a dentist’s lack of knowledge or expertise in a situation like this. If your concerns are crooked teeth or dark-colored teeth, your goals may not be entirely met by Lumineers.
Together we can determine a customized treatment plan that is right for you. This plan may include Lumineers (no-prep veneers), porcelain veneers, Orthodontic treatment, whitening or a combination of these.
How long do Lumineers and veneers last?
When cared for properly, Porcelain Veneers and Lumineers can last for a long time, if not a lifetime. Failures are typically caused by poor oral hygiene or failure to wear a night guard when recommended. In most cases the word “failure” only represents that a new veneer must be made to replace the old one. The underlying tooth is usually fine.
I have a gap between my front teeth. What are my options for correcting this?
Gaps between teeth, especially gaps that show in your smile, can take away from the beauty of your smile. Depending on the size of the gap, there are several options. For extremely large gaps, Orthodontics is usually recommended. For small to moderate gaps, bonding or porcelain veneers may be the best solution for you. The doctor will discuss your options with you and together we will customize an ideal treatment plan to give you the gorgeous smile you have dreamed of.
I have a lot of old silver fillings in my mouth. They are sensitive and/or ugly. What are my options?
Old silver fillings leak, causing decay to re-enter the tooth, which may cause sensitivity. A great option for silver filling replacement depends on the size of the previous filling. A composite restoration or porcelain crowns, which provide an optimal aesthetic and healthy result may be your best options for replacement.
What is the black line I see around the gumline of some crowns?
The black coloring likely indicates that there is metal underneath the white porcelain part of the crown. The black or gray line you see around the crown was probably not there when the crown was placed. If there is inadequate hygiene, over time, chronic inflammation of the gum tissue causes it to bleed easily and in turn leads to gingival recession in which the underlying metal of the crown is exposed. No longer is it necessary to have metal in crowns or that unattractive dark line. We address all your dental needs and construct a comprehensive evaluation that is customized and right for YOU!
I want to whiten my smile but I am also thinking about getting bonding or veneers on my front teeth. What should I do first?
We always recommend whitening first. Once your teeth are as white as you like, we will match the bonding or veneers to that whiter shade. Our whitening procedures work quickly, so in no time you will have the beautiful smile you have always dreamed of.
I have some bonding and a crown on my front teeth and I would like to whiten my teeth. What are my options for whitening my smile?
Bonding and crowns will not whiten and will appear darker after your teeth become whiter. However, this should not keep you from having the white smile you desire. It may be very simple to upgrade your bonding and crown after your whitening procedure. Chances are the new bonding and crown will look better in addition to a brightened smile. When you visit our office, we will work with you to customize a treatment plan to achieve a gorgeous bright white smile!
I am missing a tooth and am considering an implant. What is the process for an implant? Are implants more feasible than dentures?
Oftentimes, dental implants are the best restoration for a missing tooth. We will discuss your options with you in order to customize an ideal treatment plan. The implant process is relatively simple and requires two steps. First, the implant is placed into the tooth-socket where your tooth root used to be. Second, a restoration is created and placed on the implant to restore the crown of your tooth. For patients who are missing many or all of their teeth, implants may be the solution for restoring all of the missing teeth, offering great life-improvement. Sometimes, a few implants may be placed in order to stabilize floppy dentures, another terrific improvement in the lives of many denture-wearers.
Dentures, Partial Dentures, Implants: Which one is right for me?
If you are considering various options to replace multiple teeth, your best bet is to schedule a consultation visit with us. Each option may have pros and cons based on your specific wants and needs. We explain your objectives before making a determination on your treatment plan.
I would like to get gold caps placed on my front teeth. What does this involve? Does our office offer this?
Beautiful smiles come in many different shapes, sizes and colors and are customized based on what you want. While many people prefer porcelain veneers for a typical smile makeover, others would like to have gold placed on their front teeth. The processes are very much the same, starting with a New Patient Exam. From here our doctor will customize a treatment plan to fit your goals for your mouth, teeth and smile.
I hate the dentist. How is your office different?
No one ever enjoyed going to the dentist. We have created a dental atmosphere where going to the dentist is a pleasure! We get to know the patients on a personal basis and address their needs and anxiety. We are all down to earth and know how stressful it can be going to the dental office and we appreciate that aspect and try to ease any type of anxiety.
Do those over the counter whitening products such as strips, toothpaste, and mouthwash really work?
With all the whitening products advertised lately, we are surprised nobody is selling morning coffee with whiteners. Do any of these over the counter products they work? The short answer is: sort of. Toothpastes contain abrasive particles that help scrub stains from teeth. Whitening gels like that found on strips contain formulas that whiten teeth from the inside. They are less concentrated than those prescribed by your dentist. Your results will vary depending on the color of your teeth, types of stain, and overall oral health. It will not hurt you to try these products, and some people get good results. But do not expect a dramatic difference. If you’re looking for significant color changes in your teeth and a more long-lasting result, your best bet is to see your dentist, who has access to new whitening technologies.
I have always had sensitive teeth. The sensitivity is generalized, and it’s not constant, but it bothers me when I drink something cold. What is the best treatment for this kind of sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem. The reason and appropriate treatment depend on several factors. The causes for sensitivity can range from having cavities or cracks in teeth, worn teeth, sinus infections, gum recession, notching of teeth along the gumline, or other issues. Gum recession is a problem that can be caused by gum disease, aggressive tooth brushing, excessive force being applied to the teeth, or normal aging. As the gums recede, the root is exposed, and the tooth may become sensitive. In these cases, treatment can be as simple as using a toothpaste for sensitivity, regular fluoride rinses, or having your dentist apply a desensitizing agent to the root surfaces. Tooth notching can be caused by forces on the teeth, either from poor alignment, clenching or grinding, or a combination. The notches along the gumline can usually be filled in with a tooth-colored filling material, and your dentist has additional options to help prevent recurrence. Tooth sensitivity will not go away by itself, and because of the potential seriousness of the underlying causes, you should see your dentist if you have sensitivity problems.
I’ve heard there is a link between unhealthy teeth and gums and heart disease. Is this true?
You heard right. Studies implicate gum disease as a risk factor for developing heart disease. These studies show the bacterial infections of gum disease are associated with bacterial infection of the blood, inflammation, and a strong immune response, all of which are significant risk factors for the development of heart disease. Also, the most common strain of bacteria in dental plaque can cause blood clots that induces heart attacks when they escape into the bloodstream. Beyond heart disease, gum disease in pregnant women is considered a risk factor for low birth-weight babies. Proper brushing and yes, of course, flossing, combined with routine visits to your dentist help to reduce your risk of gum disease. Ask your dentist and hygienist if you are at risk for gum disease and what you can do to eliminate it.
I had braces in the past, but I’m beginning to notice my lower teeth are getting crooked again. Why are my teeth moving? Should I straighten them out again?
Many adults begin to notice their teeth, especially the lower front teeth, getting crooked. Whether or not you had braces in the past, you will likely notice crowding of your teeth as you get older. Crowded teeth are harder for you to clean properly. This can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. And studies now show a link between an unhealthy mouth and heart disease. Fortunately there are simple ways to straighten your teeth. One such solution is Invisalign, or invisible braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear trays that fit snugly over your teeth and move them to an ideal position. Each tray is worn for about two weeks before moving to the next tray. If you have minor crowding, it will take fewer trays to correct. Some cases take only ten trays, or 20 weeks, to correct fully. Major crowding cases take longer; however, Invisalign is often faster than traditional braces. You may also be able to whiten your teeth as you straighten them. Ask your dentist about your options for straightening your teeth and creating a beautiful and healthy smile. You might have a chance to improve your looks and your overall health!
I recently had a tooth removed. Do I need to replace it, and if so, what should I do?
Yes, you should replace it to prevent shifting of your remaining teeth. Shifted teeth create areas that are difficult to keep clean and that can lead to gum problems and tooth decay. Also, shifted teeth no longer fit together properly, which causes excessive wear, headaches, and many other problems. Ideally, missing teeth are replaced by dental implants or bridges or dentures. Dental implants replace the root of the tooth. Implants are made of a bio-compatible titanium alloy and are placed in the jaw bone, where they fuse to the bone. A crown is later placed on the implant. Implants typically last a life-time and won’t decay, and they are the best restorations in cases where the neighboring teeth are healthy and properly aligned. A bridge another option if the neighboring teeth are unhealthy. Also, in some cases a bridge will offer better aesthetics. Replacing a tooth with a bridge involves reshaping the neighboring teeth to which the bridge will attach. It usually takes two to four weeks to have a bridge fabricated. The cost of a three-tooth bridge will probably come close to the combined cost of the implant placement and implant crown. Obviously, many considerations are taken into account with each patient. Ask your dentist what they would do if they were in your situation. That will help you with your own decision.
I am terrified of going to the dentist, but I have a LOT of work that needs to be done. Aside from ‘knocking me out’ is there anything that can be done for me?
You are not alone in feeling this way. Millions of people feel tremendous anxiety concerning dental treatment. Fear, coupled with embarrassment and shame, has kept nearly half of the population from seeking necessary treatment for years, even decades. Fortunately, dental phobia doesn’t have to keep you away from the dentist any longer. Amenities like noise-canceling headphones, laughing gas, and more conservative, gentle procedures will help take the edge off. For some fearful patients, an anti-anxiety pill is just what the doctor ordered. Most patients snooze through the appointment and feel no discomfort. Years of dental neglect are erased in just one appointment. Once fearful and embarrassed patients chew without pain and smile with confidence for the first time in years! These benefits are often life-changing for people who have procrastinated getting their mouths healthy or enhancing their smiles.