Frequently Asked Questions - Dental FAQ

FAQs - Dental FAQ

It is recommended that most people see the dentist twice a year, although it may be necessary for some people to visit the office more frequently.

Small problems when caught early can be easily restored before they develop into larger, costly projects.

It depends on the materials used to fill the tooth and the individual forces and habits placed in your particular case. Some large composite (tooth colored plastic) fillings placed in persons with strong grinding habits may only last a few years, while gold onlays may last decades in a similar individual.

We will discuss with you, your personal preferences for which materials will provide you with the best long lasting option.

Teeth can support fillings when there is more tooth structure remaining than filling.
But when the filling comprises more than half the tooth structure, you may need to consider crowning the tooth in order to support the loads placed on it. Cracked teeth are crowned to try to prevent further fracture and possible loss of the tooth.

Amalgam fillings are a combination of silver, tin, zinc and copper combined with mercury.  Once mixed and allowed to set, the mercury is very tightly bound to the other metals. There is much controversy that the mercury in silver fillings can cause health problems. The American Dental Association states that no studies have shown any medical disorder associated with amalgam fillings.

There are several alternatives to amalgam fillings that can be used to restore damaged and broken teeth, including tooth colored composites, monolithic zirconia, gold and other alloys.

We meet or exceed all cross contamination and sterilization protocols dictated by American Dental Association (ADA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

All instruments are scrubbed, disinfected and cleaned ultrasonically before they autoclaved by steam sterilization. Handpieces are sterilized in the same manner so there is no chance of cross contamination. Disposable products are used routinely to insure maximum infection control safety.

Dental radiographs provide valuable information that cannot be seen by simply looking in your mouth. Cavities, infections, some tumors, gaps or voids can be detected by x-rays where a clinical (visual) exam can miss.

According the ADA (American Dental Association) the amount of radiation in a full set of dental x-rays ( recommended about every five years for most people) contain 0.15 mSv about the same as exposure to cosmic rays in a single cross country plane ride. In comparison, natural background radiation from space totals about 3.0 mSv in a year.

Of course we take every precaution to ensure that radiation exposure is as low as possible. A leaded apron minimizes exposure to the abdomen and should be used when any dental radiograph is taken. Also, a leaded thyroid collar can protect the thyroid from radiation, and should also be used whenever possible. The use of a leaded thyroid collar is recommended for women of childbearing age, pregnant women and children. Dental X-ray exams do not need to be delayed if you are trying to become pregnant or are breast feeding.

Sometimes x-rays are necessary when a woman is pregnant who presents with an emergency. A dental infection can present risk to an unborn child. Radiation exposure resulting from dental X-rays is low.

Our office uses digital sensors instead of film which reduces x-ray exposure by 80%!

"The restored smile gave me a boost of confidence, marking the first step in a lot of other positive changes in my health."