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Frequently Asked Dental Questions

January 11, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 6:46 pm

Spruce Grove’s Dental “Destination”

Why are dental check-ups important?
Dental check-ups allow us to evaluate the current condition of your mouth. Through the use of our digital x-rays and a visual examination, we are able to detect potential problems within the oral cavity and to formulate a treatment plan designed for your specific needs.

Is there a regular interval for examinations and cleanings that I should follow? Every year? 6 months? Is it different for children?
Dental check-ups are usually done once a year to detect any subtle changes within your mouth. Dental cleaning intervals will be determined by our dental hygienist after your first hygiene appointment depending on the amount of hard deposits on your teeth. We recommend every six months for children and their teeth are changing more so than adults. We like to ensure that they are developing good oral habits to take care of their new teeth that are coming in and look for possible concerns as their adult teeth are erupting.

What should I do before a dental check-up? Not eat certain foods?
Before your check-up or cleaning, you don’t have to do anything fancy. We suggest that you brush and floss your teeth as you would normally do, this way we can assess how effectively you are cleaning your teeth and make suggestions if necessary.

After check-ups and cleanings is there something I should expect? Bleeding gums, sore gums, etc?
Depending on your current oral habits and how long it has been since your last dental cleaning, your gums may be sore and may even bleed a little bit. This is normal. However, the better you can keep things clean on your own, through effective brushing and daily flossing, this will be very minimal after your next appointment.
Regular cleanings (with ultrasonic scaler to enhance patient comfort)
Why are regular cleanings important? I brush and floss.
During your dental cleaning, the hygienist removes calculus or “tartar” – which is the hard deposits that form on your teeth that cannot be removed by brushing. These deposits, if left of the teeth for extended periods of time trap bacteria and can cause tooth decay and gum problems. Our hygienist also checks your gums for these problematic conditions such as gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Is the dental procedure different for children?
Children tend to have less of these hard deposits on their teeth. Often a regular cleaning for a child is just polishing their teeth and perhaps a small amount of hand scaling if there is some tartar build-up.

What do you mean by regular?
A standard cleaning is often recommended every 3-6 months. Our hygienist will discuss which regimen is right for you.

White dental composite fillings

What are dental white composite fillings?
White fillings are metal-free, plastic-based restorations. These fillings can be matched to the shade of your natural teeth. This filling material is placed by cleaning the decay out of the tooth structure, applying a cleaning gel to the tooth follow by a bonding agent that directly bonds the filling material to the tooth structure. We then place the composite filling material and shine an ultra-blue light which hardens the filling material in a matter of seconds.

How long do they last?
Like any style of filling, composite restorations are durable and depending on the depth of the cavity and with ideal bonding to the tooth surface, these fillings will last for several years.

Are there other options? What about porcelain or metal?
We do offer amalgam or “metal” fillings; however, these are normally used only when a composite filling cannot be placed. Sometimes when the filling is large, porcelain filling (inlay or onlay) is the best option.

Is there any mercury in there composite fillings?
No, there is no mercury in composite fillings.
We offer a take-home, custom-tray method of tooth whitening. This is done by taking impressions of your teeth and fabricating trays specifically for your teeth. You then place gel in the trays and leave on your teeth for the amount of time directed. Amount of time may vary depending on the type, and strength of gel selected.

Is it safe?
Teeth Whitening is a safe procedure, however, some sensitivity afterwards is completely normal. The use of desensitizing toothpaste will help with this sensitivity.

How long does it last?
Results may vary depending on your personal habits. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea and wine all stain the teeth; however, you can simply “touch-up” your whitening whenever you notice your teeth are picking up stain.

How many treatments do I need?
Amount of treatments vary depending on the amount of stain that is present of your teeth. On average, one should start to notice an improvement after the first 2 or 3 applications.

Crown and Bridge Treatment What is a crown and bridge?
A crown is a cap that is placed over the entire tooth that protects a tooth that requires more strength followed by a root canal or one that cannot be restored with basic filling material. A Bridge is used when one or more teeth are missing. A bridge is a grouping of interconnected crowns. It will replace missing teeth and support surrounding teeth. A Bridge is held in placed by 2 crowns on each side of the missing tooth.

Is it expensive?
Price may vary; however, most insurance plans cover a portion of this treatment.

Can you tell me if it’s covered under my plan?
We can send a preauthorization to your insurance company to determine if, and how much of the treatment will be covered.

What do you do to reduce the pain of extractions?
With any extraction, local anesthetic will be placed around the tooth that will be extracted. Although one may be able to feel some pressure, we work gently and will give you breaks to relax if needed to make this procedure as painless and as comfortable as possible.

I gag easily, how can you help me?
If you have a sensitive gag reflex, let us know. Sometimes after the local anesthetic is administered the reflex weakens. We can also give you a break during the procedure as well to relax.

When should I consider an extraction instead of getting work done on my tooth?
Our dentist will always give you options available for each tooth that requires extensive treatment and will assist you when to consider having an extraction instead of having work – such as a root canal done.

Sports guards

Will the shape of my mouth change with time?
Depending on your age, the shape of your mouth will change with time.

Should I get a new guard at regular intervals?
Children will require a new guard more often than an adult as their mouth is constantly changing. The jaws are growing, different teeth are exfoliating and new ones of different sizes are erupting, because of this, a child may need a new mouth guard in a few months where as an adult may be able to use theirs for years.

Is it covered by my insurance?
Mouth guards are not usually covered by insurance, however at our office we offer a fair price as it is very beneficial to have one made for you or your child. We also offer a 6 month warranty on our mouth guards.

Root Canal Therapy

What do you do in this procedure?
A root canal is needed when the nerve of the tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the soft tissue that contains nerves and blood vessels) is removed using small hand and rotary files and the space is filled with a thermoplastic filling material called “Gutta Percha” which restores the tooth. Afterwards, we can place a composite or amalgam restoration and then eventually place a crown on the tooth once the infection or discomfort has subsided.

Who should consider this treatment?
A root canal is needed when the nerve of the tooth is affected by decay or infection.

Night guards (Occlusal guards) 

What are these used for?
Night guards are used for those that clench or grind their teeth, especially at night.

I have sleep apnea, would this help?
A night guard may help improve sleep apnea, as clenching can activate muscles in the jaw which change the size of the airway. However, it may be a good idea to go to a Sleep Clinic that specializes in correcting sleep apnea.

What is a denture treatment?
Dentures are fabricated to replace teeth when either all of the teeth on either the top or bottom are missing. A partial denture can also be made to replace several missing teeth when a bridge or implant is not wanted or required.

How do I take care of my dentures?
It is very important to keep your dentures clean. Brush your dentures with a non-abrasive tooth paste or denture cleaner. It is a good idea to take your dentures out and allow your gums to “breathe” to keep them clean and healthy. When you do not have your dentures in, keep them in a cool, moist environment, such as a glass of water or a mouth rinse or denture cleaner.

What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a small titanium post that replaces the roots of missing teeth that are used to support crowns, bridges and dentures.

Is it covered by my insurance?
Sometimes insurance will cover a portion of an implant, however most insurance plans do not. Some plans will cover the cost of the crown that will cover the dental implant. We can send a preauthorization to your insurance company to determine if they will cover any portion of this treatment.

Who should consider this treatment?
Those that are interested in replacing missing teeth and have adequate bone levels and healthy gums to support and hold the implant are ideal candidates for dental implants. Our dentist will do a thorough oral examination and consultation to determine if this treatment is right for you.

Gum surgery

When would gum surgery be recommended?
Gum surgery is recommended when the gums have receded to an unhealthy level.

Is this done at a hospital or at the dentist’s office?
This procedure can be done in a dentist’s office depending on severity. If the procedure is more severe, the patient may be referred to a Periodontist which is a dentist with special training specifically in helping to restore gum tissues and perform gum surgery.

Do I need someone to drive me there and back?
It is best to have a responsible adult to drive you to the office in back following oral surgery.

Is it covered by my insurance?
Depending on the insurance provider, gum surgery may be covered. We can send a preauthorization to determine if your insurance company will cover this procedure.

What can I do to not let things get to this point?
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy and clean is the only way to prevent gum disease. Brushing twice a day with a soft or electric tooth brush and flossing daily are extremely important as well as having regular cleanings as suggested by our dental hygienist in preventing gum disease.

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#20 - 4 Spruce Ridge Drive, Spruce Grove, AB T7X 4S3 CA
Dr. Mark Southwood Spruce Grove, AB dentist. (780) 962-5538 (780) 962-4485