Here are some commonly asked questions and answers about general dentistry.
Q. What should I expect at my first visit?
A. We are pleased to provide each new patient visiting our office with a thorough examination performed by Dr. Bell himself. Your initial comprehensive evaluation of the existing conditions in your mouth includes: Periodontal charting, occlusal charting, oral cancer screening, TMJ preliminary evaluation, impressions for diagnostic models, intra-oral photographs and any necessary radiographs.
Q. How often should I come in for a checkup and cleaning?
A. The ADA recommends that healthy children and adults get a checkup and cleaning every six months. One of the best ways to maintain good oral health is to visit a dentist regularly. At each visit we assess the health of your teeth and gums (bleeding, attachment loss and calculus build-up), consider your oral hygiene habits, medical conditions, and habits such as tobacco use to determine the best interval for you to reach optimal health. Regular checkups help keep your teeth and gums healthy as well as detect any early problems such as gum disease, oral cancer and cavities.
Q. What types of materials are used in restorations?
A. In the past, amalgam restorations were the go-to material due to their low cost and ease of use. Today's modern dental materials, however, offer greater strength and improved aesthetics. The composite and porcelain materials offered today are stronger, less toxic and blend beautifully with your natural teeth. Depending upon the necessary procedure, we use a variety of porcelain and composite materials to restore teeth to their optimal function and natural appearance.
Q. I am very anxious and nervous about receiving dental care. What can you do to help me relax?
A. We understand it's common amongst many people to dread a visit to the dentist, each with varying degrees. However, you will feel relaxed and at ease, as we provide each patient different degrees of sedation depending upon your needs. The most commonly used sedation is nitrous oxide ('laughing gas') which creates a subtle, calming effect that wears off immediately. When it comes to more complex appointments requiring more dental time with us, we offer oral medication that delivers a deeper level of relaxation. Our patients happily report back to us that this approach makes the appointment seem like only minutes, when unbeknownst to them it may have been considerably longer! In addition, you can listen to music and snuggle up with a cozy blanket!
Q. What if I do not replace my missing teeth?
A. Tooth loss is a serious condition and should be treated early, before detrimental side effects occur. Even just one missing tooth can have a serious impact on your dental health. That is because teeth need each other to stay in proper position. So when a tooth is lost, the opposing and neighboring teeth will begin to shift out of position causing unwanted dental issues. The shift could potentially lead to: a misaligned bite, problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and an increased risk of losing additional teeth. People with multiple missing teeth may also suffer from poor nutrition as their diet shifts to softer foods. The longer teeth are missing, the more deterioration spreads and the problems escalate making restoration much more difficult and expensive.
Q. I have been told I need a night guard. Why shouldn't I just buy one at the local pharmacy?
A. Custom fabricated night guards are easy-to-use appliances that fit over the biting surfaces of your teeth, protecting them from damage. Though over-the-counter night guards are available, they are generally ill-fitting, uncomfortable and may not protect your teeth from the perils of grinding! To perform properly and be effective, night guards must fit well, be comfortable and be finely adjusted to your individual bite. Recognizing this essential client need, Dr. Bell provides tailored night guards that desirably yield unbeaten results.
Q. How long will a dental crown last?
A. The answer to that question depends on many factors. The fit of the crown, home care, diet, and compliance wearing a night guard when recommended all play a part in the longevity of a dental crown. The oral cavity is actually quite a harsh environment! When done well one can expect a crown to last decades!