Frequently Asked Questions

At every exam, the dentist checks your mouth and neck for signs of disease. The dentist will evaluate your general health when developing a plan for your oral treatment, and refer you to a physician if needed. Your dental exam can detect early signs of disease:

  • Gum disease may be associated with other health problems like diabetes and heart disease. If you have gum disease, find out and fight back!
  • Your dentist has the skills to detect oral cancer early.
  • Your oral health is an important part of your overall health.
  • Oral health check-ups can detect tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer early.

When you first arrive and meet our staff, you’ll fill out your new patient paperwork. This helps our team get to know you better. We ask that you arrive 15 minutes early to complete your paperwork. Or, you can get a head start by filling out your patient forms now. Download New Patient Forms.

New patients often ask if they can have their teeth cleaned during their first visit. Your dental treatments usually begin with a follow-up visit, often scheduled as soon as the next day. We need to see you first for a comprehensive exam and then schedule adequate time with your hygienist.

At a regular dental cleaning, your dentist or dental hygienist will review your dental history, asking questions about your daily home care, any unusual feelings you’ve had in your teeth, and previous dental problems. The dentist or hygienist will need to know if you have a health condition such as diabetes, which can affect the teeth. In addition, let him or her know if you’re taking any medications.

The dental hygienist may start first by examining your mouth and teeth and taking x-rays to check for tooth movement, tooth decay, infections, or impacted teeth. The hygienist will perform a cleaning, which uses a special ultrasonic machine that breaks up hardened deposits of plaque and tartar. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a colorless film of bacteria that coats your teeth. If allowed to harden, the film turns into tartar (calculus).

After polishing the teeth to make it difficult for plaque to stick to them, the dentist will come into the exam room and check the x-rays and your mouth. The dentist will peer at the roof of your mouth using a tiny mirror. He or she will pull your tongue up and check for anything abnormal on its sides or underneath it. If the x-rays show signs of a cavity or abscess, your dentist will discuss this with you. Also, your dentist will give you some teeth brushing tips to help you fight tooth decay and have a healthy mouth.

Dentists use x-rays to find cavities, abscesses, and pathology of the teeth and jawbone. X-rays show small cavities that would not be visible until they had gotten very large. The treatment for small cavities is usually easier and more economical than treatment for large cavities. X-rays may also show the beginnings of an abscessed tooth that has not yet begun to hurt.

Detecting early abscessed teeth on x-rays can prevent future pain in a tooth. X-rays may also show cysts and tumors around teeth. Found early, the treatment is usually less involved. Your dentist will advise you when x-rays are necessary.

There are a few basic options if you want to whiten stained teeth. They include:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) whiteners. Tooth whiteners sold without a prescription contain a mild bleach solution that change the color of your teeth to a lighter shade. Most products include a gel that’s applied to a tooth tray, which you insert into your mouth for a few minutes at a time. You can purchase OTC tooth whiteners in a pharmacy or obtain them from your dentist You can also buy “whitening” toothpaste, though these products primarily remove stains and don’t change the color of a tooth.
  • Professionally applied whiteners. Dentists can apply tooth whiteners that contain a higher concentration of bleach. A big advantage having a dentist-applied tooth whitener is time: The procedure takes about an hour, while you need to use at-home kits daily for several weeks. Some dentists use lasers as part of the procedure, which may increase a whitener’s effectiveness.

Regardless of which type of whitener you choose, talk to your dentist first.

Dental implants can revolutionize a person’s smile and improve his or her overall oral health, but they’re not the right choice for everyone

While the majority of implant patients are pleased with the results, it’s important to remember that this is not a perfect fix for your problems. Before you decide this procedure is right for you, take a moment to look at some of the pros and cons of dental implants.


  • Comfort—Dental implants typically feel more comfortable than other dental devices, such as dentures. Most patients report that implants have a natural feel to them and pose no problems when it comes to eating and chewing.
  • Easy Maintenance—Dental implants can easily be cared for with brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups.
  • Durability—When properly maintained, dental implants can sometimes last for decades without repairs or replacements needed.
  • Clarity of speech—When patients choose dentures, this can cause speech problems such as mumbling or slurring words, since this type of dental device can slip out of place. However, dental implants are secured to the jawbone, which means they won’t slip and cause these sorts of problems.


  • Cost—Dental implants require surgery to install, which means that the total price for them tends to be higher than with other dental devices that are not quite as invasive. Additionally, many insurance plans do not cover implants, which means that all costs will be out-of-pocket for the patient.
  • Procedure Length—Installing dental implants requires multiple surgeries across a significant period of time. After the first surgery in which an artificial root is attached to the jawbone, patients must wait one to three months for it to fuse properly before the actual new tooth can be attached.
  • Procedure Complications—As with any surgery, there are risks associated with dental implants. These include mild to moderate pain during and after the procedure, as well bleeding or infection at the surgical site.

Orthodontics is one of many dental specialties.  The word “orthodontics” is derived from the Greek words orthos, meaning proper or straight and odons meaning teeth.  Orthodontics is specifically concerned with diagnosing and treating tooth misalignment and irregularity in the jaw area.  

Initially, orthodontic treatments were geared toward the treatment of teens and pre-teens, but these days around 30 percent of orthodontic patients are adults.adequate time with your hygienist.

A dentist can conduct a routine examination of your mouth to tell if you need treatment for crooked teeth. He or she will look for signs such as abnormal teeth alignment and facial appearance and may also send you to an orthodontist for further testing. The orthodontist will likely take x-rays, facial photographs, and a mold of your teeth to see the position and condition of your teeth, roots and gums, and then determine whether treatment is needed.

Mercury fillings may not have gotten more bad press than conniving government officials, but they certainly have taken their own share of hits. The fact is there’s nothing that shows mercury fillings cause any neurological damage, but there are better alternatives than having a mine in your mouth.

Fillings made of composite resin or ceramic are aesthetically more pleasing and may last longer. Also, there’s no need to have a silver filling removed and replaced unless there’s leaking, decay under the filling, or it has a rough surface that keeps you from being able to floss.

According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD,Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), for those who don’t need drastic realignment, Invisalign is a great option.

“It’s virtually invisible and no more expensive than traditional braces, and there are also teen versions available. It also takes about the same amount of time, and is covered by Medicaid in many states and most other health insurance that covers orthodontics.”

What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a system for orthodontically straightening teeth using a series of clear aligners that snap over your teeth. Your orthodontist begins your treatment by creating a very accurate digital model of your mouth. He then diagnoses, treatment plans, and straightens your teeth on a computer using a mouse instead of pliers and wires. Once the result is exactly as he desires, he sends the digital prescription to a manufacturing facility where a series of aligners is constructed that will move your teeth little by little until they are straight. The number of aligners and the length of treatment is determined by how crooked your teeth are.