FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is a crown and why do I need one?
A: If your dentist has recommended a crown, it is likely either to correct a broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). The decay in your tooth eats away healthy tooth structure much like rust eats away at metal. If not removed, decay will deteriorate the tooth to the point where extraction is the only viable treatment option. Sometimes, decay is removed, leaving healthy tooth structure but not much of it. A crown can then be placed, restoring the look and function of your tooth, while allowing you to keep your natural, underlying tooth structure. Most crowns are precision-milled porcelain or full metal (gold or silver) and are individually customized for each application in each patient, giving you a natural, long lasting smile.
Q: I know I need X-rays, but I’d prefer to not be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-rays?
A: Yes, we exclusively use digital X-rays (radiographs), which use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film-based X-Rays. You will find that at Ebright & Smart Family Dentistry, we research the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that best promote your overall health, safety and comfort.
Q: How does fluoride help my teeth?
A: Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults by halting tooth decay. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation. Fluoride is a safe chemical component when used correctly. When your dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam, that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use any of the professional strength fluoride varnish, gel or foam products carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Q: I just want my smile to look good. What are some options to help the appearance of my smile?
A: You are not alone. Most people want to have a nice smile since it is the first thing others notice about them. You may be interested in a few minor adjustments or you may have concerns that need more attention. Some smiles can be enhanced with simple whitening or bonding treatments. Other smiles need porcelain veneers, crowns, or bridges; gum contouring; periodontal therapy or a combination of all these techniques. Dr. Ebright or Dr. Smart will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals, areas of concern, and the overall condition of your oral health. Contact us for a smile evaluation to determine what course of action will produce the best solution for you.
Q: How can losing a back tooth affect my smile?
A: Losing a back tooth will darken your overall smile, making it look smaller and narrower. Your smile will appear to stop short, and the look will be exaggerated if your missing tooth has teeth on both sides of it. Function during chewing will be reduced and function of many teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth. When you are missing a tooth, you compensate by chewing differently, putting pressure on different parts of your mouth. This can cause your other teeth to shift, creating gaps and spaces and may even cause fractures that result in additional tooth loss or in the need for restorations.
Q: What are my options to replace a missing tooth?
A: By replacing missing teeth either with a bridge or implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and will restore your smile to its beautiful, full appearance. A bridge is one solution for replacing a tooth. Using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, your dentist places a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile. A dental implant is also an excellent solution. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Once the post has bonded to the bone, it can act as a new, solid support for a natural looking porcelain restoration. Implants can replace a single tooth, or an entire set of teeth, offering more function and permanence than traditional dentures.
Q: What can I expect from my first appointment?
A: During your first appointment, your overall dental and oral health will be assessed with a comprehensive oral evaluation. Upon completion of your medical / dental health form, we will ask you to tell us your goals regarding your smile, teeth, and gums. Digital photos and X-rays will be taken of your teeth to identify areas of decay, cracked teeth and malfunctioning restorations. Our goal at Ebright & Smart Family Dentistry is to preserve as many of your teeth as possible by catching decay in its earliest stages. We will also assess your gums and recommend the appropriate hygiene treatment for you.
Q: Do you accept new patient referrals?
A: Our reputation for excellent dental care depends on two things: our good work and your beautiful smile! Your confidence in our care motivates us to continue to strive for excellence. Thank you for your referrals. Your trust and support are greatly appreciated.
Q: My teeth keep chipping and cracking. What causes this and what can I do about it?
A: Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth, but don’t remember when the injury occurred, damaged their teeth while they were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip, crack and even break. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth, we recommend a dental appliance called a nightguard. A custom fitted nightguard protects your teeth from grinding and clenching in your sleep. Your dentist at Ebright & Smart Family Dentistry takes great care in making sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Do you also suffer from headaches? If so, you may find that a side benefit of your nightguard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask us about having a nightguard custom created especially for you.
Q: I want and need a lot of dental work, but I’m afraid I can’t afford it. Do you offer monthly payment plans?
A: Yes, we do offer monthly payment plans with our financial partner, Care Credit™. We provide a variety of ways for you to pay for your treatment so that it fits comfortably into your personal or family financial goals. Our team will work with you to create the solution that accommodates you so you can have the beautiful, healthy smile you have always desired.
Q: My gums bleed. Why is this?
A: Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed, often bleeding during brushing or flossing. Timely treatment can reverse these conditions. However, if these conditions are ignored, your periodontal disease can worsen, becoming a condition called periodontitis. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat.
Periodontitis affects your gums, bone and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss – teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t diagnose and treat periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
Q: What is periodontal disease?
A: Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed, often times bleeding during brushing or flossing. If treated in a timely manner, these conditions can be reversed, preventing periodontal disease from developing. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat. Periodontitis affects your gums, bone and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss – teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t catch periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
According to Caesy Dental Education, “Ailments associated with periodontal disease include respiratory disease, pneumonia, strokes, ulcers, difficult-to-control diabetes, low birth weight babies, and infective endocarditis (a dangerous infection of the heart valves). Researchers recently discovered that this chronic infection in your mouth creates an open doorway for plaque bacteria to enter the blood stream. These bacteria (Streptococcus sangguis) may cause blood clots that can block your arteries and even trigger a heart attack.”
Q: How do sealants protect teeth?
A: A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth— premolars and molars. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids and guarding against disease-causing bacteria. Thorough brushing and flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. However, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to efficiently extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Q: How can I safely whiten my teeth?
A: Dentist directed at-home whitening is an effective way to brighten your smile. At Ebright & Smart Family Dentistry, we trust the Opalescence® home-whitening system. Dr. Ebright and Dr. Smart customize the treatment to ensure your happiness with the results. Your Opalescence® home whitening kit includes a special tray that is customized to fit over your teeth, as well as powerful, prescription-strength whitening gel, which is inserted into the tray before you wear it. Opalescence can provide results after just one night, and within a week, you can expect a dramatic improvement, leaving you with a brighter, whiter smile.