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Drs. Thompson and Dunn
Comprehensive Dental Care

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

We are happy to answer questions about our services and procedures.

These are a selection of some common questions that patients have. If your question isn't answered here, please contact our office. It's important to us that our patients understand their dental care.

Cleanings & Examinations

Even with excellent hygiene habits, it's easy to miss small areas of your teeth. Over time, the missed plaque will harden into tartar, which can only be removed with a dental hygienist's tools. When tartar accumulates beneath the gumline, the end result is red, puffy, inflamed gums — the beginnings of periodontal disease. 

Examinations are an important opportunity for us to check in with you, see how you are doing, and make sure that your teeth are healthy. We want to catch problems when they are small and can be treated easily. This allows for more comfortable and less costly dentistry for you. 

Unfortunately, by the time you are in pain, simple measures are often no longer effective. Regular examinations allow us to nip this situation in the bud and keep your teeth healthy and beautiful.

X-rays are a dentist's most important diagnostic tool. Often, problems start inside your teeth or beneath the gumline. By the time the problem is visible to the naked eye, it can be painful and more difficult to treat. Using x-rays taken on a regular basis, we can catch problems early and treat them quickly and comfortably.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Absolutely not! You are never too old to have a beautiful smile.

Call us today to find out what we can do to help you. We'd be happy to show you pictures of some of our other cosmetic transformations.

We offer a range of cosmetic dentistry services such as veneers, porcelain crowns, bonding using tooth-colored composite, and even orthodontic treatments like Invisalign.

All our dentistry is done with an eye toward esthetics. We know that it's important that your teeth are both healthy and attractive.

If you'd like to find out which of our services can help you meet your goals, call our office to schedule your consultation.

Sometimes a simple teeth whitening procedure is all it takes to put the sparkle back into your smile.

If your staining or discoloration is resistant to whitening, however, we have other ways of improving the appearance of your teeth using cosmetic dentistry procedures such as veneers, bonding, or porcelain crowns. Call us to find out which of our services is right for you.

Crowns & Bridges

Dental crowns are designed to be durable and to function much like your own teeth. You need to use common sense, however, and avoid biting down directly on foods like hard candy or nuts.

A broken crown is not just costly to replace, but you may also damage underlying healthy tooth structure.

A dental bridge is a solution for filling the space left by a missing tooth. It is basically a single dental restoration that usually includes two dental crowns and a replacement tooth (pontic) that fills the empty space. The dental crowns are secured to adjacent teeth on either side of the empty space and provide support for the artificial tooth.

Modern dental materials and technology have dramatically improved the appearance of dental crowns and bridges. The porcelain used in today’s crowns and bridges can be color-matched to blend perfectly with the shade of your natural teeth.

With proper placement, your dental restoration should be virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth.

Dental Bonding

If the chip in your tooth is small and located in the right place, we may be able to repair it using dental bonding. Our doctor will perform an exam to determine if dental bonding can benefit you.

Small dental flaws, such as gaps between your teeth, can sometimes be fixed with cosmetic dental bonding.

Bonding is a cost-effective treatment that is non-invasive and effective. To determine if your particular problem can be solved with dental bonding, call our office to schedule an exam.

Dental bonding is one of the most affordable cosmetic treatments available. Because it is non-invasive, requires less prep work on your tooth, and eliminates the need for a dental lab, it is often a great choice for many of our patients.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are intended to blend in seamlessly with your natural teeth. One of the advantages of this is that you can brush them and floss them the same as you would with your regular teeth. While implants never get cavities (and never need root canals!), you still want to continue brushing and flossing to keep your natural teeth and your gums healthy.

While dental implants do tend to cost more than bridges or dentures, they are also the most life-like, stable, and functional replacement, closely mimicking the appearance and function of your natural teeth. They also last longer, which can save you money in the long run. Call our office today to schedule your consultation.

Dental implants have several advantages over other tooth replacement options:

  • Dental implants appear the most life-like and natural.
  • The actual implant piece of the dental implant is made of titanium, a biocompatible metal.
  • Dental implants are the most secure and stable.
  • Dental implants prevent bone loss, keeping your jaw tissue healthy and preventing changes in the shape of your face.
  • With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.

Dentures & Partials

At first, your dentist may recommend that you wear your dentures to sleep. This will speed up your mouth’s adjustment to the dentures and allow you to quickly detect and correct any spots where the fit is uncomfortable. After your mouth has adjusted to the dentures, they may be worn throughout the day and removed while you sleep.

Yes.

When you first get your dentures, you will need to start with soft foods and slowly introduce harder foods as you get used to biting and chewing with the dentures in. Chew gently and take smaller bites to avoid loosening the dentures as you eat.

It will take your mouth some time to get used to the feel of dentures. After a few months, however, you will feel comfortable eating and talking with your dentures in and experience little to no soreness or discomfort. If you ever do experience soreness or if your dentures aren’t fitting right, please let us know.

Digital Dental X-Rays

Many of our health-conscious patients are curious about the necessity of dental x-rays because they are concerned about radiation exposure. We understand, and we are here to help you make the best choices for your smile.

Digital dental x-rays are extremely safe and reduce radiation emission by up to 80 percent over traditional dental x-rays. That may mean little to you at first, but it may help to know that dental x-rays have always emitted considerably less radiation than nearly all other types of medical x-rays.

Radiation is all around us, and you actually have more radiation exposure by being outside on a clear day than you will have from your routine dental x-rays.

Not only are digital dental x-rays safe for you, but they are also better for our environment because they eliminate the need for chemicals required to develop film x-rays. 

Digital dental x-rays are also superior because they are more convenient – we have an instant image that appears on our treatment room monitors for immediate evaluation by our dentist. We store these images securely in your digital chart and can access them quickly to monitor oral health changes that occur over time.

If you ever have questions about why we recommend periodic dental x-rays, or if you need them at your next dental exam, contact us. Our knowledgeable team is available to help.

While our dentists can diagnose many conditions with a visual exam, we cannot always see what is happening beneath your protective tooth enamel or below your gumline. Digital dental x-rays make this possible and allow us to make an earlier diagnosis, potentially saving you time and money and allowing us to treat conditions before they become critical – or painful.

By offering digital dental x-rays, we have significantly improved the safety of the care we provide. Digital dental x-rays emit up to 80 percent less radiation than traditional x-rays and give us instant access to high-resolution images for proper diagnosis of conditions such as bone loss, decay, and infection.

The cost of dental x-rays is low compared to complex restorative dentistry, making them a good investment in your oral health and the appearance of your smile. Without them, we would only have part of the story when it comes to your health, and the rest would be left to chance.

If you have questions about the necessity, safety, or process of digital dental x-rays, we encourage you to call or ask at your next appointment. We are dedicated to providing quality dentistry that supports a healthy, comfortable smile, and we look forward to hearing from you.

As with all dental treatment, we personalize your dentistry to meet your health needs and will make recommendations designed to keep you healthy and comfortable. According to the ADA, for most patients, yearly x-rays are enough to evaluate your teeth, bone, and gums and identify any conditions that put your oral health at risk.

If you suffer from gum disease (periodontal disease) or you have a history of losing teeth, we may recommend x-rays more frequently. Conversely, if you do not have significant dentistry or a history of tooth decay, we may be able to schedule x-rays every two years if you remain healthy.

Here are some of the different types of x-rays commonly offered:

  • Bitewing x-rays – checks for dental decay (yearly)
  • Full mouth x-rays – examines the tooth structure from crown to root and assesses bone levels (every 3 to 5 years)
  • Periapical x-rays – typically used for restorative dentistry or emergency dental appointments when an image of the whole tooth structure is needed (as needed)
  • Panoramic x-rays – takes a comprehensive image of all of your teeth at once and includes your jaw joints, bone, and dental anatomy (every 3 to 5 years)

Every patient is different, and the timelines listed above are a generalization based on averages. We will adjust your x-ray recall schedule to ensure you always have up-to-date information regarding your oral health.

Pediatric Dentistry

We know that convenience is important for today’s busy families. That is why we offer dentistry for the whole family including your children.

We begin seeing kids at a young age to make sure they have a healthy dental foundation.

We will determine the type of preventive care necessary for your child based on recommendations from the American Dental Association and your child’s unique needs. If you have concerns about certain types of treatment, call our office; we will be happy to discuss those with you.

Yes.

A child who has a tough time sitting still will need additional support when it comes to getting used to the dental office. We can help them become familiar with the surroundings so that when it is time for their dental cleaning, they will be used to our office and the environment.

Periodontal Disease Prevention & Treatment

In its earliest stages, we can reverse gum disease by improving your hygiene routine and adding in an antimicrobial treatment. Once gum disease has progressed past a certain point, however, the disease is not reversible. We can still provide treatment that will stop the disease in its tracks and prevent further deterioration of your gum and bone tissue.

Coming in for regular cleanings with one of our excellent dental hygienists will help keep your gums in great shape, but what you do at home matters as well. Brush twice daily and floss every evening. Our hygienists will be happy to show you good brushing and flossing technique.

Other steps you can take to prevent gum disease include:

  • Don't smoke or chew tobacco.
  • Eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash. We'll be happy to recommend one.
  • If you have a health condition that can affect your dental health such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, please let us know so that we can take extra steps to help keep your gums healthy.

The appropriate treatment for your gum disease will vary depending on how far your disease has progressed and any contributing factors such as hygiene and other health conditions. Some of the treatments recommended for gum disease include:

  • An increased dedication to excellent oral hygiene
  • Antimicrobial rinses and other products
  • An antibiotic medication that is placed in the gum pockets
  • Deep cleaning (scaling and root planing)
  • Laser therapy
  • Gum surgery

We will discuss your situation with you and recommend the treatment that we believe will be the most appropriate for your unique needs.

Sleep Apnea & Snoring

One of the most well-known treatments for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy, which uses a machine to keep air moving through your airway while you are sleeping. While this treatment is effective, many people fail it for a variety of reasons.

Another effective treatment is an oral appliance that is worn while you sleep. This device is customized to fit your mouth and holds your airway open so that you can continue breathing throughout the night.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and are having trouble tolerating CPAP therapy, call our office for an evaluation to find out if an oral appliance is right for you.

Snoring can sometimes be a symptom of a serious condition called sleep apnea. If you snore and also notice that you have trouble with daytime fatigue or drowsiness, mood swings, and headaches, call your physician to be evaluated for sleep apnea.

We can provide you with a comfortable mouth piece that will open up your airway while you sleep. More oxygen is allowed to enter the bloodstream, and both you and your significant other will rest easier.

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