Helping You Understand

Helping You Understand

How do you sterilize instruments?

All multi-use instruments are ultrasonically cleaned and then steam autoclaved. Many supplies are disposable and only used on one patient. All surfaces are disinfected between patients. For more information please refer to our sterilization procedures page.

Why are my teeth so yellow?

This is a natural change as we age. Your teeth may also appear dark from tobacco products, tea, and coffee. Professional cleaning will get your teeth clean, but even removing the plaque and stains will not always whiten your teeth.

Is tooth whitening safe?

Tooth whitening or bleaching, has been shown to be safe and effective. It lightens the shade of teeth without removing enamel. Some sensitivity may occur, but usually subsides quickly.

Should I replace my silver fillings?

Amalgam fillings have been used for many years, with no reported danger to the patient. Silver fillings do not require replacement, for replacement's sake. Most patient concerns are about the mercury which the fillings contain. Newer materials are available, and patients often elect these tooth colored restorations.

When should my child have his/her first visit?

We recommend starting children very young, about four years old. At a young age, they will learn to accept dental care more easily, with less apprehension. Treat the visit as normal everyday occurrences, and do not build up the appointment's importance.

What are sealants?

Sealants are a treatment that helps block the deep grooves that exist on back teeth. Sealants fill in the grooves where many cavities start. They are usually recommended for recently erupted permanent teeth.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

For us this means any procedure that improves a patient's smile. Today, many techniques and materials are available. 

Do you do implants?

Absolutely. Our staff can place and restore implants right here in our office. Implant placement and restoration is a wonderful service that should always be considered as a possible replacement solution. Please call for an appointment, (434) 384-7611 to discuss implant options.

What should I do for bad breath?

Halitosis, the medical term for bad breath, is of valid concern for some patients. Your first step should be to have a dental examination to check for gum disease or other other dental problems. Additional things you can do to help avoid bad breath are:

  • Brush after each meal and floss every day.
  • Brush you tongue to clean away odor causing bacteria.
  • Keep your mouth moist. This tends to keep the saliva flowing.
  • Make diet changes. Some foods cause bad breath.
  • Stop Smoking.
  • Ask about mouth care products or visit our products and services page for a full line of the products we carry.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is when bacteria causes inflamation in the gum tissue, leading to a loss of the tooth's supporting structures. Periodontal disease is classified by the amount of bone loss, as measured with a dental probe. Periodontal disease can lead to an increased amount of circulating bacteria, and is suspected of contributing to various systemic diseases including heart disease. Treatment involves scaling, root planing, frequent recare appointments and possibly gingival surgery.

Will my insurance pay for this?

Today there seems to be almost as many insurance plans as there are patients. Because we file so many claims, my front office staff is familiar with most of the local carriers. Some plans cover 100% for services - other plans only pay pennies on the dollar. Although we cannot recommend our treatment plans based on insurance coverage, we recognize the concerns of our patients. Often we can obtain information from your provider to help you understand the coverage. WE ELECTRONICALLY FILE YOUR CLAIMS AT EACH APPOINTMENT. In the final analysis, however, insurance is the patient's responsibility.

Why do I need x-rays?

Cleanings and examinations provide much information to prevent dental problems. X-rays provide the only check on areas between the teeth, where most adults will experience decay. Without these images, cavities often become detectable only when they are large.

What is the difference between bonding and porcelain veneers?

Composite bonding is best used to replace lost sections of anterior (front) teeth. They provide a natural appearance, but need periodic replacement. Porcelain veneers are used as an esthetic correction for fractures, color, stains, or shape. Porcelain veneers are often used on multiple teeth. Full porcelain crowns must be considered as an alternative to porcelain veneers or bonding where the remaining tooth structure cannot support a more conservative restoration. Please refer to our Smile Gallery for examples.

Why do I need a crown?

Often a crown is needed where a filling would just be too large. A crown covers the tooth and prevents further breakage. Many teeth are broken because large fillings act like a wedge and actually split the tooth. Also, following a root canal, a tooth becomes slightly more brittle, and a crown is needed for additional protection.