Why do I need dental x-rays?

While a thorough visual exam is done at your cleaning appointments, it is impossible to see between contacting teeth.  An x-ray is taken to show this area between the teeth and helps determine if your teeth are weak or decayed. A dental x-ray also shows the bone surrounding the teeth and can help detect cysts, abscesses or other abnormalities.

Different types of x-rays show different parts of the mouth and teeth.  Bitewing films are taken to check for decay between the teeth and show both upper and lower teeth on the same film.  Periapical films are taken to focus on one specific area or tooth and show the entire tooth from chewing surface to root tip.  These are often taken to help diagnose problems such as abscesses, fractures in roots or periodontal issues. A panoramic film is taken approximately every 4 years and shows the bone and teeth from ear to ear and from nose to chin.  This gives an overall view to assess the overall health of the bone and teeth.

Are dental x-rays safe?

Dental x-rays are safe and our office strives to evaluate each individual's needs to ensure exposure is as low as reasonably achievable. Our Nomad x-ray unit is the most current technology available and utilizes the least amount of radiation on the market. Each film taken is equivalent to approximately 1.5 minutes in the sun. 

Why do my gums bleed?

Sore and bleeding gums are the first sign of gingivitis.  This is caused by plaque and bacteria that is left on the teeth near the gums and causes the area to become inflamed.  The best way to stop the bleeding and help the soreness is to brush the gumline well at least 2 times daily and to floss daily. The bleeding should disappear in 5-7 days with thorough cleaning unless you have more significant gum disease.

What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease? How are they treated?

Gingivitis is the inflammation, swelling bleeding of the gums.  It is a reversible condition and the most common cause is poor oral hygiene.  Generally good brushing and flossing daily as well as cleanings with a dental professional at least every 6 months can reverse the effects of gingivitis.  Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease which causes bone loss around the roots of the teeth and is not reversible.  It is also caused by poor oral hygiene but is more extensive than gingivitis.  Periodontal disease is most effectively treated by deep cleaning called scaling and root planing followed by diligent cleaning at home as well as cleanings by a dental professional every 3-4 months.

When should I bring my child in for their first visit?

The American Dental Association recommends a child be seen by their dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts. Our office encourages well baby checks which involves the dentist performing a thorough exam and applying fluoride to the teeth.  This appointment also gives the parents an opportunity to ask any questions related to oral health, get instructions on brushing and discuss dietary concerns such as water fluoridation and good nutrition.

Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?

Dental amalgam is considered a safe, reliable and affordable filling material. It is a mixture of metals that bind together to create a hard and safe material to restore teeth.  It has been extensively researched and has been proven to be a safe and effective option in dentistry.  However, some people prefer a more esthetic restoration so we do offer white composite resin fillings as an alternative.

Should I be using an electric toothbrush?

Some electric toothbrushes on the market have been extensively researched and have been proven to clean more effectively than a manual brush. Just remember quality does matter and not all electric brushes are created equal! A good electric toothbrush is generally one that is rechargeable, has a removable brush head for replacing every few months and has a timer. Our favorite brand of electric toothbrushes is Sonicare made by Philips.  Cheaper brushes are often made with stiff, blunt bristles that may do more harm than good and do not move as effectively as a better quality toothbrush. Just because it moves doesn't mean it's better! Our office does sell the Philips Sonicare brushes at our cost for our patients because they can significantly improve and help maintain oral health. 

How does smoking or chewing tobacco affect my mouth?

Smoking and chewing tobacco are both linked to periodontal disease and make it difficult to control.  The constant insult to the gum, cheek and lip tissues cause changes in the cells that eventually create pre-cancerous areas. These areas that are called leukoplakic tissue and can appear white or red in color and often have a rough or bumpy texture. Chewing tobacco is also associated with gingival (gum) recession which can significantly compromise the health of the teeth and cause sensitivity. There are countless methods to go about quitting smoking and chewing tobacco and we would be happy to help you in any way we can!

Does your office accept my insurance?

Our office accepts all insurance, however, we are not a PPO or IN-NETWORK for any insurance company or policy.

Do you offer payment plans?

We understand finances are a personal matter.  For patients with dental insurance, your estimated copay (the portion of your fees that your insurance does not cover) is always due at the time of service.  For patients who do not carry insurance, the full fee is due at the time of service and we accept several forms of payment including cash, check and credit card to make this as easy as possible.

What forms of payment does the office accept?

We accept cash, check, debit card, VISA, Master Card, Discover and American Express.

Do you take Medicaid?

Smile Innovations Dentistry accepts all private pay and private insurance plans.  We do not accept Medicaid.

How long will my first cleaning appointment take?

We pride ourselves on being thorough and reserve approximately 2 hours for a New Patient Visit.  In this time you will meet with one of our hygienists who will take x-rays and photographs, review your medical history and answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your dental needs. You will meet with the dentist and she will provide you with a complete comprehensive oral examination and you will leave with a written copy of any treatment that has been proposed.  If there are no signs of periodontal disease that would require a more extensive type of cleaning, the routine cleaning will also be completed at this initial visit.  You will leave our office with a written treatment plan which includes all proposed treatment and our fees for treatment, an appointment card with future scheduled appointments and a care package with information about our office, a toothbrush and other dental aides.