FAQ’s

The goal of an oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer or pre-cancerous lesions that may lead to mouth cancer at an early stage. Detection at an early stage is critical because that is when cancer lesions are easiest to remove and most likely to be cured.

A regular cleaning is designed for a person with slight plaque build up and who maintains good oral habits at home between their 6 month check-ups. When plaque is left undisturbed it gets hard like a rock and turns into calculus (tartar). The longer calculus stays on the teeth the harder it is to remove and it can start to destroy the bone that supports your teeth as well as your gum tissue. This calculus forms a pocket between your gum and teeth where bacteria thrives. Once this happens you need a dental professional to do a deep cleaning. This deep cleaning, called scaling and root planing usually performed in two visits, requires the use of a local anesthetic to ensure the patient is comfortable during the procedure. After scaling and root planing is completed the patient will be put on a 3 month perio maintenance plan.

If your mouth is healthy, your gums should fit snugly around each tooth, with the distance between the gum tissue and its attachment to the tooth only one to three millimeters in depth. But gum disease can lead to deeper spaces around your teeth called periodontal pockets, and if untreated, these pockets can lead to tooth loss. After having periodontal treatment it is important to maintain the pockets. It is proven that brushing does not get the bacteria out of the pockets and flossing only reaches three millimeters. By maintaining your gum tissue at a 3 three month recall achieving ultimate dental health is most possible

Dental x-rays are needed to provide the dentists the ability to see what can not be seen with the naked eye. For example, under fillings, beneath your gums, and between your teeth. X-rays help detect dental problems in their early stages. If left undetected something that could be resolved with a simple solution may turn into major dental work, or tooth loss. Without the information dental x-rays provide the dentist can not give a proper diagnosis.

FLUORIDE is a naturally occurring element present in some foods and water. In this area many townships have FLUORIDE filtered out of their water. FLUORIDE is recommended for children as well as adults at our practice. FLUORIDE not only helps harden and protect baby teeth, but also adult teeth. Another huge benefit of FLUORIDE is that with consistent usage, it can help decrease cold sensitivity.

SEALANTS are a plastic-like material placed into the deep grooves on the chewing surface of the permanent teeth, usually molars, but they can also be placed on premolars. SEALANTS are usually placed soon after the adult molars have erupted, which can be anywhere between the ages of 6-8, depending on the child. Although SEALANTS can be placed on adults as well, it is less common. We place SEALANTS to try and prevent decay, either from improper brushing techniques or naturally deep grooves. SEALANTS can be placed at the regular hygiene visit, or a separate appointment can be scheduled.

Teeth can be sensitive for many reasons and first and foremost decay must be eliminated, by your Dentist, as the cause.  Other sources of sensitivity include Recession, Bruxism: Grinding/Clenching and Whitening.  Recession is when the gums have come away from the tooth, and the root of the tooth is exposed. The root of the tooth, which is usually covered by gum tissue, once exposed is extremely sensitive, and cleanings as well as normal day to day eating/drinking and even breathing cold air can be painful. Recession can be caused not only by using too much pressure while brushing but also by using the improper toothbrush. The only toothbrush that you should use is a SOFT Toothbrush. Contrary to popular belief, using firmer bristles won’t help remove any more plaque. Another cause of recession is Bruxism. Bruxism is extremely common, and often goes undiagnosed. Grinding usually occurs during the night while you are asleep, while clenching is more prevalent during the daytime. Both occur when the body tries to relieve stress, and are unfortunately an unconscious action. Lastly whitening can be a big factor when looking at sensitivity. Sensitivity occurs more frequently with higher concentrations and longer contact with the whitening material. But with this sensitivity it is mainly temporary and stops shortly after the whitening treatment. With any sensitivity please check with the dentist for effective and safe treatment options.

Gums bleeding while you are brushing and/or flossing is NOT OK. This is a sign of Gingivitis. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, in which the bacteria that isn’t removed properly by brushing and flossing, produce toxins that irritate the gums. Gingivitis is a curable condition in which daily brushing and flossing is required, as well as your regular 6 month cleanings. Unfortunately, untreated Gingivitis can lead to Periodontal disease, which is not reversible, and effects the bone structure supporting your teeth.

All charges you incur are your responsibility regardless of your insurance coverage. We emphasize that as your dental care provider our relationship is with you, our patient, not with your insurance company. As a courtesy to you we will help you process all your insurance claims. We will do our best to obtain as much information as we can from your insurance so we can estimate your liability. We will send your insurance company the necessary documentation needed to process preauthorizations prior to major services. However, advise you to familiarize yourself with your benefits, as we are not in anyway responsible for co-payments, denied claims, deductibles or expiration of benefits.

Waiting until something hurts to complete recommended treatment usually indicates that you have waited too long. The tooth may now require a root canal or even an extraction. It is best to fix problems when the dentist diagnosis them and definitely better to fix them before they start to hurt.

Occasionally a tooth that has had a root canal can become re-infected and cause pain. This tooth may need to have the root canal retreated. Also, if there is a crack in a tooth that has had a root canal, this may also cause pain or discomfort.

Once the six year molars are present we may refer to an orthodontist if it appears that there is need for palatal expansion. Otherwise we wait until majority of the adult teeth are in before we may recommend that you see an orthodontist.

Composite, which is a tooth colored material, is usually recommended because it actually bonds to the tooth and can make the tooth stronger. Amalgam, a silver colored material, can expand upon placement which can cause a tooth to crack. A crack in a tooth can may cause the tooth to fracture in the future.

We usually recommend wisdom tooth extraction during the teenage years. As we age our jaw bone hardens and the wisdom teeth become very difficult to remove. This can cause a longer and more painful recover from the surgery. There are several reasons we may recommend to have them extracted.

The wisdom teeth are the teeth farthest in the back of your mouth making them difficult to clean correctly. This may lead to gum disease or decay. This gum disease or decay can spread to other healthy teeth.
If the wisdom teeth partially erupt through the gums then it is easy for food and bacteria to get into the pockets that are created. This can lead to a painful infection of the gum tissue that can damage adjacent teeth or jaw bone.
If there is not enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth when they erupt they can cause your teeth to crowd together and become crooked.

Recession is when the gum retracts from your teeth at the gum line. Sometimes you feel an indentation there which may be sensitive to temperature, this may indicate the root is exposed.
Recession may happen when:
You have poor home care and do not floss regularly or at all which causes gum disease. Gum disease is the #1 cause of recession. Some people are more susceptible to gum disease due to genetics.
You grind or clench your teeth which can cause your gums to recede from the excess pressure.
Your bite is off. When your teeth are not properly aligned or are crooked, too much force can be placed on the bone and gums which can lead to recession.
You are brushing too aggressively and wearing away the enamel. You should always use a soft bristled tooth brush.
You smoke or chew tobacco and the sticky residue from the tobacco eats at your gum tissue.
You have a body piercing on your tongue or lip and the friction from the piercing is wears away your gum tissue.
You have a lot of acidic foods in your diet.

Here at Whiteland Dental Associates we have a few options for those patients who would like a whiter smile. The quickest way to go would be to go trays. Which are pre-impression bleaching material trays, you place one on each upper and lower arch of your mouth, let the material set for about fifteen minutes (any longer after that the material is not as effective). After fifteen minutes has passed, brush your teeth with regular toothpaste or with whitening toothpaste which is recommended but must purchase separately. The whitening to go kit has five pre-impression sets for use. The second option we offer would be the custom tray impressions. We take upper and lower alginate impressions of your teeth and fabricate bleaching trays with those impressions. With this option you get a set of bleaching trays for your teeth only, four tubes of whitening gel, shade guide, and whitening toothpaste. With this option you would use the bleaching material at your own discretion, some patients only bleach the teeth that are shown when they smile; normally pre-molar to pre-molar. The bleaching material is put in the fabricated trays and can be used for thirty minutes, after that you’ll remove the trays, rinse them out and brush your teeth again with whitening toothpaste for best results. The last option we have is fairly new, it’s the in-house bleaching; which comes with the custom trays as well. This system the doctor and or assistant will do three-eight minute sessions bleaching your teeth. The whitening gel is placed on your teeth, and is then cured with a UV light. After your in house sessions you will continue bleaching with your custom trays as needed.

Periodontal Disease is a treatable, but not always curable, condition that affects the supporting bone structures and soft tissues around the teeth. In fact “Peri” means around and “odontal” means teeth. In the beginning stages of Periodontal Disease, also known as Gingivitis, plaque (the sticky substance containing bacteria that forms on your teeth shortly after you brush them) causes the immune system to release toxins into the tissues. The tissues respond to the toxins by becoming red, inflamed and bleeding as well as damaging the surrounding periodontal ligaments and alveolar bone (which is what keeps your teeth in place ). Once the ligaments and bone start to deteriorate, pockets occur. When the plaque is not properly removed, and gathers under the gums, causing the tissues to come away from the tooth, thus, causing a periodontal pocket. If left untreated this progression can and will cause the teeth to become loose, which is Severe Periodontitis. Prevention is key in Periodontal Disease. By keeping up with the regular six months cleaning coupled with brushing and flossing daily, Periodontal Disease should be kept at bay. But once the periodontal ligaments and bone level become compromised, either by infrequent cleanings and/or improper home care, then more drastic measures must be taken. Treatment includes Scaling and Root Planing, also called a “Deep Cleaning” followed by more frequent Perio Maintenance appointments until the condition is under control. Again, Periodontal Disease is not curable, but with the combined efforts of the Hygienist/Cleanings and proper Home care, Periodontal Disease can be managed, controlled and prevented.