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FAQ | Glossary

FAQ

Q. How often should I see a dentist?
A. The American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines recommend visiting a dentist at least twice a year for a check-up and professional cleaning. Our office also recommends a minimum of two visits per year. It may be necessary to be seen for 3 or 4 cleanings a year depending on the health of your gums.

Q. What should I expect during my appointment?
A. One of our staff members will compile your medical and dental history during your first visit. We will then examine your teeth and gums, screen you for oral cancer, take X-rays of your teeth as needed and complete a TMJ (temporomandibular joint or jaw joint) exam. After we review your dental profile, we will discuss a diagnosis with you. We will review your options for treatment and fee payment and help you determine the best plan to fit your needs.

During regular follow-up visits, we will examine your teeth and gums, screen you for oral cancer, clean your teeth and make plans for treatment, as needed. We will discuss any pain or problems you may be experiencing and answer any questions you may have.

Q. What does “painless dentistry” mean?
A. Painless dentistry is a means of ensuring your total experience in our office is as stress-free and pain-free as possible. We will discuss treatment options that may require no local anesthetic and whenever possible, alleviate pain by the means most comfortable to you.

Q. What if I have an emergency?
A. Please call our office as soon as you determine that you have a dental emergency. We will be glad to work you in to our schedule if you have a dental emergency. After hours, over the weekend and during holidays, please call our office and connect with our live answering service to reach our on-call doctor.

Q. Are payment plans available for my dental treatment?
A. Yes. We accept many types of dental insurance and will process your claim for you upon receipt of your co-payment. We offer a low-interest-rate payment plan and also accept most major credit cards, including MasterCard and Visa.

Q. Can the dentist whiten my teeth?
A. There are several methods available for bleaching the teeth: in office, overnight or daily. KÖR bleaching is done in our office. One session generally lasts one and a half hours, and you can read or relax during the treatment. For overnight bleaching, we make an impression of your teeth and create a custom tray that fits your bite. Each day you fill the tray with a small amount of bleaching gel and wear it overnight or for a few hours during the day. The overnight bleaching process takes approximately two weeks.

Other over-the-counter daily bleaching products are available, but it is important to use any bleaching product only under the supervision of a dentist. To achieve the whitening results you desire, the ADA recommends that you seek the professional advice of a dentist, including examination and diagnosis of the cause of tooth discoloration, before you begin any bleaching program.

Q. What if I have a gap in my teeth, a chipped tooth or teeth that do not respond to normal bleaching methods?
A. Porcelain veneers are designed to look like your natural teeth and are individually and permanently attached to the fronts of your existing teeth. Bonding utilizes a composite material made of plastic to fill in areas of your teeth and correct chipping and shape problems. Both porcelain veneers and bonding are color-matched to the rest of your teeth.

Glossary

-A-
Abscess - infection caused by severe tooth decay, trauma or gum disease.
Amalgam - a silver and mercury material used for fillings.
Anesthetic - a drug used by your doctor to eliminate a patient's localized pain during certain dental procedures.
Anterior - the teeth in the front of your mouth.
Antiseptic - an agent that can be applied to living tissues to destroy germs.
Apex - the very tip of the root of a tooth.
Aspirator - a suction device your dentist uses to remove saliva from your mouth.

-B-
Bleaching Agent - a gel used to whiten and brighten teeth.
Bonding - a plastic composite painted on the teeth to correct stains or damage.
Bridge - one or more artificial teeth attached to your adjacent teeth.
Bruxism - the clenching or grinding of teeth, most commonly while sleeping.

-C-
Calculus - the hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar.
Canine - the pointy teeth just behind the laterals.
Caries - another name for cavities or decayed teeth.
Cavity - a tiny hole in the tooth caused by decay.
Central - the two upper and two lower teeth in the center of the mouth.
Crown - an artificial tooth or cover made of porcelain or metal.
Cuspid - the pointy teeth just behind the laterals, also known as canines.

-D-
Decalcification - the loss of calcium from the teeth.
Deciduous Teeth - also called "baby teeth."
Dental Implants - an implant permanently attached to the jawbone that replaces a missing tooth or teeth.
Denture - a removable set of artificial teeth.

-E-
Enamel - the hard surface of the tooth above the gum line.
Endodontist - a dentist who specializes in root canals and the treatment of diseases and infections of the dental pulp (inner tooth).
Extraction - the removal of a tooth or teeth.

-F-
Filling - a plug made of metal or composite material used to fill a tooth cavity.
Fluoride - a chemical solution used to harden teeth and prevent decay.

-G-
Gingivitis - inflammation of gums around the roots of the teeth.
Gums - the firm flesh that surrounds the roots of the teeth.

-I-
Impacted Tooth - often occurring with wisdom teeth, it is a tooth that sits sideways below the gum line, often requiring extraction.
Incisal - related to incisors (see below).
Incisor - one of the flat, sharp-edged teeth in the front of the mouth.
Inlays - a custom-made filling cemented into an unhealthy tooth.
Instant Orthodontics - alternative to braces using bonded porcelain veneers or crowns.

-L-
Lateral - these are the teeth adjacent to the centrals.

-N-
Night Guard - a plastic mouthpiece worn at night to prevent grinding of the teeth. Often used to treat TMJ.

-P-
Pedontist - also known as a pediatric dentist, a dentist that specializes in the treatment of children's teeth.
Periodontist - a dentist specializing in the treatment of gum disease.
Plaque - a sticky build-up of acids and bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Posterior Teeth - the teeth in the back of the mouth.
Primary Teeth - also known as "baby teeth" or deciduous teeth.
Prosthodontist - a dentist specializing in the restoration and replacement of missing teeth or severely damaged teeth.

-R-
Root - the portion of the tooth below your gum line.
Root Canal - cleaning out and filling the inside nerve of a tooth that is heavily decayed.

-S-
Sealant - plastic coating applied to teeth to prevent decay. Used most commonly for children.
Secondary Teeth - the permanent teeth.
Six-Year Molar - commonly known as "the first molar."
Sleep Apnea - a potentially serious disorder in which a sleeping person may stop breathing for 10 seconds or more, often continuously throughout the night.

-T-
Tartar - see calculus.
TMJ Syndrome - a disorder associated with the joint of the jaw. Often caused by a misalignment of or a disparity in upper and lower jaw sizes.
Tooth Whitening - a process designed to whiten and brighten teeth.
Twelve-Year Molar - commonly known as "the second molar."

-V-
Veneer - a plastic, porcelain or composite material used to improve the attractiveness of a stained or damaged tooth.