Frequently Asked Dental Questions in Traverse City, MI
Dentistry is constantly evolving, with new techniques and equipment introduced every year. While general dentistry used to be painful and uncertain, it is now a precision medical science that is virtually pain-free with procedures that can be done quickly at our office.
We want you to be educated about your dental care so you can make the right decisions and have a pleasant experience every time you visit Harborside Dental. To help, we’ve answered some of our frequently asked questions about dental health.
Are dental x-rays safe?
Yes. Dental x-rays have one of the lowest levels of radiation exposure of any medical imaging procedure. We minimize your exposure by only taking x-rays when necessary and always following proper protective measures.
Do I need fluoride? Is it safe for my children?
We recommend fluoride treatments for children and adults at risk for cavities or gum disease. Fluoride has been studied for nearly 75 years by scientists worldwide and is safe in the proper doses. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it prevents tooth decay without side effects and is a vital part of any good dental hygiene program.
Why is good oral hygiene important?
While it is obvious that clean teeth and fresh breath are important, the main reason to practice good oral hygiene is your health. Multiple research studies have linked poor dental hygiene to serious health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. You reduce the risk of developing cavities and gum disease if you properly care for your teeth and gums. It is essential to floss daily and brush your teeth at least twice a day to maintain good oral health between visits to our office.
Is flossing really that important?
Yes! Some people brush regularly and well, but do not bother to floss. This is a shame because flossing is the only effective way to reach plaque and food debris from between your teeth.
How often should I see a dentist?
Regular checkups and a professional cleaning every six months are suggested. If we discover periodontal disease or other concerns, we may want to see you every three months.
Why should I come to the dentist twice a year?
Twice yearly dental exams allow us to monitor your dental health, including checking for oral disease, dental caries, and other problems. Professional teeth cleaning effectively removes plaque and tartar that you cannot reach on your own. Regular checkups and cleanings protect the health of your teeth and gums.
How soon should my child see a dentist?
We practice family dentistry, so your entire family can get their exams and cleanings in one place. Once the first tooth has come in, we can see your child and get them used to visiting the dentist. This usually happens around their first birthday.
Why are my teeth sensitive?
Sensitivity to hot and cold foods is relatively common and can happen even with otherwise healthy teeth. It is usually caused by thinning enamel on the tooth’s surface or receding gums. If the sensitivity becomes bothersome, contact our office for an appointment, as it could be a sign of early gum disease or a damaged tooth. Special toothpaste on the market can reduce teeth sensitivity if used regularly.
Are my teeth alive?
Yes. Although there are no nerves in the hard material of the tooth’s crown, the pulp and nerves inside the tooth are living and quite sensitive when exposed to the air or irritated by infection.
What do you do for patients who are afraid of the dentist?
We know it can be frightening to visit the dentist, particularly if you have had a bad dental experience in the past. Our job is to ensure your oral health, so we do everything in our power to make you feel at ease at your appointment. Carefully explaining every procedure and answering your questions is a great start. We may also use nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to help you relax.
I am in pain and think it is a dental emergency. What do I do?
Call our office. We will evaluate the situation and determine whether you need to be seen right away or if you can wait until the following day. We work emergency patients in whenever we can, leaving slots open for emergencies each day. You can learn more on our Emergency Dental Page.
What do I do if my filling breaks?
Call our office immediately. The sooner we can get you in, the more likely we can save the tooth.
What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay is the result of poor oral hygiene. Eating acidic and sugary foods and beverages, poor brushing techniques, and neglecting to see your dentist regularly can all contribute to tooth decay and cavities.
What is gum disease?
Chronic inflammation of the gums is called gum disease or periodontitis. If you do not get it treated, the gums and jawbone deteriorate, leading to loose or missing teeth. We screen for gum disease at every checkup.
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What are dental sealants?
Teeth sealants or dental sealants protect the teeth’s enamel from damage with a thin coating that hardens in place. We most often use them on molars and in areas prone to decay.
How long do veneers last?
Veneers are a simple way to improve the appearance of your teeth. Although not permanent, they can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years for a beautiful smile you’ll have for decades.
What is a crown?
Crowns are essentially caps that replace a missing tooth. A crown can be fitted over a damaged tooth or a post and abutment when a tooth is missing. Crowns are precision-tooled to look, feel, and function like natural teeth. They can be made of porcelain, ceramic, resin, or metal. The most common reason to get a crown is to protect a root canal or a broken or decayed tooth.
What are dental implants?
When one or more teeth are missing, dental implants restore the look and function of your teeth. Implants are a permanent solution consisting of the titanium implant in the jawbone, an abutment that attaches to the crown, and the crown.
I would like to become a patient. How do I do this?
How do I find the Harborside Dental office?
We are located just along the bay and harbor. You can find driving directions and a helpful map on our contact page.
I have questions about my dental insurance and payments.
Please visit our Insurance page to learn more about dental insurance benefits and how they are determined. You can learn more about your payment options on our Financial Policy page. We accept most major credit cards, CareCredit, and Lending Club. We also accept Medicare as a non-participating provider. You are responsible for any costs not covered by Medicare or your insurance.
If you have questions we have not answered here, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!