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General Dental Care and Information

A dentist’s job is to diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions and disorders affecting the teeth, gums, jaws, and other related parts of the mouth. They provide advice and guidance on daily care and dieting habits to help you maintain proper oral health at home. While most general dentists provide a wide array of dental procedures, they may refer you to a specialist in the case of more intensive surgeries or issues such as wisdom teeth removal or oral cancer.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that patients visit their dentist twice a year to maintain a healthy smile. Regular visits can prevent and diagnose the development of serious dental problems before they begin to require more extensive and costly treatments.

General Dental Care & Information

A dentist’s job is to diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions and disorders affecting the teeth, gums, jaws, and other related parts of the mouth. They provide advice and guidance on daily care and dieting habits to help you maintain proper oral health at home. While most general dentists provide a wide array of dental procedures, they may refer you to a specialist in the case of more intensive surgeries or issues such as wisdom teeth removal or oral cancer.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that patients visit their dentist twice a year to maintain a healthy smile. Regular visits can prevent and diagnose the development of serious dental problems before they begin to require more extensive and costly treatments.
 X-Rays sometimes referred to as radiographs, are vital pieces of every dental care plan. When X-rays pass through your mouth, they penetrate soft tissues (gums and cheeks) to be absorbed by denser structures (teeth and bone). An image then forms on the film to help dentists accurately detect abnormalities like cavities, developing teeth, or root issues. How often should X-rays be taken? It depends on your individual health needs, risk factors, medical and dental history, and any current symptoms. Children with developing teeth, cavity-prone teens, adults with extensive previous dental work, and seniors may have a higher risk of tooth decay, so they should update their X-rays every six months. However, those with healthy teeth and gums may only need new ones taken every three years. Your dentist will be able to assess your unique needs each time you come in for an appointment.
Most trips to the dentist will include a routine procedure focused on the health of your gums called a periodontal exam. While there are many techniques, each one assesses the health of your gums by examining the space where they meet your teeth. Regular periodontal exams can help diagnose a host of problems including: gingivitis teeth grinding loosening teeth plaque build up receding gum lines
Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, has long been used to help prevent decay by building up tooth enamel defense. Every day, other minerals in our diets are added and taken away from the structure of our teeth in processes called remineralization and demineralization. Fluoride assists by protecting against the loss of those minerals while rebuilding the tooth’s enamel. The dental community endorses the practice of supplementing diets with fluoride through toothpaste, some rinses, varnishes, and gels.

While nothing replaces the importance of regular visits to the dentist, one of the best defenses for your oral health is a well-balanced diet. Making sure your body receives the right amount of nutrients helps your teeth, gums, and immune system stay strong and fight off bacteria that cause infection, decay, and disease. Sugary foods and drinks, as well as carbohydrates, can all leave behind harmful acids that eat away at tooth structures. Good nutrition and eating habits go a long way towards a healthier smile.

These good habits start in the earliest stages of childhood, so allowing your kids to eat excessive amounts of junk food can lead to overall health issues, some specifically related to their mouths. If you allow them to drink fruit juices or sodas rich in sugar, encourage them to use a straw to keep the substances off of their teeth. Make sure their diet includes foods rich in calcium and a healthy balance of the essential food groups. In some cases, fluoride supplements may help prevent cavities from forming in their teeth but consult with your dentist first.

Infants:

Most children in America often don’t see the dentist until they are two years old, which sets them up for a variety of dental issues later in life. The importance of primary teeth cannot be overstated, so the ADA suggests your baby sees the dentist between six and twelve months old. Around this time, their teeth are beginning to emerge and a critical window to spot any problems will quickly open and close.

Before you even see the first tooth erupt, it’s best to get into the practice of wiping his or her gums with a piece of gauze soaked in water. As teeth begin to show, switch to using a toothbrush designed for babies and brush twice daily. Parents should be advised to consult their dentist before beginning to use fluoridated toothpaste.

Usually toward the tail end of their first year and the beginning of their second, babies teeth to relieve their sore gums as primary teeth begin to emerge. Discourage thumb sucking or the use of a pacifier passed the age of four because this can lead to malformed teeth and bite relationships later on. Instead, a piece of wet gauze, your finger, or the back of a small spoon rubbed against their gums will help.

Maintaining your young child’s dental health is important because while they may not have a full set of permanent teeth, their temporary ones are still susceptible to problems like baby bottle tooth decay. This condition occurs when the sugar in liquids like breast milk and some juices combine with their saliva and pools inside their mouth. This feeds bacteria into their gums and erupting teeth, causing a buildup of plaque, and subsequent tooth decay. It is most often seen in babies who have prolonged nursing habits, who are allowed to fall asleep with a bottle, or whose pacifiers are often dipped in sweet substances like honey. Gum cleaning or teeth brushing after every feeding and encouragement to drink from a cup as early as possible are two great ways of avoiding this condition.

Children:

Around the age of three, most children will have grown all 20 of their primary (temporary or baby) teeth. Throughout the next 8-12 years, their full set of 28 permanent teeth will gradually replace their primaries. While they eventually fall out, the health of the baby teeth plays a large role in the growth and development of the adult ones to come. For example, poorly formed baby teeth could end up crowding the spaces reserved for the adult ones coming through resulting in a malformed bite later in life.

It is common for young children to suffer from toothaches. While it normally occurs as adult teeth begin to erupt, it could indicate a larger problem. A long-lasting toothache that cannot be fixed at home should be examined by a dentist. Some common ways to safely relieve the pain are:

  • Rinsing their mouth out with warm water and table salt
  • Giving them aspirin or acetaminophen
  • Applying a cold compress to the outside of their cheek
Adults:

It’s important to maintain a healthy oral regimen and receive checkups every six months. By staying on top of your dental hygiene throughout your life, you’ll be able to avoid things like dentures. In fact, there is usually no reason not to keep your original teeth throughout your entire life. Good dental hygiene paired with a balanced diet equates to a healthy body and a longer life.

Seniors:

As we age, we are more susceptible to health issues and our mouth is no exception. In addition, poor oral health can be linked to more systemic issues like diabetes and heart disease. Unfortunately, if you suffer from arthritis or other joint issues, you may find it difficult or painful to do things like hold a toothbrush or floss. Thankfully, there are products on the market specifically designed to be easier to hold and control. You can also modify your existing products by extending a toothbrush handle with a Popsicle stick or an easy-to-handle stress ball.

Throughout a woman’s life, surges and drops in hormone levels during menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and menopause can have adverse effects on her teeth and gums. Lesions, ulcers, dry sockets, and swollen gums can occur and are important things to look out for. Taking care of your mouth as a female throughout all these changes is essential to maintaining good oral health.

Dental Health Risk Factors

Lacerations and cuts on the inside of and near your mouth can become infected and negatively impact your oral health. Any trauma to the soft tissues of our mouth or broken facial bones should be looked at to avoid infection.

Research shows that those who live with diabetes have increased risk of gum disease due to unsteady blood glucose levels. Inversely, gum disease itself can affect blood glucose levels, making it even more critical that diabetics maintain their oral health. Diabetics also often struggle with dry mouth. A diminished production of saliva means your body will have a harder time self-regulating cavity-causing bacteria. Often, these problems go unnoticed or untreated until it is too late, so regular visits to the dentist are crucial in preventing any major issues.

Eating disorders pose both negative long and short-term effects on your dental health. First, without proper nutrition, the soft tissues of your mouth are more susceptible to tearing and bleeding. Dry mouth, gingivitis, and canker sores are also common side effects of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Aside from a lack of nutrients, many disorders are linked to behaviors like self-induced vomiting and binge eating. Both of these result in chemical changes within your mouth that can erode tooth enamel. In fact, brushing your teeth after an episode of vomiting actually does more bad than good as you could be rubbing the acid onto youth teeth.
While oral piercings are a popular form of self-expression, the damage done to the soft tissues in your mouth could potentially be dangerous. Piercings in or around the mouth, can chip teeth, cause extreme swelling, block airways, or infections. When performed in an unsterile environment, these chances are only more likely so be sure to do your research before closing a piercer. These risks and more make it important to ask the right questions of both your piercer and your dentist to determine if an oral piercing is right for you.

It goes without saying that tobacco use in any form is bad for your health in general, so it’s no surprise that it negatively impacts your oral health. Because of this, the American Dental Association has been a constant fighter in the battle against tobacco-related disease through education and testimonials.

The use of tobacco products produces a host of problems including:

  • oral tissue and bone loss
  • difficulties retaining dental implants
  • gum disease
  • stained teeth and tongue
  • oral cancer

Quitting is the only way to reduce your risk of these and other health concerns that come with using tobacco.

Many medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) can have negative side-effects on your dental health. For example, antihistamines, painkillers, antidepressants, decongestants, and others can cause the tissues in your mouth to swell, thus hindering saliva production. This results in a condition called dry mouth. It is best practice to notify your dentist of your medical history and medications, vitamins, and supplements you regularly take so they can better tailor your treatment and maintenance plans.

Oral Health Products & Techniques

Every pharmacy or health and beauty section of a store today has an overwhelming variety of remedies and devices aimed at helping you maintain your oral health. While there are many high-quality products available, how are you supposed to decide which ones to purchase? What’s the difference between teeth brightening and teeth whitening? Should you be whitening your teeth at home at all? No matter what you’re purchasing, always look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance and ask your dentist if you have any questions.

Poor dental hygiene goes beyond cavities or bad breath. The mouth is one of the main access points to the rest of your body, so an infection there can turn into an infection elsewhere. Certain oral diseases can be picked up in the bloodstream and taken to other places such as your liver and then through to your heart. In short, a daily regimen of brushing, flossing, and rinsing paired with regular trips to the dentist is the best and easiest way to stave off more systemic or serious issues.

Both natural and restored teeth survive best in an environment that is regularly cleaned and cared for. Our suggested preventative program is designed to prevent new issues from arriving while maintaining and preserving what has been restored. It begins with your diet and intake. Avoid sticky, sugary foods, keep a balanced diet, and avoid any and all tobacco products. In addition, make it a habit to brush your teeth every morning and evening in a circular motion with your toothbrush aimed at your gum line. Floss every evening and use antiseptic or fluoride rinses as directed. Finally, have sealants placed on your permanent teeth as soon as possible. Children whose young, adult teeth receive this treatment are far less prone to cavities throughout their life than those whose are left unprotected.

Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth. While the underlying base is often made of metal, the visible parts of dentures are made from an acrylic resin formed from a mold taken of your mouth. While they will never feel exactly the same as natural teeth, they are becoming more realistic and comfortable than ever before. They help people who have lost teeth or dental tissue regain the ability to chew, speak, and support facial muscles.

Dentures can be classified as conventional or immediate depending on when they were made relative to implants being inserted. Immediate dentures are inserted the same day as the removal of teeth and addition of implant anchors. Molds are taken and appliances made prior to the surgery so patients do not have to be without teeth when they leave. However, during the first six months of healing, a person’s mouth will change, often resulting in follow-up adjustments. While patients must wait for conventional dentures, they are often more accurate and require less refining.

Complete dentures: When someone has experienced major tooth loss, it is easier to remove any remaining teeth and receive a completely new set as opposed to individually adding new implants or bridges. Complete dentures replace all of a patient’s teeth on either the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both. They are attached to the gum line to stay in place.

Partial dentures: For those who still have some of their natural teeth, a partial denture may be a better alternative to a complete one. A metal framework is attached to your natural teeth to serve as an anchor for the dentures. While metal clasps are often the connecting point, precision attachments are more discrete and aesthetically appealing. Oftentimes, crowns are added for extra support and a better fit for the appliance.

Though the earliest documented dentures were made from animal bone, lead, or elephant ivory, contemporary dentures are luckily far more advanced. First, an impression of your jaw is created and your bite relationship measured at your dentist’s office. These specs, along with the shade of your gums, is sent off to a specialized lab to create a completely customized appliance.

The lab then creates a wax version of your jaw and places the acrylic teeth into it. This is sent back to your dentist so you can do what is called a “wax try-on” so any adjustments can be made before the final version is created. The mold is sent back to the lab and an acrylic version is colored, formed, set, and polished.

On average, this process spans over five different appointments. A consultation with your dentist will help determine which type is best for you and establish an estimated time frame.

Many patients find their first denture to be challenging and awkward feeling. However, through time, patience, and practice, your mouth will adjust to wearing it. In the beginning, you may be required to wear the appliance around the clock as it is the fastest and most effective way to grow accustomed and/or identify areas that need adjusting. After some time, you will be able to take it out before bed and reinsert it in the morning. Some of the more challenging aspects will be eating, speaking, inserting, and removing.

Begin by only eating soft foods cut into small, easy bites. Chew slowly and focus on using both sides of your mouth simultaneously to ensure each side receives even pressure. Avoid hard, sticky, and hot foods in the beginning until you are confident enough to slowly reintroduce them to your diet.

Certain words will be difficult to pronounce in the first few weeks or months. Begin by practicing troublesome words or phrases. If your dentures make a clicking noise, slow down to gain more control. As you become used to speaking with your appliance, you will be able to speak normally again.

Finally, inserting and removing the denture may be difficult at first, but never feel like you have to force it into place. They are molded to you, so it should fit easily. However, it is not uncommon for the appliance to slip out when coughing, laughing or smiling. If they become loose, simply press down with light pressure and swallow to re-position them.

If any of these problems persist, consult your dentist.

The most effective way to care for your dentures is to keep them and the rest of your mouth clean and free of food debris that can become trapped and cause bacterial infections to form. While rinsing out your mouth and your appliance after every meal will help, knowing how to properly clean them in the morning and the evening is essential. 

First, whether or not you have a full or partial appliance, purchase a brush specifically designed for dentures in addition to your regular toothbrush. Avoid brushes with hard bristles that can damage the appliance. Second, find a denture specific cleanser with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. However, mild castile soap will do and those with mint will help you feel fresh without having to use regular toothpaste which will most likely be too abrasive.

To brush your dentures:

  1. Stand over a folded towel or a sink of water to avoid damage if you accidentally drop it while brushing.
  2. Brush your teeth with your regular toothbrush and toothpaste. Even with complete dentures, brush your gums, tongue, and palate with a toothbrush to stimulate blood flow and remove bacteria.
  3. Pay special attention to cleaning any clasps if you have them.
  4. Use the denture cleaner and special soft-bristled brush to clean in circular motions around the entire appliance.
  5. Rinse before putting back into your mouth. If you are able to remove your dentures at night, allow them to soak in water or mild denture-soaking solution so they don’t dry out or lose their shape.

Even with regular maintenance, it is still important to schedule regular visits to the dentist for adjustments and professional cleanings.

Over time, our mouths go through many natural changes. Gum lines shift and bones may shrink, so your dentures will require adjustments as you age. Poorly fitting dentures can result in sores or infections and do-it-yourself adjustment kits can cause irreparable damage to the appliance. So, it’s important to see your dentist if it no longer fits, breaks, cracks, chips, or if one of the teeth is loose. More often than not, the dentist can make the necessary repairs in the same day. However, more complicated things like relining or rebasing may require lab work.

While they are not the solution for old or ill-fitting dentures, denture adhesives help provide additional retention for your appliance. A poorly fitting denture causes constant irritation due to friction against your gums and soft tissues, which can eventually lead to the development of sores. If your appliance ever feels loose or causes a large amount of discomfort, consult your dentist. However, it should be noted that over-the-counter denture glues are often filled with harmful chemicals and should be avoided.

Flossing is the act of taking a very thin piece of synthetic cord and threading it between your teeth in an up and down motion. According to the ADA, flossing is the single most important weapon in the fight against cavity and periodontal (gum) disease. Daily flossing helps you remove the bacteria between your teeth that can’t be reached by your toothbrush. Like brushing, it should take about three minutes to cover your entire mouth.

1. Take a piece of floss about 18 inches in length. It may seem like a lot, but you should use a clean segment each time you move from tooth to tooth.

2. Wind most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand and the rest on the middle finger of another. The one with less will take up the floss as it becomes used.

3. Gently slide the floss between your teeth using your index fingers and thumbs. While some areas may be difficult to maneuver the floss into, never pop or snap the floss between teeth.

4. Once it’s between your teeth, move it up and down and around each tooth in a “C” shape by gently scraping each side of the tooth with floss. Also, be sure to move below the gum line, where most bacteria collects.

Dental floss comes in a variety of colors, materials, and flavors. While waxed and unwaxed floss have no difference in the level of effectiveness, waxed floss is often easier to use and unwaxed will squeak against a clean tooth. Floss can be purchased in self-dispensing boxes, or in one use floss picks. Floss picks are a popular option due to the ease of use. However, there are certain angles that only regular floss can reach toward the back of your mouth. For those with larger spaces between their teeth (usually comes with bridge work), a material called dental tape could be more effective than regular floss.

While flossing is critical, brushing your teeth is also a vital piece of maintaining proper oral health. Regular brushing removes debris and cavity forming bacteria from your teeth and gums. While most dentists agree that brushing for two minutes, two times a day with a fluoride toothpaste will do, it is helpful to do a light brushing without toothpaste after lunch.

1. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a size/shape that easily fits into your mouth, allowing you to reach all areas.

2. Use an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste.

3. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and gently brush two or three teeth at a time in small circles. Gradually move around your entire mouth.

4. Be sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth – front, back, and top.

5. Clean your tongue, gums, the floor, and the roof of your mouth. These areas are all prone to bacteria buildup that causes cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.

With so many types of manual toothbrushes to choose from, keep these two key things in mind to make the decision-making process much easier: look for a small brush head with soft, rounded bristles and a comfortable, easy to grip handle.

While having a manual toothbrush is by far the less expensive option, our office highly recommends investing in a mechanical (electric) one. The pulsations aid in breaking up plaque and most have built-in timers that help keep you brushing for the full two to three minutes.

Whichever you choose, replace it when the bristles begin to fray as they are far less effective. Remembering to change your toothbrush every three to four months is a large part of keeping your dental hygiene in check, as studies show 30% more plaque is removed with a new one than one that has hit the three-month mark.

While flossing is a necessary part of maintaining oral hygiene, it can be difficult for many to reach certain areas of the mouth or even hold the floss. For example, some people with sensitive gums experience too much pain, and those with orthodontia have an extra hard time reaching. Water picks deliver an alternative, more user-friendly method. Water picks use a small yet powerful stream of water to blast away food and other debris in your mouth. Dentists use professional-grade picks when preparing for surgery and during cleanings or exams.

When it comes to playing sports, there is a significant risk of suffering an injury to your face, and more specifically, your mouth. No matter the game, they all have their own dangers, so it’s best to wear a mouth guard. Like a helmet protects your head, a mouth guard, also known as a mouth protector, wraps a soft rubber cushion around your teeth. It helps absorb a blow to the face, thus minimizing the damage done to teeth, lips, tongue, and jaw. This is especially true for those with braces or fixed bridge work that could more easily puncture the soft tissues of the cheek or mouth. Most only cover the upper teeth, but there are some available that cover both.

Stock: This refers to a pre-formed piece that is sold ready-to-use. While they don’t offer the best fit or protection, they are the least expensive option.

Boil and bite: The most-used type of sports protection, boil and bites are softened in water and then placed over the wearer’s teeth and gums to place and contour as it cools. While it is still not as effective as a custom mouth guard, it offers more protection than a stock one. However, certain areas can get thinned out in the forming process, thus compromising its effectiveness. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

Custom-fitted: While they are the most expensive option, custom-fitted mouth guards offer the most protection. They are made by your dentist from an impression and the finished product is sent to you in about a week or two. We do not recommend using at home kits or mail-in services as there are large margins of error associated with anyone but a professional creating your mouth guard.

Mouthwash is often seen as a common addition to any dental hygiene routine. However, some mouthwashes only treat bad breath and not the bacteria that causes it. The Food and Drug Administration classifies mouth rinses into two different categories: cosmetic and therapeutic.

Therapeutic rinses focus on plaque and bacteria with fluoride. Cosmetic rinses simply mask the bacteria causing bad breath. The best way to tell the difference is to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on the bottle. If it’s not there, you may be purchasing something purely cosmetic.

People who face challenges brushing can benefit from a therapeutic mouth rinse to help boost the amount of fluoride they receive during their hygiene routine. However, nothing replaces the importance of good brushing and flossing.

Dental Problems

While it can be a stressful time for anyone, broken, fractured, or displaced teeth can be successfully replanted as long as a few decisive steps are taken.

1. Pick the tooth up by its crown (the chewing surface) – do not touch the root.

2. Rinse the tooth and mouth gently with water. Avoid using soap and chemicals, do not scrub or dry the tooth.

3. Attempt to place the tooth back into the socket by aligning it and gently pushing it in or biting down. If you are able to, hold it in place until you reach the dentist. If you cannot, it is critical that the tooth stays moist. You can place it in an emergency tooth preservation kit, milk, or your mouth on the inside of your cheek. Do not use water as the root cells may degrade.

4. Place a cold compress on the outside of your cheek to reduce swelling.

5. Immediately get to a dentist’s office. Chances of saving the tooth are greatest within the first 30 minutes.

In the case of a fractured tooth, rinse with warm water and apply a cold compress to the outside of the cheek. If the damage is minor, the dentist can sand the tooth or restore it if the pulp is still intact. If a child’s baby tooth is loose, biting down on an apple or piece of soft candy can help separate it from the gums. Avoid too much tugging as this can cause bleeding.

While it can be a stressful time for anyone, broken, fractured, or displaced teeth can be successfully replanted as long as a few decisive steps are taken.

1. Pick the tooth up by its crown (the chewing surface) – do not touch the root.

2. Rinse the tooth and mouth gently with water. Avoid using soap and chemicals, do not scrub or dry the tooth.

3. Attempt to place the tooth back into the socket by aligning it and gently pushing it in or biting down. If you are able to, hold it in place until you reach the dentist. If you cannot, it is critical that the tooth stays moist. You can place it in an emergency tooth preservation kit, milk, or your mouth on the inside of your cheek. Do not use water as the root cells may degrade.

4. Place a cold compress on the outside of your cheek to reduce swelling.

5. Immediately get to a dentist’s office. Chances of saving the tooth are greatest within the first 30 minutes.

In the case of a fractured tooth, rinse with warm water and apply a cold compress to the outside of the cheek. If the damage is minor, the dentist can sand the tooth or restore it if the pulp is still intact. If a child’s baby tooth is loose, biting down on an apple or piece of soft candy can help separate it from the gums. Avoid too much tugging as this can cause bleeding.

If a tooth is persistently causing you pain, it could be more than just a toothache. It could be an abscessed tooth that requires more intensive attention. An abscessed tooth is a bacterial infection that has spread down to the tooth’s root or surrounding tissues. This area, called the pulp, is the tooth’s soft core and contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. When this area becomes infected, it swells and can be extremely painful.

Abscesses often begin with a cavity that went unaddressed and progressed deeper into the tooth. However, a traumatic blow to the face can cut off the tooth’s blood supply, almost immediately killing the pulp inside. Antibiotics may be able to kill the infection, but if the abscess is deep enough, it could require a root canal to remove.

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that erupt in the back of the upper and lower mouth. For most people, there is not enough room left in that area, so the wisdom teeth don’t have enough space to come in normally. This overcrowding can lead to improper bites and the teeth becoming impacted – an extremely painful condition. Because they are so hard to reach and thus hard to clean, impacted wisdom teeth are often more susceptible to decay. Most people have them removed to avoid serious problems down the line because a lack of wisdom teeth doesn’t affect the ability to chew or speak.

Dentin hypersensitivity, more commonly referred to as sensitive teeth, is when the dentin of your teeth becomes exposed. Dentin is the soft layer of the tooth below your gums made up of roots and the tooth’s nerve center, the pulp. When your dentin is exposed, things like hot and cold send signals straight to the nerves, resulting in the pain you feel. This exposure can come from many things like tooth decay, worn fillings, or microscopic cracks that may form over time. What many people don’t know, is that certain abrasive toothpaste that claim to whiten your teeth contain chemicals that could also be the culprit. To treat sensitive teeth, your dentist may recommend desensitizing toothpaste, fluoride gel, fillings, a crown, or in some extreme cases, a root canal.

It should be noted that sensitive teeth can sometimes be indicators of larger issues not yet detectable, so let your dentist know if you feel any changes in your teeth.

Plaque is a soft, sticky film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth and combines with the starches and sugars in the food you eat to produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel and gum line. If not removed regularly with flossing and brushing, plaque can lead to cavities, gum irritation, soreness, and redness. Gums will begin to pull away from teeth, forming pockets of disease around the tooth structure and bone beneath the tooth.

As mentioned above, if plaque remains on your teeth for an extended period of time, tooth decay eats away at the surface of your teeth and gums and creates cavities. If they aren’t treated in a timely manner, a simple filling becomes a root canal and a crown. Look out for symptoms such as unusual sensitivity, localized pain, or a change in the color of your tooth.

The best way to stave off cavities is regular brushing and flossing. Eating a balanced diet will also ensure fewer sugary and starchy foods will make their way into the mix. Your saliva acts a natural cleanser, so chewing on a sugarless gum between meals or brushing will stimulate production. Sealants and varnishes can be applied to teeth to form an extra layer of protection.

Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease that inflames periodontal tissue. It forms when plaque builds up on teeth and irritates gum tissue, eventually causing it to recede from the tooth. Pregnancy has also been known to cause certain forms of gingivitis because of the hormone changes a woman goes through during that time.

Early signs are easy to spot and include chronic bad breath and tenderness, or minor bleeding after brushing and flossing. Dental X-rays can help determine if and how far the inflammation has spread to the rest of the teeth so a treatment plan can begin. In its earliest stages, before it escalates to periodontitis, gingivitis is highly treatable.

One of the most common jaw disorders involves the temporomandibular joint, a hinge that helps you move your jaw up and down and side to side. People who grind their teeth often inflame or damage this joint leading to serious TMJ problems. Those who suffer from this and other related jaw disorders often hear a clicking and popping noise when they open or close their mouth. They also suffer from frequent headaches, neck aches, and tooth sensitivity.

Pain Management

In the past, people avoided going to the dentist because of how painful common procedures like filling a cavity were. Today, powerful painkilling agents call anesthetics help you feel virtually no pain both during and post operation by blocking nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. They come in both topical, injectable, and oral forms and your dentist will determine the one best suited for your procedure. If your procedure warrants an injectable anesthetic, a topical one will be applied first to reduce the pain of the shot. The most common kinds of injectable anesthetics are Novocaine and Lidocaine.

Air abrasion is a relatively new way to remove tooth decay without the pain or sound produced by traditional drills. It works similarly to a sandblaster, using particles of aluminum oxide to remove unwanted debris or areas of damaged tooth. It is painless and often does not require an anesthetic. While it may leave a gritty feeling in your mouth, the dentist will use a rinse and a suction device to clear it out immediately. Unfortunately, larger procedures like root canals or crown work will still require more traditional methods due to their size and scale.

Many procedures require medications either pre or post surgery. They can be used to fight off infections or reduce discomfort and pain. Since certain medications can cause different people to have different reactions, it is crucial that you share your medical information with our office. In addition, if we prescribe you something, be sure to carefully follow any and all instructions.

One out of seven people suffers from anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist. It often leaves them wincing at the thought of even making an appointment, keeping them from getting the dental care they need. If you are one of those people, sedation dentistry may be right for you.  Learn more here.

Other Issues

Medically referred to as halitosis, bad breath refers to when food debris remaining in the mouth collect bacteria that dies and releases a sulfuric compound. Certain foods like garlic and onions even release chemicals into the bloodstream that are absorbed by the lungs and breathed out. So, over the counter products are ineffective because they only mask the odor due to their inability to remove the bacteria.
  • Dry mouth due to decreased production of self-cleaning saliva
  • Tobacco products
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Certain medications including central nervous system agents, antihistamines, antipsychotics, anticholinergics, and narcotics

As mentioned, bath breath can be the sign of some major health conditions. Here are characteristic bad breath odors associated with some of these illnesses:

  • Respiratory tract infection
  • Kidney ailment
  • Diabetes
  • Liver failure
  • Acute rheumatic fever
  • Lung abscess
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Uremia
  • Scurvy
  • Kidney failure
  • Diphtheria, dysentery, measles, pneumonia, scarlet fever, tuberculosis
  • Syphilis

Maintaining a regular dental hygiene routine of brushing and flossing is the best way to control bad breath. This is especially important for anyone with dental appliances such as permanent retainers, braces, or dentures. If that doesn’t help, ask your dentist if it could be linked back to certain foods in your diet or medications you take.

If it is found that the odor is the result of gum disease, your dentist will have to professionally clean your gum tissues and follow up with medicated rinses. As stated before, regular over-the-counter mouth rinses only mask the smell and are generally ineffective on bad breath. So, your dentist will most likely prescribe something stronger like Zytex. However, if you and your dentist rule out diet and poor hygiene, you will be referred to a specialist to determine a possibly more systemic cause of the odor.

Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a fairly common condition that refers to any time someone experience that diminished saliva production. Unfortunately, saliva is your body’s first natural defense against plaque buildup, so those who chronically suffer from dry mouth are more prone to oral health-related problems. In most cases, dry mouth is a side-effect of a medication. In addition, certain foods, tobacco use, and typical aging use can contribute to the problem.

While dry mouth normally only causes bad breath, it can lead to more serious problems like burning tongue syndrome, chronic thirst, or even difficult speaking. Treatment depends on your personal condition and medical history, so see a dentist if you feel you are suffering from chronic dry mouth.

While both canker sores and cold sores are painful conditions often confused for each other, they are completely unrelated. Canker sores typically occur on the inside of your mouth and on the gum lines. They appear as light-colored sores with a red border. There are no clear causes, but things like stress, fatigue, hormones, or facial trauma are often the culprits. The best way to treat them is with patience and topical rinses or anesthetics to dull the pain. On the other hand, cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and are referred to as fever blisters. They occur on the outside of the mouth, usually around the lips. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are contagious. The best treatment for these over-the-counter topical creams or an antiviral medication prescribed by a doctor.

Bruxism, commonly referred to as teeth grinding, is a common habit. It most often stems from an inability to cope with stress or anxiety, but in rare cases can be linked to certain diseases of your facial nerves. While it is often seen as harmless, it can affect your bite relationship and potentially do damage to your teeth and jaw.

When your teeth grind against each other, it can cause abrasion to the surface of your teeth that can lead to premature aging, loosening, and hypersensitivity. It can also lead to chronic jaw and facial pain. Symptoms of bruxism include a dull morning headache, tight or painful jaw muscles, damaged teeth, swelling, worn teeth, or small dents in your tongue.

The treatment plan for bruxism depends on the underlying cause. If it is stress related, a dentist or doctor may suggest different ways to relax. If it is related to dental problems, a dentist will simply realign your bite with crowns or reshaping of teeth. Most commonly, a night guard is worn to prevent subconscious grinding at night.

Occurrences of oral cancer are increasing each year with 132 new individuals diagnosed a day in the U.S. alone. If oral cancer is not caught in time, it spreads to facial and neck tissues and leads to pain and disfigurement. According to the American Cancer Society, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women, and this only increases after the age of 50. Certain risk factors can increase your chance of oral cancer like using tobacco products, consuming large quantities of alcohol, a family history of cancer, frequent prolonged sun exposure, and HPV.

Oral cancer is defined as the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue within the mouth. It can occur anywhere, but most commonly appears on the tongue. It appears as a persistent sore or growth in the mouth. Symptoms can include white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth, unexplained numbness or bleeding, chronic sore throat, ear pain, or feeling like something is caught in the back of your throat. In the beginning stages, these symptoms are not always painful, so spotting or diagnosing becomes difficult. This lack of early detection is what usually leads to the disease progressing beyond treatment.

Fewer than half of those diagnosed with oral cancer will survive, so early detection is key. Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, over exposure to the sun, and maintaining a healthy diet are the best defenses in staving off oral cancer. Regular trips to the dentist can help keep your mouth healthy and spot any warning signs earlier than self-detection can.

Treatment & Service Options

While toothaches can be symptomatic of a larger issue, they are sometimes caused by a simple piece of debris lodged between two teeth. Before heading to the dentist, try to rinse your mouth out with warm water and gently floss the area. Do not place aspirin or any pain medications directly onto your teeth or gums as this does far more harm than good. If rinsing doesn’t help, and the pain does not subside, contact your dentist so they can help you determine the cause.

The root of your tooth is the lower 2/3 that anchor into to your jaw and contains the nerve-packed pulp. When infections damage this inner nerve center, it can spread deeper into the bone and surrounding area, causing swelling or an abscess. If the infection is severe enough, root canal therapy is used to remove the diseased pulp, refill the tooth, and top it off with a crown to prevent further damage and restore your bite.

First, an opening is made at the top of the tooth and a file is used to remove the inflamed tissues, thus halting the spread of infection. The now emptied canals are refilled with a permanent material and a crown is placed on top to help rebuild the tooth. While this procedure can be uncomfortable, it is designed to save a tooth before extraction is required. The procedure may span a few appointments if time is needed to heal the tooth before a permanent crown is placed on top.

A filling is a way to remove damaged pieces from teeth without affecting the tooth’s function and shape. Overtime, fillings have become increasingly natural looking by switching from gold or silver (amalgam) materials to ceramic or plastic compounds that more closely resemble real teeth.

Traditional – While most prefer more natural looking fillings, traditional restoratives like gold, or other metal based alloys and amalgams are still used for their strength and resilience. However, they are the most expensive option and take two appointments to complete.

Composite fillings – These are made of a mixture of plastic resins and glass-like particles that produce a natural colored tooth restoration. While they’re not suitable for larger or heavy load-bearing teeth, they provide good durability and resistance to fracture and staining. Because they require less of the tooth to be removed than traditional, the dentist can make a more conservative alteration.

Glass and Resin Ionomers – Glass and resin ionomer fillings are easier to place and are typically only used between teeth and near root surfaces where they don’t have to withstand chewing pressure. They have the added benefit of releasing small amounts of fluoride that help prevent further decay. It should be noted that resin ionomers can sometimes have difficulties bonding to root surfaces and are more commonly used between teeth.

Porcelain (ceramic) dental materials – When it comes to versatility, durability, and aesthetics, porcelain fillings are by far the best option. They are custom made to repair damage to a tooth’s biting surface because their color and translucency look like natural tooth enamel and can handle a heavy chewing load. However, not all patients can bond with porcelain and it can wear opposing teeth if the filling’s surface becomes too rough.

Throughout life, our teeth see a normal amount of wear and tear. Small pits and fissures that even the best brushing or flossing can’t help can form and make way for bacteria and infection to grow. Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of teeth and act as a barrier against cavity-causing food particles. They not only prevent cavities but in some cases stop them from growing by cutting off supplies to the bacteria.

The earlier a sealant is applied, the more effective it becomes. They are best suited for the permanent first and second molars that erupt between the ages of 6 and 12. Because of this, children are ideal candidates for sealants.

To apply, the dentist paints the material made of a plastic resin directly onto a cleaned tooth wear it bonds, fills in the grooves, and hardens the sealant with a special curing light. Sealants should be reapplied every 5 to 10 years depending on your personal dental health plan.

When fillings, crowns, and root canals aren’t enough to repair a decaying tooth, your dentist may have to extract it. In this case, everything down to the root and bone is removed to either let a child’s primary tooth come in healthier or allow space for an implant in adults. Thanks to modern advancements in anesthetics and sedatives, the procedures today are far less painful than they used to be. You may experience minor postoperative bleeding and will most likely be required to take an antibiotic or certain precautions to avoid infection during the healing process. For example, using ice packs on the outside of your cheek to reduce swelling, only drinking through a straw, sticking to soft, cool foods, and rinsing with warm salt water. Avoid smoking, vigorous brushing, or hot liquids as these can not only hinder healing but cause the wound to open back up.

The treatment plan for bruxism depends on the underlying cause. If it is stress related, a dentist or doctor may suggest different ways to relax. If it is related to dental problems, a dentist will simply realign your bite with crowns or reshaping of teeth. Most commonly, a night guard is worn to prevent subconscious grinding at night.

When cases of gum disease do not respond to self-care like flossing or a medicated rinse, scaling and root planning is used to remove the disease-causing plaque build up. A local anesthetic is used to reduce discomfort while a small instrument called a scalar or an ultrasonic cleaner clean below the gum line. The surfaces of the root are then smoothed to help gums reattach themselves to the structure. If the periodontal pockets persist, antibiotics are placed in the pockets, or more extensive surgeries take place.

If you suffer from periodontal disease, tissue and bone around your gum line can be destroyed by bacteria that form “pockets” around your teeth. Things like scaling and root planning or a strict daily at-home oral hygiene regimen can help reduce pocket sizes. However, if the infection isn’t responding, flap surgery is used to pull back the gums, remove the inflamed tissue, clean the areas, and then stitch the gums back in place to promote healing. This is a fairly common procedure and the pain felt after can be numbed with a prescribed pain medication or something taken over the counter. While this procedure will help remove the periodontitis, it can possibly leave your teeth susceptible to cavities and sensitivity, so regular follow ups with your dentist are an important part of the process.

While mild forms of TMD can be treated with relaxants, aspirin, or a mouth guard worn at night, more extreme cases require jaw surgery. Whenever facial reconstruction is called for, a specialist who performs procedures of the neck and head called a maxillofacial surgeon is needed.

The most common maxillofacial procedures are placing dentures or jaw surgery. However, crooked or misaligned teeth, protruding chins, bone grafts, and jaw realignments also require a maxillofacial surgeon. When someone’s jaws do not grow at the same rate, they can become misaligned to the rest of the skull, leading to strange facial features, problems with speech, and chewing difficulties. In addition, a jaw fractured in a traumatic blow to the face, surgeons use rubber bands, tiny wires, braces, screws, and plates to hold the pieces in place while they heal in the proper alignment.

Cosmetic Dentistry Services

While a dentist works to help treat and prevent disease and infection, many people choose to go to the dentist to repair bites, fix crooked teeth, or improve their overall appearance. While some cosmetic treatments have other benefits beyond looks, they are all designed to help you regain confidence in your smile. Common procedures such as reshaping, color correcting, or tooth replacement can be done by your dentist. However, if the procedure is more complicated, they may refer you to a specialist.

A veneer is a thin piece of porcelain used to strengthen and better the appearance of teeth that are badly stained, misshapen, or crooked. They last longer and are more effective at protecting your teeth than bonding. Veneers are a permanent solution because a small amount of tooth enamel has to be removed to accommodate this porcelain shell. While your dentist will be able to match the color as close as possible to your natural teeth, it is not uncommon to see slight variations of color when you look closely.

Receiving veneers usually happens over the course of a few different appointments: diagnosis and treatment planning, preparation for the procedure, and bonding.

1. Teeth are lightly buffed to allow room for the veneer.

2. A mold is taken of the tooth and sent to a lab that will fabricate the porcelain veneer. If you are uncomfortable with their tooth as is, a temporary veneer can be placed until the final one arrives.

3. Once it arrives, the veneer is held against your tooth to check fit and establish the shade of cement needed to match your teeth.

4. Your tooth is then clean, polished, and etched to allow for a stronger bond.

5. A special cement is painted on, the veneer is placed against the tooth, and a light beam hardens the cement.

It may take up to two weeks to adjust to your veneer. During this time, it is important to brush and floss regularly. Your dentist may ask you to return after a few weeks for a check-in.

As your teeth age and are exposed to things like caffeine, coffee, or tobacco, they can begin to become stained or dull. Some of these issues actually come from inside the tooth, so whitening toothpaste and flossing can’t help. Many people opt for whitening procedures from their dental professional so they can regain confidence in their smile. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, most people wish they could have whiter teeth over any other dental improvement.

While some at home solutions can help, these products have abrasive substances that if not handled properly can wear away at your tooth’s enamel and cause painful damage to your teeth. Their effectiveness is lessened even more on pitted or badly discolored teeth, so you may not even see results. In extreme cases, a veneer or bonding is the best option. For those who have staining and damage that is not as severe, professional whitening done in our office is the safest and most effective way to achieve the smile you want.

Your teeth can be whitened in one of two ways – through chemical lightening with peroxide, or buffing out the stain with mild abrasives on the surface. Most often a strip or a flexible tray of a special gel are placed around the teeth for a certain amount of time. After you remove the strip or device, a second bleaching agent or special light may be needed to activate a chemical reaction.

If you are missing teeth and are uncomfortable with the idea of an appliance, a dental implant is a permanent solution that replaces your natural tooth with an artificial one that mimics its look and feel. A titanium structure is placed into your jawbone as an anchor the artificial tooth will be placed onto. It is common for implants to be the anchoring point for dentures. However, your dentist must first establish if you are a good candidate for a dental implant. For the implant to successfully bond to your existing jaw, you must have the proper bone density and a strong immune system.

After the metal framework is inserted into the jaw, a period of time is needed for the implant to heal and take hold as the bone tissue build up the device. Metal posts are inserted during a follow-up to attach the new tooth onto.

Over time, gum disease, genetics, hormonal changes, diabetes, or other illness can cause your gum line to recede. While the change is gradual, a tooth that appears to be longer than the others is a clear indicator there is an issue. When root planing and scaling can’t reverse or halt the effects, a soft tissue graft can correct the problem. The tissue is taken from either your palate or another donor to even out the gum line and reduce root exposure.

For those that have received a traditional filling made of amalgam or gold, or whose filling is beginning to look unsightly, newer fillings made from composite resins or porcelain can be used as inlays or onlays to improve the appearance of your teeth.

Bonding is the direct application of a composite resin that mimics the look and feel of a natural tooth to make repairs, correct color, and reshape. It can be used to fill small cavities or fix a broken or chipped surface. Bonding can also be used to close a gap between teeth. While it is not as durable as other forms of restoration, it only takes one procedure to finish.

Whether your gums have receded or you feel your gums are too visible when you smile, an aesthetic procedure called a gum lift can be used to reshape and correct gum lines.

If you lose one or more permanent teeth, the jawbone associated with that area can begin to atrophy (shrink). This often results in the bone becoming soft and unable to hold an implant. Today, we have the ability to reshape and strengthen the area through ridge augmentation. This procedure also known as bone grafting helps restore the natural contour and shape of your jaw. An implant can then be added to restore your smile.

Braces:

If you have a misaligned jaw, crowded, crooked or missing teeth, or even just a bad bite, your dentist may recommend braces. Whether these things were caused by an injury, are genetically inherited, or are from a bad habit like thumb sucking, braces can help realign your teeth overtime. Typically, children between the ages of 7 and 14 are the best candidates for orthodontic appliances because their face is still developing and much easier to alter. However, while they may take a few extra steps, adult braces are not uncommon.

Braces work by applying continuous pressure over time to gradually move your teeth into the desired location and orientation. Small brackets made of metal or plastic are temporarily cemented to your teeth. These act like handles to hold an overarching piece of wire that is tightened and adjusted to move the teeth. Advances in technology have allowed orthodontics to use materials that are much more lightweight and more inconspicuous in coloring. People on average wear braces for around 2 years, but it all depends on your personal needs and situation.

To begin, a dentist or orthodontist will take a mold of your teeth, perform full X-rays, and create a plan for the braces. The appliances are placed and then adjusted once a month to continually move teeth in the right direction. With each adjustment, you may experience slight discomfort. Soreness can be treated with aspirin and if the brackets are irritating the soft tissues of the cheek or lips, special dental waxes can be laid overtop whenever it’s needed.

Once the braces are on, you must be diligent and follow a strict dental hygiene regimen to make sure that food and other debris do not get trapped in the wires. Staying away from sticky and crunchy foods will not only help avoid lodged debris or plaque buildup but will keep the appliances from breaking or becoming dislodged from teeth. While it may be more difficult, brushing and flossing are critical. Some people with braces find using a water pick helps maneuver around the brackets and wires.


After the braces are removed, teeth can continue to shift, so a retainer is used to ensure teeth remain in position. This can either be a bar permanently attached to the back of your teeth, or a metal appliance you remove while eating and/or wear to bed.

Invisaligns

Invisalign’s® aligners can be an easier alternative to traditional braces. They are discrete, have no eating restrictions, and are removable for easy cleaning. While the beginning steps are the same as braces and require molds, x-rays, and consultations, the adjusting process is much easier. Every 2 weeks, you receive a set of aligners that you wear around the clock, only removing them to eat and clean your mouth. When the two weeks are over, you replace them with the next set. Like with traditional braces, your teeth will slowly begin to adjust. The process takes between 9 to 15 weeks, but time and amount of aligners change from person to person. Visit the Invisalign® website to learn more.

Crowns:

A crown is a synthetic cap usually made of ceramic or porcelain and is used to cover the chewing surface of a tooth that has recently undergone a root canal, is decaying, or is severely discolored and a patient is looking to cosmetically restore it. They are both protectors and preventers. While they are often confused with veneers, they are different in that they cover much larger areas and can withstand chewing pressures.

Once the root canal is completed or the tooth is shaped to accommodate the crown, an impression is made and sent to a lab to create the custom piece. In some cases, you are given a temporary crown until the permanent one arrives. The final crown is later positioned and attached with a special adhesive. With proper maintenance and regular visits, a crown can last up to 8+ years. Things like not flossing, teeth grinding, and eating hard foods can significantly shorten its lifespan or compromise the adhesive.

Bridges:

A bridge, sometimes referred to as a partial permanent denture, is a natural-looking appliance that replaces a section of missing teeth. They help restore bite relationships and jawlines and protect exposed areas from gum disease. An anchor made of porcelain, gold alloys, or another combination of materials is placed below the gum line. A bridge made of fabricated teeth is then placed overtop them. While most bridges are permanent and can only be removed by a dentist, you can remove some types can be removed by the patient for daily cleaning.

Patient Information

Like any other trip to the doctor, it’s important to be thorough with each visit. Write down any and all questions you have for the dentist before you arrive so you don’t forget anything. Something as small as mentioning a sensitive tooth can help diagnose issues before they become larger. Always remember to bring your dental insurance card if you have one.

With many people concerned about outbreaks of various infections, extra precautions are taken to ensure patient safety. Like any other medical professional, gloves, gowns and masks are worn by every member of the staff. After each patient visit, those are disposed of along with single-use tools liked scalpel blades and needles. Hands are thoroughly washed before putting on a fresh pair of gloves for the next patient. Any pieces of equipment that are not disposable are washed and sterilized with chemicals and/or steam.

Anything that comes in contact with your mouth has the potential to transfer into your bloodstream. Healthy immune systems fight off such bacteria every day and stop them from becoming infections. So, patients with compromised immune systems may be encouraged to take antibiotics before coming to the dentist as an extra layer of protection. Please inform our office of any and all conditions so we can make sure both you and our staff are prepared.

Like any other trip to the doctor, it’s important to be thorough with each visit. Write down any and all questions you have for the dentist before you arrive so you don’t forget anything. Something as small as mentioning a sensitive tooth can help diagnose issues before they become larger. Always remember to bring your dental insurance card if you have one.

In 1995, the ADA released a statement about the quality of water used in dental treatments as a way to encourage professionals to use methods and equipment that minimize the number of bacteria that can form in and on the surfaces. Our office strictly follows the CDC and ADA’s guidelines.

If you are susceptible to latex allergies and/or the symptoms that come with it, notify our office prior to your visit.

Your Rights & Responsibilities As A Patient

  • You have a right to choose your own dentist and schedule an appointment in a timely manner.
  • You have a right to know the education and training of your dentist and the dental care team.
  • You have a right to arrange to see the dentist every time you receive dental treatment, subject to any state law exceptions.
  • You have a right to adequate time to ask questions and receive answers regarding your dental condition and treatment plan for your care.
  • You have a right to know what the dental team feels is the optimal treatment plan as well as the right to ask for alternative treatment options.
  • You have a right to an explanation of the purpose, probably (short and long term) results, alternatives and risks involved before consenting to a proposed treatment plan.
  • You have a right to be informed of continuing health care needs.
  • You have a right to know in advance the expected cost of treatment.
  • You have a right to accept, defer or decline any part of your treatment recommendations.
  • You have a right to reasonable arrangements for dental care and emergency treatment.
  • You have a right to receive considerate, respectful and confidential treatment by your dentist and dental team.
  • You have a right to expect the dental team members to use appropriate infection and sterilization controls.
  • You have a right to inquire about the availability of processes to mediate disputes about your treatment.
  • (Adopted by the American Dental Association in 2009)
  • You have the responsibility to provide, to the best of your ability, accurate, honest and complete information about your medical history and current health status.
  • You have the responsibility to report changes in your medical status and provide feedback about your needs and expectations.
  • You have the responsibility to participate in your health care decisions and ask questions if you are uncertain about your dental treatment or plan.
  • You have the responsibility to inquire about your treatment options and acknowledge the benefits and limitations of any treatment that you choose.
  • You have the responsibility for consequences resulting from declining treatment or from not following the agreed upon treatment plan.
  • You have the responsibility to keep your scheduled appointments.
  • You have the responsibility to be available for treatment upon reasonable notice.
  • You have the responsibility to adhere to regular home oral health care recommendations.
  • You have the responsibility to assure that your financial obligations for health care received are fulfilled.
  • (Adopted by the American Dental Association in 2009)

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