1What are the top questions I should prepare for my dental visit?
Make a list of any pain or issues you are experiencing, or questions you would like to ask the dentist during your appointment. You can start with this list below, or make up your own. The important thing is to tell your dentist about any concerns or issues you have, even if they are minor, so that they can treat them now and help prevent bigger problems later on.
- Do you have sensitivity or pain in your teeth? How bad is it?
- Do you have pain or bleeding in your gums, tongue or jaw? How bad is it?
- Do you have any unusual spots or sores in your mouth?
- Do you have dry mouth or a lack of saliva?
- Do you have an unpleasant taste or odor in your mouth?
- Are you taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications? Make a list of those to take to the dentist.
- Do you have any allergies?
- Do you have trouble breathing when you sleep?
- Do you grind your teeth when you sleep?
2What questions should I ask the dentist during my visit?
Here are the top general questions you could ask to help improve your overall dental health.
- Does my mouth look healthy?
- What can I do to improve the health of my teeth and gums?
- Is there anything I should tell my family doctor about?
- What foods can I eat to improve my dental health?
- Which treatments are absolutely necessary? Which are optional? Which are cosmetic? Which procedures are urgently needed, and which ones are less urgent?
3What can I do to relieve dry mouth symptoms?
It is always best to schedule a consultation to identify what the best option is for you, however here are some common recommendations:
- Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
- Consult with your physician on whether to change the medication or dosage.
- Drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Your mouth needs constant lubrication.
- Use sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production.
- Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air.
- Avoid foods and beverages that irritate dry mouths, like coffee, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices.
- Your dentist may apply a fluoride gel or varnish to protect your teeth from cavities.
4Does Medicare cover routine dental cleanings?
Many retirees don’t realize that Medicare does not cover routine dental care. Begin to plan for your dental expenses in advance of retirement so you don’t have to let your dental health suffer once you’re on a fixed income. Organizations like AARP offer supplemental dental insurance plans for their members.
We also offer an alternative for those who do not have dental coverage. The Periodontal plan is available through our in-house Membership Club
. Pay a low monthly fee for needed treatments, regular care, needed x-rays and much more. Learn more about the Perio plan here
5Do I need to take an antibiotic before a dental procedure?
If you have a heart condition or artificial joint, be sure to tell your dentist. You may think it’s not relevant. After all, what do your heart and joints have to do with your teeth? But, there are conditions with a high risk of infection and an antibiotic is recommended prior to some dental procedures.
Dentists follow recommendations that have been developed by the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in cooperation with the American Dental Association. Talk to your dentist about how these recommendations might apply to you.
6What can I do about tooth sensitivity?
7Do I need to arrive early to my appointment?
Yes, please plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early to fill out any patient forms or update your dental insurance.
8What do I do if I knock out my tooth?
For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums, in milk, or use a tooth preservation product that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Then, get to your dentist’s office right away.
9 What if I crack my tooth?
For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down. See your dentist as soon as possible.
10If I bite my tongue or lip, how do I treat it?
If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
11How do I treat a toothache?
For toothaches, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. Do not put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums; it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.
12What if I think my jaw is broken?
If you think your jaw is broken, apply cold compresses to control the swelling. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.
13How do I remove an object that’s stuck in my mouth or teeth?
For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with a sharp or pointed instrument. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
14How can I avoid a dental emergency?
There are a number of simple precautions you can take to avoid accident and injury to the teeth:
- Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities.
- Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth.
- Use scissors, NEVER your teeth, to cut things.
15What Is Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment is a procedure used to prevent tooth extraction. This treatment removes inflamed root pulp that could lead to an infection that spreads to the jaw. Getting rid of the inflamed material from inside the tooth eases the pain caused by the infection and protects the tooth from needing to be pulled.
Root canal treatment starts with numbing the area. Typically, the anesthesia is administered through a small needle which is only a short pinching sensation and the last feeling the patient has in the affected area until long after the root canal treatment ends.
The dental professional opens the tooth to get inside the root canals. Then they use tools to clean out the infected or inflamed pulp and remove bacteria. This step is crucial to the outcome of the treatment. If the dental expert doesn’t remove all the bacteria, the patient could have a future infection.
Once all the infection is out of the tooth, the canals receive a sealant and temporary filling. Later, the patient will get a restorative dental crown over the tooth to provide protection and another seal against bacteria reentering the tooth. At Matthews Family Dentistry, we offer the unique opportunity for our patients to get CEREC single-visit crowns
to cut down on the number of dental visits they need.
16Do I Really Need Root Canal Therapy?
If a dentist recommends that you need root canal therapy, you should not avoid the treatment. At the stage when you need root canal treatment, your tooth’s damage has progressed beyond the ability of a simple cavity filling to fix it. Without removing the infection from inside the canals, you could lose the tooth.
Don’t be afraid of root canal therapy. Most patients don’t feel any more discomfort than they do with a cavity filling, and the procedure could save you from losing a tooth.
17Are There Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment?
The only alternative to root canal treatment is having the tooth pulled and an implant installed. If the tooth has sustained severe damage or the infection spread to the bone under the tooth, extraction may be the only option. However, extraction and adding an dental implant
may cost more than root canal therapy, require more dental visits, and have a longer recovery time.
18Does Root Canal Treatment Hurt?
Root canal treatment does not hurt as much as people believe that it does. In fact, it causes about the same amount of discomfort as you would have when getting a filling. The only difference is some minor soreness for a few days after the root canal treatment. However, most people can take ibuprofen and acetaminophen for adequate pain relief.
19How Long Does Recovery from Root Canal Therapy Take?
Recovering from root canal treatment typically takes about a week for the pain to completely disappear. Some people feel better in a few days. If you have root canal treatment questions and experience pain that lasts longer than a week or is severe, call your dentist.
20Can I Drive Home or Go Back to Work After Root Canal Treatment?
Usually, the numbness from the local anesthesia will last for up to four hours. Because the anesthesia used for the procedure is not a general one that affects the entire body, you should be able to drive yourself home or go back to work. Avoid eating anything while your mouth is still numb, though.
21How Can I Avoid Future Root Canal Treatments?
To avoid the need for future root canal treatments, you should do everything possible to maintain good oral hygiene. First, take care of your teeth and gums every day. Floss and brush twice a day to get food out from between your teeth. Root canal therapy is necessary when tooth decay worsens beyond needing a cavity. Therefore, if you can prevent decay and cavities, you can avoid root canal treatments.
Another way to keep your teeth healthy is to have regular dental appointments. Preventative dental care
keeps your teeth even cleaner than brushing and flossing at home. Plus, the dentist can x-ray your mouth to see if you have any minor areas of decay. By spotting cavities early and getting them filled while they are small, you can avoid the need for root canal treatment.
22Will Insurance Pay for Root Canal Treatment?
While many dental insurance plans pay for at least part of the cost of root canal treatment, you should contact your insurance company for more information. However, if you need help paying for your root canal therapy at Matthews Family Dentistry, we provide several payment options to help make it easier for you to cover the cost.
For patients who use cash or check to prepay bills greater than $1,000, we provide a 5% adjustment to the total cost.
Another way to pay is a 50/50 plan for treatments that require multiple visits, such as root canal therapy. You pay 50% at the first visit and 50% at the second or spread out the payments over all the visits, so you are completely paid off at the last visit.
We will also take CareCredit or in-office financing with your personal credit card.
23What Is Dental Phobia?
Dental phobia can be referred to as dental fear, odontophobia, dentophobia, dentist phobia and dental anxiety. Psychologically, it’s a general fear of dentistry, sitting in a dental office or receiving dental care. Because a mild dislike of dental care can lead to anxiety, a person can come to avoid dental care altogether. And when the anxiety heightens to a point where it affects an individual’s decisions to maintain their own health, he or she may experience dental phobia.
Several factors can trigger heightened anxiety, and an individual can experience one or more of these factors simultaneously. Many of these stressors can be found in a dental office. These include the smells of dental compounds (especially strong-odored medicaments like eugenol and bleach), seeing dental instruments (especially needles and forceps) and hearing the tools of the dental office (such as the drill). Patients can associate these sensory responses to previous dental experiences, specifically if those experiences were negative and left a strong impression earlier in life.
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