We know that people can have many questions about visiting the dentist and about dental health.

Here are a few of the most common questions that we are asked:

Can you give me some information about tooth whitening?

Our office uses Zoom Whitening.  It provides a safe and effective tooth whitening system that predictably removes internal and external stains from teeth. Philips Zoom is not only proven to whiten teeth up to eight shades, it’s also safe. While other whitening products can harm teeth and gums, using Philips Zoom with Relief ACP actually gives you greater luster and protects enamel. Philips Zoom is only available at a dentist’s office to ensure optimum safety, and comes in different treatment types and strengths to fit your lifestyle and sensitivity.

Why do teeth discolor?

Some teeth are naturally too pigmented or stained as they develop. Exposure to coffee, tea, juices, soda, or tobacco accounts for much of the darkening as we age. Tooth discoloration sometimes happens from minerals antibiotic (tetracycline) or an excess of fluoride taken internally during tooth development. Old fillings, tooth nerve damage or trauma to teeth can also account for darkening.

Do you take children as patients? When should they have their first appointment?

We love children! We generally start seeing them for their first dental appointment at about 3 years old.

Here are 7 suggestions to make your child’s first dental visit easier:

  • Bring them to your hygiene visit to show them how easy an appointment is.
  • Explain what a dentist does in simple, positive terms.
  • “Play” dentist at home, giving the child a sense of what the dentist will do.
  • Describe dental instruments and how they help the dentist.
  • Explain the X-rays “take pictures” of the teeth.
  • Never bribe a child to visit the dentist or use the threat of a visit as punishment.
  • Above all, parents should be careful to not pass on any fears of the dentist to their children.

When will my child start to lose their baby teeth?

One “rite of passage” looked forward to by most children is losing their baby teeth. The excitement of the tooth fairy and the feeling of becoming a “big girl” or “big boy” is a fun milestone.

You can expect the first baby teeth, the central incisors (the “A’s”) to be lost at ages 6-7. Next, usually, go the lateral incisors (“B’s”) at ages 7-8. The cuspids (“C’s”) are lost between ages 10 and 12 while the first molars (“D’s”) are shed between 9 and 11. The second molars (“E’s”) also go between ages 10-12.

The first large, adult teeth erupt at about age 6. These come in behind all of the baby teeth. These “six year molars” are actually the adult first molars. These teeth usually have very deep grooves and are very prone to decay. When these teeth first come into the mouth, they need to be protected immediately with protective plastic coatings called “sealants.” Sealants are absolutely necessary to protect the integrity of your child’s teeth.

Permanent teeth often come behind baby teeth. It is a normal occurrence for the permanent lower central incisors to erupt behind the primary lower central incisors (“A’s”), especially in the lower arch. Usually, these baby teeth will be lost without a problem because the permanent teeth resorb the roots of the primary teeth enough to loosen them.

The back teeth are less likely to have this type of eruption pattern. Normally, the roots of the primary (baby) molars (typically, 3 roots on an upper molar and 2 roots on a lower molar) straddle the developing permanent premolar. As the permanent premolar erupts, the roots of the primary molars are resorbed, resulting in the shedding of the tooth.

If the baby teeth seem to have no desire to leave, or if the adult tooth does not follow the loss of a bay tooth within a “reasonable” period, give us a call or mention it at their next hygiene visit. We may need to take an X-ray to determine what’s going on.

By the age of 11-13, twenty eight permanent teeth are usually in place. “Wisdom teeth,” the third molars, appear around age 17, or they may not appear at all. When appropriate, we take a special X-ray to determine if these teeth are present and their position.

How do I handle my child’s dental emergencies?

If your child gets hit or falls and the mouth is damaged, here’s what to do:

If the tooth or teeth are completed knocked out: phone your dentist immediately; time is very important!

Find the tooth or teeth and put them in a glass of water or milk. Bring them with you to your emergency appointment. Don’t wipe or clean them in any way!

If your office is closed, call the emergency number.  The tooth (if in time) can be re-implanted, braced, or splinted and be useful for years to come.

If the tooth is fractured down to the gum line:  Hold a tissue or gauze over the area (have the child bite down). Phone the dentist or emergency number immediately. Depending on the way the tooth was hit, the root can be saved.

If the tooth is chipped: Make sure the piece of tooth is not in the mouth. Phone the dentist immediately and get an appointment as soon as possible but it is not usually a dire emergency.

If the tooth is banged hard and is loose: Do not wiggle it or eat on it. In many cases the tooth will tighten back up in the socket if it is not continually wiggled. Call the office for an appointment. We may try to take an X-ray of the tooth. This is not always possible with young children. You’ll be advised to keep an eye on the tooth for a sign of color change or a bubble on the gum line.