Dental Office FAQ
How safe are dental X-rays?
Yes. Dental x-rays use low rates of radiation, especially when compared to other types of medical radiography. Additionally, at Dr. Chen's office, we use digital x-rays and digital photography to capture the information we need about your teeth, gums and overall mouth. Using digital capturing further decreases the amount of radiation you are exposed to while allowing for the best diagnostic images. Also, lead aprons and other shielding techniques are used to ensure you are exposed to the least amount of radiation. Progress in X-ray technology has provided some advanced features. For example, with digital imaging, we can zoom in on suspicious areas for better definition, and attach your images directly to your patient record so that we can recall them in an instant at future visits. We're excited to offer this modern technology to our patients and thrilled at the advances in dental care that it offers.
Do I REALLY need to floss everyday?
Yes! Flossing is the best way to prevent gum disease outside the dental office. Gum disease is very preventable, yet nearly 50% of adults 30 and over in the U.S are affected. If you want to feel more comfortable at your regular checkups, flossing regularly. When you visit for a cleaning, and you haven't flossed regularly, your gums tend to be sore and may bleed. Brushing for two minutes, twice each day and flossing once per day is part of a home care routine that helps you keep a healthy smile for the rest of your life.
Do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?
It depends. Each person and wisdom teeth growth is different. If you are not experiencing pain or crowding, your dentist may advise removing the wisdom teeth as preventive to future pain or problems. Wisdom teeth can come in very slowly, so problems can sometimes take years to develop. When we get older, wisdom tooth extraction can become more complicated and painful, and may require the services of an oral surgeon.
Should I replace my Amalgam fillings?
Dr. Chen recommends replacing fillings when there is an issue such as wear, decay, pain, cracking or breaking of the tooth or filling. If you notice any of these issues, we recommend you see us right away for an exam. Sometimes, tiny cracks and wear in fillings are detected during regular exams and x-rays at a dental checkup.
What is the difference between Amalgam and Composite fillings?
Amalgam is commonly called a “metal” or “silver” fillings. An Amalgam filling contains a mix of metals including mercury. A Composite filling is a resin material that is a white or tooth-colored filling. The material used for the resin is a mixture of polymers that can adhere to the tooth surface and is set with a blue light. Most patients prefer this filling since it does not contain mercury. But most importantly, it is tooth-colored, so it is not easily distinguishable in our mouth. Composite fillings are strong enough to withstand pressures from the back teeth, and can last ten or more years, making them a practical, comfortable, and attractive alternative to metal amalgam.
I feel so much better! Do I need to come back?
I came into the office for an emergency visit. Dr. Chen investigated and put me on antibiotics to address an infection so I can return for treatment on the tooth.
Yes. Antibiotics can provide relief from swelling or pain and are typically the first step to a root canal. But the antibiotic did not fix the underlying cause of the pain and swelling. It is necessary to return for the follow-up appointments to ensure the infection has cleared as well as treat the source of the diseased tooth or infection. Returning is important to prevent future problems which can be costly and even result in the loss of one or more teeth.
Is Nitrous Oxide safe for my child?
Yes. Nitrous Oxide or “laughing gas”is a safe and effective conscious sedation technique for both adults and children to help patients feel relaxed, relieve dental anxiety, and help make certain dental procedures easy and stress-free for patients. Nitrous oxide may also be used in combinations with other sedative agents. It has a rapid onset, is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations and is non-allergenic. The patient remains fully conscious and maintains all natural reflexes. It is important to keep your child’s medical information up to date and advise your doctor if there have been any changes since the last visit.
My child has a few small cavities, but aren’t these teeth going to come out anyway?
Baby teeth are important to children's healthy dental development. These teeth help to hold space that adult teeth will fill. Not treating children's cavities can cause toothaches, possible infection, and even medical emergencies. Teeth that are not treated will need to be extracted resulting causing a gap. Early loss of baby teeth may allow adult teeth to grow in out of place or crooked. These problems can affect your child’s ability to eat and breathe, as well their self-esteem as they get older. Orthodontic treatment or braces may be required.
Maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine is the first step to preventing cavities. Also, bring your child to our office for their necessary dental treatment to help them have a healthy smile for life.
My child is anxious about visiting the dentist. What can I do to help ease that anxiety?
Always refer to going to the dentist in a positive way. Children are sensitive to your anxiety. Discuss the importance of dental hygiene. Reassure your child that the dentist is a friend, and will help take care of his teeth. Speak with us about pediatric treatment and educate yourself about procedures as well as conscious sedation options such as nitrous oxide.
My child just knocked her tooth out! What should I do?
Retrieve the tooth. Do not touch the roots of the tooth! Handle only the crown. Gently rinse off dirt and debris with water. Do not scrub or scrape the tooth.
For older children, insert the tooth into its original socket using gentle pressure, or encourage the child to place the tooth in the cheek cavity. For younger children, place the tooth in a glass of milk or saliva. Do not try to put the tooth back in a young child’s mouth, as they may swallow it. Contact us for an emergency appointment and advice.