Below is a list of some frequently asked questions, but please feel free to call our office if you need additional information. We are always pleased to assist you.
Some patients need to take medications before they have any dental work done to reduce the risk of medical complications.
You may need pre-medication if you have had recent cardiac surgery, a heart murmur, pacemaker, artificial joint or pin surgery, and/or rheumatic fever. Please advise us if any of these items relate to you and keep us updated if your medical health information changes in the future.
It is difficult to predict how long any type of medical or dental care will last. It becomes much more predictable when the patient follows a regular routine of preventive care by visiting our office at recommended intervals. Periodic visits for preventive care enables us to detect minor problems before they become catastrophic.
Without x-rays the doctor can only see a small portion of your mouth, leaving her to guess what may or may not be going on in the areas where she can't see. The amount of radiation from dental x-rays reaching the more sensitive cells of the body is approximately the same as that received in a single day from natural sources.
Obviously, a patient would not expect their doctor to treat them while wearing a blindfold. Since the amount of radiation exposure is extremely small, the value of a proper x-ray series by far exceeds the minimal exposure.
Dental implants are small prosthetic posts that are placed into the bone of the upper or lower jaw. They act as replacements for the root portion of lost natural teeth and also serve as an anchor for replacement teeth. Dental implants look and feel exactly like natural teeth -- in fact, no-one (other than maybe your dentist) will be able to tell the difference. Implants are used to replace small bridges, remove partial dentures and missing single teeth.
Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a bacterial infection that attacks the gums and bone supporting the teeth. In its early stages gum disease is not apparent to the patient. Just as high blood pressure is called " the silent killer", so is gum disease " the silent killer" of teeth. We've learned a great deal about gum disease in recent years and we are now able to diagnose it earlier and help patients get it under control much better than in the past.
The earlier periodontal disease is detected, the sooner we can get it under control. If your gums are bleeding , even slightly, it is often a sign of gum disease. When patients wait until their teeth are loose and painful and their gums are oozing it is much more difficult and costly, if at all possible, to get the disease under control.
Having the tooth removed may seem to be the easiest or the least costly choice when an infection is present. Unfortunately, when the patient decides to have that tooth replaced he or she may find the cost to be much higher than saving the tooth with root canal therapy. If the nerve in a tooth dies slowly, the patient is often unaware there is a problem because there is no pain. Meanwhile an abscess, which can only be detected with an x-ray, continues to grow causing destruction of the bone around the tooth. If the tooth is injured and the nerve dies right away it is quite apparent to the patient because it usually is very painful. Most of the time patients do not have to lose the tooth and root-canal will help to save it.
Bleaching is an inexpensive process that is designed to take the dark pigments out of the teeth. It will not whiten fillings or crowns on teeth. However, if you have crowns and fillings, do not let them stop you from having you teeth bleached because they can replaced to match your new smile. In addition, certain types of discolorations tend to respond better to bleaching than others. Based on our experience bleaching, we can give patients a reasonably accurate prediction of the results they are likely to achieve.
Unless your child has a problem eating or complains of pain, 3 years is the age we recommend for a first dental visit.
Yes, tooth colored fillings are our restorations of choice, although they may be inappropriate in some situations.
No, we routinely fabricate all acrylic valplast partial dentures. The valplast partial is highly esthetic and comfortable.
Nitrous Oxide, (sweet air) can be used for your appointment. Patients stay awake but are put in a euphoric state.
The office follows strict infection protocol set forth by the American Dental Association guidelines and is fully OSHA compliant.
Your doctor can be reached 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Potomac Dental Center's voicemail box provides emergency phone numbers so that you may contact your doctor.
The office accepts checks, cash and charges. Many cases are paid in full by insurance coverage. In situations where large personal balances are incurred for patients who do not have dental insurance, a special financing plan may be available as well as assistance from third party financing companies.
Potomac Dental Center recommends having you teeth cleaned and examined twice a year. However, special circumstances such as if you wear braces or have periodontal disease may require that you have them cleaned up to four times a year.