Why do I need my teeth cleaned every six months?

On average, plaque (bacteria and food debris) and its more adherent cousin, tartar or calculus (plaque and calcium) build up on the teeth over a six-month period. Because these lead to gum disease and decay, we suggest the accumulations be removed twice a year. Some patients build up tartar even more quickly due to a genetic predisposition or an inability to effectively brush and floss their teeth; these patients may need dental prophylaxis more often, sometimes three or four times a year. This is especially true in patients with periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease.

Does dental treatment hurt?

There is rarely any reason for pain during any procedure in our office. If your teeth and gums are particularly sensitive, we can apply a topical anesthetic paste prior to dental cleanings. We also use local anesthesia (commonly known as Novocaine) for most dental procedures and can supplement this with nitrous oxide analgesia (laughing gas). For patients with severe dental fear, we will sometimes bring in a medical anesthesiologist.

Will I be in pain after my treatment?

After the local anesthesia has worn off, there will occasionally be slight soreness in a treated area, but this pain is most often controlled with over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, Aspirin or Ibuprofen. When needed, prescription analgesics can be prescribed, as well. This soreness is generally short-lived.

I have heard that root canals are extremely painful… is that true?

Most root canal patients experience little or no pain during the procedure and only moderate tooth soreness for about 24-72 hours afterwards. This post-treatment pain can often be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications; further pain medication and antibiotics are prescribed when necessary.

I am wearing dentures that are loose and tend to move around when I speak and chew. Is there anything that can be done?

After an evaluation, existing full and partial dentures can be “relined” with a plastic material to make them fit better and stabilize any unwanted movement. Of course, if the dentures are old, broken or just severely worn, new prostheses may be necessary. You may also want to inquire about the feasibility of replacing them with implants so that they become permanent restorations.

I don’t want x-rays—isn’t the radiation harmful?

At DP5th, we strive to minimize radiation exposure by taking as few x-rays as possible; we also use the new “digital x-ray” devices that reduce radiation up to 90%. Full sets of radiographs are taken only every 5 years for most of our patients, and check-up films (bitewings) every 1 ½ to 2 years. Of course, when there is an emergency problem we will have to take an adequate set of x-rays (usually 1 to 3) to diagnose and treat it. But the amount of radiation you are exposed to in a dental office that’s equipped with modern digital radiography is minimal even compared to level you are exposed to walking around in the environment.

Can you really improve my smile?

Enhancing your smile takes careful planning. To determine the improvements we can make, we start with an “aesthetic work up.” During this consultation, we’ll talk with you to determine what changes you would like to have. Then we’ll take impressions and models of your teeth, examine and document your current oral condition (teeth and gums), and take a set of portrait and close-up digital photographs, along with needed x-rays.

After analyzing this information, we can discuss what’s possible and fabricate a 3D printed mock-up or composite mock-up of final outcomes and the procedures (veneers, orthodontics, crowns, gum treatment etc) that are necessary to get there. Finally, we’ll discuss the time and fees involved with each procedure.

I am missing a tooth. Can I replace it with a dental implant?

After a careful examination of the area with the missing tooth along with your surrounding dentition, we will take films and a 3D dCone Beam CT scan to determine if there is adequate quantity and quality of bone to place the implant. We can then discuss the feasibility of dental implants and what procedures will be necessary for placement. Most times the question can be answered with a single short consultation.

How long will it take for me to replace a tooth with a dental implant?

Implants are surgically placed into your jaw; usually under the gum. They generally take about 3 months to integrate into the surrounding bone, after which an abutment/post and crown can be placed. There are many situations where a temporary crown can be placed on the same day as implant placement, so that you will not have to walk around with unsightly gaps or a removable appliance. Be sure to speak to us about your specific situation.

Dental Partners of Fifth Avenue
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