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You should always feel comfortably in control of your dental health. That’s why we created this list of frequently asked questions to help you understand and make the best possible decisions about dental health for you or your family. If you have a question that is not covered by this section or our resource library, we encourage you to send us a message or contact your local 1st Family Dental office to speak with one of our friendly staff members.

Common Dental Issues & Procedures

Yes. Radiation comes from many sources, including the sun and even riding on an airplane. It is important to limit exposure to radiation over ones lifetime. Fortunately, the dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of dental X-rays is extremely small, and even smaller at 1st Family Dental because we use digital x-rays. We take precautions during x-rays and will provide you with an apron and cervical collar to protect you or your loved one during x-rays. If you have any questions about the safety or need for dental x-rays, feel free to speak with your dentist for more information.

Do I REALLY need to floss every day?

Yes. Radiation comes from many sources, including the sun and even riding on an airplane. It is important to limit exposure to radiation over ones lifetime. Fortunately, the dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of dental X-rays is extremely small, and even smaller at 1st Family Dental because we use digital x-rays. We take precautions during x-rays and will provide you with an apron and cervical collar to protect you or your loved one during x-rays. If you have any questions about the safety or need for dental x-rays, feel free to speak with your dentist for more information.

The answer to this question is: “it depends.”  Each person and situation is different.  If you are not currently experiencing pain or crowding, your dentist may recommend removing your wisdom teeth to avoid those types of problems in the future, based on what they see on your x-rays, as well as their professional and clinical experience.  Wisdom teeth can move very slowly, so problems can sometimes take years to develop.  Also, as we get older, wisdom tooth extraction can become more complicated and painful, and may require the services of an oral surgeon. Your dentist may recommend removing your wisdom teeth before they become a problem or even a dental emergency in the future.

I had a root canal and my dentist says I need to come back for a crown. Do I really need to come back?

Yes. Many times patients will feel a great amount of relief from swelling or pain following the first part of the root canal treatment has been completed. However, the second step of the root canal is critical to allow your dentist to make sure the infection has cleared, to ensure the tooth is clean and sealed to prevent any openings which may allow food particles, debris or bacteria to enter the tooth and cause further damage. The placement and [cementing] of the permanent crown is the final step to help protect the tooth and prevent future damage or even tooth loss. Completing the root canal process fully is the best way to prevent future, more costly dental emergencies and keep your smile as healthy and strong as possible.

My dentist just recommended a night guard. Why, and will it really help?

Your dentist may have recommended a night guard based on their exam and a discussion with you about possible bruxism which is clenching or grinding of the teeth, or possible TMJ disorder concerns. Either way, a night guard will help to prevent grinding, tooth damage and associated pain, and position the jaw to facilitate proper breathing, which may even relieve symptoms such as persistent snoring. Night guards are a great investment to protect your smile, prevent damage and the need for future dental treatment.

Should I have my wisdom teeth removed? I have heard conflicting advice about this.
Should I replace my Amalgam Fillings?
What is the difference between Amalgam & Composite Fillings?
Will my wisdom tooth extraction hurt? What is the recovery process?

The answer to this question is different for each individual. In some cases, these last molars can fit perfectly into a person’s mouth when they are properly aligned. However, in many individuals, the wisdom teeth are not properly aligned and may require extraction. Your dentist will review your x-rays and the positioning of your wisdom teeth at your regular checkup visits. He or she may recommend to remove some or all of your wisdom teeth to help alleviate any pain, swelling or infection you may currently have, or to avoid future problems. Additionally, your dentist may recommend removing wisdom teeth earlier rather than later, because extractions may become more painful or complicated, or even result in a dental emergency as you age.

Should I replace my Amalgam Fillings?

1st Family Dental recommends only replacing fillings of any kind when there is an issue such as wear, decay, pain, cracking or breaking of the tooth or filling. If you notice any of the issues listed above, we recommend you see your dentist as soon as possible for an exam. Tiny cracks and wear in fillings can often be detected during regular exams and x-rays at a dental checkup.

What is the difference between Amalgam & Composite Fillings?

Amalgam is most commonly referred to as “metal” or “silver” fillings, which contain a mix of metals including mercury. Composite fillings are known as white or tooth-colored fillings.

Note: 1st Family Dental does not use amalgam material for fillings and dental restorations. Instead, we use composite resin material at all of our locations for fillings and restorations. We made this choice because we believe composite material, also known as “white” or “tooth colored” fillings, to be an effective treatment option for our patients

Some pain, swelling and bleeding are to be expected after most extractions. Each extraction is different and everyone experiences pain and recovers differently. Your dentist or our staff may have provided you a post-extraction instruction guide after your procedure. This guide contains helpful information to make your recovery as speedy and complete as possible and avoid common issues such as dry socket or pulled sutures or stitches. Your dentist will also explain what signs to look for that may tell you it’s time to call our office. If you had a surgical extraction, we may give you a post-op courtesy call a day or two after your procedure to see how you are feeling or if you have any questions. We are happy to answer questions any time at your local 1st Family Dental office, and our 24-hour on-call dentist is always available for a phone consultation.


Cosmetic & Teeth Whitening

Professional in-office teeth whitening as well as follow-up home whitening can be a very visible and cost-effective way to transform your smile to it’s brightest. 1st Family Dental offers several options for teeth whitening, including ZOOM® and Venus White®. Each system offers both in-office and at-home treatment options. You can learn more about how each works by visiting the informational sites as well as by speaking with any 1st Family Dental doctor. A consultation is required before in-office whitening to ensure effectiveness. This consultation can usually be completed at the same time as the whitening treatment.

Is there a way to straighten my teeth without traditional metal or clear braces?

Straight teeth are easier to keep clean and can reduce the chances of cavities and gum disease with proper home care. Proper jaw alignment can also help reduce the incidence of teeth grinding (bruxism) and also other related issues such as TMJ and headaches. Having straight teeth can also affect the entire shape of your face. Incognito™ lingual braces and Invisalign ® are two options we offer at 1st Family Dental to straighten your teeth effectively and discreetly. Lingual braces attach to the inside (lingual side) of your teeth and straighten your teeth similar to the way conventional braces can. Your dentist can review these options with you with a free consultation at any 1st Family Dental location.

My teeth are chipped, discolored, or uneven. Is there anything I can do?

Veneers are one treatment option that can completely transform your smile if you have chipped, discolored or uneven teeth. Veneers are made by creating an impression of your teeth. Veneers are fabricated in a lab to fit exactly over your existing teeth. Your dentist will then prepare your teeth using an etching process, and will bond each veneer to your tooth, one-by-one. Your dentist will then make adjustments if needed to ensure your bite is even. Many people are familiar with the Lumineers ® system, which is one type of veneer.

What can I expect at a consultation to learn more about cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic consultations at 1st Family Dental are always free and require no commitment. At your consultation, your dentist will review your medical and dental history, and speak with you about your goals for your smile. If your teeth and gums are healthy, your dentist will review treatment options with you, and our friendly staff can discuss options with you to help make any treatment you choose fit into your monthly budget.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign ® straightens your smile through a series of invisible, removable and comfortable aligners that virtually no one can tell you are wearing. Invisalign trays are removable for cleaning and changing to a new set as your teeth move and straighten over time. As an added bonus, Invisalign trays can also be used with at-home and overnight teeth-whitening systems. Your dentist can review these options with you with a free consultation at any 1st Family Dental location.


Dental Emergencies

Yes. Many times patients feel better before an infection fully clears. In order to have the best chance of fully clearing an infection, to prevent future infections, and prevent the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it is necessary to complete the entire antibiotic treatment regimen, as directed by your dentist or pharmacist.

I visited 1st Family Dental for an emergency visit. The dentist either started a root canal or put me on antibiotics to address an infection so I can come back for treatment. But I feel so much better! Do I really need to come back?

Yes. Many times patients will feel a great amount of relief from swelling or pain following the first part of the root canal treatment or after antibiotics have been prescribed. It is necessary to return for whatever follow up appointments your dentist recommends in order to ensure an infection has cleared, treat the source of the diseased tooth or infection, and prevent future problems which can be costly and even result in the loss of one or more teeth.

Your dentist has your health and well-being in mind, especially when helping you to address a dental emergency. If you have any questions during or after the exam or treatment, we are always happy to help.

We suggest visiting your nearest 1st Family Dental location as soon as possible. Just because you are not experiencing pain does not mean that everything is OK. Failure to recognize and treat dental emergencies can result in severe pain, infection, loss of tooth, and even a serious medical emergency. The sooner you see a dentist, the better your options will be in terms of potentially saving or replacing the tooth or teeth.

Dental emergencies should be addressed right away by a dental professional. Contact your nearest 1st Family Dental location right away. We are happy to see walk-in emergency patients during regular hours, but it is advisable to call us to let us know you are on the way so we can prepare for you. If the dental emergency has happened after our regular hours, existing patients can contact the on-call dentist. Swelling or fever can be a sign of an infection, and should be treated immediately at an emergency care center. See our Resource Library for a list of common pediatric dental emergencies and responses.

Implant Dentistry

With advancements in techniques and materials, dental implants have become an optimal tooth replacement option for many people. However, a consultation with a dentist is required to determine if someone is a good candidate for dental implants. Factors considered include bone density, medical history and related health issues, periodontal or gum health, and other factors.

Do dental implants hurt?

Dental implant placement has become a very common procedure and placement is often completed in just one office visit. The post-procedure impacts of dental implant placement can include some pain and swelling at the implant site, which usually resolves within a few days.

How long do dental implants last?

With proper home care and regular checkup visits, a successful dental implant can last you for the rest of your life. If you have crowns, bridges or dentures that accompany your dental implants, you may need to replace these periodically, as they are subject to the same or more wear and tear as teeth. Dental implants are an excellent tooth replacement option because they can help slow and even stop bone loss in the jaw that is normally associated with tooth loss, which means you are more likely to keep your whole smile for life!

My missing tooth does not bother me. Is going through the whole process and expense of a dental implant worth it for just one tooth?

Is it necessary to go through the trouble to replace the tooth with an implant or pursue another option such as a bridge, if it isn’t visible, and it isn’t bothering me? When we are missing a tooth (or teeth), the teeth around it bear the additional stress of chewing. This can result in cracking, or other stress which can contribute to dental caries. Many people who are missing one or more back teeth actually compensate by chewing on only one side. That can cause TMJ issues, and will cause the other side of the jaw (bone and muscle) to weaken. Our jaw bone is kept strong and dense by chewing (like exercising). One missing tooth can eventually cause weakening of the bone and connective tissue, affecting the teeth around it. Implants function in the same way as a tooth, by fusing with the bone – a process called osseointegration. This keeps the bone strong and healthy – and increases the likelihood of being able to keep the rest of the teeth healthy and intact. Each person is different – variations in bone density and other factors can impact our overall oral health.  One of the biggest factors that can influence dental implant success is time.   If you are missing a tooth or teeth, a conversation with a dentist – sooner, rather than later – can provide you with a lot more information regarding your individual oral health, and can help you review the potential benefits versus concerns you may have.

What is an implant in a day?

Implant in a day is when a temporary crown is placed directly over an implant the same day it has been placed. Implant in a day is an option for some patients, and depends on what tooth the implant is replacing, and a variety of other factors considered during an implant consultation. Implant in a day is a good option for patients having implants placed where the tooth is visible, so there is no temporary change in their smile while the implant heals.


Orthodontics & Braces

In short, absolutely not! There is no age limit for orthodontic treatment as long as the teeth and surrounding tissues are in good health. Orthodontic treatment among adults is becoming more and more popular nowadays. There are many new options that can make orthodontic treatment less visible, including treatments such as Invisalign, lingual braces (fixed on the insides of the teeth), and clear braces. A 1st Family Dental Orthodontist can help determine the best treatment options for you with a free consultation. To book your free consultation, contact us anytime!

Are braces affordable?

Having a great smile with healthy teeth, gums and jaw is an investment that will reward you for the rest of your life! At 1st Family Dental we strive to make orthodontic services accessible to anyone, whether or not orthodontic treatment is covered by insurance. We offer very competitive pricing. Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation today! 1st Family Dental is also able to offer several options to help patients make their orthodontic treatment affordable for any budget. We offer interest-free monthly payment plans that are spread over the treatment time.

Are braces right for me?

Getting braces can be a big step for someone. It is truly an investment that will last you for the rest of your life! Braces do more than just make your teeth straight. Do you find yourself or your loved one hiding your smile because you’re not happy with how your teeth look? Braces can can give you a beautiful smile that will boost your self-confidence. You’ll never have to worry about your smile during that important interview or meeting, or for that first date. Go with confidence! Is brushing and flossing sometimes difficult because your teeth overlap, are crooked or have gaps? Orthodontics and braces can improve your dental health by improving regular oral hygiene.

Having straight and properly aligned teeth means that more of the tooth surface can be reached during regular brushing and flossing. This means that braces, combined with good oral hygeine, can result in fewer cavities and overall improved dental health for life! Do you experience pain or clicking in the jaw, or difficulty chewing? Braces can help to fix the alignment of the jaw, which can, for some patients, reduce or eliminate pain and headaches relating to jaw problems, as well as improve digestive health by making the chewing process easier and more efficient.

Well… sometimes. After all, your teeth are moving to a different place! Your teeth might feel sore for up to a few days after adjustments are made. Pain is usually mild and does not interfere with your daily life activities. Your orthodontist can recommend an over-the-counter pain reducer to help after adjustment appointments.

How do I take care of my oral hygeine when I have braces or orthodontic treatment?

Maintaining good oral hygiene is extremely important throughout orthodontic treatment, and requires a little more attention and time. It’s important to make sure to prevent the buildup of plaque and to keep gums healthy during treatment, with regular brushing with a soft toothbrush. Orthodontists recommend brushing after each meal. There are all kinds of fun gadgets and tricks to help with regular brushing and flossing between brackets and around the gum line. Braces brackets and wires can sometimes break, and must be cared for as well. See our helpful guide on how to brush and floss with braces.

What are Braces?

Braces is a name that commonly refers to all appliances that are used for orthodontic treatment. Braces include brackets, wires and other accessories. Braces and their accessories are the most common methods used to help straighten and align teeth and jaws. There are several different types of braces.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist in orthodontics who received 2-3 years of specialty education after graduating from dental school. Orthodontists are very special people – helping to straighten and align teeth and jaws is both an art and a science, and requires great attention to detail as well as a lot of special skill. At 1st Family Dental we are proud to have Board-Certified orthodontists on staff at 1st Family Dental.

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the dental specialty concerned with the supervision, guidance and correction of the teeth and jaws. Dental health involves a lot more than just regular cleanings – it also means that the teeth and jaws must be aligned properly. This affects speaking, eating and chewing, oral hygeine, as well as self-confidence!


Pediatric Dentistry

Yes. Nitrous Oxide, also known as “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 cavities, but aren’t these teeth just going to fall out anyway?

Baby teeth are very important to normal dental development in children. They help to hold space and guide adult teeth into place. Not treating dental caries in children can result in toothaches, pain, possible infection, and even medical emergency. Teeth that are not treated will need to be extracted resulting in premature loss. Premature loss of baby teeth can cause adult teeth to grown in crooked and can affect your child’s ability to eat and breathe, as well their self esteem as they get older. Orthodontic treatment such as braces may be required. The best course of action is to maintain an effective oral hygiene routine at home, and bring your child for necessary dental treatment to help them to have a healthy smile for life.

My child is anxious about visiting the dentist. How can I help him or her?

You can help your child by ensuring that you are speaking about the dentist and dental visits in a positive way. Assure your child that the dentist is a friend, and will help take care of their teeth. Avoid using negative language or body language around your child, as they will be very sensitive to your anxiety. Speak with your child’s dentist about pediatric treatment and educate yourself about procedures as well as conscious sedation options such as nitrous oxide. See our guide for more information and helpful ideas.

My child just knocked their tooth out! What do I do?

Recover the tooth. Do not touch the tooth roots! Handle the crown only. 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 pouch. 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 your nearby 1st Family Dental location for an emergency appointment and advice.

The ADA recommends bringing your child to the dentist for the first visit by their first birthday. Starting a healthy oral care routine includes regular visits to the dentist every 6 months as well as an effective home care routine for your baby or child can help prevent cavities and the need for dental treatment, and help them to have a healthy smile for life


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