My Tampa Dentistry
A Great Dentist

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

We are happy to answer questions about our services and procedures.

These are a selection of some common questions that patients have. If your question isn't answered here, please contact our office. It's important to us that our patients understand their dental care.

Cleanings & Exams

Even with excellent hygiene habits, it's easy to miss small areas of your teeth. Over time, the missed plaque will harden into tartar, which can only be removed with a dental hygienist's tools. When tartar accumulates beneath the gumline, the end result is red, puffy, inflamed gums — the beginnings of periodontal disease. 

Examinations are an important opportunity for us to check in with you, see how you are doing, and make sure that your teeth are healthy. We want to catch problems when they are small and can be treated easily. This allows for more comfortable and less costly dentistry for you. 

Unfortunately, by the time you are in pain, simple measures are often no longer effective. Regular examinations allow us to nip this situation in the bud and keep your teeth healthy and beautiful.

X-rays are a dentist's most important diagnostic tool. Often, problems start inside your teeth or beneath the gumline. By the time the problem is visible to the naked eye, it can be painful and more difficult to treat. Using x-rays taken on a regular basis, we can catch problems early and treat them quickly and comfortably.

Crowns & Bridges

Dental crowns are designed to be durable and to function much like your own teeth. You need to use common sense, however, and avoid biting down directly on foods like hard candy or nuts.

A broken crown is not just costly to replace, but you may also damage underlying healthy tooth structure.

Modern dental materials and technology have dramatically improved the appearance of dental crowns and bridges. The porcelain used in today’s crowns and bridges can be color-matched to blend perfectly with the shade of your natural teeth.

With proper placement, your dental restoration should be virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are intended to blend in seamlessly with your natural teeth. One of the advantages of this is that you can brush them and floss them the same as you would with your regular teeth. While implants never get cavities (and never need root canals!), you still want to continue brushing and flossing to keep your natural teeth and your gums healthy.

While dental implants do tend to cost more than bridges or dentures, they are also the most life-like, stable, and functional replacement, closely mimicking the appearance and function of your natural teeth. They also last longer, which can save you money in the long run. Call our office today to schedule your consultation.

Dental implants have several advantages over other tooth replacement options:

  • Dental implants appear the most life-like and natural.
  • The actual implant piece of the dental implant is made of titanium, a biocompatible metal.
  • Dental implants are the most secure and stable.
  • Dental implants prevent bone loss, keeping your jaw tissue healthy and preventing changes in the shape of your face.
  • With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.

Dentures & Partials

At first, your dentist may recommend that you wear your dentures to sleep. This will speed up your mouth’s adjustment to the dentures and allow you to quickly detect and correct any spots where the fit is uncomfortable. After your mouth has adjusted to the dentures, they may be worn throughout the day and removed while you sleep.

Yes.

When you first get your dentures, you will need to start with soft foods and slowly introduce harder foods as you get used to biting and chewing with the dentures in. Chew gently and take smaller bites to avoid loosening the dentures as you eat.

It will take your mouth some time to get used to the feel of dentures. After a few months, however, you will feel comfortable eating and  talking  with your dentures in and experience little to no soreness or discomfort. If you ever do experience soreness or if your dentures aren’t fitting right, please let us know.

Emergency Dental Care

If you are in pain, then you are having a dental emergency. Call us right away so that we can examine you, diagnose the problem, and create a treatment plan. Other signs that indicate the need for an emergency appointment include:

  • A pimple-like lesion on your gum
  • A broken or cracked tooth
  • A foreign object lodged between your teeth
  • Swelling in the gum
  • A broken or lost dental restoration such as a filling or a crown

We will do our very best to get you in the same day for dental emergencies. If this is not possible, we will see you the next day at the latest.

The goal of an emergency dental appointment is to address the immediate need, resolve your problem, and relieve your pain. If we believe further care is needed, we will ask you to schedule a regular appointment to follow up and set up an appropriate treatment plan to prevent future problems.

Periodontal Disease Prevention & Treatment

In its earliest stages, we can reverse gum disease by improving your hygiene routine and adding in an antimicrobial treatment. Once gum disease has progressed past a certain point, however, the disease is not reversible. We can still provide treatment that will stop the disease in its tracks and prevent further deterioration of your gum and bone tissue.

Coming in for regular cleanings with one of our excellent dental hygienists will help keep your gums in great shape, but what you do at home matters as well. Brush twice daily and floss every evening. Our hygienists will be happy to show you good brushing and flossing technique.

Other steps you can take to prevent gum disease include:

  • Don't smoke or chew tobacco.
  • Eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash. We'll be happy to recommend one.
  • If you have a health condition that can affect your dental health such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, please let us know so that we can take extra steps to help keep your gums healthy.

The appropriate treatment for your gum disease will vary depending on how far your disease has progressed and any contributing factors such as hygiene and other health conditions. Some of the treatments recommended for gum disease include:

  • An increased dedication to excellent oral hygiene
  • Antimicrobial rinses and other products
  • An antibiotic medication that is placed in the gum pockets
  • Deep cleaning (scaling and root planing)
  • Laser therapy
  • Gum surgery

We will discuss your situation with you and recommend the treatment that we believe will be the most appropriate for your unique needs.

Root Canal Therapy

Understanding the process can often remove a great deal of the fear surrounding dental procedures. During a root canal, the goals of treatment are to stop the infection, prevent further damage, and relieve your pain.

We begin by making sure that you are numb and comfortable. The next step is to open your tooth. We then use special instruments to carefully and thoroughly clean out the infection from your tooth and remove the infected or damaged nerve. If necessary, we may place an antibiotic treatment to prevent re-infection.

The cavity in your tooth will be filled and sealed, and a crown may be placed. You may experience some soreness following the procedure as part of your body’s natural reaction to any type of perceived injury, but this will quickly fade and you will feel much better.

When the interior of your tooth is infected, it can cause a lot of pain and is likely to damage the nerve. If left untreated, the infection could spread to other teeth. Root canal therapy removes the infection and relieves the pain, restoring the tooth and allowing us to save it.

The techniques used to perform root canals have advanced considerably, making this routine procedure no more uncomfortable or inconvenient than a filling. Many people who need a root canal are currently in pain, and a root canal will relieve your pain and save your tooth. After your procedure, you may experience some swelling and discomfort, but this will go away quickly.

Teeth Whitening

While the whitening kits you can find at your local drugstore cost less than professional kits, the truth is that this is a case where you get what you pay for.

Drugstore whitening kits are designed to be "one size fits all," which often translates to "one size fits none." The strengths are much lower than what you can get in a professional kit, meaning that you must use the product for a longer period of time and are still unlikely to get the results you can find in a professional product. Additionally, your results are not being monitored by the dentist you know and trust. 

Teeth staining can have several different causes. Some of the most common culprits we see include:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking staining beverages such as coffee, tea, and red wine
  • Eating staining foods like berries and curry
  • Inadequate dental hygiene
  • Certain health conditions
  • Genetics

It shouldn't. 

Most professional whitening products contain an added desensitizing ingredient that protects even sensitive teeth and keeps you comfortable during the process. Additionally, the customizable nature of professional whitening treatments prevents the product from coming into contact with soft tissues like your gums, lips, and tongue. 

If your teeth are very sensitive, please talk to us so that we can help you determine whether whitening is appropriate for you.

Tooth Extraction

We are in the business of protecting teeth. When we recommend a dental extraction, it is only because no other option exists and we need to remove your tooth to relieve symptoms or to protect your oral health.

A dental extraction is not the end of the world, though it does create some concerns for our patients. We are here to help. While you may have some anxiety about you dental extraction, we always strive to provide gentle, comfortable treatment by using appropriate levels of anesthetic to make sure you don’t feel any pain.

Losing a tooth can cause concern about your smile and being able to eat the food you need to stay healthy and that you enjoy. We offer many tooth-replacement options to complete your smile. We will go over all of your options at your appointment and start an appropriate plan to have you feeling yourself again as quickly as possible.

Dental extractions are sometimes avoidable with preventive and restorative dentistry. If you notice something is wrong or if you feel any symptoms, including pain or swelling, contact us right away. Acting fast will often give us the opportunity to save your tooth.

Give us a call to schedule a dental appointment.

A dental extraction poses many questions regarding the future of your smile and your oral health. Unless you have a wisdom tooth extracted, we recommend replacing a missing tooth. This will prevent your teeth from shifting and causing additional problems with your oral health. When your teeth shift, it can expose roots and cause problems with your bite. When you replace a missing tooth, you prevent the shifting that occurs with tooth loss.

Additionally, replacing missing teeth makes it easier to chew and to smile confidently. 

We offer a number of options to meet your needs:

Fixed dental bridge – We can replace a missing tooth with an artificial tooth anchored by two dental crowns. We will match your dental bridge to your existing teeth for an esthetic result.

Partial denture – If you are missing multiple teeth, we can replace multiple teeth at once with a partial denture. Partial dentures come in either a metal base or a lightweight acrylic base. We will discuss which option will work best for you.

Complete denture – If you are facing dental extractions of all of your teeth on your upper or lower arch, a complete denture will replace all of your teeth at once. Our dentures are highly esthetic and fit comfortably.

One of the priorities in our dental office is to provide comfortable, gentle dentistry for our patients. Dental extraction treatment is no different. Before we begin, we will discuss your history with dental care. If you have difficulty getting numb, let us know. We can take some extra time anesthetizing your tooth to make sure you have a comfortable experience. Gentle care is important to us and since each patient is different, we will discuss any concerns you may have before we even begin.

It is normal to have some discomfort and swelling following a dental extraction. Typically, this can be addressed with over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen. We will talk to you about dosing recommendations and what to expect as you recover. Fortunately, the human mouth heals fairly quickly, as long as you avoid certain behaviors such as smoking and drinking through a straw following treatment.

You will likely feel a dramatic improvement in a couple of days and will feel completely healed within a week or two. We will schedule a follow-up exam to monitor your healing and make sure that everything is on track. We will be here with you every step of the way.

We also offer a number of options for replacing missing teeth, if necessary. Contact us for an appointment and we will go over everything with you, so you feel comfortable with your dental treatment.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Composite fillings bond directly to your tooth, which results in the removal of less healthy tooth structure. Amalgam fillings require additional sculpting of the tooth to provide anchors for the solid amalgam. Composite fillings are not as hard and inflexible as amalgam fillings, which means stresses caused by biting and chewing can be distributed more naturally and reduce the risk of your tooth cracking.

Yes. Unlike amalgam fillings, tooth-colored fillings are a custom-mixed resin composite. The composite mixture is matched to your tooth color and bonded directly to the tooth. This usually results in a filling that is nearly indistinguishable from your natural tooth.

Most insurance companies will cover composite fillings up to the cost of a silver amalgam filling. You may be responsible for the difference in cost between the more expensive composite filling and the amalgam filling. Our office will happily review your insurance coverage and discuss your financial options with you.

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