Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I still have to go to the dentist if I brush and floss regularly?
While we commend you for maintaining great oral hygiene habits, the supervision and care of a qualified dentist can really take your mouth’s well-being the extra mile. The American Dental Association recommends that every patient see their dentist at least twice a year. Dentists have been trained to detect problems during early development stages and can recommend proper treatment before a condition compromises your oral health. In addition to the professional cleanings that help remove accumulated plaque and calculus, regular dental checkups at Danville Dental Associates also include a comprehensive oral cancer screening. Coming to our practice also gives you the opportunity to ask questions concerning dental techniques or to learn more about different services from Danville Dental Associates.
I want to straighten my smile, but I don’t want to deal with metal braces. Is there another way I can improve my bite?
Yes! Danville Dental Associates offers Invisalign® clear braces to correct minor to moderate orthodontic problems in older teens and adults. With Invisalign®, you’ll be able to address problems in your bite which have gone uncorrected while retaining your adult appearance. Nothing says immature like a mouth full of metal, and our professionals understand that. We can help develop your Invisalign® treatment plan today to make your dreams of a straight smile possible. Please contact our office today to schedule your Invisalign® appointment.
I want a brighter, younger-looking smile. Is there any way you can help?
Danville Dental Associates can improve your image in a variety of ways and offer several cosmetic dentistry treatments to turn back time for your teeth. Your dentist can improve your smile with in-office or take-home bleaching to make teeth whiter, repair chips or rough spots with fillings that match your teeth, replace silver fillings with tooth-colored materials, reshape teeth that don’t match the others, close gaps between teeth, cover broken teeth, and hide imperfections in the enamel with cosmetic dental bonding or porcelain crowns or veneers.
What do I do if I have a chipped, broken, or cracked tooth?
There are numerous reasons why your teeth may chip, crack, fracture, or break. Some of the most common causes of tooth cracks include:
- Biting into something hard with a weakened tooth
- Facial trauma or injury during a fight, sports or auto accident, or fall
- Teeth weakened by cavities, uneven pressure due to bite alignment issues, nighttime teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism), and nail biting, ice chewing, or pencil chewing habits that can lead to dental damage.
Dental chips may not cause immediate pain, but even if you don’t notice the damage when it occurs, you will likely feel sharp or uneven places with your tongue or notice a change in the way your bite fits together. Unlike minor breaks, severe chips or cracks may be painful. This pain typically occurs when a break affects the nerve system of the tooth housed in the innermost pulp layer of the tooth or lacerates the gums or soft tissues. You may not notice any discomfort until you eat or drink something that is hot or cold or put pressure on the tooth. This discomfort may be constant or sporadic, but you should always let our team know right away as this pain will not abate on its own.
Some very small chips or wear will not require any treatment at all. If the damage does not affect the way your bite fits together, we’ll likely choose not to intervene. In other cases, simply polishing and smoothing the damaged area may be adequate to repair the tooth. For more advanced wear or damage, we’ll use a composite resin filling material to repair the lost tooth structure and prevent future damage. Even if you don’t think the damage is severe enough for treatment, we encourage you to make an appointment with our team. The damage visible to the naked eye may not seem significant, but you never know what damage could have occurred in parts of the tooth that are not visible when you smile. Our team will capture x-ray images of your teeth to ensure there is not additional damage and create a treatment plan.
When you arrive at our office to treat a broken tooth, we’ll start by trying to determine the underlying cause of the damage be it excessive wear or cavities. It’s important to our team that we fully repair your smile not just the obvious and immediate damage. Bring any broken pieces of the tooth with you, if there are large enough fragments to recover. It’s important to keep track of large pieces of tooth structure that may make their way into the windpipe or lungs and cause damage. Once we understand your underlying oral health concerns and current needs, we’ll partner with you to plan a complete restoration of your damaged tooth.
What should I do if a tooth is knocked-out or partially dislodged?
Avulsed, knocked out, teeth are some of the most common dental emergencies we see. In some cases, we’re even able to restore your natural tooth to the vacated socket. The first step is to stay calm. Gently rinse your mouth out with cool water. Find your tooth. Holding it by the crown, the portion normally visible to the eye, and avoiding contact with the delicate root structures, examine the damaged tooth. Use water to clean off blood, dirt, or other debris. Do not scrub the tooth or use toothpastes or other cleaner. Try not to dislodge or remove any soft tissue. Whenever possible, replace the tooth in its vacated socket, ensuring that it is facing the correct direction. Bite down on sterile gauze or clean cloth to hold the tooth in place and slow any bleeding. Do not ever force the tooth into the socket. If you’re concerned the tooth will dislodge and could be swallowed or you’re unable to replace it in the socket, you should store the tooth in a container of salt water or whole milk. Call our team, and we’ll do all that we can to see you right away. If we get you in within an hour, we can usually fully reattach the tooth.
If your tooth has been partly dislodged due to facial trauma or injury, attempt to return it to its regular position using your tongue or a finger to shift it into place. If you can’t easily shift the tooth without resistance or pain, leave it where it is. Forcing the tooth back into position is likely to be highly uncomfortable and can cause damage to the socket or tooth. Call our team right away, even if you’re able to move the tooth back in place. Without properly resetting the tooth, it could fall out. When you reach our team, we’ll reposition the tooth properly within your bite and use a splint to stabilize the tooth as it heals into its proper position. Avoid chewing with the dislodged tooth as it heals, and use a salt water rinse to prevent soft tissue infection and soothe inflammation.
What can you tell me about tongue piercing? I am a little concerned about whether it would be safe. I do have pierced ears and have not had any trouble with that.
Please don’t do it! To begin with, the tongue is an extremely vascular organ, which means that it has loads of blood vessels. A tremendous amount of swelling is expected when the tongue is pierced and a large, oversized “barbell” is initially placed to accommodate for the expected swelling.
This can cause difficulty in breathing and swallowing. Eating, drinking, and speech are all impaired. The barbell can flop around, and when accidentally bitten, it can cause fractures to the teeth that cannot be restored. The barbell can also come unscrewed and be swallowed or possibly aspirated (sucked into the lung). Either of these situations could require surgery.
Danville Dental Associates strongly cautions against tongue piercing!
How do I clean my removable dentures or partials at home?
After every meal, you should remove and rinse your partial or full denture. Simply run cool water over the denture checking for any food or debris left in teeth. Avoid using warm water as this could lead to warping in the base that might make your denture uncomfortable. Handle your denture with care, and if you’re concerned you may drop the prosthetic, place a towel in the sink to avoid damage. Once your teeth are cleaned, rinse your mouth out with warm water. Then, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste to clean any remaining natural teeth, gum tissue, tongue, and palate. Once a day, clean your denture more thoroughly. You can use a toothbrush specially crafted for dentures or a soft toothbrush. Use a denture cleaner or mild hand or dish soap and water to remove sticky plaque, foods, and other buildup. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, hard toothbrushes, or chemical products that may damage dentures. Always handle the denture base, metal clasps, and other breakable portions of your denture with care. If you do damage or bend any part of your denture, let our team know right away. Dentures that don’t fit properly may cause damage to any remaining healthy teeth or soft tissues. During the night, you should remove your partial or full denture and soak it. This prevents choking hazards or breathing obstruction that may occur due to shifting of the denture during sleep. You’ll need to keep the denture moist, so that it retains the ideal shape and fit. You can soak your denture in water or a soaking solution. Take special care if you have a denture with metal attachments as solutions containing chlorine can damage the metal. Always rinse your denture with cool water before replacing it to avoid accidental ingestion of cleaners or soaking solutions. Visit our team regularly, so we can check the fit of your denture, and provide necessary adjustments.
What payment options does Danville Dental Associates offer?
We accept cash, check, and major credit cards, such as MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. Danville Dental Associates is an in-network, participating provider with Anthem, Delta Dental, MetLife and Virginia Medicaid dental insurance providers. We also participate in the Cigna Discount Dental Program. To make our dental services more obtainable to all, Danville Dental Associates works with CareCredit, a third-party financing company. Furthermore, Danville Dental Associates offers the Danville Dental Discount Program to help our patients without dental insurance benefits.
How safe are dental x-rays?
Today’s digital x-rays are very safe. Innovations in the technology and faster capture times have reduced radiation exposure as much as 90% for most patients, making x-rays safer than ever. Additionally, digital x-rays allow us to focus radiation beams into just the small area being scanned. The digital x-ray film requires shorter exposure time to capture higher definition images. Additionally, we use a better in-mouth film that is held firmly in place reducing the need for recapture and eliminating excess exposure to radiation. Even with the extremely reduced levels of radiation, we still use a full-body, lead-lined protective apron to protect you during x-ray capture. We are also compliant with all of the federal regulations for x-ray imaging. These regulations include biannual checks of our x-ray technologies to ensure accurate and safe function.
For screening, diagnosis, and treatment planning purposes, we encourage every patient to receive the following x-rays:
- Bitewings – these are the traditional diagnostic x-rays captured each year. They offer our team images of specific sections of the upper and lower teeth, showing the supportive root systems and how the bite fits together. These x-rays are essential in helping us diagnose bite alignment issues, tooth decay, dental wear, and bone loss resulting from gum disease or infection.
- Panoramic – these x-ray scans reveal images of the entire smile. They’re important in helping our team understand the way that your mouth, jaw, sinuses, and other oral and facial structures are working together. These more advanced images are helpful in diagnosing developmental abnormalities, cysts, tumors, breaks and fractures, and especially in diagnosing alignment issues and planning orthodontic treatments. We only recommend these panoramic x-rays be updated every five to seven years or when we’re planning for more advanced treatments.
- Periapical – these are x-ray images that focus on one specific tooth and the variety of oral health concerns that may affect it. They show a clear, zoomed in view of a single tooth both the crown part of the tooth above the gums and the supportive root structure and jaw below. We use these x-rays to diagnose specific health concerns. They are not recommended on a regular basis. If a patient reports pain or damage to a specific tooth, we can use periapical x-rays to have a complete picture of these teeth to diagnose and plan treatment for a wide array of oral health concerns including tooth impaction, dental abscess, tumors or cysts, and changes in bone structure or density.