Q: I really do not like visiting the dentist, is there anything you can do to help me relax?
A: Many people are uncomfortable with visiting the dentist. Your comfort is our highest priority and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. For entertainment and distraction, XM/Sirius satellite radio, high-definition television sets in each room and comfy blankets and neck cushions are available so you can keep your mind on more pleasant things. Nitrous oxide is also offered to keep you comfortable and relaxed. In certain situations, one or two tablets of drugs like Valium, Xanax or Halcion may be used before your appointment.
Q: I brush every day, but my breath just is not fresh. Is there anything I can do?
A: Millions of people struggle with halitosis, or bad breath, despite daily teeth brushing. Here is a checklist of procedures that can eliminate the problem: twice daily brushing, daily flossing and tongue cleaning; regular professional cleanings and careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances. Of course, what you eat can affect your breath for days (onions and garlic, for instance) and that should be taken into consideration as well. However, if your hygiene is meticulous and the problem persists, we can offer several solutions.
First, we can provide a plastic tool called a tongue scraper that cleans away bacterial build-up on your tongue and significantly alleviates odor. Or we can recommend a specially prepared rinse or toothpaste designed to actually break the odor-causing sulfur bonds that cause bad breath. Finally, we may suspect a systemic or internal problem such as an infection or underlying condition (such as diabetes), in which case we may recommend a visit with your family physician or specialist to identify the cause.
Q: What is a crown and why do I need one?
A: If Dr. Herbeck recommends a crown to you, it is likely either to correct a broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). The decay in your tooth eats away healthy tooth structure much like rust eats away at metal. If not removed, decay will deteriorate the tooth to the point where extraction is the only viable treatment option. Sometimes, decay is removed leaving healthy tooth structure, but not much of it. A crown can then be placed, restoring the look and function of your tooth while allowing you to keep your natural, underlying tooth structure. Most crowns are precision-milled porcelain (eMAX or Bruxzir, for instance) or full metal (gold with or without porcelain) and are individually customized for each application in each patient, giving you a natural, long lasting smile.
Q: How does fluoride help my teeth?
A: Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults by halting tooth decay. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation. Fluoride is a safe chemical component when used correctly. When your dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam, that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use any of the professional strength, fluoride varnishes, gels or foam products carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Q: I just want my smile to look good. What are some options to help the appearance of my smile?
A: You are not alone. Most people want to have a nice smile since it is the first thing others notice about you. You may be interested in a few minor adjustments or may have concerns that need more attention. Some smiles can be enhanced with simple whitening or bonding treatments. Other smiles need porcelain veneers, crowns or bridges; gum contouring; periodontal therapy or a combination of all these techniques. Dr. Herbeck will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals, areas of concern and the overall condition of your oral health. Contact us for a comprehensive examination to determine what course of action will produce the best solution for you.
Losing/Missing a Tooth
Q: How can losing a back tooth affect my smile?
A: Losing a back tooth will darken your overall smile making it look smaller and narrower. Your smile will appear to stop short, and the look will be exaggerated if your missing tooth has teeth on both sides of it. Function during chewing will be reduced and function of many teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth. When you are missing a tooth, you compensate by chewing differently, putting pressure on different parts of your mouth. This can cause your other teeth to shift, creating gaps and spaces and may even cause fractures that result in additional tooth loss or the need for restorations.
New Patient/First Appointment
Q: What can I expect from my first appointment?
A: During your first appointment, your overall dental and oral health will be assessed with a comprehensive oral evaluation. Upon completion of your medical / dental health form, we will ask you to tell us your goals regarding your smile, teeth, and gums. Digital photos and X-Rays will be taken of your teeth to identify areas of decay, cracked teeth and malfunctioning restorations. Our goal is to preserve as much of your teeth as possible by catching decay in its earliest stages. We'll also assess your gums and recommend the appropriate hygiene treatment for you.
Nighttime Gritting of Teeth/Nightguard
Q: My teeth keep chipping and cracking. What causes this? What can I do about it?
A: Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth, but donât remember when the injury occurred, damaged their teeth while they were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip, crack and even break. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth, we recommend a dental appliance called a night- guard. A custom fitted night guard protects your teeth from grinding & clenching in your sleep. Dr. Herbeck takes great care in making sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Do you suffer from headaches? You may find that a side benefit of your night-guard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask us about having a night-guard custom created for you.
Q: I want cosmetic dentistry. Does my insurance pay for it?
A: Dental insurance is designed to assist you in paying for your dentistry, but there are few plans that will pay ALL your costs. Most procedures are not fully covered by your insurance. Cosmetic dentistry, in particular, is not covered by most dental insurance plans. To help you afford your smile, we do offer a variety of payment options in addition to a monthly payment plan provided by our financial partner, Care Creditâ¢. We also pay special attention to maximizing the benefits that your insurance does provide. Ask us how you can comfortably afford your dentistry and maximize your dental insurance benefits.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Q: My gums bleed. Why is this?
A: Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed, often bleeding during brushing or flossing. Timely treatment can reverse these conditions. However, if these conditions are ignored, your periodontal disease can worsen, becoming a condition called periodontitis. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat.
Periodontitis affects your gums, bone and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment from your general dentist or even a periodontist. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss – teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don't diagnose and treat periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
Q: How do sealants protect teeth?
A: A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth—premolars and molars. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids and guarding against disease–causing bacteria.
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. However, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to efficiently extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by "sealing out" plaque and food.
Q: Sometimes when I chew I get a sharp pain. What can I do to correct this?
A: Most dental pain brought on by chewing is caused by a fracture, or crack, in the tooth. The pain can usually be corrected by placing a crown on the tooth but sometimes more advanced treatment may be needed. You want to correct the pain as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth. Contact us today to schedule a visit.
Q: How can porcelain veneers help my smile?
A: Porcelain veneers improve your smile by correcting a multitude of cosmetic concerns including: gaps in teeth; chips and broken teeth; dull or yellowing teeth that cannot be whitened with traditional means; "gummy smile" (showing too much gum when one smiles); and crooked teeth. Porcelain veneers broaden, straighten, whiten and beautify most any smile. This procedure can be done in as little as two clinical visits. Many of our patients feel like this was the best improvement that could have been done for their overall confidence. Ask us about how porcelain veneers can improve your smile at your next visit or send us an email.
Q: I want my teeth to be whiter. Do you recommend at-home or in-office whitening?
A: Dentist directed at-home whitening is the state-of-the art method for safely and comfortably brightening your smile. Other methods are effective but the side effects of tooth sensitivity and gum irritation are higher with these methods.
Your custom home whitening kit involves a special tray that is customized to fit over your teeth. You also receive prescription whitening gel, which is inserted into the tray before you wear it. Dr. Herbeck gives you detailed instructions about how long you should wear the tray each day and you should expect the entire home whitening process to take between two and four weeks, leaving you with a dazzling smile.
Q: What is a Prosthodontist?
A: A prosthodontist is a specialist in the restoration and replacement of teeth. A prosthodontist has completed three years of post-graduate studies beyond that of a traditional dentist, further exploring dental aspects such as surgery, endodontics, cosmetic, restorative, and implant dentistry. Additionally, prosthodontists work closely with other dental specialists and are concerned with the function and long-term health of your teeth, in addition to their appearance.
Q: As an older adult, do I really need to worry about my dental care?
A: Yes. No matter what your age, you deserve to look and feel healthy. A strong, beautiful, and functioning smile plays a major role in the quality of your life as you age. Youâll appreciate a better diet, a younger appearance, and greater confidence. Perhaps you have put dental care off for so long that you believe it no longer matters. Not true! We can treat and improve virtually any dental condition. Some conditions are even reversible, even in mature adults!
Even though there are few limitations on how old you can be to receive restorative dental care, it is always best to act sooner rather than later. You may enjoy your new, healthy smile ten, 20, or 30 years or more, and you can save yourself from having to undergo more complicated, intrusive care down the road.
Planning for dental care in your later years should be an important factor in your retirement plan. One of the most important things seniors learn is that regardless of the quality of their previous dental care nothing lasts forever.