FAQs

FAQs
We’re Here to Answer Your Questions

General Questions

If a tooth is loose, even extremely so, but is still attached in any way, leave it in place; do not remove it! If it is out of its socket completely and unattached, but still in your mouth, it is best to hold it in place, if possible, until Dr. Gore or Dr. Hoover can attempt re-implantation. If it is out of the mouth, do not let it dry out. Handle it as little as possible.

Do not attempt to disinfect the tooth, scrub it or remove any tissue attached to it.

If the tooth is recovered from the ground or another sort of soiled area, rinse it off in lukewarm water and preserve it in milk until Dr. Gore or Dr. Hoover can examine it. If milk is not available, lukewarm water will suffice.

Bad breath might be a symptom of some other disorder, but it is most often caused by dental decay and periodontitis, a gum and bone disease resulting from inadequate tooth brushing and flossing. Periodontitis irritates the gums and pulls them away from the teeth, forming pockets between the teeth and the gums, which fill with bacteria and puss and give off a foul odor.

Endodontic disease has a wide variety of symptoms. Common symptoms of endodontic disease include:

  • Persistent sensitivity to cold liquids;
  • Persistent sensitivity to hot liquids;
  • Sensitivity to sweets;
  • Pain from pressure, such as when biting;
  • Pain that transfers to another area, such as the neck, temple, or the ear;
  • Spontaneous toothache—when not eating or drinking;
  • Constant or recurring pain;
  • Severe pain;
  • Throbbing pain;
  • Swelling;
  • Pain that occurs in response to atmospheric pressure changes, such as when flying or swimming at low depths; and
  • Pain that occurs in response to postural changes, such as transferring weight when standing from a sitting position.

Please discuss any of these symptoms with Dr. Gore or Dr. Hoover, as these could be a sign you have root canal disease or another dental problem. These symptoms may signify tooth decay, defective fillings, periodontal diseases, cracked teeth, or other tooth and bite-related problems.

Yes, unfortunately pregnancy can increase your risk of developing gum disease, which research links to both low birth weight and premature babies. Fortunately, these complications can be reduced through early detection and treatment with your dentist.

During pregnancy, your body goes through many changes that can make you more likely to experience problems with your oral health. While studies show the majority of women do not visit the dentist during pregnancy, this an especially important time to make sure your mouth, teeth and gums are healthy. In some cases, dental insurance providers may also cover additional cleanings during pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant and experiencing any signs of gum disease we encourage you to give us a call.

Losing just one tooth can lead other teeth to drift into the empty space, causing a change in the bite, which can result in painful jaw issues and a change in the rest of your smile. Missing teeth also burden the remaining teeth with additional weight from biting and chewing. All-in-all, when one tooth is lost, the remaining teeth are more likely to be lost as well.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can be recognized by various symptoms ranging from ear pain to simple jaw pain. Listed below are some specific symptoms which may be signs of TMJ. If you think you have TMJ disorder, please contact us at Midlothian Dental Center immediately.

  • Jaw pain or soreness, most noticeable in the morning or afternoon
  • Jaw pain while chewing, biting or yawning
  • Earache without an infection, sometimes spreading into the face
  • Soreness in front of the ear
  • A clicking or grinding noise while opening and closing your mouth
  • Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
  • A stiff jaw when eating, talking or yawning
  • Sensitive teeth without any signs of dental problems
  • Aching on the side of the head and neck pain
  • Grinding of your teeth
  • Restricted range of jaw movement or “locking” of the jaw in an open or closed position.

Burning mouth occurs mostly in adults over the age of 50 and has a variety of causes. One common problem is new or poorly fit dentures that irritate your mouth. Another is reduced salivary gland function. There are saliva substitutes and rinses that can help protect your oral tissues and reduce the burning sensations. Most medications will dry out the mouth as a side effect and, sometimes, a Vitamin B deficiency may cause your mouth to burn. There are also candida infections caused by a common oral fungus, which can be treated with a simple anti-fungal agent.

Veneer Questions

Veneers can help correct the following cosmetic flaws:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Stained, discolored or yellow teeth
  • Poorly shaped or sized teeth
  • Natural looking: Each veneer is highly customized to look like your ideal natural teeth. Not only are they an efficient solution for fixing a range of cosmetic flaws, but no one will ever know they’re not your natural teeth.
  • Fast procedure: Veneers are a quick dental procedure and require only 1-2 visits based on the type of veneer you get in order to achieve your ideal smile.
  • Stain resistant: While professional teeth whitening is a cosmetic option, some patients suffer from discoloration that even the best teeth whitening techniques may not correct. Not only do porcelain veneers allow you to achieve your ideal shade of white, they’re also stain resistant so you don’t have to worry about staining your teeth again.
  • Durable: When applied properly and well cared-for, porcelain veneers are extremely durable. You can eat, drink, speak and brush normally. While they resemble tooth enamel, veneers will not discolor like enamel does. With proper care, your veneers should keep you smiling for 15-30 years. At Midlothian Dental Center, we use the latest and best materials and techniques ensuring you get veneers that last close to a lifetime.
  • 5 Year Guarantee: We believe porcelain veneers are one of the best long term options and one of the best cosmetic solutions. This is why we personally guarantee your porcelain veneers for 5 years.

When applied properly and with proper care, your veneers should last for 15-30 years. To maintain veneers, a patient should floss and brush daily, see our hygienist twice a year and avoid chewing on hard objects such as biting your nails. The good news is porcelain veneers generally take as much force to break as your natural teeth does.

The durability of veneers makes them an affordable and long-lasting option for achieving your ideal smile.

  1. Consultation & Plan. During an initial appointment we will examine your teeth and discuss your desired results to make sure dental veneers are the best option for you. If dental veneers are a good option for you, we will take X-rays and make impressions of your mouth and teeth.
  2. Preparing & Creating Veneers. Before preparing your teeth, we will decide on a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable during your visit. Our resident and highly skilled nurse anesthetist will be there to administer the best option for your needs. In order to prepare a tooth for a veneer, we will remove about 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface. This is a thin amount about equal to the size of the veneer that will be added the the surface of your tooth or teeth. We will then make a model or impression of your tooth. This model is then sent to a dental laboratory, which in turn constructs your veneer. It usually takes 2-4 weeks for us to receive the veneers back from the laboratory. For noticeably damaged teeth, temporary dental veneers can be placed.
  3. Placing Veneers. At your next appointment, we will temporarily place the newly constructed veneers from the laboratory onto your tooth to examine the fit and color. We are perfectionists so before we permanently fit the veneer, we will spend time carefully trim it as needed to the achieve the proper fit and color shade.

    Next, we will clean, polish, and etch (or roughen your tooth to allow for a strong bonding process) your tooth to prepare it for the veneer. A special cement is applied to the veneer and the veneer is then placed on your tooth. Once properly position on the tooth, your dentist will apply a special light beam to the dental veneer, which activates chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden or cure very quickly. The final steps involve removing any excess cement, evaluating your bite and making any final adjustments necessary to the veneer.

Whether you’re looking to cosmetically improve your smile or you want to improve the condition of your teeth, porcelain veneers are a great solution for most people. Depending on the condition of your teeth and your personal smile objectives, we will recommend the best type of restoration options for your individual needs.

Sedation Questions

No. You will feel nothing!

No, you will be in a deeply relaxed state but responsive.

Yes, a team member is always with you and your vital signs are monitored during the entire visit. You are never alone.

Depending on your needs, from two to six hours.

Yes, due to the sedative effects of the medication, you will need someone to drive you to the dentist and home again.

Pediatric Dentistry Questions

Infants do not have teeth to brush or floss. However, they do have gums that should be cleansed gently with a damp cloth each day. Once the first tooth emerges, an age appropriately sized toothbrush can be used to carefully brush and prevent plaque build-up.

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child’s first dental visit occur within six months after your baby’s first tooth, but no later than your child’s first birthday.

You might think it’s no big deal if your child prematurely loses a baby tooth, also known as a primary tooth. After all, they have plenty of other teeth for chewing, right?

In addition to chewing and speaking, here’s why baby teeth are important:

  • Baby teeth hold space for your child’s permanent tooth to emerge in the proper location. When trauma or deep decay requires the removal of a baby tooth, the permanent tooth no longer has it as a guide.
  • A baby tooth with untreated decay or infection can spread to the permanent tooth below.

     

Preventing decay with brushing, flossing, and routine dental hygiene appointments will help ensure your child’s smile is healthy and functional. If your child has an accident and loses a baby tooth, give us a call.

  • Brush your child’s teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
  • Provide your child with proper nutrition and try to avoid foods high in sugar.
  • Do not allow your baby or child to go to bed with a bottle or sippy-cup containing anything other than water. Sugar-containing liquids such as milk, juice and soda can lead to a condition known as ‘baby bottle decay’.
  • Schedule routine visits with your dentist twice a year by age 3 to keep your child’s teeth healthy.

Baby Bottle Caries (also known as Early Childhood Caries, or ECC) is an incredibly common bacterial infection in babies and young children, though it is very unhealthy to the development of teeth and gums. Frequent consumption of liquids containing fermentable carbohydrates (juice, milk, formula, soda) can increase the risk of dental caries, due to the sugars sitting on the teeth and reacting to the natural, cariogenic bacteria on the teeth. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD) is a severe form of ECC and is often caused by bottle feeding at night, when the salivary glands are less active and, thus, do not clean off the residue from the liquids. A mutant form of cariogenic bacteria is Streptococcus (the bacteria which causes strep throat), so it is important to keep this natural tooth bacterium at bay, but it is equally important to keep it from building up and forming plaque residues (and cavities).

A mouthguard is an important piece of equipment in sports activities. And though it’s not mandatory for most sports, wearing a mouthguard will cushion any blow to the face or neck, protecting your smile. So, even adults should wear mouthguards during athletics. Custom-made mouthguards are the best for athletes with bridges and braces because they are form-fit. However, the less expensive, ready-made mouthguards can be purchased in any sporting goods store and molded to your smile in only minutes.

It really depends, since each child’s smile develops differently. We have a guideline to which we refer as your child’s permanent teeth come in, but orthodontic treatment depends on the problem and its severity. Over the years of your child’s development, we watch for facial growth, spacing/crowding issues, extra or missing teeth and habits like thumb-sucking, which can all alter the development of your child’s smile.

Cosmetic Dentistry Questions

The more common “tooth bleaching” involves the placement of a bleaching solution on the teeth to eliminate stains and discoloration. The solution is held in place by a custom-made, see-through tray that fits over the teeth. This mouthpiece is worn at home and takes up to four weeks to completely whiten teeth.

Midlothian Dental Center also offers ZOOM!, the in-office power bleaching treatment with a bright halogen light, which is done in our office and takes only one visit!

We at Midlothian Dental Center find that dentures will need to be relined, remade or rebased due to normal wear over a period of time and normal shrinkage of your gums and bones.

Dentures that fit properly do not usually require adhesives. However, adhesives may be advised during the time when you acclimate to the presence of dentures in your mouth, because air slips in under the base and moves them when you laugh, smile or cough. The more you wear dentures, the better you will be able to control their movements in these situations. In general, we feel that dentures which do not stay in place are probably not fit correctly.

Invisalign Questions

You wear each set of aligners for about 2 weeks, removing them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss.

As you replace each aligner with the next in the series, your teeth will move – little by little, week by week – until they have straightened to the final position your dentist has prescribed.

About once every 6 weeks you’ll visit your dentist to ensure your treatment is progressing as planned. Total treatment time averages 9-15 months and the average number of aligners worn during treatment is 18-30, but both will vary based on the individual.

The aligners are made through a combination of your dentist’s expertise and 3-D computer imaging technology. No metal wires or brackets.

Because there are no metal wires and brackets, Invisalign® is more comfortable than traditional braces. And because they are removable, eating, brushing and flossing are no problem.

If you’re in the Richmond area, our office will give you an initial free examination to determine if Invisalign® treatment is right for you. If it appears that Invisalign® is an option, we will take photographs, x-rays, and an impression of your teeth to further verify that Invisalign® is the best option for you.

Once we verify that Invisalign® is the best option for you, we create an individual treatment plan to determine exactly how your teeth are straightened. At this time, we will be able to let you know if you qualify for orthodontic insurance benefits and the estimated cost and length of treatment.

When the treatment plan is complete, your records are sent to Invisalign® along with the dentist’s instructions. Using the latest advances in 3-D computer technology, Invisalign® will translate our instructions into a series of precisely customized aligners.

You will wear each set of aligners for about two weeks. Each set of aligners will gradually move your teeth closer and closer to the desired result. You will need to wear these aligners all the time except when you are eating, drinking, or cleaning your teeth.

Six Month Smiles® Questions

  1. Schedule a consultation to see if you’re a candidate
  2. Month 0: Get your braces on in about an hour.
  3. Month 1: Movement has begun and you should be well adjusted to your braces by now.
  4. Month 1-5: You should already see a huge difference! Expect to see change every month. You’ll need 3-7 adjustments depending on your case.
  5. Month 5: You’re almost there! Get excited, you’re about a month away from getting your braces-off and a brand new smile.
  6. Month 6: Braces-off – congratulations, you’re done! Go show off your beautiful new smile.

Yes, as with all orthodontic treatment, a retainer is necessary to maintain the new, straight position of your teeth. There are a variety of retainer options you can choose from depending on your personal preference and situation.

It all depends on your teeth and how much movement will be needed to straighten them. Like all cosmetic treatments (traditional braces and aligners) there may be some soreness or a bit of discomfort, but nothing that a Tylenol would not help with.

Some patients find options such as aligners, stressful to keep up with, and other treatments can take more than 6 months. Traditional ortho (metal braces), is another route, but this usually takes about 2 years and can be more expensive and invasive. Based on your smile goals, Six Month Smiles® may be the best option for your needs.

6 months is the average treatment time. Most patients finish around 6 months, but treatment times may range from 4-9 months.

While the cost is generally less expensive than traditional braces and aligners, the cost varies depending on your specific treatment goals.

Dental Bonding Questions

Bonding can help correct or fix the following cosmetic flaws:

  1. Chipped or cracked teeth
  2. Poorly shaped or sized teeth
  3. Gaps between teeth
  4. Discolored teeth
  5. Decayed or damaged teeth
  • Little to no removal of enamel, retaining the health and natural structure of your tooth.
  • Less extensive procedure than restorations like porcelain veneers or dental crowns.
  • Can usually be completed in one appointment.
  1. Your dentist will use a shade guide to select the composite resin color that best matches your tooth color.
  2. Once the color is chosen, your dentist will slightly etch the surface of the tooth to roughen it. The tooth will be coated lightly with a conditioning liquid, which helps the bonding material adhere.
  3. When the tooth is prepared, your dentist will apply the tooth-colored, putty-like resin. The resin is molded and smoothed until it’s the proper shape. The material is then hardened with an ultraviolet light or laser.
  4. After the bonding material hardens, your dentist will further trim and shape it. We will then polish the material until it matches the sheen of the rest of the tooth surface.
  5. It usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour to complete the procedure.

If you’ve decided to get bonding for one or more teeth, you do not need to do anything to prepare for your visit. The procedure is so simple, most patients do not need anesthesia. If for some reason you are in pain or have anxiety about the procedure, we do offer sedation options, which are administered by our highly skilled nurse anesthetist.

 

For the most part, you can resume your normal lifestyle following your bonding placement. Please note that tea, coffee, cigarette smoke and other substances can stain the resin. To prevent or minimize stains, it’s essential to avoid eating or drinking foods that can stain for the first 48 hours after any composite procedure. And as always, it’s important to maintain good dental hygiene. We recommend you brush and floss your teeth daily and visit your dentist for a routine cleaning twice a year.

 

The composite resin used in bonding isn’t as strong as a natural tooth. Biting your fingernails or chewing on ice or pens can chip the material. Bonding usually lasts several years before it needs to be repaired. How long it actually lasts depends on how much bonding was done and your oral habits. If you’re looking for a more durable, long lasting solution, porcelain veneers may be the best option for you.

Restorative Dentistry Questions

Tooth-colored resin fillings are made of glass particles encased in a plastic matrix. It’s a putty-like material which bonds to the tooth and hardens when exposed to high-intensity lights.

Silver fillings have been a common fix for decayed or broken teeth over the last century, probably because gold fillings were too expensive for most people. But the silver fillings, over time, corrode, blacken and crack teeth as they expand. Unfortunately, they seem to do more damage than good. Tooth-colored resin fillings, however, have a much more natural appearance and the adhesive material used to bond the resin to the tooth can make the broken/decayed tooth stronger than before!

If you have a broken or decayed tooth, here are two great reasons to get it capped with a dental crown. First, your teeth affect the appearance of your smile and your face. The teeth in your mouth actually support the muscles in your face. A broken tooth might affect the muscle strength in your face, affecting your appearance. Second, crowns act like your normal teeth. They keep your jaw and bite aligned, and ensure that the rest of your teeth do not shift or carry more than their share of the load during biting and chewing.

There are four types of dental crowns: porcelain, gold, stainless steel and ceramic. The crowns used at Midlothian Dental Center are usually made of gold or porcelain because of their sturdiness and cost. Stainless steel crowns, on the other hand, are better for temporary solutions, rather than for the long haul. Ceramic crowns, which are very natural in appearance, have proved successful in short-term studies, though long-term studies are still in operation.

Porcelain crowns are built upon a metal base and fit snuggly over your natural tooth. The best part about porcelain crowns is their color can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Most people choose porcelain crowns because of the cosmetic appearance—they’re barely distinguishable from your natural teeth!

Gold crowns are less aesthetic because of their color. However, they are just as sturdy and are sometimes less expensive. Most people choose gold crowns for their back molars, because they aren’t often seen.

The answer is simple: brush well and floss below the gum line—like you do already, right? The crown protects the remainder of your tooth from further decay, but you must also protect the base of the crown from bacterial growth and gum disease. So, just continue to brush and floss regularly and carefully.

Dental Implants Questions

Yes, but we will use local anesthetics to numb the area. You can also couple the surgery with sedation dentistry to reduce your anxiety.

Dental implant technology is relatively new, though it has been around for decades. Some patients in the Midlothian area have had dental implants for as many as 30 years!

Hundreds of thousands of dental implants have been inserted with more than a 90% success rate. Other metal implants in the body (such as hip and knee replacements) are the result of dental implant technology!