Frequently Asked Questions

I really do not like visiting the dentist, is there anything you can do to help me relax?

Many people don’t like visiting the dentist. At Union Family Dental, we focus on your comfort. We accomplish this by answering your questions to help you feel at ease so you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. For those who need it, Nitrous Oxide gas or oral sedatives are available.

I brush every day, but my breath is just is not fresh. Is there anything I can do?

Millions of people struggle with halitosis, or bad breath, despite daily teeth brushing. To eliminate the condition, try:

  • twice daily brushing
  • daily flossing and tongue cleaning
  • regular professional cleanings
  • careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances.

Should the problem persist, despite attempting the above techniques, there are several solutions.

First, we suggest a plastic tool called a tongue scraper. This device cleans away bacterial build-up on your tongue and significantly lessens odor. Or, a customized rinse or toothpaste designed to actually break the odor-causing sulfur bonds that cause bad breath could be a viable option. As a final course of action, we may recommend you visit a general practitioner or specialist as the problem may be caused by a systemic or internal problem such as an infection or another underlying condition.

I know I need X-rays, but I’d prefer to not be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-rays?

Yes, we do offer digital X-rays. Their ability to quickly produce scans, results in less exposure to radiation for you and almost instantaneous pictures for our dental team. They also provide more detail than their traditional, film-based counterparts, meaning you’ll experience less waiting and faster treatment.

How does fluoride help my teeth?

Research shows that fluoride decreases cavities in both children and adults by putting a stop to tooth decay. It also helps fix the early stages of tooth decay before the issue becomes noticeable. Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation.

Fluoride is a safe, when used correctly. Dentists typically apply fluoride to your teeth, in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam. This fluoride is stronger than the fluoride contained in your over-the-counter 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.

My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?

You certainly don’t want your gums to bleed following brushing. However, the condition may or may not require attention, depending on the source of the problem. Bleeding gums can be caused by:

  • improper, rough “scrubbing” instead of gentle, circular brushing motions
  • using a hard-bristled tooth brush instead of a soft one
  • plaque and/or tartar build-up below the gum line
  • gum sensitivity due to gingivitis or periodontal disease.

If you continue to experience bleeding after brushing, despite correct brushing and flossing methods, contact our office to set up an evaluation appointment.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontitis is an irreversible condition that impacts your gums, bone and teeth. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more intensive and invasive treatment from your general dentist or even a periodontist. If the condition is not treated, periodontitis can result in tooth loss. Your teeth will either fall out on their own or will have to be extracted. If you don’t catch periodontitis in its earliest forms, surgery may be necessary to save your teeth. You may also put yourself at risk for other serious health problems such as:

  • respiratory disease
  • pneumonia
  • strokes
  • ulcers
  • difficult-to-control diabetes
  • low birth weight babies
  • infective endocarditis, a dangerous infection of the heart valves

That’s because the condition serves as an open doorway for plaque bacteria to enter the blood stream through your gums. These bacteria, known in the medical field as Streptococcus Sanguis, may cause blood clots that block your arteries and even trigger a heart attack.

How do sealants protect teeth?

A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth of children—premolars and molars. This plastic resin adheres to the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant acts as a coating, protecting the tooth’s enamel from plaque, acids and disease-causing bacteria.

While thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of teeth, toothbrush bristles cannot always reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to efficiently remove food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.

Sometimes when I chew I get a sharp pain. What can I do to correct this?

Pain associated with chewing may be caused by a tooth fracture or crack. Many times, a crown may be applied to the tooth to relieve the pain. However, a fractured tooth can be serious and may require additional treatments to correct. To prevent further damage to the tooth, contact us to schedule a visit so that we may assess the problem and suggest the best treatment option.

Do you offer tooth whitening at your office?

If you are happy with the alignment and spacing of your teeth, a tooth whitening procedure may be all that separates you from a bright, white smile.

Your dentist will first take a special mold of your teeth, creating a customized tray that will fit perfectly over your teeth. You will also receive a prescription whitening gel, which you will insert into the tray before wearing it. Your Union Family Dental dentist will provide you with detailed instructions about how long you should wear the tray each day. You should expect the entire home whitening process to take between two and four weeks, leaving you with a radiant smile.

What ages of patients do you see at your office?

We are happy to see patients of all ages, from young children to senior citizens. For our younger patients we recommend making an appointment to see Dr. Oscar Mvula, our pediatric specialist.