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

A: Millions of people struggle with bad breath (halitosis), despite daily 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. However, if your hygiene is meticulous and the problem persists, we can offer some additional solutions.

We can recommend a specially prepared rinse or toothpaste designed to actually breakdown the odor-causing sulfur bonds that cause bad breath. We may also suspect a systemic or internal problem such as an infection or underlying condition, 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 your dentist has recommended 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, offering full coverage and restoring the look and function of your tooth, while allowing you to keep your natural, underlying tooth structure. Most crowns are precision-milled porcelain or full metal (gold or silver) and are individually customized for each application in each patient, giving you a natural, long-lasting smile.

Q: I know I need X-rays (Radiographs), but I’d prefer to not be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital r-Rays (Radiographs)?

A: Yes, we do offer digital X-rays (radiographs)! Digital radiographs use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film-based X-rays. You will find that Dr. Maddox researches the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that best promote your overall health, safety, and comfort.

Q: How does fluoride help my teeth?

A: Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and in adults by halting tooth decay. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before it becomes visible. Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation.

Fluoride is a safe chemical component when used correctly. When Dr. Maddox and her team apply fluoride to your teeth, usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste, mouthwash, or water. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use professional strength, fluoride varnishes carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Q: I just want my smile to look good. What are some options to help improve the appearance of my smile?

A: You are not alone. Your smile is the first thing people notice about you, and most people want their smile to be beautiful. You may only need a few minor adjustments, or you may have concerns that need more attention. Either way, there are treatments that can give you the engaging smile you have always wanted. Your smile can be enhanced with simple whitening or bonding treatments, or if you need more extensive treatment, options such as porcelain veneers, crowns, or bridges, gum contouring, periodontal therapy, or a combination of these techniques are available to you. Based on your goals, areas of concern and the overall condition of your oral health, Dr. Maddox will suggest a plan just for you. Contact us today for a complimentary smile evaluation to determine what course of action will produce the best solution for you.

Q: I want my front teeth to look better, but I do not want to wear braces. What would you recommend?

A: Dr. Maddox has a number of ways to improve the look of your front teeth without the use of braces. For slightly crooked or unevenly worn teeth, a bit of reshaping and the addition of porcelain veneers may be sufficient to give them a bright, uniform look. In more pronounced cases, it may be necessary to refer you to an orthodontist. Ask Dr. Maddox and her team which option best suits your individual situation.

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 in the need for restorations.

Q: What are my options for replacing a missing tooth?

A: By replacing missing teeth, either with a bridge or with an implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and will restore your smile to its beautiful, full appearance. A bridge is one solution for replacing a tooth. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, Dr. Maddox places a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile. A dental implant is also an excellent solution. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Once the post has bonded to the bone, it can act as a new, solid support for a natural looking, porcelain restoration. Implants can replace a single tooth or an entire set of teeth, offering more function and permanence than traditional dentures.

If you are interested in replacing one tooth or several teeth, talk to Dr. Maddox about implant-supported dentistry at your next appointment.

Q: What can I expect from my first appointment?

A: Once you are scheduled for an appointment in our practice, you will be guided through the completion of all the necessary medical, dental, and personal information. At your appointment, we will have the opportunity to get to know each other. We will listen to your goals for your mouth, teeth, and smile. All of the necessary information will be gathered in order to diagnose your current oral health. Comprehensive, digital radiographs (X-ray images) and charting will give Dr. Maddox the information she needs to fully explain your conditions and to determine your best course of treatment. Our goal is to take care of you in a comfortable and comprehensive fashion, answering all of your questions along the way.

Q: Do you accept new patient referrals?

A: Yes, we do accept referrals from other dental offices, as well as recommendations by our patients to their families and friends. We love welcoming new patients into our dental practice! Ask us for more information about our Smile Out Loud referral program at your next appointment!

Q: I want and need a lot of dental work, but I’m afraid I can’t afford it. Do you offer monthly payment plans?

A: Yes, we offer monthly payment plans through our financial partner, Care Credit. ™ We provide a variety of ways for you to pay for your treatment so that it fits comfortably into your personal or family financial goals. Dr. Maddox and her team work with you to create the solution that best accommodates you so that you can have the beautiful, healthy smile you have always desired.

Q: I want cosmetic dentistry. Does my insurance pay for it?

A: Dental insurance is designed to assist you in paying for your dentistry. 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 offer a variety of payment options, in addition to a monthly payment plan provided by our financial partner, Care Credit. ™ We also pay special attention to maximizing the benefits that your insurance provides. Ask us how you can comfortably afford your dentistry and maximize your dental insurance benefits.

Q: What different payment options do you provide?

A: We accept cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. In addition, our office has partnered with CareCredit™ to offer our patients a variety of affordable flexible payment options. Several payment plans are available including interest free (if paid within the promotional period), no initial down payment, and extended payment plans up to 48 months, with prepayment allowed anytime. For more information, please call our office, or visit www.carecredit.com.

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

A: Yes. Bleeding gums during and following brushing is not healthy. However, the condition may or may not require attention, depending on the source of the problem. Bleeding gums can be caused by any of the following: improper, rough ‘scrubbing’ instead of gentle, circular brushing motions; using a hard-bristled tooth brush instead of a soft one; hard and soft deposit build-up above and below the gum line; or gum sensitivity due to periodontal disease. If this problem persists despite correct brushing and flossing methods or occurs every time you brush, contact our office to schedule an evaluation appointment with Dr. Maddox and her team.

Q: What is periodontal disease?

A: Periodontal disease (also called periodontitis or gingivitis) refers to the infection of the supportive tissues of the mouth due to toxic bacteria found in plaque. 50% of adults suffer from some degree of gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, break down of the soft tissue in the mouth and jaw, and other significant health problems. Dr. Maddox and her team assess and diagnose your periodontal health, and if needed, recommend the appropriate therapy to control the active infection in the gums and supportive tissues. Our specially trained hygienists will then administer advanced periodontal therapy. Maintaining optimal periodontal health will take a strong focus on your care and a team approach between you, Dr. Maddox, and her team.

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 your back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids and guarding against disease-causing bacteria. Thorough brushing and flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of your 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 be corrected by placing an inlay/onlay, a porcelain crown, or with more advanced treatment. You want to correct the pain as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage to the tooth. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

Q: How can porcelain veneers help my smile?

A: A veneer is a thin covering of porcelain that is bonded to the front of your teeth and artistically shaped to enhance the look of your smile. Porcelain veneers improve your appearance 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 you smile); 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 they could have been made for their overall confidence. Ask us about how porcelain veneers can improve your smile at your next visit.

Q: I want my teeth to be whiter. Do you recommend at-home or in-office whitening?

A: Dentist directed at-home whitening is an effective way of brightening your smile. Dr. Maddox customizes your whitening treatment to ensure your happiness with the results. Your custom, home whitening kit involves a special tray that is specially designed to fit over your teeth. You also receive prescription whitening gel, which is inserted into the tray before you wear it. Dr. Maddox 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, bright smile.