Carmichael Dental Frequently Asked Questions
We love to share our knowledge! We have answered a few of the questions that patients commonly ask below. Please feel free to Contact Carmichael Dental Care if we can assist you with any questions about your oral health.
Why do I need dental xrays?
When the dentist examines your teeth, there are some areas that are just not visible to the human eye, such as between the teeth, below tooth enamel and underneath the gums. Dental xrays are used to show density; white areas are harder and thus denser (such as tooth fillings or crowns) and gray-dark areas are much less dense (such as gum tissue). When reviewing your dental xrays, Dr. Swartzentruber is looking for areas that have irregular shadows or areas of unusual density; these may indicate a cavity between the teeth, bone loss beneath the gum line or an area of concern.
We recommend dental xrays in following with the American Dental Association® guidelines for dentists. Bitewing xrays that show areas between the teeth are the most common type of xray used in regular check-ups. We may recommend close-up images (periapicals) to see tooth roots and more detailed bone levels.
A panoramic xray shows the upper and lower jaw, as well as the teeth. This type of xray is used to detect wisdom teeth and is invaluable for screening for jaw tumors and cysts that do not show up on other types of dental xrays.
My gums bleed when I brush. What should I do?
Healthy gums don't normally bleed. When you see bleeding during brushing, this is a sign that the gums are inflamed due to bacteria that have found their way into the spaces between the teeth and gums (known as "pockets"). The first step you should take is to call us. We will ask questions about your last dental cleaning and any new medications you may be taking to determine any related issues. We may recommend that you come in for an examination so we can recommend the appropriate treatment.
Next, it's time to get on a very consistent brushing and flossing regimen. We find that patients that experience light bleeding during brushing may not be flossing regularly. Flossing is like fitness for your gums; flossing thoroughly 1-2 times per day can help clean the areas between the teeth that your toothbrush can't reach, which helps the gums stay firm and pink.
Oral irrigators and water rinse appliances are helpful in removing debris from the mouth, but there is no comparable replacement for dental floss. If you have trouble flossing, there are a number of floss aids available at most pharmacies and we can show you a few tricks too!
Bleeding gums is also a sign of periodontal (gum) infection, or inflammation associated with gingivitis. These conditions require treatment by a dentist and dental hygienist. If detected early, we can treat periodontal disease and gingivitis with non-surgical root planing procedures to remove bacteria and toxins from the infected areas to stimulate tissue growth and healing. Simply stated, the earlier these areas are treated, the lower the cost. Extensive periodontal disease can cause tooth and bone loss and costs of treatment can add up quickly.
Why doesn't my dental insurance cover all of my dental expenses?
Dental insurance benefits have not changed much since the 1980s. Unlike medical insurance, dental insurance is not designed to cover all of a patient’s treatment, but instead is structured to help offset the costs of care.
Dental insurance policies are usually "riders" to a major medical policy. The coverage is part of the negotiated options specific to the employer or subscriber's selection. One patient's dental insurance plan through Employer A may be completely different than coverage from the same dental insurance company at Employer B.
Most dental plans pay a higher reimbursement percentage for preventive and diagnostic care (cleanings, xrays and exams) and a lower rate for restorative services (fillings and crowns). Many have waiting periods for coverage for crowns, bridges, dentures or partials.
We recommend that our patients consider health savings plans, when available, as an alternative to dental insurance. This allows the patient to use their health savings for their specific needs vs. paying into a pool for services they may not need at all.
To make dentistry more accessible for patients that do not have dental insurance, we have designed our Carmichael Advantage Dental Savings Plan. A low annual membership fee helps you budget for your dental maintenance needs and discounted services provide savings on the cost of necessary treatment.
Learn more about the Carmichael Advantage Dental Savings Plan.
Isn't tooth loss just part of getting older?
The short answer is no. It is possible to keep your teeth for a lifetime! Taking care of your teeth has tremendous health and wellness benefits; by keeping your natural teeth you can continue to enjoy the foods that you love and you will always have a confident smile.
Through regular visits and preventive care, we can keep your mouth healthy and help you develop a home care routine to give your teeth the foundation they need to stay clean and strong.
Behaviors, habits and aging do play a role, however, in how we manage your oral health:
- Mature patients often take medications that can reduce the flow of saliva and cause "dry mouth". This upsets the normal wash of saliva that helps keep harmful bacteria at bay, making the patient more susceptible to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. We will help prevent problems by monitoring your oral health closely and we may recommend saliva replacements, special rinses or xylitol mints to keep bacteria levels down.
- A number of adult patients clench or grind their teeth (bruxism). This can lead to deterioration of tooth enamel or even cracked teeth. We often recommend nightguards for our patients to help protect teeth from damage due to clenching and bruxism.
- Many patients today drink acidic beverages (including diet soda) that can cause tooth enamel erosion. This type of tooth damage is an upward trend in the U.S. in both adults and children. We recommend that patients consume water and non-carbonated beverages between meals and during sports activities. Studies show that sodas are better reserved for mealtime as their impact is less dramatic when combined with food.
Have questions about dentistry or oral health? Please Contact Carmichael Dental Care of Montgomery and one of our friendly team members will be happy to assist you!