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Frequently Asked Dentistry Questions

If I have a tooth pain, how fast will I be seen?

Our dental office tries to see anyone with pain or a cosmetic embarrassment, such as a broken front tooth or lost crown, immediately. You should not have to wait if you are in pain, so we try as best we can to accommodate you and work you into the schedule whenever possible.

I have a broken tooth. How do I know if I need a root canal or crown?

We would need a limited or emergency exam with an X-ray to determine if the nerve of the tooth has been exposed or damaged, or if there is a dental abscess or infection present. If it is determined that a root canal is necessary, that procedure would need to be done before we can restore the cracked tooth. If the crack is very small and there are no symptoms requiring root canal treatment, there may be an option to just use filling material or bonding as a restoration.  Bonding with tooth-colored composite is immediate and can be conservative, but it is also porous and can discolor because it’s made of a resin material. A porcelain crown or veneer would probably provide you with a stronger and more cosmetic tooth. Porcelain will not change color as fast or as easy. It is laboratory processed, so it is not porous and is made of a much stronger and longer-lasting material.  We can select a color (or shade) of porcelain that is right for you.

What is a dental crown and what kinds of dental problems can it fix?

A crown is designed to cover the visible white portion of a natural tooth, rebuilding its natural appearance and ability to function while preserving the original structure underneath. Crowns are likely to be recommended for several reasons, such as if a tooth has been broken or cracked or if a tooth is experiencing an advanced cavity. Decay must be removed because it constantly eats away at the healthy tooth and eventually results in the need for either root canal therapy or an extraction. Having a new crown takes place over two appointments. First, Dr. Maali will precisely remove the decayed portions of the tooth and prepare it. After your new, permanent dental crown has been crafted by a trusted laboratory, you will return to our dental office so that it can be cemented in place.

Will my new filling be metal?

We only use tooth-colored composite resin materials, allowing us to provide optimum oral health benefits and excellent aesthetic results.

Why are root canals necessary?

When decay has become severe enough to cause the inner portion of the tooth to become inflamed, this can lead to a serious infection within the bone. Severe trauma or a big filling can also cause this issue. In both of these unique cases, the tooth must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected from the inside in order to prevent the threat of extraction.

What is a root canal?

A root canal replaces the affected nerve and tissue inside the tooth with an inert sealer and filling material that fills the space on the root to block out infection

I’ve lost a tooth. What are my options for replacing it?

Patients will ideally need to choose between a dental bridge or an implant, which can both give your smile back a completed and naturally beautiful appearance. Dental bridges rely on neighboring teeth for ongoing support, and these custom-made restorations can replicate multiple consecutive teeth in a row over the course of two or more appointments. Alternatively, dental implants actually replace the entire structure of the natural tooth (including the root underneath the gum line). Once this new “root” has had time to form a natural bond with the oral tissue, a high-quality crown or prosthetic will be attached over it. Dental implants are extremely versatile and can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or even an entire mouthful functionally and permanently.

After I’ve gotten a new filling, when can I eat again?

We use halogen light to immediately harden our composite white fillings after placement. This means that as soon as you leave our dental office, you are free to eat. Patients may experience some temporary sensitivity, and as a result, you may prefer to eat softer foods for the rest of the day following your appointment. However, this should quickly subside.

How do you sterilize your equipment?

Our team members use disposable items whenever possible, and we regularly disinfect our water lines. After each patient is escorted out, the room is thoroughly cleaned before the next appointment. All dental instruments are subjected to scrubbing and heat and steam sterilization in an autoclave. At Sand Lake Dental, we are very proud of our high-quality sterilization procedures, and we will be happy to discuss our approach during your appointment if you’d like to learn more.

Is your dental office handicapped accessible?

Our dental office, restroom, and parking are all handicapped accessible.

Visiting the dentist makes me nervous. Can you help me feel more at ease?

Here in Dr. Phillips, we always prioritize our patients’ comfort. That’s why we offer several enjoyable amenities throughout our dental office space, including conveniently placed televisions in the treatment rooms, headphones that suppress noise, comfy neck pillows, and plenty of blankets. If you need a stronger approach to relax, oral sedatives are available upon request to help ease away those negative emotions.

I know that X-rays are necessary, but I don’t want to be exposed to dangerous radiation. Do you use digital radiography?

Yes! Digital X-rays require up to 80-90% less radiation than their traditional counterparts, which makes them much safer.

I want to improve the way my smile looks. Can you help?

Of course. Dr. Maali offers several cosmetic services that can transform your teeth for the better, including teeth whitening, direct bonding, Invisalign, porcelain veneers, all-porcelain restorations, gum recontouring, and more. Our team will work together with you to devise the ideal treatment plan that addresses your personal goals and leaves your expectations exceeded.

I would like my teeth to be whitened but do not wish to use the night trays. Is there a fast alternative?

Yes. Our dental office offers a one-hour whitening system called Zoom! This system is completed while you are comfortably reclined in a dental chair.

Are cosmetic procedures covered by my dental insurance?

While most preventive and restorative procedures are at least covered partially by insurance plans, cosmetic dentistry is considered elective and not essential. If you need help affording the smile makeover of your dreams, no problem – just talk to our dental team about arranging third-party financing through CareCredit!

How can porcelain veneers improve the look of my smile?

Veneers are an excellent cosmetic solution for patients who want to correct several dental flaws at once, such as discoloration, chips, gaps between teeth, misshapen dental structure, and more. They’re designed to fit over the front surfaces of your teeth, hiding all of these problems from view behind a revitalized appearance that looks fully natural.

I’ve heard about Lumineers, but what are they? Aren’t veneers the same thing?

Lumineers are thin, patented dental porcelain that’s placed directly over your front teeth. This requires removing less sensitive tooth structure, and we can still achieve beautiful results. Traditional lab veneers are fabricated by a local lab and usually require some bulk tooth removal. Lumineers, however, are much more conservative, which typically means no shots, minimal tooth reduction, minimal or no anesthesia, and minimal drilling on your enamel. Lumineers can be placed in only two dental visits and can last up to 20 years (clinically proven in an ongoing study done by DenMAT). If you’re interested in learning more, please schedule a consultation with Dr.Maali to see whether Lumineers or traditional veneers are right for you.