At Lowery Smiles, we want our patients to feel as comfortable as possible during their visits. While our dentist and team are happy to answer any questions during your appointment, you may have additional questions later on or before your treatment. To help you understand more about what Dr. Siti Lowery can do for your smile, we welcome you to review our FAQ page. If you have any questions that we have not addressed, and if you would like to schedule your next appointment with our dentist, we welcome you to call or visit our practice. We look forward to helping you get the most out of your dental care!
What should I do if I have bad breath?
Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by a variety of things, including:
- Bacterial deposits on the tongue
- Slow or halted saliva flow, particularly during sleep
- Certain odorous foods, such as garlic and onions
- Gum disease
- Certain medications
- Mouth breathing
- Dry mouth
Health conditions, such as diabetes, bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections, and liver or kidney problems
If you have any one of the above causes, or if you suffer from chronic bad breath, there are several things you can do to help get rid of your bad breath. First, keep a record of anything you can identify that may be causing your bad breath. Review any medications or medical conditions to see if bad breath is a symptom or side effect. In addition, you can:
- Brush twice a day and floss daily. This will remove the plaque that could build up under the gum, causing gum disease and bad breath.
- Get your regular cleanings from the dentist at least twice a year.
- Ask for recommendations from your dentist.
- Drink water frequently throughout the day to wash away food and bacteria that can cause bad breath.
- Use mouthwash or other solutions that can temporarily freshen your breath.
In many cases, our dentist can help identify the cause of your bad breath and recommend appropriate treatments or oral hygiene habits to eliminate your bad breath. Contact our office for more information!
How often should I brush and floss?
According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Both brushing and flossing can help remove plaque that can cause tooth decay. Flossing can also help remove any plaque or bacteria that get beneath your gum line and cause gum disease.
To properly brush your teeth, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, brushing in a circular motion towards your gums. Be sure to brush the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of each tooth. It is also good to brush your tongue either with your toothbrush or a tongue brush. Electric toothbrushes can also help you get a deeper cleaning by removing plaque more effectively.
To floss your teeth, use about an arm-lengths worth of dental floss. Wrap the floss around each of your middle fingers, leaving an inch or two between your fingers. Gently slide the floss between your teeth, moving it up and down the surface of the teeth. Be sure to go a little under the gum line. Curve the floss into a “C” shape to get all around the tooth, and use a fresh strip of your floss for each tooth. If you have difficulty using traditional floss, you can also try using a flosser to clean between your teeth.
It is most often recommended that you floss your teeth at night, before brushing your teeth. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water after flossing and brushing. In addition to the recommended brushing and flossing standards, you can brush and/or floss between meals and snacks to keep your teeth free of food debris and plaque.
Are amalgam fillings safe?
Over the last several years, many people have become concerned that amalgam (silver) fillings end up leaking small amounts of mercury into the body. However, the American Dental Association has stated that silver fillings are just as safe as composite (tooth-colored) fillings. Studies and research from the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and other foundations have also shown that there is no direct link between medical disorders and fillings that contain mercury.
While there is no evidence that amalgam fillings pose any health risks, our dentist is pleased to replace silver fillings with composite fillings. For patients who would prefer to have mercury-free fillings, this is a simple procedure and can help you feel more at ease about your oral health. There are also porcelain and gold fillings. We invite you to discuss any of your concerns and options with our dentist.
How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
Our practice supports and encourages the American Dental Association’s standard of dental cleanings and exams, which suggests that you visit the dentist at least once every six months. Depending on the condition of your oral health, however, our dentist and hygienists may recommend additional visits.
By regularly visiting the dentist for an exam and cleaning, you can help maintain the health of your gums and teeth. During these visits, our team will professionally clean your teeth to remove plaque and other harmful substances. Our dentist may also perform a variety of other treatments to locate, diagnose, and treat additional problems. Some of these additional treatments or steps are:
- Reviewing your medical history
- Taking and examining X-rays of your mouth
- Performing an oral cancer screening
- Checking for gum disease
- Polishing your teeth
- Recommending additional oral hygiene practices
By visiting the dentist regularly and properly caring for your teeth at home, you and our dentist can work together to help you maintain a healthy smile for life.
How can I tell if I have gingivitis or gum disease?
Gum (periodontal) disease is a fairly common condition, but most people are unaware that they have it. When you visit our practice, our dentist will examine your mouth for signs of gum disease and provide any necessary treatment. Gum disease is caused when plaque and bacteria do not get cleaned off of your teeth and gums. As the plaque and bacteria build up, they can get under the gum line and cause an infection. Check your gums at home for any signs of gum disease, and schedule your appointment with our dentist if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Red or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Chronic bad breath
- New, wider spaces between teeth (caused by bone loss)
- Loose teeth
- Pus around the gums and teeth
- Receding gum line
- Tender or sensitive gums
Gum disease can be caused by a variety of things. If any of the following situations apply to you, and if you experience any of the above symptoms, we encourage you to visit the dentist and have your mouth checked for gum disease:
- Smoking and chewing tobacco
- Tooth restorations, such as improperly-fitted bridges, crowns, and fillings
- Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty
- Systemic diseases, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and blood cell disorders
With good oral hygiene habits, regular checks for signs of gum disease, and routine visits to the dentist, you can help keep your smile healthy and treat any signs of gum disease early on.
Why is it important to floss?
While brushing your teeth is beneficial and essential to having a healthy smile, your toothbrush bristles cannot reach everywhere in your mouth, particularly between the teeth. The area between your teeth is very susceptible to tooth decay, and having plaque build up between the teeth can lead to additional problems such as gum disease. Flossing is the best way to get between your teeth and remove plaque.
How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?
Cosmetic dentistry is great for patients who feel self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth or overall smile. Cosmetic dentistry includes a wide variety of treatments that can change your smile in big and small ways. Depending on your needs and smile goals, our dentist can recommend what treatments are right for you. Cosmetic dentistry can include:
- Teeth whitening
- Dental bonding and veneers
- Dental crowns
- Tooth-colored (composite) fillings
- Orthodontics and other teeth-straightening treatments
- Full-mouth reconstruction
- Dental implants
We welcome you to review our service pages to learn more about these treatment options. You are also welcome to contact our office for any additional information.
What are porcelain dental veneers and how can they improve my smile?
Porcelain veneers are small, shell-like, tooth-shaped restorations that are attached to the front of your natural teeth to improve your smile’s appearance. Veneers are very durable, and they will not stain over time or from certain foods. In many cases, dental veneers are used to correct teeth that are:
- Stained or discolored
- Gapped or spaced
- Chipped or cracked
- Too big or too small
Dental veneers can typically be completed in two visits. Our dentist will create an impression of your teeth and send it to a local dental laboratory where they will create your customized veneers. Before your veneers are applied, our dentist will prep your teeth by buffing and shaping the front. This makes it easier for your veneer to fit on your teeth and accommodate for the additional thickness that is added to your tooth’s surface when the veneer is applied.
What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
In many cases, teeth whitening is a great solution for treating stained or discolored teeth. Teeth whitening is available as both in-office and at-home treatments. Both ways are non-invasive and can whiten your smile up to several shades. You may also purchase over-the-counter products to whiten your smile, but these are not as effective as the professional treatments you can receive from your dentist.
If you are interested in having your teeth whitening, our dentist will conduct an oral exam to determine the condition of your teeth. Should our dentist recommend against teeth whitening, there are several other treatment options that can improve your smiles, such as veneers, bonding, and dental crowns. Our dentist can help you know which treatment is best for your situation.
In many cases, patients experience some tooth sensitivity after their teeth-whitening treatment. This is normal, and it typically subsides within a week. If you have any questions or concerns about teeth whitening, feel free to call or visit our practice!
Wisdom teeth explained.
Also known as your third molars, wisdom teeth are often the last teeth to come in. During your routine dental visits, our dentist will help determine if your wisdom teeth erupt properly and if there is enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth. In many cases, patients need to have their wisdom teeth removed. This could be from having impacted wisdom teeth, needing additional space for the rest of your teeth, or as part of orthodontic or other treatment.
Can you help me relax during my dental visit?
If you get nervous just thinking about the dentist, our team can help you relax during your visit. Advanced dental technology allows our team to provide more efficient and comfortable treatments. If you have dental anxiety, we invite you to discuss your concerns with our dentist so we can help adapt your treatment to care for your needs.
How safe are digital X-rays?
Exposure to any type of radiation can cause damage to your tissue and cells. Radiation comes in a variety of ways, including the sun, appliances, and, of course, radiographs. Over the years, however, technology has advanced to provide digital X-rays that emit significantly less radiation than traditional X-rays. Digital X-rays also require a shorter exposure time and can produce instant images, instead of waiting for the film to develop. Also, our dentist will use a lead-lined apron to cover your body during your X-ray, protecting the rest of your body from X-ray exposure. In addition, digital X-rays are checked for safety and accuracy at least every two years by federal law. At our practice, you can rest assured that our equipment is the safest for you and your family.
What are dental sealants and how to long do they last?
Dental sealants are a thin, plastic coating that our dentists paint on the chewing surface of your teeth. In most cases, sealants are applied to the back teeth, or molars, because they most often have deep grooves in the biting surface. When sealants are painted on, they bond with your tooth and create a protective covering over your tooth enamel. Sealants also cover the grooves in the tooth’s biting surface, preventing food, bacteria, and plaque from building up inside them.
Typically, our dentist recommends that children receive dental sealants once their permanent molars come in. That way, your child’s teeth can be protected throughout their childhood years, which are also their most cavity-prone years. Adults can also benefit from dental sealants, especially those whose teeth are more susceptible to decay. Dental sealants can last many years, but they can also become worn or chipped. By visiting the dentist regularly, we can check for any signs of wear and ensure that your sealant continues to provide the protection your tooth needs.