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Frequently Asked Dental Questions

It’s understandable that you likely have questions or concerns about what to expect when pursuing certain dental services. Thankfully, Dr. King Scott and the rest of our team have plenty of answers to share in return. Below, we’ve compiled some of the FAQs we hear most commonly so that the information is easily accessible. You are always welcome to contact us directly here in West Monroe, LA if you cannot find the answer to your particular query.

Why are checkups recommended every six months, even for people with great oral health?

We prefer to find cavities in the earliest stages, and often that's before the patient can even see or feel them. Early detection allows us to provide the most conservative treatment possible, which saves you time, expense, and possible discomfort. We also screen for oral cancer, a disease that will affect more than 30 thousand Americans this year. Oral cancer is deadly, but early detection offers an 80% cure rate. Gum disease is another sneaky problem that we try to catch early. It has been linked to stroke, heart attack, osteoporosis, and other health risks, and it is the leading cause of tooth loss in American adults.

Do I need X-rays?

To provide optimal care, we take bitewing X-rays once a year and a panoramic X-ray every three years. X-rays and intraoral photographs help us track your oral health and address problems early, when conservative dentistry can still correct most issues. If you haven't had a checkup and X-rays in a while, call our West Monroe, LA dental office for an appointment.

What do you do to maintain a safe and sterilized environment?

Your safety is important to us, so we sterilize our reusable instruments in an autoclave and use disposable products as often as possible. Each of our treatment rooms is cleaned thoroughly between patient visits. We adhere to guidelines set by the CDC and OSHA and perform weekly tests on our sterilization equipment.

I have old, dark fillings. Is there any hope for my smile?

Dark fillings and metal crowns can be replaced with strong, aesthetic solutions. Our dentist has placed composite resin fillings for years, and we also offer porcelain crowns.

How can I improve my smile?

That sounds like an easy question to answer, but it isn't! Your smile is unique, and we won't compromise your individuality with one-size-fits-all smile enhancements. Smile design dentistry done right requires an initial consultation in which we will discuss your goals, preferences, and options for care. Generally speaking, we may suggest porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, all-white restorations, and/or replacement teeth. Orthodontics may also be involved. After your comprehensive evaluation and consultation, we'll present a smile makeover plan for your new smile. We offer digital imaging for smile previews as well.

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

Bleeding is usually a sign of a problem. When gums bleed, the cause usually stems from the patient brushing too hard or from early-stage gum disease, which is also called gingivitis. We can consult with you on the proper toothbrush and pressure for safe, effective daily oral care. If your gums show signs of gum disease, we may recommend a deep hygiene treatment to stop the disease and return your gums to good health. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for American adults, and it has been linked to many overall health conditions, including stroke, heart attack, and respiratory problems. Untreated, gum disease can escalate to create significant damage to your health, so call for an assessment now. We will help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for life!

My jaw pops and clicks. What's going on?

When the jaw joints are out of alignment, you may experience clicking and popping when you open and close your mouth. Jaw joints are clinically referred to as temporomandibular joints, and when they do not function properly, the condition is known as TMJ dysfunction. Patients experience a myriad of problems, from chronic headaches, migraines, and earaches to face, head, shoulder, and neck pain. Oral function may also be inhibited, and patients with TMJ dysfunction tend to grind their teeth. Fortunately, the condition can be corrected in most cases with a simple oral appliance called a nightguard. As another option, the dentist can rebuild worn teeth to correct the occlusion (how upper and lower teeth fit together) and reposition the jaw joints. Sometimes stress-relieving exercises or habit changes are beneficial as well.

Do you refer patients to specialists?

While we are trained and equipped to handle many dental issues in our dental office, we refer when a specialist would better serve your specific concern. Some dental specialists are oral surgeons, periodontists (supporting structures), endodontists (internal tooth problems), orthodontists (for moving teeth), and pedodontists (for children). We refer to only trusted professionals with whom we have a good rapport.

Does your dental office use lasers?

Our soft tissue laser allows us to treat gum disease, perform crown lengthening, harvest and place gum grafts, reduce gum tissue for esthetics, and do biopsies. You will need no stitches after laser surgery, and bleeding is kept minimal. Most patients recover more quickly after laser surgery than they do following traditional surgery.

My smile is missing teeth. What do you suggest I do?

You'll need to first schedule a consultation with the dentist. He can assess your oral health and discuss options for replacement teeth. In general, you can choose from crown and bridgework, partial or full dentures, or dental implants. As the most natural prosthetic when compared to the original tooth structure, a dental implant offers a comfortable, natural-looking, and easy-to-care-for choice.

I avoid dental visits because of this normal? Can you help?

Many people fear dental visits because of negative past experiences or control issues. We understand dental anxiety and offer a solution to help you overcome your stress. With oral conscious sedation, we can help you gain full peace of mind and body so that you can receive the dental work you need and deserve.

What are my treatment options for sleep apnea?

Treatment generally falls into three categories: medical, dental, and surgical. Medical treatment involves a bedside air generator, which is connected to a facial mask that delivers a constant flow of air to the lungs. This is known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). For individuals with CPAP intolerance, custom oral mouthguards have been developed and can be prescribed and implemented by your dentist. This treatment is known as Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). The third option is surgery or a combination of surgeries that may include jaw repositioning or the removal of excess throat tissue.

After my root canal, will I experience sensitivity to hot and cold?

After a successful root canal, patients may experience some sensitivity. The sensation should subside over time. If after a week or two you still have problems, call us so that we can evaluate the situation and help you find relief!