Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When I brush and floss, my gums typically bleed and my teeth hurt. Am I doing something wrong?
A. We recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day, in the morning after breakfast and at night prior to going to bed. We also recommend flossing daily. When brushing for two minutes in small circular movements with a soft bristle toothbrush, you are using good technique. When flossing, make sure the floss is smoothly gliding between the teeth, underneath the gums, and hugging the sides of each tooth. If both of these techniques are followed for one week, sensitive bleeding gums will feel and look much healthier.
Q. How often should I get my teeth cleaned?
A. It is a general rule to have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined by a dentist every 6 months. Bite-wing radiographs (x-ray films) are usually taken yearly, and a panoramic film (which depicts your jaws, teeth, TMJ, and sinuses) is taken every 3-5 years.
Q. I am extremely fearful of the dentist. What can you offer me so I am comfortable?
A. We treat a number of fearful patients and are very attentive and caring when it comes to making you comfortable. After thoroughly evaluating your medical history, we can provide four treatment options: 1) local anesthesia (numbing) 2) nitrous oxide (laughing gas) + numbing 3) oral sedation (taking a pill) + nitrous oxide +numbing 4) IV sedation. Each treatment and service can involve different levels of anxiety, so we help you determine which modality is best suited for you.
Q. Cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry seems to be on the rise. Does your office provide any of these services?
A. Both Dr. Weir and Dr. Thomas enjoy being able to improve a person's smile, and certainly provide these services. Each case can be different so please call and let us listen to your concerns about your smile. We will work with you to find the best way to improve your smile.
Q. I have bone loss around some of my teeth. What should I do?
A. Periodontal disease (bone loss associated with teeth) is a treatable disease, not a curable one. We recommend evaluations involving radiographs and charting to determine the extent of bone loss and which methods are best for treating the disease. Treatment can involve deep cleanings and/or periodontal laser therapy, both of which our office offers. We recommend you stay on a 3-4month recall periodontal maintenance, so we can examine and stay on top of the disease.
Q. I have missing teeth which makes it hard for me to eat. What options can you offer me?
A. Each case can be different, but three options are available for you. The first is a dental implant, which acts as an anchor in the bone and a crown that attaches to the implant. The dental implant mimics a natural tooth. The second is a fixed bridge, which involves capping usually the 2 teeth adjacent to the space. The caps are joined to a pontic (the missing tooth) and the whole unit is cemented onto the adjacent teeth. The third option is a removable partial denture, which has the missing teeth attached to it and has clasps that slide over your natural teeth to help it stay in. See our services section for a more detailed explanation.
Q. I have heard of periodontal laser surgery. What does this involve?
A. In some cases bone loss (pocketing) around teeth can be moderate to severe. When there is an excess of unhealthy gum tissue, we recommend periodontal laser surgery (or LANAP). This entails numbing you so the procedure is not uncomfortable. Your mouth is charted to determine the extent of the bone loss. The Periolase laser is then passed along each infected tooth to remove the diseased tissue. After the first pass of the laser your teeth are professionally scaled and cleaned. The laser is then passed along the teeth, and as it is pulled out of the deep pocket it forms a special clot. The clot acts as a barrier so bacteria and debris does not reenter the pocket. After the procedure, there is minimal pain and a soft diet is recommended while healing occurs.
Did you know?
Having straighter teeth can be easily done without braces.
Here at James Island Dental Associates, we offer a procedure called the Simpli5™ System for a safe, effective, and pain free way to a straighter smile.
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