Frequently Asked Questions
We place a strong focus on patient education, and we're happy to help answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact us if your question isn't answered here, or if you'd like to schedule an appointment.
Q: What changes/precautions can I expect during COVID-19?
Omaha Gentle Dentistry is taking protective measures for the safety of our staff and patients during the outbreak of COVID-19. Our dentists and staff are committed to following CDC guidelines for multiple minute-by-minute cleaning and disinfecting of all office areas, from the moment of walking in the door, to the operatories and lab. We are taking multiple precautions to protect the health of all who enter our practice.
Q: Do you offer financing?
Yes. We use an outside financing company to help you achieve good dental healthcare.
CareCredit allows you to make small payments for up to 18 months, interest-free on amounts over $300. With amounts smaller than $300, it will be treated the same as cash if you pay within 90 days. You can apply online to see if you qualify for this repayment plan at www.carecredit.com.
Q: What are the best ways to brush and floss?
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially before going to bed at night. We recommend you use an ADA-approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste. Electric toothbrushes are also acceptable.
- Gently brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth
- Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
- Take about 12 inches of floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches of floss between the hands
- Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently inserting the floss between teeth using a sawing motion
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth
Floss holders are a great alternative if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Q: How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year.
Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. At these visits, your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities. Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to help detect, prevent, and maintain your dental health.
Q: What should I do if I have bad breath?
Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have bad breath.
In healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent.
What may cause bad breath?
- Morning time
- Certain foods like garlic and onions
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances
- Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
- Tobacco products
- Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals
- Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia
What can I do to prevent bad breath?
- Practice good oral hygiene
- Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months
- If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly
- See your dentist regularly
- Stop smoking/chewing tobacco
- Drink water frequently
- Use mouthwash or rinses
In most cases, we can treat the cause of bad breath. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, we may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.
Q: What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
Since teeth whitening has now become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile.
Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional treatments and may not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
It’s important to have your teeth evaluated by us to determine if you’re a good candidate for bleaching.
Q: Are silver fillings safe?
Over the years there has been some concern as to the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. An amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc, bound by elemental mercury. Dentists have used this blended metal to fill teeth for more than 100 years. The controversy is due to claims that the exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury can cause a variety of health problems.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), silver fillings are safe and that studies have failed to find any link between silver containing mercury and any medical disorder. Along with the ADA’s position, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the FDA, and others support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost effective.
The U.S. Public Health Service says that the only reason not to use silver fillings is when a patient has an allergy to any component of this type of filling.
Regardless, there are numerous alternatives to silver fillings, including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings. We can help you determine which is the best option for you.
Q: How can I tell if I have gingivitis or gum disease?
Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- New spacing between teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus around the teeth and gums
- Receding gums
- Red and puffy gums
- Tenderness or discomfort
Q: What are my options if I have missing teeth?
With many state-of-the-art dental treatments available in dentistry today, there are fewer reasons for having to extract teeth. Removing a tooth is a last resort because we know that removal may lead to severe and costly dental and cosmetic problems if the tooth is not replaced.
Major reasons for having to remove a tooth include injury, accident, fracture, severe dental decay, and gum disease. If teeth do have to be removed, it is imperative that they be replaced to avoid cosmetic and dental problems in the future.
Options for replacement of missing teeth:
- A removable bridge is the most economical option for replacing missing teeth, but may be the least aesthetically-pleasing. This is because the metal clasps on the appliances are often impossible to completely conceal.
- A fixed bridge is generally made of porcelain and is anchored permanently to a natural teeth adjacent to the missing tooth site. While very turdy, the disadvantage is that in order to create a fixed appliance, two healthy, natural teeth will have to be crowned (capped) to hold the bridge in place.
- Dentures are used when most or all of the natural teeth are missing in one dental arch. Dentures are removable artificial teeth that are made to closely resemble the patients’ original teeth.
- Implants are a great way to replace one or more missing teeth. A dental implant is an artificial root that is surgically placed into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth. An artificial tooth is placed on the implant, giving the appearance and feel of a natural tooth. Implants are very stable, durable, and are the most aesthetically-pleasing tooth replacement option.
Q: What can be done about old, unattractive, or discolored fillings?
Most of us have fillings in our mouths that date back many years, and some may have even been placed during our childhood. These fillings may now be old, dark, and unattractive, making us feel self-conscious when we smile, laugh, and talk. Old fillings are not only unattractive, they may also be defective.
Options for replacing old, unattractive, or discolored fillings:
- Composite fillings are tooth-colored fillings that can be closely matched to the color of your existing teeth. They are particularly well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of teeth and are one of the best ways to improve the health and beauty of your smile.
- Crowns are used when a tooth is too damaged and cannot be repaired with a filling or other type of restoration. A crown protects and strengthens the remaining tooth structure and can be made of gold, porcelain, and other tooth-colored materials.
- Inlays/Onlays are made of composite resin, porcelain or gold. Inlays/onlays are usually best for the chewing surfaces of teeth and are utilized to repair teeth that have large defective/unattractive fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma.
- Porcelain veneers are used primarily in the front teeth. Veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted and permanently cemented to the front surface of teeth. They are a great solution for fixing discolored, pitted, shipped, malformed, or slightly crooked teeth. Veneers are also used if you have unwanted spaces. Veneers are very durable, natural looking, and do not stain. This makes veneers a very popular solution for restoring a smile impaired by old, unattractive fillings.
Q: What should I do if a tooth is knocked out?
More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year! If you know how to handle this emergency situation, we may be able to actually save the tooth.
There is the possibility of implantation if we act quickly, calmly, and follow these simple steps:
- Locate the tooth and handle it only by the crown (chewing part of the tooth), NOT by the roots.
- DO NOT scrub or use soap or chemicals to clean the tooth. If it has dirt or debris on it, rinse it gently with whole milk. If that is not possible, rinse it very gently with water.
- Try to replace the tooth back in its socket immediately. Gently bite down on gauze, a wet tea bag or on your own teeth to keep the tooth in place. Apply a cold compress to the mouth for pain and swelling as needed.
- If the tooth cannot be placed back into the socket, place the tooth in a container and cover with a small amount of whole milk. You can also place the tooth under your tongue or between your lower lip and gums. Keep the tooth moist at all times. Do not transport the tooth in a tissue or cloth.
- Get to a dentist within 30 minutes. The longer you wait, the less chance there is for successful reimplantation.
You can prevent broken or knocked-out teeth by:
- Wearing a mouthguard when playing sports
- Always wearing your seatbelt
- Avoiding fights
- Avoid chewing hard items such as ice, popcorn kernels, hard breads, etc.