Do I need to arrive early for my first appointment?
It’s always good to arrive 15 minutes early to your first appointment to take care of the patient registration forms.
What should I bring to my first appointment?
Your current Dental Insurance Card (if applicable)
Legal Identification photo ID such as Driver’s License, Military ID or State ID
X-rays (if applicable). X-rays from a previous dentist should be forwarded to our office.
Please contact the previous office and authorize the x-rays be electronically sent to our Tampa Bay Smiles Dental office at the email address provided.
A list of your current medications.
How long will my first appointment last?
It varies, but please plan on spending 30 minutes to an hour for your first visit. As family dentists, we can eliminate the need for additional office visits saving busy families time. We make it a point to clearly explain the benefits and fees for each treatment beforehand during your initial meeting. We help with forms and insurance and believe an oral education is an important part of preventive dentistry. We honor this in everything we do.
What should I do if I require pre-medication?
Please be sure to request a prescription prior to your appointment, or if you are unsure, contact us and we can help
How often should I change my toothbrush?
Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3 months or sooner if the bristles become worn and frayed. If you’ve been sick with a cold or other bacterial infection, it’s wise to replace your toothbrush once you’re better.
What tooth paste should I use?
The most important ingredient to look for when choosing toothpaste is fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. Its use has been instrumental in the dramatic drop in tooth decay and cavity occurrence that has taken place over the past 50 years. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars and starches that remain on your teeth after eating. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from the acid that is released when this happens. It does this in two ways. First, fluoride makes your tooth enamel stronger and less likely to suffer acid damage. Second, it can reverse the early stages of acid damage by solidifying areas that have started to decay
What is plaque and why is it harmful?
Plaque develops when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches), such as milk, soft drinks, raisins, cakes, or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. Plaque can also develop on the tooth roots under the gum and cause breakdown of the bone supporting the tooth
How often should I floss?
The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day to help remove plaque from the areas between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar
Are electric toothbrushes better than manual brushes?
If a manual toothbrush is used for the appropriate amount of time, and done with proper technique, it can perform just as well as a powered toothbrush. But many people don’t brush for the recommended two to three minutes. Children are also good candidates for powered brushes as their brushing habits tend to be less than optimal. While everyone certainly does not need an electric toothbrush, in many instances they can be beneficial. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about which brush is best for you.
What causes bad breath?
While bad breath (or “halitosis”) can be linked to numerous systemic diseases, the majority of bad breath originates in the mouth. A dry mouth or a low salivary flow can also influence bad odor. There are two main goals in the management of bad breath. First, controlling the bacteria that produce the sulfur compounds and second, to neutralize the sulfur compounds that are produced.
It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the dentist. What do I need to do?
Make an appointment with Tampa Bay Smiles. You’re not alone! Whether it’s been 6 months or 6 years, it’s never too late to get back into the routine.
At our office, we can arrange for you to have a thorough and educational exam appointment. We take care of people just like you every day!
How many times a year should I have my teeth cleaned?
If you have good oral hygiene habits and a healthy mouth, your dentist and dental hygienist will probably suggest professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year. Many dental insurance policies will cover two cleanings per year, but few people take full advantage of their benefits.
When should I take my child to the dentist for their first check-up?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts. Primary teeth typically begin growing in around 6 months of age.
My child’s baby teeth have cavities. Should they be filled?
The short answer is yes. Cavities are a result of tooth decay, which can occur when a child doesn’t properly brush or floss. In fact, your child won’t have all of his or her permanent teeth until around age 12 or 13 (not including wisdom teeth). The resulting infection from untreated cavities can have lasting effects long after the baby teeth have fallen out.
What are dental sealants and why do my kids need them?
Dental sealants are a thin coating that is painted on teeth to protect them from cavities. Molars are rough, uneven and a favorite place for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria to hide. … In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child’s dental health.
Is it safe to go to the Dentist during pregnancy?
In between trips to the doctor, hospital tours and setting up the nursery, don’t let visiting the dentist fall off your pregnancy to-do list before your baby comes. Getting a checkup during pregnancy is safe and important for your dental health. Not only can you take care of cleanings and procedures like cavity fillings before your baby is born, but your dentist can help you with any pregnancy-related dental symptoms you might be experiencing
FILLINGS AND X-RAYS
My dentist says I have a cavity and that I need a filling. But why doesn’t my tooth hurt?
When cavities begin, they only affect the enamel. This layer of the tooth doesn’t contain nerve endings, so you won’t feel any pain. If a cavity grows large enough, it can reveal the next layer of the tooth, called the dentin. This can cause sensitivity to hot, cold and pressure.
What is a root canal?
“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Root canal treatment is one type of endodontic treatment. A root canal is performed when the endodontist removes the infected pulp and nerve in the root of the tooth, cleans and shapes the inside of the root canal, then fills and seals the space. Afterward, your dentist will place a crown on the tooth to protect and restore it to its original function.
What is in amalgam (silver) fillings, and are they safe?
Amalgam is a combination of metals that has been the most popular and effective filling material used in dentistry for the last 150 years. Although it sometimes is called “silver amalgam,” amalgam actually consists of a combination of metals. These include silver, mercury, tin and copper. Small amounts of zinc, indium or palladium also may be used. Millions of people have amalgam fillings. Concern has been raised over the mercury in amalgam. Many studies on the safety of amalgam fillings have been done. In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluated this research. It found no reason to limit the use of amalgam. The FDA concluded that amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children ages 6 and above.
How safe are traditional dental x-rays, and are the new digital x-rays better?
Digital x-rays are one of the most important new advances that our profession has seen in quite some time. And at Tampa Bay Smiles we now use this new digital technology exclusively. The ability to reduce the exposure of radiation to the patient used by traditional x-ray while increasing diagnostic proficiency has astounding implications. The reduction of the use of harsh chemicals and other waste materials associated with traditional x-rays is also an added benefit to our environment.
Comparatively, a traditional chest CT-scan exposes a patient to 2,800 times the radiation as a digital dental x-ray. Surprisingly, you can get the same amount of radiation as one of our digital x-rays from eating about 50 bananas.
My tooth is cracked, how should I proceed?
If your tooth is broken, chipped, or fractured, see your dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, your tooth could be damaged further or become infected, possibly causing you to end up losing the tooth.
Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied to the tooth surface. Bonding is a simple procedure that typically does not require numbing the tooth. After shaping the bonding material to look like a natural tooth, we use ultraviolet light to harden the material, which ultimately “bonds” the material to the tooth.
What are my options for whitening my teeth?
Professional at-home teeth whitening kits are those obtained from your dentist which contain a high concentration of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
Custom-fitted dental trays are included to keep the whitening solution on the surface of the tooth and limit the exposure of the solution to the sensitive gum (gingival) area. Professional in-home kits are relatively easy to use and offer exceptional results after just one to two weeks of use.
Professional in-home whitening kits aren’t something you can pull off the shelf. Custom-made trays (dental cups fitted to the contour of your teeth) must be manufactured in order to ensure the whitening solution is properly distributed. Without these, a lot of the solution could be wasted or put onto areas of the mouth that may be damaged.
The procedure itself is typically performed an hour per day for two weeks, certain brands can be worn overnight. You would need to avoid eating, drinking, or smoking while wearing the trays and continue to do the same for 30 minutes after.
How do I know if something is an actual dental emergency?
Not all dental problems require you to seek emergency dental care. In cases where one or more teeth have been completely knocked out, your mouth has been injured, or a tooth abscess is leading to a lot of pain, you may need to be seen immediately.
Serious dental injuries or problems can lead to even worse problems if not cared for immediately. On the other hand, a filling that has fallen out, a minor chipped tooth, or a broken wire on braces, may be things that could wait until your dentist has an appointment, but always talk to your dentist for instructions on what action to take.
What should I do if I have a dental emergency?
Call your dentist first. If it’s during regular business hours, they may be able to see you. Outside of normal business hours, other care options for a dental emergency include an urgent care center, or an emergency room for serious oral injuries.
Review your dental plan to see how dental emergencies are covered, as well as how much you and your plan may pay for emergency dental services.
If I have teeth knocked out, what should I do before I get to a dentist?
If one or more teeth have been dislodged, you should see your dentist immediately. You can take the following steps for saving and preserving the teeth:
Put teeth in milk
Pack a tooth socket –where the tooth came out in your mouth–with gauze, a cotton ball, or even a tea bag
For chipped and broken teeth, rinse and save the pieces, if possible
Contact your dentist immediately for any dental problems. A tooth abscess, toothache, pain from a dental crown, and chipped or broken teeth need care and if left untreated could lead to serious dental problems.
If you have a dental emergency, your dentist can tell you where to seek care.
What causes teeth to decay?
Major causes of tooth decay are sugary, sticky foods and beverages. … Poor Oral Hygiene: Not brushing your teeth regularly allows plaque to build up and attack the tooth enamel. . The more sugar consumed, the more acid, which gets produced leading to decay. Sugar combines with plaque to weaken the enamel leaving you vulnerable to tooth decay. Each time you eat a sugary snack, your teeth are vulnerable to damage from the acids for the next 20 minutes. It is important to understand the causes of tooth decay so you can learn the proper way to care for your teeth and care for your health. Cavity and tooth decay factors to watch out for:
Why do my gums bleed?
Bleeding gums are caused by inadequate plaque removal. Plaque contains germs which attack the healthy tissue around the teeth. If plaque build-up occurs, gums become inflamed and irritated, which may cause them to bleed when brushing or flossing. This is called gingivitis and is the first stage of gum disease.
Gingivitis is usually a painless condition and bleeding gums may be the only symptom. Some other signs may include: swollen, red or tender gums; persistent bad breath or taste; teeth that are loose; and a change in the way your teeth fit when you bite. At this stage, gum disease can be treated and completely reversed. So it is important not to ignore your bleeding gums.
Why are my teeth sensitive to cold?
When the hard enamel is worn down or gums have receded, causing the tiny tube surfaces to be exposed, pain can be caused by eating or drinking foods or hot or cold beverages, touching your teeth, or exposing them to cold air. … Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients.
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubes located in the dentin (the layer of tissue found beneath the hard enamel that contains the inner pulp), which results in nerve irritation. When the hard enamel is worn down or gums have receded, causing the tiny tube surfaces to be exposed, pain can be caused by eating or drinking foods or hot or cold beverages, touching your teeth, or exposing them to cold air.
Exposed areas of the tooth can cause pain and even affect or change your eating, drinking, and breathing habits. Taking a spoonful of ice cream, for example, can be a painful experience for people with sensitive teeth. The excessive consumption of acid-containing foods and beverages, such as citrus juices and fruits and soft drinks, can also put you at risk for tooth sensitivity. Bulimia and acid reflux can also result in erosion of the hard enamel and sensitivity due to acid in the mouth.
What can I do if I have dry mouth?
Dry mouth is caused when the salivary glands in the mouth don’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. These glands may not work properly as the result of:
Medications. Hundreds of medications, including many over-the-counter drugs, produce dry mouth as a side effect. Among the more likely types to cause problems are some of the drugs used to treat depression, high blood pressure and anxiety, as well as some antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and pain medications.
Aging. Many older people experience dry mouth as they age. Contributing factors include the use of certain medications, changes in the body’s ability to process medication, inadequate nutrition, and having long-term health problems.
Snoring and breathing with your mouth open also can contribute to dry mouth.
Tobacco and alcohol use. Drinking alcohol and smoking or chewing tobacco can increase dry mouth symptoms.
Recreational drug use. Methamphetamine use can cause severe dry mouth and damage to teeth, a condition also known as “meth mouth.” Marijuana also can cause dry mouth.
Are there any dental problems associated with diabetes?
People with poorly controlled diabetes are at greater risk for dental problems.
They’re more likely to have infections of their gums and the bones that hold their teeth in place, because diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the gums.
High blood sugar may also cause dry mouth and make gum disease worse. Less saliva can allow more tooth-decaying bacteria and plaque buildup.
With good blood sugar control and dental care, you can avoid these problems.
You should call your dentist if you:
Have bleeding or sore gums
Get infections often
Have bad breath that won’t go away
Take good care of your gums and teeth. You need to brush and floss at least twice a day. Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash daily. Get a dental checkup every 6 months. Let your dentist know that you have diabetes.
Does a rinse or mouthwash help?
Mouthwashes for cavity protection, sensitivity, and fresh breath may help when you use them with regular brushing and flossing — but not instead of daily cleanings. Your dentist can recommend the best type for you.
Some people need twice-daily rinses for gum health or alcohol-free washes for dry mouth.
Kids under 6 shouldn’t use mouthwash to avoid the chance of them swallowing it.
What’s the difference between a DDS and DMD?
The simple answer is nothing. Both D>D>S> and D>M>D> mean the same thing—the dentist graduated from an accredited dental school. The D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are the same degrees, D.D.S. and D.M.D. dentists both receive the same education and both degrees use the same curriculum requirements set by the American Dental Association (ADA). It’s up to each individual university to determine which degree is awarded.
How can I maintain a healthy smile with my dentist’s help?
Here are some tips to help you take care of your smile:
Keep Healthy habits. Brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily are essential for everyone, no matter how unique your mouth is. It’s the best way to fight tooth decay and gum disease.
Build a relationship. Continuity of care is an important part of any health plan and dental health is no exception. When your dentist sees you regularly, they are in a good position to catch oral problems early. For instance, catching gum disease when it’s still reversible, or cavities when they are small, are more easily treated.
Maintain. Keeping your mouth healthy is an essential piece of your overall health. It’s important to keep your dentist informed of any changes in your overall health as well.
Talk about it! Only your dentist can determine what the best treatment plan is for you. Have questions about your oral health or certain dental procedures? Start a conversation. Ask your dentist to explain step-by-step. Dentists love having satisfied, healthy patients.