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Dental Services FAQs

Dental Services Frequently Asked Questions

General Dentistry

  • At what age should I take my child for their first dental appointment?

    The first treatment for children is generally recommended between three and four years of age, unless an unusual problem arises. Many dentists are now recommending infants be brought into the office to review with parents home care, what to expect in the oral development and what to look out for. A healthy head start to oral care can last a lifetime.

  • How do they do those great teeth makeovers on Extreme Makeover?

    Depending on the specific case, there are various procedures used to complete the "extreme makeover." People with crowded teeth would benefit from porcelain veneers, which is tooth-colored porcelain bonded directly to the teeth. Bonding is also used to improve chipped and/or misaligned teeth. If a person has spaces between their teeth, a dentist may apply a custom made, tooth colored material called composite resin. For discoloration or staining, there are a myriad of whitening products to give a person that brighter smile. Whatever a person’s situation or budget, there are several options that a Great Expressions Dental Center dentist has to improve your smile. Cosmetic dentistry doesn't only make you look better, it makes you feel better.

  • How much time and effort is involved to get my teeth whiter?

    Because of the options available today, you can have your whitening completed in a 1-2 hour visit to the dental office or in a 1-3 week period using one of the convenient take-home products. There are several options and it's best to discuss your expectations with your Great Expressions Dental Center dentist. He/she can help you decide on which method will be right for you. All bleaching or whitening will require touch up treatments in the future to maintain your bright new smile.
  • I have bad breath. Is there a better solution than over-the-counter mouthwashes?

    Some bad breath is related to food debris, and over-the-counter mouth rinses work just fine. However, bacteria in the mouth, which can be causing gum disease and decay, can also bring on chronic bad breath (halitosis). If your bad breath seems to stay with you, your dentist can help to remove the problem and keep it under control.

  • I have missing teeth. What options do I have?

    Most dentists today recommend dental implants as the most natural, functional, and esthetically pleasing option to replace missing teeth. The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jawbone. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

    A "bridge" is another option where one or more existing teeth are used to hold the "suspended" replacement tooth in the area of the missing tooth. "Partials" allow patients to keep their remaining healthy teeth and replace missing teeth to restore form and function. Precision partials use fixed crowns and special attachments to secure the partial and eliminate the need for conventional clasping methods. You should discuss with your Great Expressions Dental Center dentist the options and your desires before deciding on a method of treatment.

  • Is it really necessary to go to the dentist every six months?

    YES!! For many people, once every six months is not often enough! Besides checking for cavities, your dentist and hygienist is evaluating the health of your gums, possible presence of gum disease which may harbor bacteria or infection that could create other health problems. Your head and neck region are examined for infection and oral cancer. Many diseases of the body show symptoms and signs in the oral cavity. To insure the best preventative care for you and your body, at least twice a year is recommended.

  • What is a white filling?

    A white filling or composite filling is a non-metallic material used for cosmetic purposes to restore a tooth. This type of filling is beneficial in that the restored tooth has a more natural appearance. Historically, these materials have been used mostly for front teeth, but with the advent of newer and stronger white materials, it can be used for restoring back teeth in most cases as well and is gaining popularity with many patients!

  • Why is it important to floss my teeth everyday?

    Teeth have 5 surfaces and brushing alone reaches only 3 surfaces! Bacteria are very small and do not require much space to survive. Decay and gum disease are caused by bacteria. Flossing is an attempt to clean surfaces of your teeth that you cannot reach with a toothbrush. Without flossing, it is virtually impossible to control gum disease and decay.

  • With all the teeth whitening products on the market, how can I tell which is the best for me?

    Depending on your current shade, you can achieve up to 8 shades lighter results in one office visit or you can whiten your smile up to 5 shades lighter in the convenience of your own home (using Discus Nite White or Crest Whitestrips). All teeth will have a tendency to pick up new stains over time. To maintain your results, a touch-up may be required periodically. Great Expressions Dental Centers offer all of these options, and there is sure to be one in your price range.


  • What are the signs and symptoms of endodontic conditions?

    Generally most people with an endodontic condition will experience sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, or swelling or tenderness of the tooth or surrounding tissue.

  • What is an endodontist?

    An endodontist is a dentist who has received specialized education and training following dental school and has earned a specialty degree or certification in the field of endodontics. Endodontists primarily perform surgery and therapy for root canals.

  • Why would I need endodontic treatment?

    Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp (contained inside the root of a tooth) becomes inflamed or infected due to the introduction of bacteria from deep cavities, tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth fractures or other conditions.


  • Do I have a periodontal disease? (A Self Evaluation Quiz)

    You may be at risk for periodontal disease, the #1 cause of adult tooth loss. To find out if you’re at risk, please check off all the disease indicators that apply to you.

    • Do you smoke?
    • Do you have diabetes?
    • Is you diet low in important nutrients?
    • Are you currently taking any medications such as heart medications, antidepressants, or oral contraceptives?
    • Are you pregnant?
    • Do any family members have gum disease?
    • Do you have bad breath?
    • Do you grind or clench your teeth?
    • Are you under a great deal of stress?
    • Are your gums red and swollen?
    • Do your gums bleed when brushing of flossing?
    • Are your gums pulling away from your teeth and receding?
    • Do you have teeth that appear to be loosening?
    • Have you noticed a change in the way your teeth fit together?
    • Have you recently lost any teeth?

    If you checked off 2 or more disease indicators, you may be at risk for periodontal disease. Your Great Expressions Dental professional will be able to advise you of the best treatment options available.

  • My dentist says I have periodontal disease. What is it?

    As per the American Dental Association (ADA), gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it.

    Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums. In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily.

    At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing. In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged. The teeth can become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

  • What is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon?

    An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a dentist who has received specialized education and training following dental school and has earned a specialty degree or certification in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery.

  • Why would I need an oral and maxillofacial surgeon?

    Oral and maxillofacial surgeons commonly perform difficult teeth extractions (such as with wisdom teeth) and provide surgical treatment for a variety of dental or facial issues — pain, misaligned jaws and injuries due to accidents.


  • My child needs orthodontic treatment but I don't think I can afford the cost. What options do I have to spread the payments over time?

    There are many payment plans and financing options available to help spread the cost of care over the course of orthodontic treatment. Financing is available through CareCredit — let our professional staff assist you with the confidential application process. Contact your local dental center for additional information.

  • At what age should a child begin orthodontic treatment?

    The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that a child be seen by age seven for an orthodontic consultation. If the dentist or parent desires, a visit to an orthodontic specialist can be pursued earlier. The orthodontist evaluates the alignment and bite and the relationship between the upper and lower jaw. If necessary, your child may need to return for periodic visits to monitor growth and development. Orthodontic treatment today involves guiding the bone growth, treatment for jaw joint disorders, as well as correcting the arrangement of the teeth. Your Great Expressions Dental Center dentist can help you understand the concerns with your child's teeth, and refer you to an orthodontist as needed.

  • I have heard about invisible braces/Invisalign®. How do they work?

    Invisalign® is the invisible new way to straighten teeth without braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten teeth, without metal or wires. Invisalign® uses 3-D computer imaging technology to depict the complete treatment plan from the initial position to the final desired position from which a series of custom-made "aligners" are produced. Each aligner moves teeth incrementally and is worn for about two weeks, then replaced by the next in the series until the final position is achieved. Your Great Expressions Dental Center dentist or orthodontist can help you understand the concerns with you or your child's teeth, and refer you to an orthodontist as needed.


  • Why would I need a Pedodontist?

    Pedodontists performs a wide range of dental services from infant oral exams to care for dental injuries. Please contact your local Great Expressions office for additional information.

  • What is a Pedodonist?

    A pedodontist is a dentist who has received specialized education and training following dental school and has earned a specialty degree or certification in dentistry for infants, children, teens and children with special needs.