We look forward to helping you maintain a healthy smile! If you have any other questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.

Our dedicated team is here to provide personalized dental care and address any concerns you may have.

  • Administrative Questions
  • Payment Questions
  • Oral Health Questions
  • Functional Dentistry Questions
Administrative Questions
What are your office hours and do you offer evening or weekend appointments?

Monday: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Tuesday: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Wednesday: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Thursday: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Friday: 8:00am – 3:00pm

Saturday: Closed

Sunday: Closed

We understand that many individuals have work, school, or other commitments during regular business hours. At this time, however, we are unable to offer extended hours or weekend appointments.

How can I schedule an appointment ?

Scheduling an appointment with our dental office is easy, and we offer multiple convenient methods to accommodate your needs. Here are the various ways you can schedule an appointment with us:

  1. Online Appointment Request: Simply access the online appointment request system (top right button) or click here, select your desired date and time, provide the required information, and submit your request. Our team will then confirm your appointment via a phone call.
  2. Phone: Give us a call at our office during our regular business hours. Our friendly receptionists will be ready to assist you in finding a suitable appointment time that fits your schedule.
  3. Walk-ins: Depending on our availability, we may accept walk-in patients. If you have an urgent dental issue or require immediate attention, you can visit our office directly. However, we recommend calling ahead whenever possible to ensure we can accommodate you promptly and minimize wait times.

When scheduling an appointment, please provide any necessary information such as dental insurance details, previous dental records, or specific concerns you’d like to address during the visit. This helps us prepare for your appointment and ensure you receive the most comprehensive care possible.

What is your cancellation policy?

We understand that unforeseen circumstances may arise, causing you to need to reschedule or cancel your appointment. We strive to maintain an efficient schedule and provide the highest level of care to all our patients. To help us achieve this, we have implemented the following cancellation policy: We kindly request that you provide us with at least 24 hours’ notice if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment. This allows us to offer the time slot to another patient who may be in need of dental care. By giving us sufficient notice, you help us optimize our schedule and provide quality care to all our patients.

In the event that you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please contact our office as soon as possible. If you are calling after office hours, you may leave a voicemail with your cancellation or rescheduling request.

Please note that there is a fee of $50.00 charged for patients who miss or cancel more than one appointment in a calendar year without 24-hour notice. The fee helps cover the costs associated with the unused appointment time and allows us to continue offering our services at competitive rates.

We understand that emergencies and unforeseen circumstances may occur, and we will do our best to accommodate those situations on a case-by-case basis. We value our patients’ needs and circumstances, and we appreciate your understanding and cooperation in adhering to our cancellation policy.

Do you accept walk-in patients?

Yes, we do accept walk-in patients at our dental office. We understand that dental emergencies can occur unexpectedly, and we strive to accommodate patients who require immediate attention. If you have a dental emergency or an urgent dental issue, you can visit our office directly during our regular business hours.

While we make every effort to see walk-in patients as soon as possible, please note that scheduled appointments take priority. Depending on the availability of our dental team and the nature of your emergency, there may be a significant waiting period. However, our goal is to provide prompt and efficient care to address your dental needs.

Do you offer emergency dental services?

Yes, we prioritize the well-being of our patients and understand that dental emergencies can occur unexpectedly. During our regular office hours, we are fully equipped to handle a wide range of dental emergencies and will do our utmost to accommodate urgent cases.

However, please note that we do not offer emergency dental services after hours. If you experience a dental emergency outside of our regular office hours, we recommend seeking immediate assistance at your nearest emergency room or an after-hours emergency dental clinic.

Common dental emergencies may include severe toothaches, knocked-out teeth, broken or chipped teeth, and injuries to the mouth or jaw. These situations require prompt attention, and it’s crucial not to delay seeking treatment. If you’re uncertain whether your situation constitutes a dental emergency, we encourage you to contact our office for a professional evaluation. Our knowledgeable staff will assess your symptoms and provide guidance on the next steps to take.

How can I access my dental records?

When it comes to accessing your dental records, we prioritize the privacy and security of your information. We understand the importance of having access to your dental history and treatment records. Here’s how you can access your dental records at our office:

  1. Requesting Your Dental Records: To access your dental records, simply contact our office and make a formal request. You can do this by phone, email, or in person. Our staff will guide you through the process and provide you with the necessary forms or instructions to initiate the request.
  2. Authorization and Consent: For security and privacy reasons, we require patients to sign an authorization or consent form before releasing their dental records. This form ensures compliance with applicable privacy regulations and protects the confidentiality of your information. You may need to provide identification to verify your identity before accessing the records.
  3. Processing Time: Once we receive your request and authorization, we will process it promptly. The time it takes to access your dental records may vary depending on the complexity of the request and the availability of the records. However, we strive to fulfill your request in a timely manner.

We prioritize the confidentiality and accuracy of your dental records and are committed to ensuring your privacy rights. If you have any specific questions or concerns about accessing your dental records, please contact our office. Our team is here to assist you and provide the necessary guidance to help you access your records and make informed decisions about your dental care.

How far in advance should I schedule routine dental cleanings?

We recommend scheduling routine dental cleanings in advance to ensure you secure a convenient appointment time that fits your schedule. Ideally, we suggest scheduling your dental cleaning appointments at least every six months. Regular dental cleanings are essential for maintaining optimal oral health and preventing dental problems.

To ensure availability and flexibility in choosing your preferred appointment time, we advise scheduling your next dental cleaning during your current visit or shortly afterward. This allows us to accommodate your preferred date and time, especially if you have specific time constraints or preferences.

What is the average wait time for appointments?

We understand the value of your time and strive to minimize wait times to ensure a smooth and efficient experience for our patients. While the exact wait time can vary depending on various factors, we make every effort to keep wait times to a minimum.

To optimize efficiency and minimize wait times, we implement several strategies, such as proper scheduling and allocation of appointment slots, ensuring adequate time for each procedure, and regular evaluation of our processes to identify areas for improvement.

We recommend arriving a few minutes early for your appointment to complete any necessary paperwork or update your information, which can help ensure a smooth and timely experience. If you have time constraints or need to discuss any concerns, please inform our staff, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

For more accurate information about current wait times or to inquire about the estimated duration of a specific procedure, we encourage you to contact our office directly. Our knowledgeable staff will provide you with the most up-to-date information and address any questions or concerns you may have.

What should I bring with me to my first appointment?

There are a few items that we recommend you bring with you to ensure a smooth and efficient visit. Here’s a list of things to bring:

  1. Identification and Insurance Information: Please bring a valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, so we can accurately identify you. Additionally, if you have dental insurance, bring your insurance card or any relevant information. This will help us process insurance claims on your behalf, if applicable.
  2. Completed Forms: If you haven’t already filled out the necessary new patient forms (see here), please arrive a few minutes early to complete them at our office. These forms provide important details about your medical history, dental concerns, and contact information, helping us tailor your treatment accordingly.
  3. List of Medications: Make a list of any medications you’re currently taking, including prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements. This information is essential for our records and helps us provide safe and appropriate dental care.
  4. Dental Insurance Questions: If you have specific questions about your dental insurance coverage or benefits, bring a list of questions or concerns you would like us to address. Our team can assist you in understanding your insurance benefits and coverage limitations.
  5. Previous Dental Records (if applicable): If you have dental records from a previous dentist, it would be helpful to bring them along. These records may include X-rays, treatment history, or other relevant information that can assist us in evaluating your oral health and developing a personalized treatment plan.
  6. List of Questions or Concerns: Prepare a list of any dental concerns, questions, or goals you may have. This way, we can ensure all your concerns are addressed during your appointment, and we can provide you with the information and guidance you need.

By bringing these items to your first dental appointment, we can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation, discuss your dental needs, and develop a customized treatment plan tailored to your specific requirements. If you have any further questions or need clarification, feel free to contact our office, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Is the dental office accessible for individuals with disabilities?

Yes, our dental office is committed to providing accessible care for individuals with disabilities. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where all patients can receive the dental treatment they need comfortably. Here is some information about the accessibility features and accommodations we offer:

  1. Accessibility of the Facility: Our dental office is designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. We have wheelchair ramps or elevators to provide easy access for patients using mobility devices. Our hallways and doorways are wide enough to accommodate wheelchair users, and we have designated accessible parking spaces close to the entrance.
  2. ADA Compliance: We adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Our office is designed and equipped to meet the necessary accessibility standards, including accessible entrances, restrooms, and treatment areas.
  3. Specialized Equipment: We have equipment and tools that can accommodate patients with mobility challenges or other disabilities. Our dental chairs can often be adjusted for optimal accessibility and comfort. We also have assistive devices, such as wheelchair transfer aids or handrails, to assist patients in moving safely within the dental office.
  4. Communication and Accommodations: We strive to provide effective communication with all our patients. Our staff is trained to communicate with individuals with various disabilities and can accommodate specific communication needs, such as sign language interpreters or written communication. Please inform us in advance if you require any specific accommodations or assistance, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
  5. Sensory Considerations: We understand that some patients may have sensory sensitivities or sensory processing disorders. Our team is sensitive to these needs and can make adjustments to create a more comfortable environment. This may include minimizing noise, providing earplugs or headphones, or adjusting lighting levels to reduce sensory overload.

If you have specific accessibility needs or concerns, we encourage you to contact our office in advance of your appointment. This will allow us to discuss your requirements and ensure that appropriate accommodations are in place to meet your needs.

How often do I need to update my medical history and personal information?

Ensuring that we have accurate and up-to-date medical history and personal information is essential for providing you with safe and effective dental care. As a general guideline, we recommend updating your medical history and personal information at least once a year or whenever there are significant changes in your health or medications. Here are some key points regarding updating your information:

  1. Annual Updates: It is beneficial to review and update your medical history and personal information annually. This allows us to stay informed about any changes in your health status, medications, allergies, or other relevant details that could impact your dental care. During your routine check-up or dental cleaning appointments, we will ask you to confirm and update your information as necessary.
  2. Changes in Health: It is important to notify us promptly of any significant changes in your health or medical conditions. This includes newly diagnosed medical conditions, surgeries, hospitalizations, or changes in medications. Keeping us informed enables our dental team to provide the most appropriate and safe treatment, taking into consideration any potential interactions or contraindications.
  3. Medication Updates: Inform us about any changes in your medication regimen, including new medications, adjustments in dosages, or discontinued medications. Certain medications can affect your oral health or interact with dental treatments, and having accurate medication information helps us provide appropriate care.
  4. Allergies and Sensitivities: If you develop any new allergies or sensitivities, especially to medications or dental materials, please inform us promptly. This information is crucial to ensure we use suitable materials and avoid any potential allergic reactions during your dental treatments.
  5. Emergency Contact Information: It is important to keep your emergency contact information up to date. In case of any unforeseen events or emergencies, having accurate contact information allows us to reach out to your designated emergency contact and ensure your well-being.

Remember, your health and safety are our top priorities, and accurate medical history and personal information are vital in providing you with personalized and effective dental care.

Do you offer dental care for children and pediatric dentistry services?

Yes, we are proud to offer comprehensive dental care for children and pediatric dentistry services at our dental office. We understand the unique dental needs of children and the importance of providing a positive and comfortable dental experience from a young age. Here’s some information about our dental care for children:

  1. Experienced Pediatric Dentists: Our dental office has experienced and skilled pediatric dentists who specialize in providing dental care for children. They have the knowledge, expertise, and gentle approach required to make your child’s dental visits pleasant and stress-free.
  2. Preventive Care: We emphasize preventive dental care for children to promote good oral health and prevent dental problems. Our pediatric dentists will guide you and your child on proper oral hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing, and healthy dietary habits. We may recommend dental sealants and fluoride treatments to protect your child’s teeth from cavities.
  3. Child-Friendly Environment: Our dental office is designed to create a welcoming and child-friendly environment. We strive to make dental visits enjoyable for children by providing a comfortable waiting area, age-appropriate entertainment, and friendly staff who are experienced in working with children.
  4. Dental Treatments for Children: We offer a wide range of dental treatments tailored to meet the unique needs of children. This includes dental exams, cleanings, X-rays, fillings, and extractions, if necessary. Our team will explain each procedure to your child in a way they can understand, ensuring they feel comfortable and at ease throughout their treatment.
  5. Education and Guidance: We believe in educating children and parents about the importance of oral health. Our pediatric dentists will take the time to explain proper oral hygiene techniques, discuss the impact of diet on dental health, and address any concerns or questions you may have. We are here to support you in establishing good oral health habits for your child.
  6. Early Orthodontic Evaluation: We also offer early orthodontic evaluations to assess the development of your child’s teeth and jaws. Early detection of orthodontic issues allows for timely intervention and can help guide proper dental and facial development as your child grows.

We are committed to providing compassionate and high-quality dental care for children. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for your child, please contact our office. We look forward to caring for your child’s dental health and creating positive dental experiences that set the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health.

Can I request a copy of my dental X-rays?

Yes, you can request a copy of your dental X-ray. As your dental care provider, we understand the importance of having access to your dental records, including X-rays. Here’s some information on how to request a copy of your dental X-ray:

  1. Authorization and Consent: To ensure the privacy and security of your dental records, we require you to provide written authorization and consent for the release of your X-ray. This is in accordance with patient privacy laws and regulations. Our office will provide you with the necessary forms or guide you through the process of completing the authorization.
  2. Requesting a Copy: You can request a copy of your dental X-ray by contacting our office directly. You may prefer to do this in person, by phone, or through written communication, such as email or a formal letter. Please provide us with your name, contact information, and any specific details regarding the X-ray you are requesting (e.g., the date of the X-ray, specific teeth or areas of interest).
  3. Processing Time: Once we receive your request, we will process it promptly. The time it takes to prepare your X-ray copy may vary depending on factors such as the availability of the X-ray, the size of the request, and our office’s protocols.

It’s important to note that dental X-rays are part of your dental records, which are valuable for tracking your oral health history and aiding in diagnosis and treatment planning. Therefore, we encourage you to keep your original X-rays in a safe place while having access to copies for personal use or when seeking dental care from other providers.

Can I request a dental treatment plan before proceeding with any procedures?

Yes, absolutely! We encourage you to request a dental treatment plan before proceeding with any procedures. A dental treatment plan provides a detailed outline of the recommended treatments, associated costs, and the proposed timeline. It helps you understand the proposed procedures, make informed decisions, and plan for your dental care. Here’s how we typically handle dental treatment plans:

  1. Comprehensive Examination: Our first step is to perform a comprehensive dental examination, which may include X-rays, dental impressions, and other diagnostic tests. This examination allows us to assess your oral health, identify any existing dental issues, and determine the most suitable treatment options for your specific needs.
  2. Treatment Options and Recommendations: Once we have evaluated your dental condition, we will discuss the treatment options available to address your concerns. We will take the time to explain each option, along with its benefits, potential risks, and the associated costs. Our goal is to ensure you have a thorough understanding of the proposed treatments and feel comfortable with the recommended plan.
  3. Creating the Treatment Plan: Based on your preferences, oral health goals, and budget, we will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. This plan will outline the sequence of procedures, estimated costs, and an estimated timeline for completing the treatments.
  4. Reviewing and Modifying the Plan: We encourage you to review the treatment plan and ask any questions you may have. If you require further clarification or would like to explore alternative options, we are here to listen and provide additional information. We can modify the treatment plan as needed to accommodate your preferences, timeline, and budget.
  5. Approval and Scheduling: Once you are satisfied with the treatment plan, we will obtain your approval before proceeding with any procedures. We will work with you to schedule the treatments at a time that is convenient for you.

At our dental office, we believe in transparency and patient-centered care. Requesting a dental treatment plan is an essential part of the process, as it empowers you to make informed decisions about your dental health. We are committed to providing clear communication, addressing your concerns, and ensuring your comfort throughout your dental journey.

How can I provide feedback or reviews about my experience at your office?

We greatly value your feedback and appreciate your willingness to share your experience at our dental office. Here are some ways you can provide feedback or leave a review about your experience:

  1. Google Review: Click this link to leave a review on Google! Your review can have a significant impact on helping others in our community make informed decisions about their dental care. (Please note that you must be signed in to Your Google Account in order to leave a review.)
  2. Facebook Review: You can tag our business page on Facebook and it will show up in our Reviews tab.
  3. Video Testimonials for our Website: If willing, your video testimonial can help others gain insights into the quality of care and services we provide. Here’s how you can create a video testimonial that we can showcase on our website:
  • Record Your Video: Using a smartphone or a camera, record a short video sharing your experience at our dental office. Begin by introducing yourself and mentioning how long you have been a patient at our practice. Share specific details about the exceptional care you received, the friendly and professional staff, or any other aspects that made your visit memorable.
  • Highlight the Benefits: In your video testimonial, highlight the positive impact our dental services have had on your oral health and overall well-being. If there have been any specific treatments or procedures that have improved your smile or alleviated dental issues, feel free to mention them.
  • Keep it Authentic and Genuine: We value authenticity, so feel free to speak from the heart. Be yourself and share your genuine experience. Your sincere words will resonate with others who are considering our dental services.
  • Be Clear and Concise: Aim for a video testimonial that is approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute long. This allows us to feature your testimonial effectively on our website while keeping it engaging for viewers.
  • Share Your Consent: Before sharing your video testimonial with us, please provide your consent for us to use the video on our website and other marketing materials. We will respect your privacy and ensure that your video testimonial is used solely for promotional purposes related to our dental practice.

We take feedback seriously and use it to continuously improve our services and patient experience. Your feedback is important to us, and we appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow.

Payment Questions
What types of payment do you accept?

Our clinic works hard to provide accessible and reasonable dental care in Staunton, VA, and believe that you deserve quality treatment that fits within your budget. In order to do so, we offer various payment methods to give you options that work best for you and your family. While our dental office is not in-network with insurance providers, we do still accept and file most dental insurances on your behalf (more on this process below). We also accept the following payment forms: Cash, personal checks, debit or credit cards (American Express, VISA, Master Card), CareCredit, and now financing through ProceedFinance.

Our commitment to providing accessible, quality dental care means that you can maintain a healthy smile while not having to worry about a sudden financial burden. Click to learn more about these financial options or if you prefer to call us directly at 540-886-1979, we are happy to answer any questions you may have!

What insurance plans do you accept?

While our dental office is not in-network with insurance providers, we are pleased to inform you that we do accept most dental insurances and will be more than happy to file your insurance claims on your behalf. Please note that as a non-participating provider, our fees may not be fully covered by your insurance plan. However, we will still file your claims to ensure you receive the maximum allowable benefit from your insurance company. We understand that navigating the complexities of dental insurance can be challenging, and we strive to make the process as convenient as possible for our patients. We’re more than happy to help you better understand your coverage and how to apply your benefits to achieve optimum dental and financial health. Be sure to have your insurance ready to display when you come in for your appointment and we’ll make sure that you get as much reimbursement as possible.

How it works: We submit your insurance claim for you at the time of your dental visit. We will follow up with your dental insurance company to ensure your claim is processed in a timely manner. This is a complimentary service we extend to all of our valued patients.

*Please note: The wide range of low cost dental insurance plans means varying deductibles, co-pays, and coverage limits. These wide variety of factors can affect your coverage and are not intended to pay the full cost of your treatment. Keep in mind that you’re responsible for the full amount of the procedure, so we strongly recommend that you contact your insurance carrier prior to your visit. A consultation with your carrier about the extent of your coverage will help prevent any confusion, misunderstandings, or frustration about your financial responsibility for certain services. Please also note that most dental insurance policies do not cover any costs for cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening, tooth shaping, veneers, and gum contouring — as these procedures are not typically deemed medically necessary by insurance providers.

Do you accept Medicaid?

At this time, we regret to inform you that our dental office does not participate in Medicaid or Medicaid-related insurance programs. We understand that Medicaid plays a crucial role in providing access to dental care for many individuals, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

However, we do offer various other payment options to ensure that our dental services remain accessible for all of our patients. We will file on your behalf most dental insurance plans, and our administrative team will gladly assist you in maximizing your insurance benefits. Additionally, we accept care credit and proceed finance. To learn more, please click here.

Do you accept Medicare?

At this time, we regret to inform you that our dental office does not participate in Medicare or Medicare-related insurance plans. While Medicare does not typically cover routine dental care, we understand that it plays a vital role in providing healthcare coverage for seniors and certain eligible individuals.

As a dental practice, our focus is on providing exceptional oral health services to our patients. While we do not accept Medicare, we do offer other payment options to ensure that our dental services remain accessible.

We will file on your behalf most major dental insurances and will work closely with your insurance provider to maximize your benefits. Additionally, we accept care credit and proceed finance. To learn more, please click here.

Do you offer payment plans or financing options?

We are now offering a financing option through a company named Proceed Finance. They specialize in patient financing. and their mission is making life-changing treatments possible for more people, giving you access to financing that’s fast, affordable, and fair. They offer:

  • Long terms and competitive rates create affordable payments that fully cover most treatment plans
  • Pre-qualify instantly without affecting your credit score
  • Full-amount approvals for a wide range of credit quality
  • No hidden fees, and fixed-rate loans with easy-to-understand terms
  • Visit www.proceedfinance.com to learn more. Subject to qualification, terms and conditions apply.

Our office also accepts CareCredit, a healthcare credit card that is used to pay for out-of-pocket expenses not covered by dental insurance. CareCredit’s coverage is comprehensive, providing financing for a wide range of healthcare services other than dentistry, including but not limited to: Chiropractic, cosmetic, hearing, LASIK and vision, primary and urgent care, veterinary, weight loss etc.

When it comes to dental care in particular, CareCredit cards cover a wide range of procedures, including preventative, restorative, and cosmetic services, for example: Teeth cleaning, fluoride treatment, gingivitis prevention, root canals, ceramic crowns, periodontics veneers, bite plates, ceramic fillings, lumineers, Invisalign, etc. So whether you’re after that perfect smile or you need invisible braces for your children, CareCredit is a perfect solution for spreading out the costs in manageable installments. It’s particularly useful if you need a cosmetic dental procedure, which are typically not covered in most dental insurance plans.

CareCredit is subject to credit approval, but once you are accepted, you can use it time and again for your family’s healthcare needs. Ask us about CareCredit today! Applying is easy, and we are here to answer any questions.

Will you file insurance claims on my behalf?

Yes, as a service to our patients, we are happy to file insurance claims on your behalf. This is in comparison to many other practices who only provide you with insurance codes, leaving you to manually submit them to your insurance without guidance. We understand that navigating the insurance process can be complex and time-consuming, and we strive to make it as convenient as possible for you.

When you visit our dental office, our administrative team will collect your insurance information, including your policy number and any relevant details. We will then work closely with your insurance provider to submit your claims promptly and accurately.

It is important to note that dental insurance coverage varies depending on your specific plan and its terms and conditions. We will do our best to maximize your insurance benefits and help you understand your coverage, including any co-pays, deductibles, or limitations that may apply. While we work with a wide range of insurance companies, it is recommended that you contact our dental office prior to your appointment to verify that your specific insurance provider will cover your procedure. This will help ensure that you receive the maximum benefits available under your plan.

In addition to filing insurance claims, we are also available to assist you with any insurance-related questions or concerns you may have. Our team is knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with dental insurance matters, and we are here to help you navigate the process and make it as smooth as possible.

Please remember that you are ultimately responsible for the payment of any treatment costs not covered by your insurance plan. We will provide you with a detailed breakdown of the anticipated costs and work with you to develop a suitable payment plan, if needed.

Will my insurance cover all of my dental treatments?

We understand the importance of insurance coverage in managing dental expenses, and we strive to assist our patients in maximizing their insurance benefits to the best of our abilities.

While we gladly accept and will diligently work with your insurance provider to file claims on your behalf, we feel it is essential to provide transparency regarding the coverage for complex dental issues. As experienced dental professionals, we have encountered situations where insurance coverage for more intricate procedures may be limited or may not fully cover the costs involved.

Complex dental issues may include extensive restorative treatments, dental implants, orthodontics, and other specialized procedures. These cases often require comprehensive planning, state-of-the-art materials, and the expertise of our skilled dental team to ensure the best possible outcomes for your dental health.

In some instances, insurance providers may have limitations, exclusions, or waiting periods for specific treatments, which can impact coverage for these complex procedures. We encourage you to review your insurance policy and familiarize yourself with any restrictions that may apply to your specific dental needs.

Please rest assured that our primary focus is your oral health and well-being. Our dental team will take the time to discuss all treatment options available, providing you with a comprehensive treatment plan that considers both your dental health goals and financial concerns.

If there are any questions or uncertainties regarding insurance coverage or financing options, we are here to provide you with the necessary information and support. Our administrative team is well-versed in insurance matters and can assist in navigating the insurance process, as well as discussing alternative payment options that best suit your circumstances.

Can I request an estimate for a specific dental procedure?

Yes, absolutely! We understand that financial considerations are an important aspect of your dental care decisions. We are happy to provide you with an estimate for a specific dental procedure to help you plan and make informed decisions about your treatment.

To request an estimate, we recommend scheduling a consultation with one of our experienced dentists. During your consultation, the dentist will evaluate your oral health, discuss your treatment options, and answer any questions you may have. Once the specific procedure is determined, our administrative team will provide you with a detailed estimate of the anticipated costs involved.

The estimate will include itemized fees for the procedure, such as the dentist’s fee, any necessary materials or laboratory fees, and an estimate of any applicable insurance coverage. It’s important to note that the actual cost may vary based on the complexity of the case or any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during treatment. Our team will do their best to provide you with an accurate estimate based on the information available.

We can also provide a predetermination, also known as a preauthorization or pre-estimate, which is a valuable process that allows us to submit a detailed treatment plan to your insurance company. This plan outlines the specific dental procedure and associated costs, enabling your insurance provider to review and determine the extent of coverage for the proposed treatment. Once we receive the predetermination response from your insurance company, we will promptly share the information with you. This will give you a clear understanding of the estimated insurance coverage for the procedure and any potential out-of-pocket expenses.

Please keep in mind that a predetermination is not a guarantee of payment but rather an informative estimate based on your current insurance policy and benefits. As insurance plans can vary significantly, the actual coverage may differ from the predetermination.

Oral Health Questions
What can I expect during a routine dental examination?

During a routine dental examination, you can expect a comprehensive evaluation of your oral health. Our goal is to assess the overall condition of your teeth, gums, and mouth, and detect any potential issues at an early stage. Here’s what you can typically expect during a routine dental examination:

  1. Oral Health History: Before the examination, we will review your oral health history, including any previous dental treatments, surgeries, or known oral health concerns. It’s important to inform us about any changes in your medical history, medications, or lifestyle factors that may impact your dental health.
  2. Visual Examination: The dentist will begin by visually examining your mouth, teeth, gums, tongue, and other oral tissues. This helps us identify any visible signs of dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, oral lesions, or abnormalities.
  3. Dental X-rays: Depending on your oral health history and the dentist’s assessment, dental X-rays may be taken to provide a more detailed view of your teeth and jawbone. X-rays help identify any hidden dental issues such as cavities between teeth, impacted teeth, or bone loss.
  4. Periodontal Assessment: The dentist or hygienist will assess the health of your gums by measuring the depth of the spaces between your gums and teeth (periodontal pockets). This helps evaluate the presence of gum disease and determine the appropriate treatment if needed.
  5. Evaluation of Dental Restorations: If you have existing dental restorations such as fillings, crowns, or bridges, they will be examined for any signs of damage, wear, or need for replacement.
  6. Bite and Jaw Evaluation: The dentist will check your bite alignment and jaw joint function, looking for signs of teeth grinding (bruxism), jaw disorders (TMJ), or other bite-related issues that may require further evaluation or treatment.
  7. Oral Cancer Screening: As part of the examination, the dentist will perform an oral cancer screening. This involves visually inspecting your oral tissues, neck, and lymph nodes for any signs of abnormalities or suspicious lesions.
  8. Treatment Recommendations: Based on the findings of the examination, the dentist will discuss the overall condition of your oral health, address any concerns or areas of improvement, and recommend any necessary treatments or preventive measures. They will take the time to answer any questions you may have and provide guidance on maintaining optimal oral health.

Routine dental examinations are essential for preventive care and early detection of dental issues. We recommend scheduling regular check-ups every six months or as advised by your dentist, even if you have no noticeable dental problems. These routine visits help maintain your oral health, prevent future complications, and ensure a healthy smile.

How often should I visit the dentist for check-ups?

We recommend scheduling regular check-up appointments with your dentist every six months, or as advised by your dental professional. Regular dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining optimal oral health and catching any potential issues early on. Here’s why regular dental visits are important:

  1. Prevention and Early Detection: Regular check-ups allow your dentist to monitor your oral health and detect any signs of dental problems at an early stage. This includes identifying tooth decay, gum disease, oral infections, or other oral health issues that may not be immediately noticeable. Early detection enables prompt intervention and treatment, which can help prevent more extensive and costly dental procedures down the line.
  2. Professional Cleaning: During your check-up appointment, you will receive a professional dental cleaning performed by a dental hygienist. This cleaning helps remove plaque, tartar, and surface stains that may have accumulated on your teeth. Even with diligent oral hygiene practices at home, there are areas that can be difficult to clean effectively, and professional cleanings help ensure a thorough cleaning of your teeth and gums.
  3. Oral Health Assessment: Your dentist will conduct a comprehensive examination of your oral tissues, teeth, gums, and jaw. This assessment includes checking for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, bite issues, or any other oral health concerns. Regular check-ups allow your dentist to monitor any changes in your oral health and provide appropriate treatments or recommendations.
  4. Oral Hygiene Instructions: Your dental visit is an opportunity to receive personalized oral hygiene instructions and advice tailored to your specific needs. Your dentist or dental hygienist can provide guidance on proper brushing and flossing techniques, recommend suitable dental products, and address any concerns you may have about your oral hygiene routine.
  5. Patient Education: Regular dental visits offer a chance to discuss your oral health goals, ask questions, and learn more about maintaining a healthy smile. Your dentist can provide information on preventive measures, dietary habits that promote oral health, and address any dental-related inquiries you may have.

Remember, the recommended frequency of dental check-ups may vary based on individual circumstances. Some individuals may require more frequent visits if they have specific dental conditions or are at higher risk for oral health problems. Your dentist will advise you on the optimal schedule for your check-ups based on your unique needs.

How often do I need dental X-rays?

The frequency of dental X-rays depends on various factors, including your oral health, age, and individual risk factors for dental problems. As a general guideline, dental X-rays are typically recommended once every two years for most patients. However, the specific schedule may be adjusted based on your unique circumstances. Here are some considerations regarding the frequency of dental X-rays:

  1. New Patient X-rays: If you are a new patient at our dental office, we may recommend X-rays to establish a baseline of your oral health. These initial X-rays help us identify any existing dental issues, such as cavities, hidden decay, or abnormalities that may not be visible during a visual examination.
  2. Routine Check-up X-rays: For most patients, routine dental check-up Bitewing X-rays are recommended once every two years. These X-rays allow us to monitor changes in your oral health and detect any signs of dental problems that may not be visible to the naked eye. Regular X-rays help in the early detection of tooth decay, gum disease, bone loss, and other oral health issues. A Panoramic X-ray is taken every 5 years. These X-rays help us see the global picture of your oral health status include jaw joint health, sinuses, hidden infections, salivary gland pathology, and potential cancerous tumors. They are also crucial for appropriate comprehensive treatment planning.
  3. Individualized Assessment: Your dentist will assess your specific oral health needs and determine if more frequent or less frequent X-rays are necessary. Factors such as your oral hygiene, history of dental problems, age, and risk factors for dental diseases will be considered in making this decision.
  4. Diagnostic X-rays: In certain situations, such as when you are experiencing dental pain, have a suspected dental problem, or require a specific treatment, additional diagnostic X-rays may be recommended. These X-rays provide detailed information to aid in the diagnosis and treatment planning process.

It’s important to note that dental X-rays use very low levels of radiation, and modern digital X-ray technology further minimizes radiation exposure. We take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety during X-ray procedures, including the use of lead aprons and collars to shield other parts of your body.

If you have concerns about the frequency of dental X-rays or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please inform our dental team. We will consider your individual circumstances and discuss the most appropriate X-ray schedule for you.

Are dental X-rays safe?

Yes, dental X-rays are considered safe. The amount of radiation exposure from dental X-rays is very low, and modern digital X-ray equipment and techniques further minimize the radiation dose. We prioritize your safety and take necessary precautions to minimize any potential risks associated with X-ray imaging. Here’s some information to address any concerns you may have about the safety of dental X-rays:

  1. Low Radiation Exposure: Dental X-rays use a minimal amount of radiation to capture images of your teeth, gums, and jaw. The radiation exposure from dental X-rays is significantly lower compared to other medical imaging procedures. Additionally, advancements in X-ray technology, such as digital X-rays, further reduce radiation exposure by up to 80-90% compared to traditional film X-rays.
  2. Protective Measures: We take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety during X-ray procedures. Our dental team will provide you with a lead apron and collar to shield other parts of your body from radiation. The use of high-speed film or digital sensors helps minimize the exposure time, reducing the overall radiation dose.
  3. Individual Risk Assessment: Your dentist will conduct a thorough assessment of your oral health needs and consider any individual risk factors before recommending dental X-rays. Factors such as your oral health history, age, presence of dental problems, and previous X-ray records are taken into account to determine the appropriate frequency and type of X-rays needed.
  4. Pregnancy and X-ray Safety: If you are pregnant or suspect you might be pregnant, it is important to inform your dental team. Although dental X-rays are generally safe, precautions may still be taken during pregnancy to minimize fetal exposure. In most cases, routine dental X-rays can be postponed until after childbirth, unless it is an emergency situation that requires immediate treatment. Please note that the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) both state that dental x-rays are safe for pregnant women when the following guidelines are followed:
  5. The x-rays are only taken when necessary.
  6. The patient is shielded with a lead apron and thyroid collar.
  7. Digital x-rays are used, if available.
  8. The number of x-rays is minimized.
  9. Benefits of Dental X-rays: Dental X-rays play a vital role in diagnosing dental problems that may not be visible during a visual examination alone. They help detect cavities, hidden decay, gum disease, infections, impacted teeth, and other oral conditions early on, allowing for timely and effective treatment.
Can I decline having a dental X-ray?

While we understand that some patients may have concerns about dental X-rays, having a baseline X-ray is crucial for comprehensive dental care. It provides essential information for diagnosing dental conditions, identifying potential issues, and creating an effective treatment plan. However, we respect your concerns and are here to address them. Here’s some information to consider:

  1. Importance of Baseline X-ray: Even with no dental health issues, obtaining x-rays helps us to establish a baseline of oral health. X-rays provide a detailed view of your teeth, gums, and jawbone and helps us identify any existing dental problems, such as cavities, hidden decay, infections, or abnormalities that may not be visible during a visual examination. Without a baseline X-ray, it becomes challenging to establish your oral health status accurately and monitor any changes over time.
  2. Minimizing Radiation Exposure: We understand the importance of minimizing radiation exposure. Our dental office utilizes modern digital X-ray technology, which significantly reduces radiation levels compared to traditional film X-rays. The amount of radiation exposure from dental X-rays is very low and considered safe. Additionally, we take all necessary precautions, such as using lead aprons and collars, to further minimize radiation exposure and protect your well-being.
  3. Retrieving X-rays from Another Office: If you have had recent X-rays taken at another dental office, we encourage you to provide us with the necessary information to retrieve those X-rays. This allows us to have a starting point and work off the existing X-rays, reducing the need for additional imaging. We can request your X-rays from the previous office, ensuring continuity of care and minimizing redundant X-ray exposures.

Our priority is your oral health and well-being, and we are here to guide you through the decision-making process. If you have any further questions or would like to discuss your concerns in detail, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are committed to finding the best solution that ensures your dental care is both effective and tailored to your needs.

What are the common causes of tooth decay?

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, can have various causes. It’s important to understand these causes to effectively prevent and manage tooth decay. Here are some common factors that contribute to tooth decay:

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate oral hygiene practices, such as infrequent brushing or improper brushing and flossing techniques, can lead to tooth decay. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth, produces acids that attack tooth enamel and eventually lead to decay.
  2. High Sugar and Starch Intake: Consuming sugary and starchy foods and beverages provides a food source for the bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria convert the sugars and starches into acids, which erode tooth enamel and contribute to tooth decay. Frequent snacking or sipping on sugary drinks throughout the day can increase the risk of decay.
  3. Poor Saliva Flow: Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health. It helps neutralize acids, wash away food particles, and remineralize tooth enamel. Certain conditions, medications, or lifestyle factors that reduce saliva flow can increase the risk of tooth decay.
  4. Acidic Foods and Drinks: Acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, and acidic juices, can erode tooth enamel over time. Acidic erosion weakens the enamel, making it more susceptible to decay.
  5. Microbiome Composition & Plaque Buildup: Microbiome composition refers to the balance of microorganisms in the mouth. When harmful bacteria outnumber beneficial ones, they form dental plaque—a sticky film on teeth. Plaque build-up creates an acidic environment, leading to demineralization of the tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. Additionally, these harmful bacteria feed on sugars, producing more acids, accelerating the decay process. Regular oral hygiene and a balanced diet can help maintain a healthy microbiome and prevent plaque accumulation. When plaque is not effectively removed from the teeth through proper oral hygiene practices, it can harden into tartar or calculus. Tartar buildup provides a rough surface that facilitates the accumulation of more plaque, increasing the risk of decay.
  6. Genetics: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to tooth decay. Factors such as the shape and structure of teeth, saliva composition, and susceptibility to bacterial colonization can influence the risk of decay.
  7. Age and Lifestyle Factors: Children and older adults are more prone to tooth decay due to factors such as developing teeth (in children) and age-related changes in oral health (in older adults). Additionally, certain lifestyle habits such as smoking or tobacco use can increase the risk of decay.

Preventing tooth decay involves maintaining good oral hygiene habits, adopting a balanced diet low in sugary and acidic foods, and visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Precision Fluoride treatments, Fluoride alternative treatments such as hydroxyapatite, dental sealants, and professional cleanings can also help prevent decay and protect your teeth.

If you have any concerns about tooth decay or would like personalized advice on preventing dental caries, please schedule an appointment with our dental office. We are here to support you in maintaining a healthy smile and providing individualized care based on your unique needs.

What are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer?

Oral cancer refers to cancers that develop in the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums, inner lining of the cheeks, roof or floor of the mouth, or the throat. Detecting oral cancer in its early stages is crucial for successful treatment. Here are some signs and symptoms of oral cancer that you should be aware of:

  1. Persistent Mouth Sores: Ulcers, sores, or lesions in the mouth that do not heal within two weeks can be a cause for concern. These sores may be painless or cause discomfort.
  2. Red or White Patches: Red or white patches on the tongue, gums, tonsils, or other areas inside the mouth can be early signs of oral cancer. These patches may be accompanied by a burning or numb sensation.
  3. Unexplained Bleeding: Unexplained bleeding in the mouth, such as bleeding gums or bleeding from the throat, should be evaluated by a dental professional.
  4. Swelling or Lumps: Swellings, lumps, or thickening of the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth can be indicative of oral cancer. These growths may be painless or cause discomfort.
  5. Difficulty or Painful Swallowing: Difficulty in swallowing or a feeling of something caught in the throat that persists over time should be evaluated by a dentist or medical professional.
  6. Chronic Sore Throat: A persistent sore throat or a feeling of hoarseness that lasts for an extended period may be a symptom of oral cancer.
  7. Numbness or Pain: Numbness, pain, or a persistent feeling of tingling in the mouth, tongue, or other areas of the face may be a cause for concern.
  8. Ear Pain: Unexplained ear pain or a persistent earache without any other noticeable symptoms should be assessed by a healthcare professional.
  9. Difficulty Moving the Jaw or Tongue: Oral cancer may cause difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue, leading to discomfort or limited mobility.

It’s important to note that the presence of these signs and symptoms does not necessarily indicate oral cancer. However, if you experience any of these symptoms for an extended period or notice any other unusual changes in your oral health, it is crucial to seek prompt evaluation from a dental professional.

Regular dental check-ups are vital for the early detection of oral cancer. During routine examinations, we will perform a thorough assessment of your oral tissues, including screening for oral cancer. If any suspicious areas are found, further diagnostic tests may be recommended.

What is the best way to maintain good oral hygiene?

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for promoting optimal oral health and preventing dental problems. Here are some key practices that we recommend to maintain good oral hygiene:

  1. Brushing Twice a Day: Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day, preferably in the morning and before bed. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and remineralizing toothpaste. Be sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth, including the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces. Brushing removes plaque, bacteria, and food particles that can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
  2. Proper Brushing Technique: Use the correct brushing technique to maximize the effectiveness of your brushing routine. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums, move the brush back and forth in short, gentle, small circles and remember to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
  3. Floss Daily: Daily flossing is crucial for removing plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along the gum line. Take about 18 inches of dental floss and gently slide it between your teeth, curving it around each tooth in a C shape. Move the floss up and down to clean the sides of each tooth thoroughly.
  4. Limit Sugary and Acidic Foods: A balanced diet plays a significant role in oral health. Limit your consumption of sugary and acidic foods and beverages, as they can contribute to tooth decay. Opt for nutritious foods that promote dental health, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and lean proteins.
  5. Proper Hydration: Drinking water throughout the day helps maintain optimal oral health. Water helps rinse away food particles, stimulates saliva production, and keeps your mouth hydrated. It is important to add electrolytes into your water as a best practice to ensure adequate hydration.
  6. Visit the Dentist Regularly: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are vital for maintaining good oral health. Schedule routine visits to our dental office every six months, or as recommended by your dentist. During these visits, we can assess your oral health, detect any potential problems, provide professional cleanings, and offer personalized oral hygiene instructions.
  7. Quit Smoking in All forms: Smoking and tobacco use have detrimental effects on your oral health, contributing to gum disease, tooth discoloration, bad breath, microbiome dysbiosis, and oral cancer. Quitting smoking in all forms and avoiding tobacco products significantly improve your oral and overall health.

Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene requires consistent effort and dedication. By following these practices and seeking regular professional dental care, you can enjoy a healthy smile and reduce the risk of dental problems. If you have any further questions or need personalized guidance on your oral hygiene routine, please don’t hesitate to contact our dental office. We are here to support you in achieving and maintaining optimal oral health.

How can I prevent gum disease?

Preventing gum disease is crucial for maintaining optimal oral health. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common condition that affects the tissues surrounding the teeth. Here are some key practices we recommend to prevent gum disease:

  1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush and a remineralizing toothpaste. Clean all surfaces of your teeth, including the gum line. Floss daily to remove plaque and debris from between your teeth and along the gum line. Proper oral hygiene helps prevent the buildup of plaque, the main cause of gum disease.
  2. Maintain a Balanced Diet: A healthy diet plays a significant role in preventing gum disease. Limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods and beverages, as they can contribute to gum inflammation and tooth decay. Instead, choose a well-balanced diet rich in fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, & K), anti-oxidants, and probiotics. These foods provide essential nutrients for gum health.
  3. Avoid Smoking in All forms: Smoking and tobacco use significantly increase the risk of gum disease. Quitting smoking in all forms and avoiding tobacco products can improve your oral health and reduce the progression of gum disease.
  4. Schedule Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular dental check-ups are essential for preventing gum disease. Visit our dental office every six months for professional cleanings and thorough examinations. During these visits, we can remove plaque and tartar buildup, assess your gum health, and detect any early signs of gum disease.
  5. Be Aware of Warning Signs: Familiarize yourself with the warning signs of gum disease, such as red, swollen, or tender gums, bleeding gums during brushing or flossing, persistent bad breath, receding gums, or changes in the fit of your teeth. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact our dental office promptly for an evaluation.
  6. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to gum disease and other oral health problems. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or engaging in activities you enjoy.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to gum disease. By adopting these preventive measures and maintaining regular dental visits, you can reduce the risk of gum disease and ensure the long-term health of your gums and teeth. If you have any further questions or concerns about gum disease prevention, please feel free to contact our dental office. We are here to provide you with the necessary guidance and support to achieve optimal gum health.

What are the treatment options for missing teeth?

When it comes to missing teeth, there are several treatment options available to restore your smile and improve your oral health. The most common treatment options for missing teeth include:

  1. Dental Implants: Dental implants are a popular and long-lasting solution for replacing missing teeth. They involve surgically placing a titanium implant into the jawbone, which acts as a replacement tooth root. Once the implant fuses with the bone, a dental crown is placed on top, providing a natural-looking and functional tooth replacement.
  2. Fixed Dental Bridges: Dental bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth by anchoring artificial teeth (pontics) to adjacent natural teeth or dental implants. The adjacent teeth are prepared and fitted with dental crowns, which serve as anchors for the pontics, bridging the gap created by the missing teeth.
  3. Resin-Bonded Bridges: Also known as Maryland bridges, resin-bonded bridges are primarily used to replace missing front teeth. They involve bonding artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth using resin or metal wings, without the need for extensive tooth preparation.
  4. Partial Dentures: Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth are still present in the mouth. They consist of artificial teeth attached to a metal or acrylic framework that fits around the remaining teeth, filling in the gaps caused by missing teeth.
  5. Removable Dentures: Removable dentures are a traditional option for replacing multiple missing teeth or complete arches of teeth. They consist of artificial teeth attached to a gum-colored acrylic base. Removable dentures can be easily taken out and put back in the mouth, providing functional and aesthetic benefits.
  6. Implant-Supported Dentures: Implant-supported dentures combine the stability of dental implants with the convenience of removable dentures. Dental implants are placed in the jawbone, and the dentures are securely attached to the implants using special attachments or clips. This option provides improved stability and chewing function compared to traditional removable dentures.

The best treatment option for missing teeth depends on various factors, including the number of missing teeth, the location of the missing teeth, the health of the surrounding teeth and gums, and your personal preferences. During a consultation, our dental team will evaluate your specific situation, discuss the available options, and help you choose the most suitable treatment plan.

Replacing missing teeth not only improves your smile but also helps restore proper chewing and speaking abilities, maintains facial structure, and prevents adjacent teeth from shifting. It’s essential to address missing teeth promptly to prevent further oral health complications.

What should I do if I have a toothache?

If you have a toothache, it is important to address it promptly to alleviate pain and prevent potential complications. Here are some steps you can take if you are experiencing a toothache:

  1. Rinse with Warm Saltwater: Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater to help reduce inflammation and alleviate discomfort. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.
  2. Clean the Area: Gently floss around the affected tooth to remove any food particles that may be causing irritation. Brush your teeth carefully to ensure the area is clean and free of debris.
  3. Use Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help reduce pain and inflammation. Follow the instructions on the packaging and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about taking these medications. It is crucial to only use NSAIDs in the intermediary and avoid going over the daily limits.
  4. Avoid Applying Aspirin Directly: While aspirin is commonly used for pain relief, it should not be applied directly to the affected tooth or gums. It may cause tissue damage or burning.
  5. Apply a Cold Compress: If you notice swelling or facial pain along with the toothache, you can apply a cold compress to the affected area. This can help reduce swelling and provide temporary relief.
  6. Schedule an Appointment: It is important to contact our dental office and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Toothaches are often a sign of an underlying dental problem that requires professional attention. Our dental team will evaluate the cause of your toothache and recommend appropriate treatment.

It is crucial not to delay seeking dental care when experiencing a toothache. Ignoring the pain or attempting to self-diagnose and self-treat may lead to further complications. Our dental professionals are trained to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your toothache, providing the necessary relief and preventing potential dental problems from worsening.

If you are experiencing a severe toothache, have accompanying symptoms such as fever or swelling, or have sustained a dental injury, please contact our dental office immediately. We are here to provide you with prompt and effective care to alleviate your toothache and restore your oral health.

How can I alleviate tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity can be uncomfortable and may indicate an underlying dental issue. Here are some steps you can take to alleviate tooth sensitivity:

  1. Use a Remineralizing Toothpaste: Nano-Hydroxyapatite, Arginine, Potasium Nitrate, & Stannous fluoride toothpastes or tooth powders are a great option for individuals with tooth sensitivity.
  2. Practice Gentle Brushing: Avoid aggressive brushing or using a hard-bristle toothbrush, as this can contribute to tooth sensitivity. Instead, use a soft-bristle toothbrush and brush your teeth gently in a circular motion. Brushing too hard or with abrasive toothpaste can wear away tooth enamel and expose sensitive areas.
  3. Avoid Acidic Foods and Beverages: Acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits, sodas, and acidic juices, can erode tooth enamel and increase sensitivity. Limit your consumption of these items or rinse your mouth with water immediately after consuming them.
  4. Limit Teeth Grinding: If you grind your teeth, known as bruxism, it can contribute to tooth sensitivity. Speak with your dentist about a custom nightguard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
  5. Avoid Whitening Products: Whitening toothpaste and over-the-counter whitening treatments can cause tooth sensitivity in some individuals. If you experience sensitivity from these products, discontinue use and consult with your dentist for alternative options.
  6. Schedule a Dental Appointment: If tooth sensitivity persists or worsens, it is important to schedule a dental appointment. Your dentist can assess the cause of your sensitivity and recommend appropriate treatment. This may include applying professional dental desensitizing agents, precision fluoride treatments, or addressing any underlying dental issues, such as tooth decay or gum recession.

Remember, tooth sensitivity can have various causes, and it’s important to have a dental professional evaluate your specific situation. They can provide personalized recommendations and treatments to alleviate your sensitivity and improve your overall oral health.

If you have ongoing tooth sensitivity or any concerns about your oral health, please contact our dental office to schedule an appointment. Our team is here to address your needs and provide you with the necessary care to alleviate your tooth sensitivity.

What are dental sealants and should I consider getting them?

Dental sealants are thin, protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premolars) to help prevent tooth decay. They are typically made of a tooth-colored resin material that bonds to the surface of the teeth. Here’s some information to help you understand dental sealants and whether you should consider getting them:

  1. Purpose of Dental Sealants: The chewing surfaces of the back teeth contain deep grooves and pits that can be difficult to clean effectively with regular brushing and flossing. These areas are more prone to developing cavities because they trap food particles and bacteria. Dental sealants act as a physical barrier, sealing off the deep grooves and creating a smooth surface that is easier to clean.
  2. Application Process: Getting dental sealants is a quick, painless, and non-invasive procedure. The teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried, and an acidic gel is applied to create a rough surface on the tooth enamel. This helps the sealant adhere securely. The gel is rinsed off, and the sealant material is carefully applied and hardened using a special curing light.
  3. Benefits of Dental Sealants: Dental sealants offer several advantages, especially for children and teenagers, as they are most vulnerable to developing cavities in their permanent molars. Some benefits include:
  4. Protection against tooth decay: Sealants provide a physical barrier that prevents bacteria and food particles from accumulating in the deep grooves, reducing the risk of cavities.
  5. Convenience and longevity: Sealants can last for several years with proper care. They are a cost-effective preventive measure that can help avoid more extensive dental treatments in the future.
  6. Easy maintenance: Sealants do not require any special care. You can continue your regular oral hygiene routine of brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist for routine check-ups.
  7. Candidacy for Dental Sealants: Dental sealants are typically recommended for children and teenagers, as soon as their permanent molars erupt. However, adults who have deep grooves and are at a higher risk of cavities may also benefit from sealants. Your dentist can assess your specific dental condition and recommend whether sealants are suitable for you.
  8. Regular Monitoring: Although dental sealants are highly effective in preventing cavities, they should be regularly monitored during routine dental check-ups. The dentist will evaluate the condition of the sealants and reapply them if necessary.

If you have specific concerns about cavities or want to explore preventive options, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our dental office. Our team will conduct a thorough examination and discuss whether dental sealants are appropriate for you or your child’s oral health needs.

How can I prevent bad breath?

Preventing bad breath, also known as halitosis, involves maintaining good oral hygiene and adopting healthy lifestyle habits. Here are some steps you can take to prevent bad breath:

  1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and a remineralizing toothpaste. Clean your tongue using a tongue scraper or by gently brushing it. Floss daily to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and along the gum line. Proper oral hygiene helps remove the bacteria that can cause bad breath.
  2. Use Xylitol or Erythritol: We recommend incorporating birch-derived xylitol or erythritol-based gum or products into your oral care routine. Xylitol and erythritol are natural sugar substitutes derived from birch trees and certain fruits, respectively. These ingredients have shown promising results in promoting oral health and combating bad breath.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain a moist mouth. Saliva helps rinse away food particles and bacteria that can cause bad breath. Staying hydrated also prevents dry mouth, a condition that can contribute to halitosis.
  4. Limit Odor-Causing Foods: Some foods, such as onions, garlic, and certain spices, can cause temporary bad breath. Limit your intake of these foods, especially before social situations. Instead, opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber foods that promote good oral health.
  5. Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol: Tobacco use and alcohol consumption can contribute to bad breath. Quitting smoking in all forms and reducing alcohol consumption can improve your breath and overall oral health.
  6. Clean Your Dentures or Dental Appliances: If you wear dentures or use dental appliances such as retainers or mouth guards, ensure they are cleaned thoroughly as instructed by your dentist. Bacteria can accumulate on these appliances, leading to unpleasant odors.
  7. Visit the Dentist Regularly: Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings to maintain optimal oral health. Professional cleanings remove plaque and tartar buildup that can contribute to bad breath. Your dentist can also identify any underlying dental issues that may be causing halitosis and recommend appropriate treatment.
  8. Address Dry Mouth: If you experience chronic dry mouth, known as xerostomia, talk to your dentist or physician. Dry mouth can contribute to bad breath. We can help identify the cause of your dry mouth and recommend appropriate treatments or lifestyle adjustments.
  9. Manage Systemic Conditions: Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal issues, can cause bad breath. Proper management of these conditions, under the guidance of your healthcare provider, can help alleviate halitosis.

Remember, if you have persistent bad breath despite practicing good oral hygiene, it is important to consult with our dental team. We can help evaluate your oral health, identify any underlying causes, and provide appropriate treatment recommendations.

Is it better to use a manual or electric toothbrush?

In general, it is better to use an electric toothbrush due to several reasons:

  1. Superior Plaque Removal: Electric toothbrushes are designed with oscillating or rotating brush heads, which have been shown to be more effective at removing plaque and debris from the teeth compared to manual toothbrushes.
  2. Built-In Timers: Many electric toothbrushes come with built-in timers to ensure you brush for the recommended two minutes, helping you maintain consistent oral hygiene practices.
  3. Ease of Use: Electric toothbrushes do much of the brushing work for you, making them an excellent choice for individuals with limited dexterity, such as children, elderly individuals, or those with certain physical conditions.

However, it is essential to note that the effectiveness of the toothbrush ultimately depends on the user and the way the tool is used. A manual toothbrush can still be effective if used correctly, with the proper brushing technique and for the recommended duration. For some patients, using a manual toothbrush can be a matter of personal preference or familiarity, and if they use it correctly, it can yield satisfactory results. Conversely, some individuals find that the added features of an electric toothbrush, such as pressure sensors and different brushing modes, enhance their brushing experience and encourage better oral care habits.

How often should I replace my toothbrush?

We recommend replacing your toothbrush approximately every three to four months or sooner if the bristles become frayed or worn. Regularly replacing your toothbrush is essential for maintaining optimal oral hygiene. Here’s why:

  1. Bristle Effectiveness: Over time, the bristles on your toothbrush can become frayed, splayed, or worn out. When this happens, the brush becomes less effective at removing plaque and debris from your teeth and gums. Replacing your toothbrush ensures that you have fresh, properly functioning bristles for efficient cleaning.
  2. Bacterial Buildup: Over time, bacteria can accumulate on the bristles of your toothbrush, especially if it is not rinsed and dried thoroughly after each use. As you brush, these bacteria can transfer back into your mouth, potentially compromising your oral health. Regularly replacing your toothbrush helps reduce the buildup of bacteria and maintain better oral hygiene.
  3. Hygiene and Safety: An old toothbrush can harbor bacteria and other microorganisms, posing a risk to your oral health. Additionally, worn-out bristles can cause gum irritation or damage to the delicate tissues in your mouth. By replacing your toothbrush regularly, you ensure optimal hygiene and reduce the risk of potential oral health issues.

To help you remember when it’s time to replace your toothbrush, consider marking your calendar or setting reminders every three months. Additionally, some toothbrushes have indicator bristles that change color or fade over time, indicating when it’s time for a replacement. Some companies with subscription plans will now automatically send you a replacement brush head.

It’s important to note that certain circumstances may require more frequent toothbrush replacement. For example, if you have been sick, it is advisable to replace your toothbrush once you have recovered to minimize the risk of reinfection.

What are dental implants and are they right for me?

Dental implants are a popular and effective solution for replacing missing teeth. They are titanium or zirconia posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone to serve as artificial tooth roots. Once the implants are securely fused to the bone, they provide a stable foundation for dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, or dentures.

Dental implants offer several benefits:

  1. Improved Appearance: Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth. They are designed to blend seamlessly with your existing teeth, enhancing your smile and facial aesthetics.
  2. Enhanced Function: Dental implants restore the functionality of your teeth, allowing you to bite, chew, and speak with confidence. Unlike removable dentures, implants provide a stable and secure fit, eliminating concerns about slippage or discomfort.
  3. Preservation of Jawbone: When a tooth is lost, the underlying jawbone can deteriorate over time. Dental implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss and preserving facial structure.
  4. Long-lasting Solution: With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime. They are a durable and reliable option for tooth replacement.

Determining whether dental implants are right for you depends on various factors, including your oral health, bone density, overall health, and personal preferences. During a comprehensive examination and consultation, our dental team will evaluate your specific situation, including the condition of your teeth and jawbone. We will discuss your goals, address any concerns you may have, and recommend the most suitable treatment options.

While dental implants are a highly successful tooth replacement option, they may not be suitable for everyone. In some cases, additional procedures such as bone grafting may be required to ensure there is enough bone to support the implant. Your dentist will provide a detailed treatment plan and discuss the potential risks and benefits specific to your situation.

If you are considering dental implants or have questions about tooth replacement options, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our dental office. Our experienced team will provide you with the information and guidance you need to make an informed decision about your oral health. We are committed to helping you achieve a healthy, functional, and beautiful smile.

What is the difference between dental crowns and fillings?

Dental crowns and fillings are both common restorative treatments used to repair damaged teeth, but they serve different purposes. Here’s the difference between dental crowns and fillings:

Dental Fillings:

  • Fillings are used to repair small to moderate-sized cavities or areas of tooth decay.
  • The procedure involves removing the decayed portion of the tooth and filling the space with a dental material, such as composite resin or amalgam.
  • Fillings are designed to restore the tooth’s function and appearance, while preserving as much of the natural tooth structure as possible.
  • They are suitable for teeth with sufficient healthy structure remaining and can provide durability for many years with proper oral hygiene.

Dental Crowns:

  • Crowns, also known as caps, are used to restore and protect extensively damaged or weakened teeth.
  • They cover the entire visible portion of the tooth above the gumline, providing strength, protection, and aesthetic improvement.
  • Crowns are typically recommended for teeth with large cavities, fractures, or significant structural damage.
  • The procedure involves reshaping the tooth to create space for the crown, taking impressions for customization, and placing a temporary crown while the permanent one is fabricated.
  • Crowns are usually made of materials like porcelain, ceramic, or metal alloys, and they are custom-designed to match the color and shape of your natural teeth.

In summary, dental fillings are used for small to moderate cavities, preserving as much of the natural tooth as possible. Dental crowns are more extensive restorations that cover and protect severely damaged teeth. Your dentist will assess the condition of your tooth and recommend the appropriate treatment based on the extent of damage and your specific oral health needs.

Do you offer any sedation options for anxious patients?

We understand that dental anxiety can be a significant concern for many individuals, and we are here to support you in every way possible to ensure a comfortable dental experience. Excluding sedation, there are several alternative strategies we can employ to help ease dental phobia:

  1. Communication and Education: Our dental team is committed to creating a warm and welcoming environment, where open communication is encouraged. We take the time to listen to your concerns and explain the procedures thoroughly, ensuring you understand what to expect during your visit.
  2. Establishing Trust: Building trust between you and our dental team is essential. We will take the time to get to know you, understand your fears, and work together to establish a sense of comfort and confidence in our care.
  3. Gentle Approach: We prioritize a gentle and compassionate approach to all our dental procedures. Our experienced professionals use a light touch to minimize discomfort during treatments.
  4. Distraction Techniques: We offer various distraction techniques during treatments, such as playing relaxing music or allowing you to watch your favorite show on a screen during the procedure. You can also use your personal headphones to listen to soothing music or relaxing sounds of your choice to drown out typical abrasive sounds in the dental setting.
  5. Breathing Techniques: We can help guide patients through deep breathing exercises, which involve inhaling slowly through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. This technique helps relax the nervous system and reduce tension during treatment.
  6. Desensitization: For patients with severe dental phobia, we can gradually expose you to the dental environment and procedures over several visits, allowing you to become more accustomed and comfortable over time. This is especially useful for pediatric patients.
  7. Pre-Appointment Support: If necessary, we can prescribe anti-anxiety medications or recommend natural remedies to help you relax before your dental appointment.
  8. Signal System: We encourage patients to use a signal system (such as raising a hand) during treatments to indicate if they need a break or experience any discomfort.

Please rest assured that we are dedicated to making your dental experience as positive as possible. Our team has extensive experience in caring for patients with dental phobia, and we will work closely with you to develop a customized approach that suits your needs and preferences.

Functional Dentistry Questions
What is functional dentistry?

Functional Dentistry is a comprehensive way of practicing medicine that integrates lifestyle modifications and food as medicine into contemporary dentistry. As Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” 

Through the study of epigenetics, the human microbiome, and nutritional science we have a sophisticated and comprehensive understanding of how lifestyle and nutrition are vital to health. Most diseases of the mouth are due to poor lifestyle habits and nutrition. Incorporating this knowledge into practice has the capacity to facilitate resilient health and regenerative healing for chronic inflammatory diseases.

From Dr. Myers: “The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the interconnected human body. Through this portal, we will see that at the pinnacle of health is oral health. This is because the mouth is the perfect mirror and reflector of what is happening internally in the human body. The most prevalent chronic human diseases experienced globally are found in the mouth. Diseases like cavities and gum diseases carry major economic and serious health burdens. As a physician of the mouth, I oftentimes see the first signs of these downstream issues. Other chronic diseases are caused or exacerbated by pathogenic oral bacteria. What is healthy for your teeth is healthy for the rest of the body. One of the best decisions you can make for your life is filtering your lifestyle decisions through the lens that Complete Whole Body Health starts in the mouth.”

What is the oral microbiome?

Dr. Myers was recently featured on Joel Salatin’s podcast discussing the importance of the Oral Microbiome, check out the interview!

Dr. Myers was also featured on Ask the Dentist podcast with Dr. Mark Burhenne discussing how the oral microbiome affects gum health. Check it out below!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The oral microbiome gives you a richer, more nuanced understanding of oral health
  • Hear about a journal article in The Journal of Dentistry
  • It is not one bug that causes gum disease; it’s an imbalance of the trillions of bacteria
  • What causes bacteria to go from commensal to pathogenic
  • Why we need dental microbiome researchers and degrees
  • It’s all about the oral microbiome
Why is oral health so important?

Dr. Myers’ answer from Intelligence of Nature interview: “That’s a really timely question. In this day and age, I feel like it’s one of the major missing puzzle pieces in the complete picture of health and wellness. To start from just a visual perspective, your teeth are one of the first things that people notice about you. A healthy smile is oftentimes a source of self-confidence for people, and in turn, it can affect your mental health. I know that this was true for myself. Before I had braces, I was unmotivated, lacking in self-belief, and I wasn’t thriving. The power of a smile completely changed my world and gave me motivation to pursue my dreams.

But your relationship to oral health is about much more than aesthetics, with strong links to systemic health. In fact, poor dental health is directly linked to diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular diseases to name a few.

Further, in medicine, we often compartmentalize the body into individual components. We really miss the big picture and lose sight of the whole; we lose sight that the body is more than just the sum of its simple parts. It’s one functioning system, not in isolation. And a lot of these direct links to systemic issues are mediated through the oral microbiome, or should I say, an imbalance in the oral microbiome.”

Why is the oral microbiome so important?

Dr. Myers’ answer from Intelligence of Nature interview: “So, just like the gut has its own microbiome, the mouth has its own niche biome known as the oral microbiome. The oral microbiome is a term that encapsulates the entirety of all the different microorganisms that are living inside of the mouth, including bacteria, fungi, archaea, and viruses. In fact, the mouth is the second most highly populated area right after the gut. It’s full of diversity, and it’s a very unique habitat. And even within the oral environment, there are all these different habitats or niches that the microbiome lives on, including the teeth, the tongue, the mucosal surfaces of our cheeks, and around the gums.

Generally speaking, the oral microbiome acts as a gatekeeper, protecting us against intruders and invader species. Just by occupying space, these microbes prevent and out compete pathogenic bacteria that might be contributing to systemic inflammation. Through that mechanism alone, they prime our immune systems to recognize friend from foe. So, these microbes play a major role in helping our immune systems mount the proper types of responses.

And not only that, but they also protect all the surfaces that are inside of our mouth, including our teeth. In fact, plaque is exactly that: microbes on the teeth. The oral microbiome likes to live in these communities called biofilms. And that biofilm, or the plaque that’s on your teeth, is actually where you get this protective insulating layer, depending on the composition of that microbiome.

But one of the really exciting discoveries that we’ve made about the oral microbiome specifically has to do with the ability of bacteria in the mouth to metabolize nitrogen compounds. The oral microbiome helps to heal and rebuild our teeth, or the outer surface of the enamel. And this is occurring through a pathway called the arginine deiminase system.

Arginine is one of the essential amino acids that we will typically find in poultry, red meat, fish, eggs, etc. and this amino acid has nitrogen within it. And what certain bacteria in the mouth will do is they’ll take this amino acid, L arginine, into their own cells and they will convert it into alkali products which helps to raise the pH in the mouth and neutralize any acidity, which will then help to deliver calcium or minerals into the teeth.

We’ve always thought that these bacteria in the mouth are what was causing tooth decay. And now we realize that they’re actually playing a major role in protecting us and healing our teeth.”

Does this mean that plaque is, in fact, good?

Dr. Myers’ answer from Intelligence of Nature interview: “It really depends on the composition. Plaque can definitely contribute to disease. And some examples of an imbalance in the oral microbiome include gum diseases like gingivitis, or periodontal disease, bleeding gums, red swollen gums, along with potential bone destruction. What will happen in these situations is that there’s a heavier plaque that gets built up. And the types of bacteria that are inside of that plaque are bacteria that are thriving in poor conditions. And that plaque ends up getting straight-line access into the bloodstream and can wreak havoc. So, essentially it depends on the type of microbiome that you are cultivating. Composition is key.”

What about digestion? Is it true that microbes start digesting food in the mouth?

Dr. Myers’ answer from Intelligence of Nature interview: “Yes, chewing your food is really the first part of our digestive system. We have the ability to break down complex proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fiber, right here in the mouth. And a lot of times we completely forego that first part of the digestive system, a lot of which is due to the softer foods that we’re eating as part of a modern diet. So, we don’t even chew with our teeth as much as we used to. And, by chewing with our teeth, we’re able to produce more saliva, which helps to break down food even further.

Another thing is that we’re not getting into that parasympathetic activation, or the rest and digest, when we eat as much as we should. Part of that is because we’re not consciously and intentionally eating our food and spending time with it, enjoying it, being able to taste it. And it primes our entire body for improper digestion, because we’re still in a fight or flight, or sympathetic nervous system activation. So, something I’ll do is consciously try to chew my food, while enjoying the taste of it, and breathing through my nose, which will also assist with creating nitric oxide, and allowing my body to deliver nutrients properly.”

Are there any telltale signs of an imbalanced oral microbiome?

Dr. Myers’ answer from Intelligence of Nature interview: “Cavities are really one of the best examples of oral microbiome dysbiosis. In fact, they are the most common chronic disease that is experienced worldwide, especially in the United States. So, if you have a cavity, you likely have some form of oral microbiome dysbiosis that should be looked further into.

There’s a study that was just released in 2021 that evaluated SIBO, which stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. It’s a major GI distress disease that we’re seeing where bacteria are thought to migrate up from the large intestines into an area within the small intestines, where you’re not supposed to have a high abundance of bacteria.

This study used endoscopies, (which is basically where we put a telescope down the throat to investigate the gut). What they found was that 89% of the bacterial composition of these patients that had SIBO matched the bacteria that was in the mouth and in the saliva.

So, you’re constantly swallowing the oral microbiome (and you’re producing around one liter of saliva a day). But, if you have bleeding gums, Gingivitis, or periodontal disease, all those bacteria are getting straight-line access into the bloodstream and priming the body for permanent autoimmune attacks.

One of the notorious bacteria that we find frequently in high abundance in periodontal disease is called porphyromonas gingivalis, or P. gingivalis. This type of bacteria has two virulence factors (traits) that make it toxic.

First, the cell membrane has an LPS (or lipopolysaccharide), that causes endotoxemia (which causes low-grade inflammation). And then there are also these little enzymes that they produce called gingipains. And we’re starting to see that not only the presence of this bacteria, but the presence of LPS and gingipains is directly linked to causing heart attacks, degrading the tight junctions that are, really anywhere in the body, but specifically in the cardiovascular system.

But one of the most recent things that we have found is that P. gingivalis has also been discovered in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients. So, we’re starting to shift our attention away from the amyloid beta hypothesis (which relates the cause of Alzheimer’s disease to the presence of amyloid beta plaques in the brain) and seeing that the gingipains, LPS, and the presence of P. gingivalis is causing an inflammatory response in the brain. It’s actually thought now that the amyloid beta plaques are an antimicrobial response to these bacteria that we find in the mouth.

Learn more by reading about the Gut-Brain Axis

Where does antimicrobial mouthwash fit into the oral microbiome picture?

Dr. Myers’ answer from Intelligence of Nature interview: “There are a few issues with antimicrobial mouthwashes. For starters, the pH is acidic and can cause your tooth structure to break down. But even more detrimentally, these mouthwashes can disrupt nitric oxide production.

The oral microbiome is one of the key players making the miraculous communicating molecule called nitric oxide. How this happens is that there’s certain oral bacteria that will take nitrates out of saliva and then take them into the nitric oxide pathway. And we’ve discovered this by seeing what antibacterial mouthwashes will do to the oral microbiome, which will completely knock out the nitrogen metabolism that these bacteria do for us.

In fact, there was a study, I believe in 2019, where they took healthy individuals and had them do cardiovascular intensive exercise on a treadmill. And something that exercise does for us (which is really medicine), is all the way up until two hours after workout, we have this physiological response called post exercise hypotension, where we get this blood pressure lowering effect, and that is basically mediated by nitric oxide. So nitric oxide will help open our blood vessels and dilate them and allow us to have optimal delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the whole body.

So, right after these athletes did this intense workout, they swished with something called Chlorhexidine mouthwash, which is one of dentistry’s gold standard treatments for periodontal disease, gingivitis, and cavities. What they saw was that these athletes’ blood pressures skyrocketed. And all the way up until two hours after they had an attenuation, or weakening, of the ability of bacteria to create nitric oxide for us.

And yet, around 40% of Americans are swishing with antibacterial mouthwashes like Chlorhexidine3. But also, people are frequently using Listerine, which is a low antibacterial mouthwash. And we’ve now seen studies (observational, not causal) that have evaluated a particular subset of the human population that are overweight or obese, but they don’t currently have high blood pressure or diabetes. And after three years, following up with these patients, they saw that individuals who swished with over-the-counter mouthwash more than two times a day, went on to develop hypertension, prediabetes, or diabetes. After multivariate analysis that accounted for other risk factors, they still found that frequent use of antiseptic mouthwash was an independent risk factor.

So, I no longer suggest that people use antibacterial mouthwashes because of this key role that oral bacteria play in our overall wellbeing. You’re basically indiscriminately nuking the good along with the bad bacteria. And the bacteria that can thrive in poor conditions are the ones that are going to come back.”

What can we do to promote a balanced oral microbiome?

Dr. Myers’ answer from Intelligence of Nature interview: “Well, nutrition is one of the most easily obtainable things that you can use to protect yourself. So, cultivating an awareness of the types of things that you’re putting into your body is first and foremost. Maintaining a nutrient-dense diet and feeding the microbiome food rich in compounds called nitrates (found in leafy greens like arugula) is where a lot of this work begins.

I also think one of the most protective things that you can do is reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates and free sugars that you are eating daily. On a daily basis, the average American is eating 77 grams of sugar. That’s around 17 to 25 teaspoons of sugar and not always in sucrose. Refined carbohydrates, like white processed flour, crackers, sugary, sweetened drinks, and alcohol are where we’re getting a major source of these sugars.

The oral microbiome can shift towards dysbiosis by the amount and frequency at which these free sugars and carbohydrates are getting into the body. And fungal species, as well as specific bacterial species within the genus streptococcus, along with the key players in gingival inflammation, will thrive in an environment that’s high in these free sugars. Cavities and gum diseases simply don’t happen in the absence of sugar.

In fact, there’s this great study from the Journal of Periodontology called The Impact of Gingival Conditions in the Absence of Oral Hygiene5. What they did was take people out into the wilderness (like the TV show Alone or Survivor), and they didn’t give them floss or toothbrushes or toothpaste. They essentially tried to mimic a hunter-gatherer diet and they spent about a month just kind of living this lifestyle. What they noticed was that there weren’t any cavities, there weren’t gum diseases, and their indices of health improved. They saw that the oral microbiome increased in its diversity, and the number of bacteria grew. They concluded that cavities and gum diseases aren’t occurring in the absence of refined carbohydrates.

It’s important for us to cultivate the understanding that sucrose and a diet that’s high in refined carbohydrates is priming our bodies for inflammation and disease. And while it starts in the mouth, that inflammation spreads everywhere.”

It’s almost as if modern dental health is worse than that of primitive man. Is this due in large part to imbalanced microbiomes and too much sugar?

Dr. Myers’ answer from Intelligence of Nature interview: “Yes, when we look at the anthropological records of hunter-gatherer societies, we can study calculus (hardened plaque on the backside of teeth) from ancient societies. The fossilized microbiomes found inside of those dental calculus are well preserved. Modern man has shifted to a cariogenic microbiome, which is a microbiome that causes cavities and gum diseases. Our ancestors just didn’t have these issues.”

Can nasal breathing benefit oral health?

Dr. Myers’ answer from Intelligence of Nature interview: “Yes. Personally, something I do to promote nasal breathing on a nightly basis is I mouth tape. And one of the reasons I do that is because saliva should constantly be bathing your mouth, and your teeth. It has a protective role of being able to wash away bad bacteria. It also allows the immune system to bathe our teeth. And if you are mouth breathing, you are causing a shift in the microbiome of the mouth to go towards acidity. So, over the course of time, this can contribute to cavities.

But really, the major thing that I’m concerned with as a doctor, is sleep apnea. And people that have chronic obstructive sleep apnea are mouth breathers. And we see that sleep apnea is linked to strokes, heart attacks, Alzheimer’s disease, and just widespread inflammation throughout the body.

So, I’m a major proponent of trying to get people to start breathing through their nose again, because of its vital importance (especially for young kids as it allows for proper facial development and growth).”

What toothpaste do you recommend?

Dr. Myers recommends using hydroxyapatite toothpastes that promote natural remineralization and overall oral wellness instead of fluoride-based toothpastes.

Hydroxyapatite is a mineral that closely resembles the structure of our natural tooth enamel. Using a toothpaste with hydroxyapatite can help in remineralizing and strengthening the enamel, which is crucial for maintaining strong and healthy teeth. Unlike some conventional toothpastes that may contain harsh chemicals or abrasives, hydroxyapatite toothpaste offers a more natural approach to oral care.

Look for a toothpaste that lists hydroxyapatite as one of its main ingredients, preferably alongside other natural and gentle ingredients. This can include plant-derived compounds that promote oral health, like xylitol or herbal extracts known for their antimicrobial properties.

Of course, oral health goes beyond just the products you use. Maintaining a nutrient-dense diet, practicing good oral hygiene, and managing stress are all important factors in achieving optimal oral health.