Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What can I expect from my first appointment?

A. During your first appointment, your overall dental and oral health will be assessed with a comprehensive oral evaluation. Upon the completion and review of your medical/dental health form, we will ask you to tell us your goals regarding your smile, teeth, and gums. Digital photos and X-rays will be taken of your teeth to identify areas of decay, cracked teeth, and malfunctioning restorations. Our goal is to preserve as much of your teeth as possible by catching decay in its earliest stages. We will also assess your gums and recommend the appropriate hygiene treatment for you.

Q: What is a crown, and why do I need one?

A: If your dentist has recommended a crown to you, it is likely either to correct a broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). If not removed, decay will deteriorate the tooth to the point where extraction is the only viable treatment option. Sometimes, decay is removed, leaving healthy tooth structure but not much of it. A crown is your treatment solution ― restoring the look and function of your tooth while allowing you to keep your natural, underlying tooth structure. Most crowns are precision-milled porcelain or gold and are customized just for you by your dentist.

Q: I know I need X-rays, but I would prefer not to be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-rays?

A: Yes, we do offer digital X-rays (radiographs). Digital X-rays use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film X-rays. They can also be saved to our computer system for fast recall, giving you a more efficient visit. You will find that, in our dental practice we research the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that promote your overall health, safety, and comfort.

Q: How does fluoride help my teeth? Q: How does fluoride help my teeth?

A: Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults by halting tooth decay. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible, and it restores valuable minerals to your teeth. Fluoride is a safe chemical component when used correctly. When your dentist applies fluoride to your teeth – usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam – that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use any of the professional strength fluoride varnishes, gels, or foam products carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Q: I just want my smile to look good. What are some options to help the appearance of my smile?

A. You are not alone. Your smile is the first thing people notice about you, and most people want their smile to be beautiful. You may only need a few minor adjustments, or you may have concerns that require more attention. Either way, there are treatments that can give you the engaging smile you have always wanted. Your smile can be enhanced with simple whitening or bonding treatments, or if you need a little more extensive treatment, options such as porcelain veneers, crowns, or bridges; gum contouring; periodontal therapy; or, a combination of these techniques are available to you. Based on your goals, areas of concern, and the overall condition of your oral health, a treatment plan will be suggested for you. Contact Topsfield Dental Associates today to determine what course of action will produce the best solution for you.

Q: What are my options for replacing a missing tooth?

A: By replacing missing teeth either with a bridge or implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and will return your smile back to its beautiful, full appearance. A bridge is one solution for replacing a tooth. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, your dentist places a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile.

A dental implant is also an excellent solution. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. After a period of healing, the implant will act as a new, solid support for a natural looking, porcelain restoration. Implants can replace a single tooth, or an entire set of teeth, offering more function and permanence than traditional dentures.

Q: My teeth keep chipping and cracking. What causes this, and what can I do about it?

A: Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth but don’t remember when the injury occurred, damaged their teeth while they were sleeping. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth in your sleep, we recommend a dental appliance called a nightguard. A custom-fitted nightguard protects your teeth from grinding and clenching in your sleep. The Topsfield Dental team takes great care in making sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Do you suffer from headaches? You may find that a side benefit of your nightguard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask your Topsfield Dental team about having a nightguard custom created just for you.

Q: What is periodontal disease?

A: Periodontal disease (also called gum disease or gingivitis) refers to the infection of the supportive tissues of the mouth due to toxic bacteria found in plaque. Many individuals suffer from some degree of gum disease, and if left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, breakdown of the soft tissue in the mouth and jaw, and other significant health problems. Your dentist at Topsfield Dental assesses and diagnoses your periodontal health, and if needed, recommends the appropriate therapy to restore gums and supportive tissues. Then, our specially-trained hygienists administer advanced periodontal therapy.

Q: How do sealants protect teeth?

A: A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth—premolars and molars. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids and guarding against disease-causing bacteria.

Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. However, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to efficiently extract all food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.

Q: Sometimes when I chew, I get a sharp pain. What can I do to correct this?

A. Most dental pain brought on by chewing is caused by a fracture, or crack, in the tooth. The pain can be corrected by placing an inlay/onlay, a porcelain crown, or with more advanced treatment. You want to correct the pain as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth. Contact Topsfield Dental Associates today to schedule a visit.