Are you accepting new patients?
What can I expect at my first appointment? And what do I need to bring?
As a new patient, your first appointment will include a comprehensive exam, and may include X-rays and a consultation with Dr. Ives. We will answer all your questions, go over your treatment plan, pricing options and help you schedule future appointments.
Please bring the following items with you to your first appointment:
- Patient Information Form
- Dental Insurance Card, if you have insurance
- Identification such as Driver's License, Military ID or State ID
- Records Release Form
- Consent to Receive Reminders Form
Do I need to arrive early for my first appointment? And how long will it last?
Yes, please arrive 10-15 minutes early to fill out any remaining patient forms. While the length of the first appointment will vary, please plan on 1-1.5 hours.
Should I go to the dentist regularly?
Many people do not see a dentist on a regular basis. They only go when they have a problem. This is known as "crisis treatment" versus "preventive treatment." While these patients may feel they are saving money, it often ends up costing much more in dollars and time. This is because many dental problems do not have symptoms until they reach the advanced stages of the disease process.
An example is tooth decay. It is typical to hear, "Nothing hurts... I don't have any problems." Tooth decay often only hurts when it reaches the nerves at which point it has developed into a large cavity. Dentists can usually detect a cavity 3-4 years before it develops any symptoms. This early detection can help prevent root canal treatment.
Why floss, isn't brushing enough?
Flossing reduces the number of bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria are millions of microscopic creatures living in plaque and feeding on food particles left on your teeth.
Flossing gets rid of bacteria and plaque that the toothbrush can't reach—hiding in tiny spaces between your teeth. If it is not removed, plaque will eventually harden into tartar. While plaque can be removed by brushing and flossing, only a dentist can remove tartar.
We are happy to help teach you the proper way to floss, and we will both notice the difference at your next cleaning.
How can I prevent cavities?
Always spend two to three minutes brushing your teeth. It takes that long to get rid of the bacteria that destroy tooth enamel. Do not brush too hard. It only takes a little pressure to remove bacteria and plaque.
Floss at least once a day. Flossing is the only way to get bacteria from between your teeth.
Try to minimize the amount of sugar you consume, and brush immediately after having any sugary treats. Sugar in foods like candy, fruits, crackers and chips contain the bacteria your mouth likes best. Be mindful of foods that stick to your teeth, like raisins and peanut butter, these can provide a constant supply of sugar to the bacteria.
If you cannot brush after a meal, rinse your mouth with water, which helps remove food from between your teeth. Chewing sugarless gum after a meal can also help because it aids saliva, which acts as a natural plaque-fighting substance.
Visit the dentist regularly for cleanings, which are generally recommended every six months.
Why does the dentist take x-rays?
Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when the dentist examines the mouth. An x-ray examination can reveal:
- small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings)
- infections in the boneperiodontal (gum) disease
- abscesses or cysts
- developmental abnormalities
- some types of tumors
Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and often unnecessary discomfort. X-rays can detect damage to oral structures not visible during a regular exam. If you have a hidden tumor, x-rays may even help save your life. Dentist will evaluate your need for x-rays based on your goals and the results of an exam.
Please do not hesitate to discuss any questions or concerns with us.
What can I do about sensitive teeth?
Sensitivity toothpaste, which contains strontium chloride or potassium nitrate are very effective in treating sensitive teeth. After a few weeks of use, you may notice a decrease in sensitivity.
Highly acidic foods such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons, as well as tea and soda can increase tooth sensitivity, and work against sensitivity toothpaste.
If you do not get relief by brushing gently and using desensitizing toothpaste, let us know. There are special compounds that can be applied in-office to the roots of your tooth to reduce—if not eliminate—sensitivity.
High-fluoride containing home care products may also be recommended to help reduce tooth sensitivity.
Why should I use a mouthguard?
A mouthguard can prevent injuries to your face and teeth. Most people benefit from wearing a mouthguard when playing any sport, professionally or otherwise.
The best mouthguards are custom-fitted by your dentist. This is especially important if you wear braces or fixed bridgework. Commercial, ready-made mouthguards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. They are relatively inexpensive but they are also less effective.
Always rinse your mouthguard with water or mouthwash after each use. With proper care, it should last for several months.
How can I get my kids to brush their teeth?
Make it fun! If you are enthusiastic about brushing your teeth, your children will be, too. Children like to do things their parents do. If your children sees you brushing your teeth, and displaying good dental habits, they will follow.
Also, ask us—we have lots of experience and creative suggestions to share.
When should children start seeing a dentist?
Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Dental Association recommend children be seen 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth, or by their first birthday.
It is best for children to meet a dentist under ideal circumstances. This way they are more comfortable and at ease should a problem arise.
What are cavity-fighting sealants?
The American Dental Association cites sealants as an effective weapon in the arsenal against tooth decay. Sealants are a thin coating painted on chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting your teeth against decay-causing bacteria.
While sealants are proven effective for both adults and children, they are most commonly used with children. Despite the fact that sealants are about half the cost of fillings, only a small percentage of school-aged children have sealants on their permanent teeth.
Ask us whether sealants would be a good choice for your children... or you!
What is fluoride and why is it important to dental health?
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods. Natural sources of fluoride include brewed tea, canned fish, cooked kale and spinach, apples, and skim milk. Most municipal water contains fluoride so, drinking tap water will usually provide sufficient fluoride. If your drinking water does not have fluoride, supplements are available.
Lack of exposure to fluoride can place individuals of any age at risk for dental decay. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making tooth enamel more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria.
Studies have shown children who consumed fluoridated water from birth had less dental decay. Fluoride can also reverse early decay and help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that causes degenerative bone loss.
Let us know if you have questions about whether you're getting enough fluoride.
What should I do if I require premedication?
Please be sure to request a prescription prior to your appointment. Contact us if you are unsure, we can help.
I knocked out a tooth, can it be saved?
Oral injuries are often painful, and should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible. If you have knocked out a tooth, these tips may help save it:
- Rinse—do not scrub—the tooth to remove dirt or debris
- Place the clean tooth in your mouth between your cheek and gum or under your tongue
- Do not attempt to replace the tooth into the socket as this could cause further damage
- Immediately contact us or proceed to the nearest dental emergency facility. Successful re-implantation is possible only when treatment is performed promptly.
- If it is not possible to store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse it in milk.
I have diabetes. Why is my dentist concerned?
Research has established that people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. If blood glucose levels are poorly controlled you may be more likely to develop gum disease and could potentially lose teeth. Like all infections, gum disease can be a factor in causing blood sugar levels to rise and make diabetes harder to control.
Be sure to see us regularly for check-ups and follow home care recommendations. If you notice other conditions such as dry mouth or bleeding gums, be sure to talk with us right away. And always let us know about any changes in the medications you take.
I just found out I am pregnant. How might this affect my mouth?
Roughly half of all pregnant women experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. This condition can be uncomfortable and cause swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue.
In addition, a more advanced oral health condition called periodontal disease—a serious gum infection that destroys attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold teeth in the mouth—may affect the health of your baby. Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and preterm, low birth-weight babies. In fact, pregnant women with periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that's born early and small. The likely culprit is a labor-inducing chemical found in oral bacteria called prostaglandin, which occurs in very high levels in women with severe cases of periodontal disease.
Why might I have to take antibiotics before my dental appointment?
There are certain conditions that require patients to pre-medicate with an antibiotic prior to dental treatment to prevent adverse effects and infection, which can be caused by bacteria that enter the blood stream during particular treatment.
Please consult with us if you know, or think you may be a candidate for premedication, prior to scheduling treatment.
I am undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation for cancer treatment, how might this affect my mouth?
Chemotherapy and radiation may cause symptoms including:
- mouth sores
- dry mouth
- bleeding of the gums and lining of the mouth
- general soreness and pain of the mouth.
It can be challenging to control these symptoms during treatment since the immune system is often compromised. Special mouth rinses can be prescribed to help with discomfort.
We recommend visiting or talking with us before treatment begins and then continuing with any follow-up care, as recommended.
I have dentures. Is it still necessary for me to see a dentist?
Visits to the dentist include more than just "checking teeth." While patients who wear dentures no longer have to worry about dental decay, they may have concerns with ill fitting appliances, mouth sores and other issues. We recommend annual check ups, sooner if soreness is present. During these check ups, we will perform an oral cancer screening, head and neck exam and an evaluation of the fit and potential need for replacement. As always, regular visits can help you avoid more complicated problems down the road.