Frequently Asked Dental Questions – Tulsa, OK
Get the Answers You Need to Take Care of Your Smile
Do you have questions about any of the dental services we offer? Would you like to learn more tips about how to take better care of your teeth and gums? Below, our team has included a list of the most common questions we receive from our patients along with our answers. If you still don’t see the information you’re looking for, please call us!
What can I expect at my initial dental appointment?
When you visit Glisten Dental Care of Tulsa, our goal is that you enjoy the Glisten difference. Everything we do is to give our patients the most relaxed and comfortable dental experience possible. We not only perform physical dental examinations and teeth cleanings, but we also get to know you as an individual.
We recommend that our new patients reserve an hour and a half to two hours for their initial appointment, during which Dr. Hammond will examine teeth and gums, and discuss dental and medical history. This is also your time to talk with the doctor about your concerns and goals for your smile, as well as about your expectations and desires for care. If you feel anxious about visiting the dentist, Dr. Hammond can provide details about sedation dentistry to help calm your nerves.
We are committed to providing each patient with the necessary details to help them become fully involved in their oral health goals. We do this with detailed images captured with our intraoral camera, and digital X-rays. Using these tools, we can show you exactly what we see during physical examination. Our office is also equipped with iPads that we use to educate our patients on oral care and necessary dental procedures. At Glisten Dental Care of Tulsa, you are an integral part of your own care. When you leave our office, you will have a clear picture of your oral health and all the necessary information to help you attain a smile that you feel proud to dawn.
Why is Glisten Dental Care of Tulsa different from other dental offices?
Glisten Dental Care of Tulsa is different in that our very core is the meaning of the word. To glisten is "to reflect with brightness." Every member of our staff takes this meaning to heart and works here because they truly enjoy what they do. The service that we provide stems from a deep commitment to the provision of the utmost in dental care, and a commitment to personal excellence. When you visit Glisten Dental Care of Tulsa for the management of your oral health, you become a part of an extended family.
Dr. Hammond strives for perfection in the work she performs with our valued clients. She continually invests her time in education and training so that our patients may experience dental care like never before.
Why do I need a dental checkup and cleaning twice a year?
The recommendation from the American Dental Association is that teeth and gums receive professional care twice a year. Keeping with this timeline allows us to keep teeth safe from the buildup of tartar and plaque, something that cannot be accomplished even with the best brushing and flossing.
Plaque is a sticky substance that can adhere to teeth and allow bacteria to grow. This substance can harden and turn to tartar, becoming difficult to remove. If not removed through professional cleaning, tartar continues to collect at and under the gum line, resulting in gum disease. Gum disease not only threatens tissue, but can also lead to the deterioration of the bone that supports teeth.
The complications of gum disease can be prevented with twice-a-year teeth cleanings and dental examinations at Glisten Dental Care of Tulsa. During these appointments, digital X-rays are taken, teeth and gums are evaluated for decay, gum disease, and oral cancer, and teeth are cleaned and polished by our oral hygienist. These steps are taken to avoid more invasive and expensive procedures that become necessary should gum disease develop.
Besides all the benefits of regular dental care, our office is a pleasant place to visit!
Should I have my silver dental fillings replaced?
While Dr. Hammond does not perform any service that she herself would not receive, she takes a conservative approach to the removal of amalgam fillings as well. In restoring teeth with fillings, we use only mercury-free, tooth-colored composite material that bonds to the tooth. During dental examinations, existing amalgam fillings are evaluated. Often, amalgam fillings that have been in place for several years show cracks that threaten the integrity of the restored tooth. In such instances, the removal of the affected filling is beneficial. If, however, an existing amalgam filling is sealed and functioning properly, the decision to replace this filling is solely up to the patient, and typically made due to the concern over mercury toxicity. To minimize exposure to mercury during the removal process, we combine precise technique with high-end technology.
We replace amalgam fillings with tooth-colored composite material as often as possible. There are times, however, when a large filling is best replaced with a dental crown.
I am very nervous about dental work. Do you offer sedation dentistry?
We believe that everyone deserves a positive dental experience and take steps to accomplish this. Our dental office is designed to be a calm, peaceful environment, equipped with massage chairs and televisions in our treatment rooms. Our patients are treated to soft music, warm blankets, and a very caring staff that understands how to soothe dental anxiety. We incorporate the use of innovative technology like lasers, which decrease discomfort and reduce treatment time.
There are instances, however, where these steps are not sufficient in combating anxiety. In such cases, we offer nitrous oxide, oral sedation or IV sedation. Nitrous oxide has been safely used for many years and is suitable for both children and adults who need some assistance relaxing during treatment. Our nitrous oxide is digitally monitored and delivered throughout treatment, relieving anxiety and increasing the patient's pain threshold. Nitrous oxide is a form of conscious sedation that allows the patient to respond to Dr. Hammond while feeling calm receiving treatment. Once we turn off the gas, the patient feels no effects and is able to drive themselves home. IV sedation is ideal for those patients who want to sleep through their dentistry.
If you feel anxious about receiving dental care, contact us to discuss your options for sedation.
What is the benefit of fluoride treatments?
Fluoride has been shown to promote the remineralization of enamel and provide a level of protection against decay. We recommend fluoride treatments for both children and adults. Although insurance benefits tend to only cover treatments for children, these companies are not in the business of dental care and should not tell you what is best for your oral health. We find that the benefits of treatment are well worth the minimal investment.
Fluoride is so beneficial to teeth that we promote the use of fluoride toothpaste beginning at the age of three. We also advise drinking fluoride-infused water and receiving fluoride treatments twice a year. With fluoride on board, early stages of tooth decay can actually be reversed, teeth become more resistant to decay, and bacterial activity is inhibited.
Why is there a dark line between my gums and my crown?
Although most crowns used today are tooth-colored on the surface, the substructure of a crown is often metal alloy. These porcelain fused to metal crowns were used for restorations on front teeth as well as back teeth for many years, due to the fact that all-porcelain crowns were viewed as too fragile to withstand the pressure of biting. Advanced technology now offers us the use of stronger forms of porcelain that are durable as well as aesthetically pleasing. Dr. Hammond only places all-porcelain crowns on front teeth, ensuring that there is no dark line at the gums. Although insurance companies tend to cover only porcelain fused to metal crowns on back teeth, Dr. Hammond prefers the all-porcelain option here as well.
What is a root canal?
Our teeth have nerves that allow us to feel sensations of hot and cold. In some cases of severe decay or trauma to a tooth, the nerve becomes damaged or infected, causing intense pain. The only way to relieve pain and save the tooth is to perform root canal therapy, in which the affected nerve is removed and the canal cleaned and sealed off.
Many people fear getting root canal therapy, but this procedure has come a long way with advances in technology and technique. At Glisten, we carefully perform root canal therapy with specialized tools and offer patients the option of sedation should they feel anxious about the procedure.
Why might I want dental implants?
We provide dental implants in our Tulsa practice as a permanent solution to missing teeth. An implant may be used as an alternative to a bridge, for the replacement of one or a few teeth. Implants are also used in conjunction with denture appliances to create a firm foundation on which dentures will not slip or fall out. Dental implants are safe and effective, allowing the smile to be restored to full function and beauty within just a few months. Contact us for your consultation with Dr. Hammond to see how dental implants can benefit your smile.
What effect does tobacco have on my teeth?
The use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco exposes the body to nicotine, a chemical substance that inhibits the flow of oxygen to gum and bone tissue. As these areas are deprived of oxygen, the risk for gum disease rises significantly. Although gum disease can be treated with regular dental evaluations and cleanings, during which we screen for oral cancer, the best way to protect teeth and gums is to quit using tobacco products. To help our patients accomplish this goal, we provide prescription programs and a good dose of moral support.
What are dental sealants and what can they do for me?
Our teeth have grooves in them, some can be quite deep, creating areas where bacteria can hide and cause cavities. Sealants are clear or tooth-colored, and are bonded to the back teeth, where grooves tend to be deep. This protective coating reduces the risk of tooth decay significantly. We recommend sealants for children and adults, although insurance companies do not always provide this benefit. Regardless of what your insurance company will cover, we believe that the minimal cost of sealant application is well worth the investment when it can prevent tooth decay and the need for dental fillings.
What can I do about bad breath?
Bad breath, or halitosis, is a problem that many people experience at one point or another. When you know the cause behind bad breath, the condition can be easily treated. Some of the triggers that may lead to bad breath include the consumption of certain foods, like onions or garlic, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, tooth decay, digestive problems, tobacco use, gum disease, sinus infection or a medical condition. To keep breath fresh, brushing twice a day and flossing every day is quite beneficial. It is also recommended that the tongue be brushed, especially the back of the tongue where bacteria may collect. Sipping on water and chewing sugar-free gum keep the mouth moist and may reduce the instance of bad breath.
Maintaining oral health through regular dental checkups and cleanings is also a part of keeping breath fresh and healthy.
Why does flossing make my gums bleed?
Many people think their gums bleed because of flossing. In truth, bleeding gums is one of the earliest signs of gum disease and is due to bacterial activity causing inflammation of this delicate tissue. If your gums bleed when you floss, contact us to schedule an examination and cleaning. If caught early, gum disease can be reversed.