Dental FAQs

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

Visiting our office regularly will help you keep your teeth and mouth healthy, and there is a well known connection between the oral health and the systemic health.  Dental care is important because it:

  • Helps prevent tooth decay by revealing any tooth areas at risk of demineralization
  • Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
  • Prevents bad breath; brushing, flossing, and seeing us regularly will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath
  • Helps prevent systemic infections that could originate in the mouth
  • Keeps teeth strong and healthy

At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?

The age typically recommended is as early as six months of age and no later than one year. During this time, your son or daughter’s baby teeth will be coming in, and Dr. Saepoff can examine the health of those first few teeth.

We know young children aren’t familiar with the routine of a dental exam. Dr. Saepoff will take the time to build trust and familiarity with your child. Procedures on the youngest children can often be spread across several visits until the child feels comfortable with our 'routine'.  Dr. Saepoff will proceed with a simple exam and tooth polishing, and ease into other procedures if needed once the child is ready to give consent and cooperate willingly.  

We know that our holistic families with young children prefer not to put their child under general anesthesia unless the situation is urgent or life threatening and we agree with them!  We will take the time to teach your child how to be a dental patient.

How often should I see the dentist?

Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer, decay, or gum disease may be required to come in more than just twice a year. Dr. Saepoff will help determine how often you should visit for regular checkups and cleanings.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is a hole that forms in the tooth because of advanced demineralization (tooth decay). Cavities form when the surface enamel becomes weak enough to cave in. Plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. and grows inside the holes, which accelerates the process.

These holes can be difficult to brush clean, and other teeth will begin to drift and shift due to the loss of the structure of the affected tooth. In children, this can result in space problems as well as bigger infections (abscesses!).

Cavities can be prevented by adjusting your diet, oil pulling, and improving your overall health. When you are healthy and relaxed, your saliva can do its job and continually remineralize your teeth!

What is a filling?

A filling is a synthetic material that a dentist uses to fill a cavity after all the tooth decay has been removed. Sometimes it is necessary to remove remnants of old fillings and decay before the new filling or restoration can be placed.  We will always let you know if we think your particular tooth will be sensitive due to the area involved and the type of filling being placed.  We have many patients that opt to have work done without numbing!  Dr Saepoff is extremely gentle!  However, anesthetic is ALWAYS offered, and will be used with your permission when you choose it.

Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic (and some dentists still use amalgam!!!). If you need a tooth restored, we will go over in detail what type is recommended for you and why.

What is gum disease?

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup and is most successfully treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics also has a role.

Gingivitis (swelling at the gumline) is frequently an early stage of gum disease. If detected early, it is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may progress into deeper gum disease. Advanced gum disease leads to tooth and bone loss, and can become a permanent condition.  The bacteria will try to migrate further under the gums and set up housekeeping on your roots.  When they reach 5 millimeters below the gumline, they are able to include some types that do not need oxygen, and these anaerobes are very destructive!  Things can get worse quickly from here if not treated assertively.

Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting our office every six months will help detect early problems and prevent more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease:

  • Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gum line
  • Abscessed teeth

I have amalgam fillings I’d like replaced; does your office do this?

Yes. Dr. Saepoff will safely remove amalgam fillings and metal crowns, and replace them with BPA-free biocompatible resin-composites or porcelain. Please ask our office staff for more information.  We use strict safety protocols to prevent you from exposure to the mercury dust and vapor during the gentle removal of these old materials from your teeth.  We also safeguard our air quality to make sure patients and staff are not exposed to indoor air pollution from these procedures.

My allergies are severe; does your office accommodate patients with allergies and chemical sensitivities?

Yes. Our office is free of latex, nickel, mercury, fluoride, and fragrances. During your first visit with us, we request a list of any allergies or health concerns you may have, and we’ll do our best to provide you with a safe, worry-free environment.

Please do not hesitate to talk with us about your particular case. Ingredients for all of our dental products are available for review. While our office itself is not strictly nut-free, none of our dental products contain tree-nut oils.

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