How often should I have my teeth cleaned and examined?

Although the American Dental Association recommends that a healthy adult get a checkup every 6 months, there really is no automatic "formula" because no two patients are alike. Often times, a person will need to be seen more frequently than twice a year. We take the time to get to know each of our patients, including past dental history, present condition, and future needs and goals. We can then recommend the best recare frequency. We strive to help you attain optimal dental health because we take seriously the proven information that shows a direct link between oral health and body health (including heart health).

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My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?

In short, yes. The most common cause of tooth loss is gum disease. Of graver importance are the links between gum disease and various serious conditions including heart disease, stroke, respiratory ailments, osteoporosis, diabetes, low birth weight and premature babies. It's important to realize that healthy gums do not bleed with brushing and flossing. Bleeding is typically a sign of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). Gum disease is a progressive condition that can be most successfully treated if diagnosed early. If this disease is allowed to progress unchecked, it can lead to unsightly loss of gum attachment ("long of tooth") and even tooth loss. Be sure to have your teeth and gums checked regularly to prevent problems from gum disease.

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Do I have to floss every day? Is it really that important?

It's been said that you should only floss those teeth that you want to keep. And it's true! Regular flossing goes a long way to help prevent or fight periodontal disease and is truly critical for your overall oral health. It loosens food particles in tight spaces that your toothbrush cannot reach; it gets rid of plaque buildup (which has nasty and smelly bacteria in it) that toothbrushes alone cannot remove; and it protects your gum tissues from irritation. It's a safeguard against gum disease. So, just think of daily flossing as the finishing touch after brushing - insurance for your smile's future.

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At what age should my children first see the dentist?

We like to see children in our office around the age of three. At this young age, the child probably hasn't developed any dental problems yet so they are introduced to dentistry in a positive, non-threatening way. The first time we meet them is often during one of the parent's appointments. We'll just introduce ourselves and make them comfortable with our team. On their first real visit, we treat them gently and with special care. In this manner, we hope to help your child develop a life-long positive attitude toward dentistry based on prevention and early intervention. Of course, if your toddler accidentally chips or knocks out a tooth prior to this age, you should let us know right away.

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What should I do if I have bad breath?

Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many people may not realize that they have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning.

There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent. At every cleaning appointment with the hygienist, she will gently "scrape" your tongue and teach you how to do this at home.

What may cause bad breath?

    Morning time - Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.

    Certain foods - Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.

    Poor oral hygiene habits - Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth and bacterial colonies produce a very smelly by-product.

    Periodontal (gum) disease - Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums.

    Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances - May also contribute to bad breath by harboring bacteria.

    Dry mouth (Xerostomia) - May be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing. Having a dry mouth means that there is inadequate saliva to wash over the teeth and do nature's job of helping to remove bacteria and plaque.

    Tobacco products - Dries the mouth, causing bad breath.

    Dieting - Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat.

    Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals - Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away.

    Certain medical conditions and illnesses - Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath.

You should contact our office if this is a concern for you.

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I want my front teeth to look better but I don't want to wear braces. What would you recommend?

A new smile can revitalize your overall appearance, improve your self-esteem and take years off your appearance. A new smile can change your life! There are several procedures that can give you a brighter, more attractive smile. These non-orthodontic treatments include veneers, whitening, bonding and recontouring (eliminating that "gummy" smile!). After conducting a thorough examination and consultation, we can create a customized treatment plan to help you get that new smile!

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I'd like to get my teeth whitened. What are my options? Will it make my teeth sensitive?

We have the capability to provide in-office whitening for optimal results with either our KöR® procedure or "ZOOM! Advanced Power" one-hour professional teeth whitening system. We recommend custom tray bleaching for 2 weeks prior to the in-office appointment . This prepares the teeth to best accept the powerful whitening product and produces a real "WOW" effect. If you would like a more economical yet prescription strength alternative, we also offer a professionally-supervised custom take-home whitening system. Both techniques are individually tailored for each patient and both will give a brighter, whiter, and more beautiful smile.

Sensitivity following bleaching is a possibility. However, the advances in whitening products have greatly decreased this problem. Most often, people have only slight sensitivity or none at all. If there is sensitivity, it always goes away with a little time.

One telltale sign that it is a good time for you to whiten your teeth is if you are embarrassed to smile because of the color of your teeth. Yellowish-brown teeth are the result of years of coffee, tea, or cola drinking and/or smoking. There is no reason to suffer any embarrassment because of the shade of your teeth! There is an easy way to whiten your teeth! Try it - you'll be glad you did!

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Why do I need a crown? I just want a filling instead.

A tooth that has been diagnosed for treatment with a crown (cap) has either had a root canal, has a deep fracture, or has lost extensive tooth structure due to decay or trauma. By restoring these types of problem teeth with crowns, you are able to keep the tooth protected under the crown. A crown completely covers and protects the tooth, holding it together; while a filling fills in defects in a tooth but relies on the tooth to give it strength. Teeth that need crowns aren�t generally healthy enough to support a large filling long-term. Crowns can be beautiful and very durable restorations and often times are the only option to be able to save a tooth.

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I really don't like visiting the dentist. Is there anything you can do to help me relax?

We strive to create a relaxing atmosphere by understanding your concerns so that we can help alleviate them. We offer nitrous oxide or a prescription sedative before treatments for patients who are extremely anxious. We also have wall-mounted televisions in every operatory, headphones, very soft blankets and a dentist with really small hands...all to make your procedures more comfortable and relaxing.

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Do you accept referrals?

Yes we do. We are always looking forward to seeing new patients so we can provide the same excellent level of dentistry we provide to our existing patients. When you recommend a family member or friend to us, we believe it is one of the highest compliments you can give. Thank you!

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Does your office accept my insurance?

Our office does file insurance forms and accepts insurance assignment for many insurance policies. All policies are different and it is best to call the office and let us help you understand your particular policy and its limitations. Some policies give you a list of dentists that they contract with. Dr. Kenny does not participate with these plans because they are often restrictive in the quality of care that can be delivered. However, many of these type policies will still pay a benefit for services provided by dentists not on their list. And, with almost all policies, your insurance will pay a portion, but you will have an amount that is your responsibility. Our office will gladly estimate your portion prior to treatment.

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What payment options do you provide?

If you have dental insurance, we accept your insurance payment, thereby leaving you responsible only for the portion that the insurance doesn't pay. For that amount and for all other payment needs, we accept cash, personal checks, Mastercard, Visa and Discover. We are also pleased to offer financing through Capital One, including some plans which are interest-free to the patient.

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