General Dentistry FAQs
Checkups, cleanings, children’s care, oral hygiene at home – there’s a lot that goes into general dentistry and the essentials that help patients enjoy healthy smiles for life. Below, you can find plenty of information about the best ways to keep your teeth happy, as well as some basic bits and bobs about the practice itself. Still confused? Our team members would love to talk to you here in Irving, TX.
When did your name change? Is this still Dr. Smith's office?
With the dawn of the new century and the addition of Dr. Jeff M. Roy to our practice, we decided to adopt a new name to celebrate our innovative technology, additional staff, and office transformation.
I see other "21st Century Dental" offices. Are you guys part of a franchise?
Absolutely not! We are an individual practice and do not belong to any franchise or corporate groups. From a legal perspective, we own the trademark for "21st Century Dental.” In fact, if you see any others with this name, you might pass along this little nugget to us. :-)
What makes you different than any other dental practice I can visit?
If you choose to visit us, you will not have to ask that question. In our most humble opinion, nowhere on this planet will you find an atmosphere that combines a sincere, amiable staff attitude in a posh, eclectic, and technologically advanced setting quite like what you will find here. More importantly, we pride ourselves in our integrity. Don't look for any sales pitches here. Our concern is providing what you want or need in dental care, whether that be a winning smile or a gentle reminder that floss was not invented for emergencies.
How do I know when it's time to come in for a checkup?
Although everyone has different requirements, most of our patients return every three to six months for a routine checkup. This timeframe varies depending on your particular oral health and needs. Our computer system will generate a postcard reminder which will be mailed to you approximately one month prior to your due date. Due to the nature of computers, postal delivery systems, and (of course) human beings, it's a good idea to flag your calendar to contact us when you will be due.
What about my children? At what age do they need to see a dentist?
This varies with the child. Three is typically a good age to have them come in with Mom or Dad and sit in the chair. If they will allow us to count their teeth, they will usually cooperate enough to have their first "official" visit. However, we will never suggest doing anything that might create stress in the mind of the child.
Trauma at a young age can carry over to adulthood (as you may well know). If you wish to have your child seen prior to age three, we may refer you to a pediatric dentist. Just a preventive reminder: never let your child fall asleep with a bottle in his/her mouth containing milk or juice…only water.
My breath needs help and I brush everyday. Is it just me or is there something you can do to help?
It could, indeed, be your own imagination. This category makes up about 10% of those who feel their breath needs help. However, if you are in the other 90%, there are various things we suggest. First, there could be a health condition that contributes to your bad breath. If you have not had a recent physical with your physician of choice, we highly recommend it.
Next, we need to consider your tongue. It harbors 85% of the bacteria in your mouth. If not cleaned regularly, volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) can proliferate and create an odor you are uncomfortable with.
Regular tongue scraping with an instrument made for that task is helpful. Another method for ridding your mouth of those VSCs is by rinsing regularly with a stabilized chlorine dioxide mouthwash. These can be bought through our office. Unfortunately, the three companies who make them are all multilevel organizations, so the stores do not carry these.
One recent discovery is the use of an herbal combination called "Tooth and Gum Tonic," which is put together by a small company in Ohio. An independent research organization tested a variety of mouthwashes, and although the chlorine dioxides outlasted other "alcohol" mouthwashes, "Tooth and Gum Tonic" fared even better. We have this in our office as well, but we can get you the address if you wish to order it yourself.
Do I really have to floss every day?
Yep. Actually, you don't HAVE to, but if you want our advice, just get in the habit. You will keep your teeth longer, and it has been shown to increase your life expectancy by over 6 years! (If Oprah said it, it must be true.)
What is a "fee for service" dentist?
A fee-for-service dentist (like Dr. Smith and Dr. Roy) is a dentist paid directly by the patient for services provided. Treatment options and materials, as well as the time the doctor spends with you, is not controlled by an insurance group, company, or third party.
Is there a way I can ask the doctor questions directly?
During your appointment, feel free to ask the doctor any questions that you may have. If you need extended time for questions, we may suggest you reschedule for an individual consultation so you can have some uninterrupted time. If you wish to speak to one of the doctors via telephone, they are usually unavailable during working hours. Feel free to leave a message, and they will make every effort to contact you that evening. They also gladly receive e-mail messages and respond within 24 hours – sometimes within minutes!
What kind of toothbrush should I use?
Again, this can vary with each individual. In our opinion, the standard of care has become the electric (or sonic) toothbrushes. They prevent you from causing damage to susceptible tooth structure while also doing a more thorough job on the plaque than a regular toothbrush. Our favorite has recently become the Sonicare, which has a sonic action that creates a polished feel to your teeth.
Is it bad if my gums bleed after I brush my teeth?
If your hair bled, would you be concerned? Likewise, if your gums bleed, it is a sign that there is an underlying problem that needs professional attention.