Frequently Asked Questions and Quick Facts for Prevention
When should my child first see a dentist?
We like to start seeing your child soon after his or her 2nd birthday. We don’t expect too much
from the first visit, but want to give your child a chance to get comfortable with his or her dental
home. It also allows for us to have a discussion about nutrition and good food and drink habits.
Early examination and preventative care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are made of a plastic, resin filling material. This material is applied to the
chewing surfaces of the back teeth, premolars and molars, and bonds into the depressions and
grooves (pits and fissures). Sealants act as a barrier, protecting enamel from cavity causing
bacteria and acids.
Thorough brushing and flossing help to remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces
of teeth. But, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to
extract food and bacteria. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” bacteria and
Why do I need x-rays?
Dental radiographs (x-rays) are an important tool to show us the condition of your teeth, roots,
bone, and surrounding tissues. They also allow us to detect periodontal disease, tooth or tissue
abscesses, abnormal growths, and can pinpoint locations of tooth decay. Think of dental
radiographs as a dental magnifying glass, allowing us to detect minor changes and conditions
before they become major problems.
Frequently Asked Questions and Quick Facts for Restorations
I have a space between my two front teeth. How can it be closed?
There are several ways in which this can be corrected.
1. Orthodontics is often the most conservative way
2. Cosmetic Bonding
3. Porcelain veneers
What is a crown?
A dental crown is a custom created natural looking “cap” that is placed over a tooth. The crown
covers the tooth and restores its shape, size, strength, and can improve the tooth’s appearance.
Crowns can be fabricated entirely from porcelain, from a mixture of porcelain and metal (PFM),
or from all gold. When cemented into place, the crown fully encases the visible portion of the
tooth and sits at the level of the gum tissue.
Why would I need a dental crown?
To protect a weak tooth, due to extensive dental decay or cracking
To restore a broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
To cover and support a tooth with a large filling if there isn’t a lot of natural tooth
To stop a cracked tooth from completely splitting
To hold a dental bridge and/or partial denture in place
To enhance the cosmetic appearance of discolored or misshapen teeth
To restore dental implants
How long do dental crowns last?
The life span of a crown depends a lot on how well the crown is maintained. Impeccable home
care is the key to a long-lasting crown. Things that can decrease the life-expectancy of a crown
include the amount of “wear and tear” the crown is exposed to, poor home oral hygiene practices,
and personal mouth-related habits like grinding or clenching teeth, chewing ice, biting
fingernails, and using teeth to open packages. Under ideal circumstances it is common to get 20
or more years out of a crown. However, with poor maintenance, a crown may last less than 5
How would I know if I have a cracked tooth?
Some cracked teeth have no symptoms. However, given enough time, a cracked tooth will
usually exhibit a sharp pain with cold, hot, and/or chewing. This pain may come and go over
time. It is important to diagnose a crack before it goes too far and the tooth splits. To help
decrease the aggravation of the tooth it is best to avoid eating hard foods and to chew on the
opposite side of your mouth.
Teeth can crack due to a number of factors, the most common being
biting on hard objects such as hard candy, ice, nuts or even crunchy foods like a carrot
grinding or clenching teeth (especially when sleeping)
a severe hit, or trauma to the mouth
Spotting a crack on a tooth can be challenging, as some hairline fractures are too small to be seen
without a microscope. By asking the right questions and by running a few tests on the teeth, Dr
Eggert should be able to determine if and where you have a cracked tooth. Sometimes the nerve
tissue in a cracked tooth becomes irreversibly inflamed and root canal therapy may be necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions and Quick Facts for Dental Disease
What is decay or a cavity?
Decay is caused by bacteria living in the mouth. The bacteria eat away at the tooth surface and
cause a cavitation in the tooth. The bacteria that cause decay are always present, but can become
especially active with certain food and drink. Sugary and acidic foods make the teeth especially
vulnerable to the decay-causing bacteria.
To prevent decay, follow our recommended home hygiene regimen and come for regular dental
visits to our office. Should you still get decay, we can repair the tooth a number of ways
depending on your situation.
What is periodontal (gum) disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It
is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because periodontal disease is usually painless, you may
not know you have it.
Periodontal disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the
teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums. In the early stage of periodontal
disease, called gingivitis, the gums can become red, swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the
disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by good daily brushing and flossing
In the more advanced stages of periodontal disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that
support the teeth can become seriously damaged. The teeth can become loose, fall out, or have
to be removed by a dentist.
We can help you fight and treat periodontal disease. By following our recommended home
hygiene regimen and with regular visits to our office, this disease can be kept under control.
What is involved in root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is treatment for a tooth abscess or for a tooth with irreversibly inflamed
nerve tissue. Treatment often takes anywhere from one to three visits. Initially, the treatment is
a lot like getting a filling done. The tooth will be put to sleep and a rubber dam isolation unit
will be placed around the tooth. During treatment, the diseased pulp is removed from the tooth.
The pulp chamber and root canal(s) inside the tooth are then cleaned, sterilized, and sealed. The
tooth generally requires more treatment after the root canal treatment is completed with a crown
or a filling.