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Visiting the Dentist FAQ

Visiting the Dentist

• Why you made the appointment - check-up or problem
• Whether your teeth or gums are sensitive to hot, cold or sweet things
• Have you had a bad taste in your mouth or bleeding gums
• Are any teeth bite or chew sensitive, or does food accumulate between your teeth
• Any new information about your medical health, from allergies to medicine you are taking

You have just experienced one of a number of common misunderstandings we see in dentistry today. Terminology used in dentistry is not 100% uniform throughout our profession. Both dentists were probably "correct".
The word "cap" as used in dentistry by different dentists can refer to a number of different things. A pulp cap refers to a calcium containing dressing placed under a deep filling to stimulate healing. A full crown, made by a dental laboratory which completely covers the outside of your tooth is frequently called a cap. A partly broken tooth may be built up by your dentist in the office with a bonded filling material. This is called a cap or ""capping"" by some dentists. This sounds like what you probably had done.

• Prevention: regular appointments give the dental team the opportunity to anticipate any problems and make sure the patient is doing their best to maintain his/her dental health.
• Minimal intervention: coming in regularly enables the dentist to catch any problems while they are still small and avoid major treatment.
• New advances: dentistry is advancing at a great speed - there may be new innovations since the last visit that could benefit the patient.
• Feelgood factor: it feels good to know one's teeth are healthy.
• Cosmetic effect: regular dental/hygiene appointments keep teeth clean and polished, particularly for those patients who have difficulty keeping their own teeth clean.
• Value for money: patients on dental health insurance schemes get better value for money if they attend regularly, as well as avoiding problems, which saves money and time for the dentist too.
• How often: It is now widely recognised that patients have different needs and may need to see the dentist at different intervals. Everyone, whether they have any natural teeth of their own or not, should see a dentist at least once a year.

Dental technology has come a long way in recent years. If you have a new cavity that requires a filling, there is ""new"" air abrasive equipment which replaces the drill for removing decay. It is quick, silent and in most cases you do not need a shot of anesthetic because there is no heat or vibration to cause pain.
Air abrasion theory has been around in dentistry since the fifties but has only recently become practical to use because of downsizing of equipment and the development of filling materials which can be used with the new way of preparing teeth for fillings.
Our patients love it. For youngsters who are experiencing their first cavity, it is a great way to go - no noise, no needle, no pain! It won't work for all cavities, but with your dislike of the drill, you should certainly see a dentist who uses this technology.

We often have questions about pre-operative instructions. Our office has prepared the following list of instructions for our patients.
1. If you have morning surgery, do not eat or drink anything after mid-night the night before.
2. If you have afternoon surgery, do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before surgery.
3. A responsible adult must be with you during your entire stay with us and be available to drive you home. This person may not leave the office at any time while you are here without special permission from the doctor.
4. All minors must have a parent or legal guardian to sign a permit or consent form for oral and Dentistry surgery.
5. Plan to be in the office for approximately one hour. Appointments are made for a precise time but in the practice of oral and Dentistry surgery, delays are sometimes unavoidable.
6. Do brush your teeth and cleanse your mouth the morning of your surgery to help avoid infection.
7. Wear loose clothing with short sleeves. Please, no turtlenecks!
8. Do not wear contact lenses.
9. Do not wear eye makeup, heavy face makeup, wigs or hairpieces.
10. If you are prevented from keeping your appointment, please notify this office as soon as possible.
11. Have a pillow, light blanket, trash can liner, and a box of Kleenex in the car.
Have an ice pack available for use at home.
12. Prescriptions and post-operative instructions will be given on the day of surgery. In addition an appointment for a post-operative visit will be made.

Our office has prepared the following list of post-operative instructions for our patients.
Fold two 2x2 gauze pads and place over the extraction site (sites). Gently bite to apply pressure for 20 to 30 minutes. The pad should be thick enough that the front teeth do not touch. This is the best way to stop bleeding and should be repeated as often as needed. Rest with head elevated until bleeding stops. Do not expectorate (spit). Expectoration increases bleeding.
To prevent post-operative infection one should maintain good oral hygiene. Starting 24 hours after surgery rinse mouth with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon salt in 8 oz. of warm water) 4 to 6 times a day and brush teeth after meals and at bedtime. Avoid vigorous rinsing and sucking on the wound. These actions increase bleeding.
Swelling will become progressively worse after 3 days, and may not subside completely for 10 days. The application of ice packs during the first 24 hours may help reduce swelling. Apply for 20 to 30 minutes then switch sides. Do not go to sleep with ice pack in place and be sure to wrap accordingly. A towel placed over a pillow is helpful to prevent staining.
Good nutrition is necessary for proper healing. Following oral and Dentistry surgery it is often necessary to take a liquid or semi-liquid diet of soups, jello, puddings, custards, and blenderized foods. Smaller multiple meals help one to consume adequate nutrition.
Smoking is detrimental to your health and healing after oral and Dentistry surgery. Do not smoke.
Post-operative pain should be expected and may be most severe the first day. It will diminish each day thereafter.
Take any medications prescribed by our doctor as indicated on the label. Do not drive or do anything dangerous if you are taking pain medication. Nausea is a common side effect of pain medications.
A low grade fever is common after oral and Dentistry surgery. Contact the office for temperature of 100 degrees or above.
Commercial mouthrinses
Commercial mouthwashes should be diluted 1/2 by water.
Avoid exercise until clearance is given our doctor. If you received a general anesthetic or sedation do not drive, return to work, or return to school the day of your surgery.
Any difficulty which you consider abnormal contact our office immediately.

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