FAQs

A: Many people are uncomfortable with visiting the dentist. At Bellevue Family Practice Dentistry, your comfort is our highest priority, and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. Sedation dentistry with prescription Valium may also be offered to keep you comfortable and relaxed.

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A: Millions of people struggle with halitosis, or bad breath, despite daily teeth brushing. Here is a checklist of procedures that can eliminate the problem:

  • Twice daily brushing and daily flossing and tongue cleaning
  • Regular professional cleanings
  • Careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances

However, if your hygiene is meticulous and the still problem persists, we can offer several alternative solutions.

First, we recommend using a plastic tool called a tongue scraper that cleans away bacterial build-up on your tongue, significantly alleviating odor. Or, we can recommend a specially-prepared rinse or toothpaste designed to actually breakdown the odor-causing sulfur bonds that cause bad breath. Finally, we may suspect a systemic or internal problem, such as an infection or underlying condition, in which case we may recommend a visit with your family physician or specialist to identify the cause.

 

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A: If Dr. Smith or Dr. Ellingson recommend a crown, it is likely either to correct a broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). The decay in your tooth eats away healthy tooth structure much like rust eats away at metal. If not removed, decay will deteriorate the tooth to the point where extraction is the only viable treatment option. Sometimes, decay is removed, leaving healthy tooth structure but not much of it. A crown can then be placed, restoring the look and function of your tooth, while allowing you to keep your natural, underlying tooth structure. Most crowns are precision-milled porcelain or full metal (gold or silver) and are individually customized for each application in each patient, giving you a natural, long-lasting smile.

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A: Yes, we do offer digital X-rays (radiographs). Digital radiographs use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film-based X-rays. You will find that at Bellevue Family Practice Dentistry, we research the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that promote your overall health, safety, and comfort.

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A: Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and in adults by halting tooth decay. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation. Fluoride is a safe chemical component when used correctly. When your dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam, that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use any of the professional strength fluoride varnish, gel, or foam products carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

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A: You are not alone. Most people want to have a nice smile since it is the first thing others notice about you. You may be interested in a few minor adjustments or may have concerns that need more attention. Some smiles can be enhanced with simple whitening or bonding treatments. Other smiles need porcelain veneers, crowns, or bridges; gum contouring; periodontal therapy; or, a combination of all these techniques. Drs. Smith and Ellingson will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals, your areas of concern, and on the overall condition of your oral health. Contact Bellevue Family Practice Dentistry for a complimentary smile evaluation today to determine what course of action will produce the best solution for you.

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A: Losing a back tooth will darken your overall smile, making it look smaller and narrower. Your smile will appear to stop short, and the look will be exaggerated if your missing tooth has teeth on both sides of it. Function during chewing will be reduced, and function of many teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth. When you are missing a tooth, you compensate by chewing differently, putting pressure on different parts of your mouth. This can cause your other teeth to shift, creating gaps and spaces, and may even cause fractures that result in additional tooth loss or the need for restorations.

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A: By replacing missing teeth either with a bridge or implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and will restore your smile to its beautiful, full appearance. A bridge is one solution for replacing a tooth. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, Drs. Smith and Ellingson will place a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile. A dental implant is also an excellent solution. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Once the post has bonded to the bone, it can act as a new, solid support for a natural-looking, porcelain restoration. Implants can replace a single tooth or an entire set of teeth, offering more function and permanence than traditional dentures.

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A: Your first visit to Bellevue Family Practice Dentistry is the start of a close, long-term relationship with your dentist and your dental team. Not only will these assessments help us get to know you better, but also they will allow the team to get a complete picture of your dental and overall health. This information will provide the groundwork for your personalized treatment options.

Your visit will include:

  • Digital radiographs (X-rays)
  • Periodontal and restorative evaluation
  • Oral cancer screening
  • TMJ evaluation
  • Intraoral exam and photos
  • Professional hygiene treatment

 

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A: Over the years, patients have given us the compliment of referring family and friends to our practice. Our reputation for excellent dental care depends on two things: our good work and your beautiful smile! Your confidence in our care motivates us to continue to strive for excellence. Thank you for your referrals; new patients are always welcome. Your trust and support are greatly appreciated.

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A: Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth, but don’t remember when the injury occurred, damaged their teeth while they were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip, crack, and even break. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth, we recommend a dental appliance called a nightguard. A custom-fitted nightguard protects your teeth from grinding and clenching in your sleep. Drs. Smith and Ellingson take great care in making sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Do you suffer from headaches? You may find that a side benefit of your nightguard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask us about having a nightguard custom created especially for you.

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A: Yes, we do offer monthly payment plans through our financial partner, CareCredit™. We provide a variety of ways for you to pay for your treatment so that it fits comfortably into your personal or family financial goals. The Bellevue Family Practice Dentistry team works with you to create the solution that best accommodates you so you can have the beautiful, healthy smile you have always desired.

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A: Helping to make your dental care financially comfortable and affordable is important. We accept cash, check, or credit card on the day that treatment is rendered. For those requiring extensive treatment, you may prefer to secure CareCredit™ financing, which offers 0{4fb31441715dd4ed6053158ad71a0484ff2bdcc68a38a86edf59628d940ddc96} financing for 12 months.

Additionally, we are happy to estimate fees and insurance reimbursement before your recommended treatments begin, and we will gladly file insurance forms for you. Optimal, comprehensive dentistry is what we practice, and we do not base our treatment on what insurance will or will not pay. We base our treatment on what is best for you, and any treatment not paid by insurance is your financial responsibility.

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A: It is certainly not desirable to have bleeding gums following brushing. However, the condition may or may not require attention, depending on the source of the problem. Bleeding gums can be caused by any of the following: improper, rough “scrubbing” instead of gentle, circular brushing motions; using a hard-bristled toothbrush instead of a soft one; plaque and/or tartar build-up below the gum line; or, gum sensitivity due to gingivitis or periodontal disease. If this problem persists despite correct brushing and flossing methods, or if it occurs every time you brush, contact Bellevue Family Practice Dentistry today to set-up an evaluation appointment.

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A: Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed, often times bleeding during brushing or flossing. If treated in a timely manner, these conditions can be reversed, preventing periodontal disease from developing. Periodontitis, however, is much more difficult to treat.

Periodontitis affects your gums, bone, and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive and specialized treatment from your general dentist or even from a periodontist. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss – teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t catch periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.

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A: Most dental pain brought on by chewing is caused by a fracture, or crack, in the tooth. The pain can be corrected by placing a porcelain crown or with more advanced treatment. You want to correct the pain as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth. Contact Bellevue Family Practice Dentistry today to schedule a visit.

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A: Porcelain veneers improve your smile by correcting a multitude of cosmetic concerns, including: gaps in teeth; chipped and broken teeth; dull or yellowing teeth that cannot be whitened by traditional means; “gummy smiles” (showing too much gum when one smiles); and, crooked teeth. Porcelain veneers broaden, straighten, whiten, and beautify most any smile. This procedure can be done in as little as two clinical visits. Many of our patients feel like this was the best improvement they could have made for their overall confidence. Ask us about how porcelain veneers can improve your smile at your next visit, or send us an email.

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A: Dentist-directed, at-home whitening is a very effective way of brightening your smile. Your Bellevue dentist customizes your whitening treatment to ensure your happiness with the results.

Your custom home-whitening kit involves special trays that are tailored to fit over your teeth. You also receive prescription whitening gel, which is inserted into the tray before you wear it. Drs. Smith and Ellingson give you detailed instructions about how long you should wear the tray each day, and you should expect the entire home-whitening process to take between two and four weeks, leaving you with a dazzling, white smile.

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A: Plaque is a film that blankets your teeth and creates an environment in which bacteria create acids. The bacteria and acids can erode tooth enamel, cause gum irritation, infect inner structures, such as the pulp and roots, and in extreme cases, cause tooth loss.

Some of the biggest culprits causing plaque are foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates, including soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, some juices, candy, and many kinds of starches including pastas, crackers, breads, and cereals.

Plaque also can attack fillings and other restorations in your mouth, which can lead to more costly treatment down the road.

Plaque is one of the biggest causes for tooth decay. It also causes your gums to become irritated, inflamed, and in some cases, bleed. Over time, the decay process may cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, a condition called recession. In addition, the long-term decay process can lead to infections in your gums and can eat away at the bone structures under the teeth.

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A: Saliva is one of your body’s natural defenses against plaque because it rinses your mouth of cavity-causing bacteria and other harmful materials. Dry mouth (also called Xerostomia) is a fairly common condition that is caused by diminished saliva production. The most common cause of dry mouth is a variety of medications. Also, people with medical conditions, such as diabetes, are often plagued by dry mouth. Eating certain foods, tobacco use, and treatments such as cancer therapy can also diminish the body’s production of saliva, leading to dry mouth. Other causes are related to aging (including rheumatoid arthritis) and compromised immune systems.

Some of the less alarming results of dry mouth include bad breath. But, dry mouth can lead to more serious problems, including tooth and root decay, gum disease, and burning mouth syndrome – a painful condition caused by lack of moisture on the soft tissues of the oral cavity.

If dry mouth isn’t readily apparent, you may experience other conditions that dry mouth can cause, including an overly-sensitive tongue, chronic thirst, or even difficulty in speaking.

If you do not have a medical condition that causes it, dry mouth can be minimized by sipping water regularly, by chewing gum, and by avoiding smoking. Of course, there is no substitute for regular check-ups and good oral hygiene.

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A: Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is often viewed as a harmless, though annoying, habit. Some people develop bruxism from an inability to deal with stress or anxiety. Teeth grinding can alter your bite relationship and worse, severely damage your teeth and jaw joints (TMJ) over long periods of time.
Teeth grinding can cause wear (attrition) to the chewing surfaces of your teeth. This abnormal wear and tear can prematurely break teeth, fillings, and may loosen your teeth. Hypersensitivity from the small cracks that form, exposing your dentin, may also result from bruxing. Bruxism can also lead to chronic jaw and facial pain, as well as headaches.

If no one has told you that you grind your teeth, here are a few clues that you may suffer from bruxism:

  • Your jaw is often sore, or you hear popping sounds when you open and close your mouth.
  • Your bite may feel “off” when biting in the morning, which may slowly correct itself throughout the day.
  • Your teeth look abnormally short or worn down.
  • You notice small dents in your tongue.

Fortunately, bruxism is manageable. A common therapy involves use of a special appliance worn while sleeping (a nightguard). Less intrusive, though just as effective methods, could involve biofeedback and behavior modification, such as tongue exercises and learning how to properly align your tongue, teeth, and lips.

 

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