Here you will find answers to questions commonly asked by our patients. To have your specific questions answered, schedule an appointment in Fairfield at
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Gum recession is usually the cause. As gum tissue shrinks, it exposes a portion of the tooth’s root, not protected by a hard layer of enamel. Underlying dentin transmits sensation from temperature, liquids, and foods to nerves. We can design a customized program of special toothpastes, gels, and dental procedures (for severe cases) to help you smile comfortably.
How can you avoid tooth decay and gum disease?
A healthy mouth starts at home. By brushing after meals (at least twice a day) and flossing before bedtime, you dramatically reduce bacterial plaque that leads to cavities and gum disease. Regular cleanings and checkups at Drs. Patel and Dornhecker Dentistry are essential to maintaining oral health and intercepting problems early, when they may be treated with minimal discomfort and expense.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease. It occurs when oral bacteria irritate and inflame gum tissues, often resulting in bleeding gums when you brush. During your regular recall appointments, our hygiene team checks for the presence of gingivitis. They remove plaque and tartar, and provide instructions for home care to reverse gingivitis and maintain gum health.
What do I need to know about periodontal disease?
If gingivitis is not treated, it progresses into periodontitis – often quietly with few early symptoms. As the condition worsens, you can expect:
- Foul breath
- Receding gum
- Acidic foods to cause gum sensitivity
- Loose teeth and eventually tooth loss
How is gum disease treated?
Periodontal disease is a chronic condition that requires immediate and ongoing attention. However, it can be controlled with a careful program of periodontal cleanings, deep cleanings (scaling and root planing), laser therapy, and local antibiotics. In most cases, we can manage gum disease without the need for periodontal surgery.
Why are some fillings silver and some white?
Silver-colored amalgam fillings have been used in this country since the mid-1800s. At one time, this metal alloy was believed to be the best material for repair of tooth decay. Today’s patients have the option of composite resin fillings. This compound of tooth-colored plastic and glass polymers blends beautifully with existing tooth structure, so your filling is undetectable. Composite resin fillings are strong and durable, so they can be placed at any location in the mouth.
I want a more attractive smile. What can I do?
Our dentists understand that your smile, goals, lifestyle, budget, and schedule are unique. We create individualized smile makeovers including treatments such as:
- Teeth whitening
- Dental bonding
- Porcelain veneers
- Porcelain crowns
- Dental implants
- Implant dentures
The first step is to call one of our offices to schedule a consultation – Fairfield (513) 815-3166
, or Bridgetown (513) 815-3188
What should I know about teeth whitening?
Professional teeth whitening is a safe, cost-effective way to brighten your smile. With the oversight of a trained dental team and medical grade products, years of stains from coffee, tea, cola, wine, and tobacco are erased, with long-lasting results. By adding fluoride to the whitening agent, risk of tooth and gum sensitivity is minimized. Your dazzling smile starts with a hygiene cleaning and comprehensive examination at Drs. Patel and Dornhecker Dentistry. Meanwhile, a good rule of thumb to keep teeth white – if it would stain a white tee shirt, it’ll stain your teeth!
What is dental bonding?
The same composite resin material used for fillings is an economical fix for many cosmetic flaws. We use bonding to close gaps between teeth, improve shape or size, and hide stubborn discoloration. Treatment takes an hour or less per tooth. The material is strong and durable, but remember that, just like natural tooth enamel, it will eventually stain from darkly-pigmented beverages.
Are porcelain veneers right for me?
These thin layers of porcelain are bonded to the front surfaces of teeth. Veneers alter the appearance of shape, size, alignment, and color of teeth. Veneers are an excellent choice to mask chips and fractures, or discoloration from medication or aging. You can have a whiter, straighter, more uniform smile in just two visits.
What is a dental crown?
A crown is a dental restoration that covers all surfaces of tooth, below the gum line. A crown is usually made of tooth-colored porcelain, and is bonded permanently in place. This is a two-visit procedure. Crowns have many restorative and cosmetic uses.
Do I need a dental implant?
If you are missing a tooth, several, or a whole arch, the answer is probably yes. An implant is a man made replacement for a tooth root. This tiny titanium screw is placed into the jawbone in a brief oral surgical procedure with little discomfort. Over time, bone fuses with the implant, creating a solid foundation for a dental crown. Several implants can be used to anchor a denture. A dental implant:
- Looks and feels natural, and functions like your own tooth.
- Is a permanent solution for a missing tooth.
- Does not compromise healthy teeth (a bridge requires alteration of adjacent teeth).
- Requires no special care – just normal good oral hygiene and regular checkups.
- Helps to maintain healthy bone density for a full, youthful facial appearance.
- Reduces risk of periodontal disease, tooth movement, and future tooth loss.
Multiple dental implants can take the place of a bridge, removable partial denture, or full denture. With modern advances in this field, most patients are suitable candidates.
What is the dental implant procedure?
The process usually requires three visits for:
- Referral to a surgeon for a consultation and placement of the implant.
- After 4-6 months of osseointergration, removal of the healing cap and impressions for a custom abutment and crown.
- Three weeks later, the seat of the final custom abutment and crown.
How long will my dental implant last?
A dental implant is the longest lasting tooth replacement method modern dentistry has to offer. With routine hygiene and examination appointments and proper home care, a dental implant can easily last 30 years – or a lifetime!
What is the cost of a dental implant?
Cost depends on a variety of factors including your oral health and complexity of the implant placement. Please schedule an implant consultation for a candid explanation of the procedure and fees involved.
Is financing for dental services available?
Please see our New Patients page for information on payment options and treatment financing. Dr. Patel, Dr. Dornhecker, and the entire team are here to help you make your dream smile a reality.