Richton Dental Care

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

Choosing a healthcare provider for your family is a big decision, and we respect that. 

You probably have a lot of questions about our practice, dentistry in general, and your own dental health in particular. 

No question is ever small or silly, and we welcome them here at Richton Dental Care. We will always be upfront and honest about your health and your treatment while remaining respectful and compassionate. 

We've collected a few of the questions we hear most often. If your question is answered here, fantastic! If not, or you would like more information, please call our office today or send us an email so we can help!

Other

Ouch! 

You are probably in a lot of discomfort right now, so we'll get right to the point – yes, your tooth can be saved, but you need to act quickly. 

Here's what you need to do right now: 

  1. See if you can find the tooth. We have to have the tooth if we are going to save it.
  2. Gently rinse (without scrubbing!) the tooth to remove any debris. Scrubbing will remove fragile tissue fragments that we need, so use caution. 
  3. Once the tooth is clean, hold it in your mouth beneath your tongue or between your cheek and your gum.
  4. While you may have heard that you should replace the tooth in the socket, this can actually lead to further damage. Please don't attempt this.
  5. If the tooth cannot be held in the mouth, wrap it in clean gauze or keep it in a container of milk. 

Prompt treatment is necessary for us to save the tooth. Call us as soon as your injury occurs so we can get you in as quickly as possible. 

In the event your tooth cannot be saved, we can discuss options to replace the tooth, including dental implants or a bridge. Your long-term health and comfort are always important to us. 

A hard night guard is proven to be the better option for most patients.  The reason is that a soft night guard makes the mouth and muscles want to chew on it at night time as if it were a piece of gum.  This chewing can leave the mouth sore the next morning.  Hard night guards also generally last longer than soft night guards as hard ones can take more of a beating.

However, some patients do not find hard night guards comfortable and will not wear them.  For these patients, soft night guards might make sense as the guard is still protecting the teeth.  Generally for these patients, we pay extra close attention for the first few weeks to make sure that the jaw and the jaw muscles are adapting well to the mouth guard.

The most common reason to replace a silver filling is that the tooth develops another cavity or if the tooth has chipped or cracked. Usually a cavity will show up on a visual exam or on a x-ray and can be fixed quickly before the damage spreads. In cases of chips and cracks, these may show up before as small crack lines in a tooth and whether the tooth needs to be repaired is determined on a case by case basis.

Another common reason to replace silver fillings is due to the look of the silver filling. While this is a fine reason, Dr. Darby encourages each of his patients to decide if the silver filling is easy to see or if only the dentist, you, and your significant other can see it. Often silver fillings are placed on the back teeth or molars where it is difficult to see in a conversation. If the silver filling does show in your smile, it is a great reason to have it replaced with a white filling. However, replacing silver fillings with white fillings can cause prolonged sensitivity or the possible need for a further treatment if the tooth's nerve is damaged. Whenever a tooth has surgical treatment done to it like a filling, the tooth is damaged and may take some time to heal up properly.

The third common reason is fear of the toxicity of silver fillings. The media such as Dr. Oz have made much money fear mongering and convincing many people to have all their sturdy silver fillings replaced out of fear of any number of illness. Dr. Darby does not believe that there is any substantiated link between amalgam fillings and health problems.  While Dr. Darby will removed and replace silver fillings for cosmetic purposes, he highly discourages replacing them due to fear. Replacing white fillings in a person's mouth not only costs money the first time it is done, but as most white fillings do not last as long as silver fillings, they are more expensive to maintain as they need to be replaced more often.

If you are concerned about your silver fillings, please call us today and Dr. Darby and his team will be happy to discuss your options.

Sensitive teeth can make it difficult to enjoy your favorite cold or hot treats. The first thing to do if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity is to call our office and schedule an evaluation with Dr. Darby so we can rule out problematic culprits like decay or periodontal disease. 

In the meantime, we recommend brushing with a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. The active ingredient in most sensitivity toothpastes is either strontium chloride or potassium nitrate. Both of these compounds are highly effective when it comes to reducing dental sensitivity. After using the product for a couple of weeks, you should notice a real improvement in your level of sensitivity.

Certain foods and drinks can impede the effectiveness of sensitivity toothpastes, particularly foods that are high in acid such as citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, grapefruit) and beverages like tea and soda. These foods are also likely to increase your level of sensitivity.

If you aren't achieving any relief with a sensitivity toothpaste, please let us know. In-office products are available that we can apply at your appointment. These products will reduce, if not completely eliminate, your sensitivity. Products containing a higher level of fluoride are also often appropriate, and we are happy to recommend one if needed.

Saliva is one of the ways your body helps to keep your mouth clean of bacteria and food particles. At night, however, saliva production slows down. This allows bacteria to build up over night and contributes to the odor that many of us think of as "morning breath." 

What you are smelling is sulfur compounds created by the bacteria on your tongue and in your teeth breaking down remaining food particles. It dissipates once you are up and moving around and saliva production kicks into a higher gear, essentially rinsing the compounds away.

Brushing and flossing before bed helps to reduce morning breath by reducing bacteria and helping to eliminate their favorite food source – the food particles that tend to linger in your mouth. Brushing in the morning right after breakfast is also important. 

Let's be honest – it's not a lot of fun to wake up next to someone with a bad case of morning breath, and you don't want to be that person!

If your morning breath lingers throughout the day or isn't reduced by improved brushing and flossing habits, please let us know. You may be experiencing symptoms of a more severe condition, such as periodontal disease. 

Complete Dentures

It takes lots of practice. Dentures require some breaking in like a new pair of shoes. It is normal to be sore for the first few days as your gums acclimate to the new prosthesis.  Many people return once or twice to Dr. Darby in the first week for small adjustments to remove pressure spots where the gums are irritated. After this initial week, then practice becomes important. Dr. Darby recommends daily practice sessions of talking and of eating to learn how to wear the dentures. 

Talking with Dentures

The best way to learn how to talk with dentures are to pick up your favorite book or newspaper and simply read aloud to yourself. It is normal to have a slight lisp when you are first adjusting to your dentures but it will go away will practice. While many patients will quickly master speaking with their dentures, occasionally some wearers take more time.

Eating with Dentures

The biggest mistake people make when they wear their dentures for their first meal is to go eat a po boy or a steak. These foods are literally too tough to learn how to chew properly. Starting with these foods is like trying to run a marathon on your first day of exercise in a long time. The best foods to practice eating are foods that can be easily cut with a plastic spoon. Dr. Darby recommends foods like eggs, red beans and rice, fish, spaghetti, and bananas. Learning how to eat right with dentures is a slow process and may take a few weeks or months to master well. Keep practicing each day.

Dentures are much like cars. Some people replace their cars because they want a better or prettier one. Others replace cars when the car starts getting worn down and not working as well as it did brand new. Many people will even wait until their car breaks down and is no longer functioning to decide it's time for a new model. Dentures are the same way.

 

Dr. Darby recommends replacing a denture every 5 to 10 years. Over time, the mouth with no teeth will change shape and the denture will no longer fit as comfortably as they once did. Also, while dentures are made from strong materials, it is still plastic, and plastic does wear down and break. When the teeth and denture wears down, wrinkles become more prominent, the lips and cheeks sink in, and the overall face seems to shrink giving an older appearance. A new set of dentures can add vitality to your face and to your smile.

Lower dentures can be difficult to wear and are the source of many headaches with denture wearers. Many dentists shy away from doing dentures altogether due to the common complaints with lower dentures. While most denture wearers adjust to their lower dentures, many simply carry it around in their pocket or leave it on their night stand.

The biggest reason why the lower denture is uncomfortable is because it doesn't "suck" like the upper denture. The shape of the upper jaw and palate allow the upper denture to have some suction and stay in place on the upper palate. The lower jaw is U-shaped and very rarely provides any suction and relies on the bony ridge to secure it. If you have bone loss, which is common with tooth loss, you many not have sufficient enough of a ridge to support your lower denture effectively.

The second reason is that there are more muscles around a lower denture which can move it around side to side. The tongue is right next to the lower denture and is a powerful muscle that has to learn new habits to adapt to it. Also, the cheek muscles and chewing muscles which attach to the lower jaw can lift the denture and push it out of place.

Yes, your smile will look natural. 

Many cheaper dentures have teeth only come in one or two colors with only three or four sizes of teeth. Also, the gums are bright pink and flat which adds to the phony appearance. While these dentures can pass muster for quick smile between strangers, friends and family will be able to notice the fakeness. The teeth will look like unnaturally straight and monotone chiclets that stick out from the gums.

 

Dr. Darby will customize your denture not only to fit your mouth but find the right size and shape of teeth so that your smile does not look "generic." The newer denture teeth can have a similar shine and color as natural teeth and the gums can be matched to look like your own gums. Also, most people don't realize that straight or "perfect" teeth don't always look the most natural on everyone. Sometimes it's the imperfections that make a smile unique and real. Dr. Darby gives his patients the option between perfectly straight "Hollywood" teeth or a more natural appearance. We create dentures that will make you feel good about the way you look. Patients leave our office smiling with their new dentures!

Composite Tooth-Colored Fillings

The most common reason to replace a silver filling is that the tooth develops another cavity or if the tooth has chipped or cracked. Usually a cavity will show up on a visual exam or on a x-ray and can be fixed quickly before the damage spreads. In cases of chips and cracks, these may show up before as small crack lines in a tooth and whether the tooth needs to be repaired is determined on a case by case basis.

Another common reason to replace silver fillings is due to the look of the silver filling. While this is a fine reason, Dr. Darby encourages each of his patients to decide if the silver filling is easy to see or if only the dentist, you, and your significant other can see it. Often silver fillings are placed on the back teeth or molars where it is difficult to see in a conversation. If the silver filling does show in your smile, it is a great reason to have it replaced with a white filling. However, replacing silver fillings with white fillings can cause prolonged sensitivity or the possible need for a further treatment if the tooth's nerve is damaged. Whenever a tooth has surgical treatment done to it like a filling, the tooth is damaged and may take some time to heal up properly.

The third common reason is fear of the toxicity of silver fillings. The media such as Dr. Oz have made much money fear mongering and convincing many people to have all their sturdy silver fillings replaced out of fear of any number of illness. Dr. Darby does not believe that there is any substantiated link between amalgam fillings and health problems.  While Dr. Darby will removed and replace silver fillings for cosmetic purposes, he highly discourages replacing them due to fear. Replacing white fillings in a person's mouth not only costs money the first time it is done, but as most white fillings do not last as long as silver fillings, they are more expensive to maintain as they need to be replaced more often.

If you are concerned about your silver fillings, please call us today and Dr. Darby and his team will be happy to discuss your options.

Exams and Cleanings for Adults and Kids

While a number of conditions can be spotted during a visual exam, many other conditions develop beneath the enamel or gum tissue. If we wait until these problems are visible to the naked eye, you could be in for a great deal of discomfort and hassle! 

Instead, we rely on x-rays to help us spot developing problems as early as possible so they can be easily treated with simple, conservative treatments. 

For instance, an x-ray examination at Richton Dental Care could reveal: 

  • Bone infections or destruction
  • Periodontal disease
  • Cysts, abscesses, and other infections
  • Developmental abnormalities
  • Certain types of tumors

We value your time, and we don't waste it with overexplaining. We'll take the necessary x-rays and let you know if you we spot anything concerning as quickly and simply as possible using plain English instead of dental jargon! We put ourselves in your shoes and make sure you get the info you need to make sound decisions concerning your dental care. And, of course, we'll always answer any questions you have!

Dental x-rays use a very low amount of radiation and are quite safe. Simply put, we wouldn't use them otherwise. The benefit of having regular x-rays far outweighs any possible risk!

It's quite common for people to avoid seeing a dentist until something hurts. We usually refer to this as "crisis treatment." In the long run, however, preventive treatment will help you stay healthy. Think of it like you would car maintenance – if you skip oil changes or tune-ups, you're going to have a lot more problems down the road!

For many patients, the goal may be to save money. The problem with this is that many dental problems don't cause any type of symptoms until they are considerably advanced. At this point, it's going to take more than just a simple filling to treat the problem. Instead of root canal treatment, a build-up, and a crown, we'd much rather treat you with a filling three to four years before you feel any pain! 

It's common to see patients who haven't been to the dentist because nothing hurts and find that they have one or more huge cavities... and they have no idea!

At Richton Dental Care, we prefer to practice conservative dentistry whenever possible, and our patients prefer it too. When you see us regularly for your check-ups and professional cleanings, we can catch problems early on, when simple treatments are all it takes.

Flexible Partial Dentures

It takes lots of practice. Dentures require some breaking in like a new pair of shoes. It is normal to be sore for the first few days as your gums acclimate to the new prosthesis.  Many people return once or twice to Dr. Darby in the first week for small adjustments to remove pressure spots where the gums are irritated. After this initial week, then practice becomes important. Dr. Darby recommends daily practice sessions of talking and of eating to learn how to wear the dentures. 

Talking with Dentures

The best way to learn how to talk with dentures are to pick up your favorite book or newspaper and simply read aloud to yourself. It is normal to have a slight lisp when you are first adjusting to your dentures but it will go away will practice. While many patients will quickly master speaking with their dentures, occasionally some wearers take more time.

Eating with Dentures

The biggest mistake people make when they wear their dentures for their first meal is to go eat a po boy or a steak. These foods are literally too tough to learn how to chew properly. Starting with these foods is like trying to run a marathon on your first day of exercise in a long time. The best foods to practice eating are foods that can be easily cut with a plastic spoon. Dr. Darby recommends foods like eggs, red beans and rice, fish, spaghetti, and bananas. Learning how to eat right with dentures is a slow process and may take a few weeks or months to master well. Keep practicing each day.

Dentures are much like cars. Some people replace their cars because they want a better or prettier one. Others replace cars when the car starts getting worn down and not working as well as it did brand new. Many people will even wait until their car breaks down and is no longer functioning to decide it's time for a new model. Dentures are the same way.

 

Dr. Darby recommends replacing a denture every 5 to 10 years. Over time, the mouth with no teeth will change shape and the denture will no longer fit as comfortably as they once did. Also, while dentures are made from strong materials, it is still plastic, and plastic does wear down and break. When the teeth and denture wears down, wrinkles become more prominent, the lips and cheeks sink in, and the overall face seems to shrink giving an older appearance. A new set of dentures can add vitality to your face and to your smile.

Yes, your smile will look natural. 

Many cheaper dentures have teeth only come in one or two colors with only three or four sizes of teeth. Also, the gums are bright pink and flat which adds to the phony appearance. While these dentures can pass muster for quick smile between strangers, friends and family will be able to notice the fakeness. The teeth will look like unnaturally straight and monotone chiclets that stick out from the gums.

 

Dr. Darby will customize your denture not only to fit your mouth but find the right size and shape of teeth so that your smile does not look "generic." The newer denture teeth can have a similar shine and color as natural teeth and the gums can be matched to look like your own gums. Also, most people don't realize that straight or "perfect" teeth don't always look the most natural on everyone. Sometimes it's the imperfections that make a smile unique and real. Dr. Darby gives his patients the option between perfectly straight "Hollywood" teeth or a more natural appearance. We create dentures that will make you feel good about the way you look. Patients leave our office smiling with their new dentures!

Free Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Nitrous oxide gas, also called laughing gas, is a very mild sedative gas that acts within minutes.  The gas does not put the patient to sleep, it simply relaxes the patient and makes them happier.  Patients often confuse nitrous oxide gas sedation with IV sedation, these are not the same.  Nitrous oxide gas sedation is best used on anxious patients that are concerned about the local anesthetic injections, concerned about the loud sounds of dental procedures, or for pediatric patients.  If patients require further sedation we will refer them to the right specialists for IV sedation.  

While you are under the effect of nitrous oxide gas, you will feel less anxious, happier, and you may laugh at silly things.  You may feel some tingling in the fingers and toes, sleepiness, and "funny", these are all normal responses.  If you feel light-headed or nauseated, we will turn the gas down to ensure your comfort.  After the procedure is completed, the gas will take a few minutes to leave the body and you will feel normal again.  Using the gas does not hinder you from driving or perform normal daily activities.

Professional Teeth Whitening

It depends on your overall goals and the causes and level of your staining. 

Most whitening toothpastes rely on mild abrasives to "scrub" away surface stains. One problem with this, however, is that most problematic staining doesn't occur on the surface. Stains from food and drink penetrate the enamel and become trapped beneath it, and whitening toothpastes and other over-the-counter remedies simply can't touch these stains. Even worse, the abrasives in whitening toothpastes can actually harm the enamel, making the yellowish dentin beneath more apparent. Plus, this enamel destruction contributes to sensitivity.

If you're considering using a whitening toothpaste, we strongly recommend that you discuss your options with us first. We are happy to recommend a product that can help you remove surface stains without damaging your precious enamel. We can also discuss other options to improve the appearance of your smile, especially if your staining goes deeper. Professional teeth whitening products will actually "flush" out stains that are trapped beneath the enamel to give you the beautiful, healthy, youthful appearance you are seeking. 

Call our practice today to schedule a cleaning or a consult with Dr. Nick Darby and find out which products will help you get the results you are seeking.

After whitening is done, it is normal for the teeth to become slightly darker and reach a stable color about one week after. While many dentists prefer to do "touch-ups" or whitening when needed, Dr. Darby prefers to do regular maintenance. Much like you need to wash your car on a regular basis if you want it to always be clean and shiny, you need to do regular whitening if you want your teeth to always be at their brightest. As long as your whitening trays still fit, you can continue to wear them and put whitening gel in them. You may need to whiten between once per week to once per month to keep your pearly whites white. Dr. Darby will tailor a specific regime to your individual needs.

We offer whitening gel for purchase in our office. Your trays can be retained and reused indefinitely, as long as they fit and are in good shape. Certain lifestyle choices such as coffee consumption, red wine, tobacco use, and even colorful fruits and vegetables can quickly stain your teeth. Certain medications, even mouth rinses, can also stain your teeth. Brushing your teeth and maintaining regular professional dental cleaning appointments will help protect your smile.

Teeth whitening can make your teeth sensitive, but there are effective ways to help prevent it. For each patient that is whitening their teeth, Dr. Darby recommends a sensitivity toothpaste such as Sensodyne or Colgate Sensitive, and they both work equally well. One week before whitening, you should start brushing your teeth with one of these toothpastes and you should continue throughout and beyond the whitening process. During whitening, Dr. Darby recommends placing a small amount of the toothpaste in your tray and wearing it for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after each whitening session.

Sometimes the occasional pain or zinger will happen in spite of your best efforts, and for this pain Dr. Darby recommends whichever over the counter pain medication you usually take to relieves headaches or muscle pain.

If sensitivity continues, try taking a day off in between treatments or leaving your trays in for a shorter period of time.

 

Thankfully, many people who follow these steps do not experience much discomfort with the whitening process and are thrilled with the final results.

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