Frequently Asked Questions
Practicing proper dental care may come with a lot of questions. Thankfully, we have answers for you. From questions on routine dental care, to emergency dental services, orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, and more, Candace Kwakye DDS are here to help patients in and around Silver Spring & Cloverly, MD. We encourage you to review our frequently asked questions below. If you have any additional questions, please contact us at 301-236-9000.
Why Is Visiting the Dentist So Important?
Visiting the dentist regularly not only will help keep your teeth and mouth healthy but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:
- Helps prevent tooth decay.
- Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss.
- Prevents bad breath.
- Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence.
- Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco.
- Strengthens your teeth so you can enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile for the rest of your life!
What Should I Look for When Choosing the Right Dentist?
Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important. You may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine if the dentist is right for you. During your appointment, consider the following:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient?
- Is the office easy to get to?
- Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
- Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
- Is your dentist a member of the American Dental Association?
At What Age Should I Start Taking My Child to See the Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year. During this time, your child’s baby teeth will be coming in, and your dentist can examine the health of those first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.
What Is A Cavity?
A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth and is caused by tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque build-up on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This can produce an acid that eats away the enamel on your tooth.
If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing between teeth at least once.
How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?
You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria that causes plaque. It is also recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush (unless your dentist recommends otherwise) and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!
What Is Gum Disease?
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics.
Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease. If detected, it is treatable. Untreated gingivitis may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease.
How Do I Schedule My Next Checkup?
Simply call our practice at 301-236-9000! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience. You can also request an appointment online. If you are a new patient, please let us know, and we will provide you with all the information you need for your first dental visit.
My Teeth Feel Fine, Do I Still Need to See a Dentist?
Your teeth may feel alright, but it is still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without your knowledge. Your smile’s appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep it healthy and looking beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth.
How Can I Take Care of My Teeth Between Dental Checkups?
- Always remember to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar and avoid tobacco.
- Don’t be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended you visit the dentist every six months.
How Often Should I See the Dentist?
Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year.
What Is A Filling?
A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. They are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure to talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.
When Should I Change My Toothbrush?
Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. Your dentist recommends that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions, because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently.
Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks in order to keep bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you’ve been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.
If I Have Braces, Do I Still Need Dental Checkups Every Six Months?
Yes! In fact, it is even more important for patients receiving orthodontic treatment to visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places your toothbrush cannot reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
Dental Implant Questions
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a synthetic tooth, both root and crown, that can be securely grafted into the place of a missing tooth. Usually the root is made from a titanium screw. Once affixed, human bone will naturally grow around and graft to the metal of the screw, anchoring it in place. Once the screw is secure, it is topped with a permanent or removable crown that will blend seamlessly with the rest of your smile. Dental implants by Dr. Kwakye are versatile. If you are missing one tooth, or several teeth, dental implants can restore the entirety of your smile.
I Brush My Teeth Daily. Why Would I Need an Implant?
- Wear and tear occurs daily, even with regular brushing and regular dental visits. Sometimes an injury or a disease can leave you with a few missing teeth, or even just a chip. We can help you get back to that award-winning smile with dental implants.
Are Dental Implants Best for Me?
The versatility of a dental implant allows it to work for many different situations such as:
- A missing tooth
- Several missing teeth in a row
- Loss of all teeth
If you are a nonsmoker with good oral health and have a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw, you could be the perfect candidate for dental implants.
Why Would I Need Implant-Supported Dentures?
Implant-supported dentures allow patients to experience more stability with their dentures. They are used for people who do not have any teeth in the jaw, but do have enough bone to support a mini implant. The denture will have special attachments that allow it to snap onto the mini dental implants.
What Is the Cost of Implant-Supported Dentures?
As always, there are several factors that can influence the cost of getting implant-supported dentures. They include:
- The health of any existing teeth
- Gum health
- The number of teeth that need replacement (complete or partial dentures)
- The number of implants needed (usually 4 for the lower jaw and 6 for the upper jaw)
- Type of dentures (custom, porcelain, full or partial dentures)
- Insurance coverage
When Are Mini Implants Used?
Mini implants are used to restore teeth that have been lost in the following areas:
- Teeth located in a narrow area
- Front teeth
- Small teeth
They are used for a more trustworthy and efficient way to secure and hold dentures or partial dentures in place. It provides a more beneficial way of securing dentures in comparison to adhesives that can slip out of place. With mini implants, it makes it easier for those who wear dentures to eat, speak, and smile confidently.
How Many Mini Implants Will I Need to Support Dentures or Partial Dentures?
Most people receive four mini implants to secure the lower denture, while at least six are used to secure the upper denture. Depending on how much bone the patient has, the dentist may suggest placing more mini implants to secure the denture. This allows those with unstable dentures to benefit from the secure feel of dentures.
If you are wearing partial dentures, mini implants will only be placed in the areas where teeth are missing. This allows the implant to snap into the portion of the partial denture that is used to replace the missing teeth.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
- Stability of dental implants makes eating and speaking easy.
- Look, function, and feel like natural teeth.
- Do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.
- Reduce risk of decay and bone loss.
- Made from strong, long-lasting materials.
- Implants can last a lifetime.
Why Choose Dental Implants Instead of Dentures or Bridges?
- The cost of dental implants can be higher than traditional alternatives, but the cost is justified by the benefits. Plus, dentures and bridges have a few shortcomings that dental implants do not.
- Bridges and dentures can be unstable.
- Eating may be more difficult with dentures or bridges.
- Dental implants give you more confidence to smile fearlessly.
- A more natural look and feel can be achieved with dental implants.
- Dental implants allow you to have a stronger biting force.
- Implants do not rely on your neighboring teeth for support like bridges, so the health of your other teeth will not be compromised.
- Implants, when cared for properly, last a lifetime.
- Bridges tend to last only ten years.
How Will Implant-Supported Dentures Help Me?
If you are considering dentures that receive the support and stabilization from mini implants, there are several benefits.
- Overall improvement of confidence when talking, laughing, and eating in public.
- Overall comfort is improved because they are secured, feeling like natural teeth.
- They appear more natural than conventional dentures because there is less plastic needed for retention.
- There is less irritation of gum tissues. Pain and canker sores are also eliminated with secured dentures
- They prevent jaw shrinkage and bone loss that can occur over time with conventional dentures.
- With implant-supported dentures, you can eliminate the use of denture adhesives.
- They allow you to taste food better.
How Do I Care for My Implant-Supported Dentures?
It is recommended that you remove an implant-supported denture daily to clean the gum area and dentures properly. It is important not to sleep with the implant-supported dentures and instead to remove them at night. While some people prefer to have fixed (or permanent) crown and bridgework in their mouths, it is important to discuss any health concerns and preferences with your dentist. Your health is our biggest concern.
What Are Mini Implants?
A mini implant is made of a miniature-sized titanium implant that acts like the root of your tooth. The top of the implant has a retaining fixture that snaps into a corresponding fixture on your denture. Mini implants are about half the size of a traditional implant. They are roughly the diameter of a toothpick and can be very favorable for patients who have experienced a significant amount of bone loss.
How Are Mini Implants Different than Regular-Sized Implants?
A regular-sized dental implant needs a certain amount of bone structure available to secure the implant. A mini implant does not need as much space, which allows the use of a site that has a less than adequate amount of bone. Full-sized implants generally require several months of healing before they are completely able to support dental restorations. Mini implants, on the other hand, are less time-intensive and can often anchor a denture right away.
How Much Will Mini Implants Cost?
There are several factors that influence the cost of mini implants. They include:
- The exact type of implant used.
- The device (like dentures or a crown) that will be placed on top of the implant.
- How many implants you will receive.
- Dental insurance coverage.
- Other procedures (such as X-rays) that may be performed to ensure you are a good candidate for mini dental implants.
How Are Dentures Made?
The denture development process takes about three to six weeks, as well as several appointments. Once we determine what type of appliance is best for you, the general steps are to:
- Make a series of impressions of your jaw.
- Create models, wax forms, and/or plastic patterns in the exact shape and position of the denture to be made. You will “try on” a few different ones.
- Cast a final denture.
- Adjust as necessary.
What Is the Cost of Dentures?
The cost of dentures can range from $500 to $2,500 per piece for the upper or lower arch. This price depends on the type and quality. In addition to the cost of the dentures, the fees and cost of labor usually range between $250 and $1000 per piece installed. Much of the cost of dentures is often covered by insurance; however, without insurance we can offer affordable payment plans that will fit your financial needs.
What Are the Benefits to Dentures Instead of Implants?
- The first and most prominent benefit to dentures over implants is the cost-effectiveness. Dentures are less expensive than implants because there are fewer procedures necessary to prepare your mouth for dentures. In addition to the cost-saving benefit of dentures, another advantage is that they are completely removable. Being able to remove your teeth will make it much easier to clean and care for them. Another benefit to dentures over implants is that there will not be any pain with the installation of dentures as there are with implants.
Cosmetic Dentistry Questions
What Are Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers are shells or layers of tooth-colored porcelain or composite that get placed over the problem teeth and get permanently mounted in place.
How Much Do Veneers Cost?
The cost of dental veneers can vary drastically from person to person depending on severity and the number of veneers that need to be installed. Typically, the cost of veneers range from $500 to $1300 per tooth. The cost of veneers is not generally covered by insurance; but to be sure, check with your dental insurance company before paying out of pocket. If your insurance will not cover the treatment, a payment plan can easily be implemented through our office.
What Stains Cannot Be Treated With Zoom! Teeth Whitening?
- Dental trauma
- Overexposure to fluoride
- Inorganic stains
- Certain dental restorations
What Are the Disadvantages of Dental Bonding?
The material used for bonding is stain-resistant but not as resistant as other options. The bonding materials do not last as long, and aren’t as strong as other restorative procedures. This means the bonding can stain, chip and break off the tooth.
What Problems Can Veneers Fix?
- Worn enamel
- Wear and tear
- Uneven Teeth
What Stains Can Be Treated With Zoom! Teeth Whitening?
- Stains from food and beverages
- Tobacco use
What Are the Advantages of Dental Bonding?
Dental bonding has many advantages over veneers and crowns. It is typically the easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures because they take only one or two office visits to complete. They correct damage while preserving more of your natural tooth. Also, anesthesia is not used for most procedures.
What Is the Difference Between a Full Mouth Rehabilitation and a Smile Makeover?
Full mouth rehabilitation differs from a smile makeover because rehabilitation is something that you will need, while smile makeovers entail simple procedures, such as a teeth bleaching.
A smile makeover requires clinically proven materials and techniques for treatments, even though it is performed to primarily improve the appearance of a smile esthetically. A full mouth rehabilitation provides stability in the mouth for many years to come – if not forever – with regular maintenance and small tweaks in the various procedures. Some of the techniques and the equipment used for rehabilitation can be used in smile makeovers, but they are doubled and more efficient in this case.
Dental Emergency Questions
What Do I Do If I’m Having a Dental Emergency?
If you are experiencing pain, a fractured tooth, or another significant problem with your teeth or mouth, call us immediately at 301-236-9000, and we will see you as soon as possible.
What Are Some Signs of a Dental Emergency I Should Look Out For?
- Bleeding that you cannot control.
- Difficulties in breathing and swallowing.
- Facial and mouth injuries may turn out to be traumatic despite most people’s beliefs and should therefore never be taken lightly.
- Some problems, like a knocked out permanent tooth, require urgent dental care to prevent them from becoming unbearable.
Pediatric Dentistry Questions
Are Baby Teeth That Important?
Yes! Many people think that because the primary teeth fall out, they don’t need that much care. But your child’s primary teeth are important for several reasons. They help your child learn to properly chew and speak. They act as placeholders for permanent teeth. Most importantly, they help set the stage for lifelong oral health and dental care. Because baby teeth are just as susceptible to cavities, it is critical to start an oral healthcare routine as soon as possible.
When Should I Schedule my Child’s First Appointment?
Good oral hygiene should begin during infancy, and so should regular visits to the dentist. It may seem young, but your child should have their first appointment at least by the time they turn one. Ideally, they should see a dentist when their first teeth come in. The earlier you start routine dental care, the more comfortable your child will be with later visits to the dentist’s office.
How Should I Clean my Baby’s Teeth?
Initially, before the teeth even emerge, you can clean your baby’s mouth and gums by gently rubbing them with a warm, damp washcloth. Don’t worry about a toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste until their first teeth erupt. Once this happens, select a soft-bristle toothbrush with a small head. You should also start flossing your baby’s teeth as soon as two of them touch.
Between ages 2-5, you can switch to fluoride toothpaste. We recommend you use a pea size amount and make sure your child spits out the excess toothpaste when they finish. You should continue to help your child brush until they are capable of effectively performing the task on their own.
Are Dental X-rays Safe for my Child?
At CK Family Dental, we do all we can to limit the amount of radiation children are exposed to. With the use of customized lead aprons and high-speed film, there is very little risk involved in dental X-rays.Your child will be safe and their oral health will only improve by getting annual X-rays from our pediatric dentist.
Great care, friendly staff, efficient billing. Awesome practice!” – Nicky C.