Q) Why do I need to visit the dentist twice a year?

A) Dental plaque, bacteria and tartar build up on your teeth every day. Even with good oral hygiene habits, this accumulation can lead to periodontal (gum) disease if it is not professionally removed on a regular basis. Dr. Jekel will also check for any disease processes in your mouth which can be addressed in the earliest stages for the best results and at a lesser cost than if these problems go untreated.

Q) Why do I need to have X-rays each year?

A) Dental radiographs (X-rays) are a necessary diagnostic tool to evaluate areas of the mouth which are not visible with the naked eye. The areas between the teeth and below the gum line can only be detected with the use of the radiographs. In addition, areas of decay which are too small and are in the initial stages often are only detected with the use of X-rays and involve less time and cost to restore.

Q) Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe? Is there any validity to the concerns raised about the mercury in amalgam?

A) We do not use amalgam any longer in our practice. However, they are considered a safe and durable, restorative material for human teeth. Many patients choose to replace amalgam fillings with composite (tooth-colored) resin for cosmetic reasons. Since composite has become the material of choice in the last decade, some patients feel replacing the amalgam fillings offers a younger appearance.

Q) I floss my teeth every day, but I still have bad breath.  What can I do?

A) Flossing every day is a key component in the battle against tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. First consider any medications or supplements you’re taking; then evaluate your diet. You can research these items on the internet to see if halitosis is a side effect. You may try eliminating a possible culprit (check with your doctor before discontinuing any prescription medications) to see if you notice an improvement. Continue to floss as normal, and be sure to brush your gums and teeth thoroughly as well as your tongue. The tongue can harbor odor-causing bacteria.

Q) Do you recommend sealants for all children?

A) Sealants are plastic coatings applied to the biting surfaces of permanent teeth. Since the most common disease process in the mouths of children is decay, sealants are a good preventive measure. However, if a child doesn’t appear to be cavity prone nor has deep grooves in the teeth, he may not need sealants. Children are usually evaluated for sealants when their first molars erupt (around age 6) and recommendations are based on risk factors for tooth decay.