Frequently Asked Dental Questions

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What is a “Holistic Dentist”?

The Simple Answer: Holistic dentistry is an alternative approach to dentistry that believes your oral health is interconnected to your overall health. Such a dentist will focus on using non-toxic restorative materials, eliminating oral infections, and will promote optimal teeth / jaw / head / neck structural alignment. Because no dentist can “do it all,” they will often work closely with other of healthcare professionals that can provide integrated, complementary care. The focus of a true Holistic Dentist is to identify issues that stem from the mouth and may be negatively impacting the health and well-being of their patient. Then they will work to find and implement the least invasive and toxic solution to the problem. True holistic care believes in, and will look to support, the body’s natural ability to self-heal and regenerate and will avoid anything known to interfere with that process.

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What's the difference between Metal-Free Dentistry and Mercury-Free Dentistry?

Metal-Free Dentistry means replacing the ‘old-style’ amalgam restorations (or ‘silver fillings’), with state-of-the-art, metal-free, bonded composite resins (‘white fillings’) or, at your option, all-porcelain crowns, bridges, or veneers.

Mercury-Free Dentistry is the use of specifically developed protocols to minimize your risk of exposure during the removal and replacement of mercury-amalgam restorations (or ‘old-style’ metal fillings).

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I hear a lot of talk about 'cavitation' being a serious dental health issue. How would I know if I have it, and what can be done about it?

Cavitation is a necrosis, or disease, of the bone, typically in your jaw. A good deal is known about the condition, and yes, it can be treated. We have a Cavitation Page on our site which has more information about the condition, and what treatment options are possible.

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Why should I floss, isn't brushing enough?

Flossing reduces the number of bacteria found in your mouth. There are millions of microscopic bacterial creatures feeding on the food particles left on your teeth after eating. These bacteria are found in plaque which is effectively removed by flossing. Brushing your teeth gets rid of some of the bacteria in your mouth but flossing gets rid of the bacteria found in hard to reach places your toothbrush just can’t get to. In these hard to reach spaces is where you’ll find bacteria hiding and, if you don’t remove by flossing, you’ll allow turning into hard, impacted plaque between your teeth. Once it hardens, it’s referred to as tartar. Plaque can be removed by flossing but tartar can only be removed by a dentist.

If you’re unsure of the proper method you should be using in your regular following routine, ask your dentist to show you at your next appointment. You will both notice the difference at your next cleaning appointment.

Why are there so many different options available when it comes to whitening teeth?

Today, there is a dizzying array of teeth-whitening products and procedures on the market, ranging from over-the-counter products in your local drugstore to more sophisticated clinical procedures available only from dentists.

So how can tell you which whitening procedures would be effective for you? Whiteners (which bleach discolored teeth) may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellowish-hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-colored teeth may bleach less well, and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all. Likewise, bleaching may not enhance your smile if you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth. The whitener will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. In these cases, you may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding.

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What's the difference between veneers and bonding?

Veneers are thin, porcelain or resin laminates that are permanently attached to the surface of your existing teeth in order to correct gaps, chips, crooked teeth or discoloring.

Bonding uses a composite resin filling that is placed in the back and front of your teeth. The composite can be used to restore decayed teeth, make cosmetic improvements, change the color of your teeth or the reshape your teeth.

We can help you decide whether veneers or bonding are right for you.

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How do I know if I have Gum Disease?

Do your gums bleed when brushing? Are your gums receding? Are your teeth sensitive to temperature changes? All of the above are signs of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. This disease usually does not cause any pain until the last stage when your teeth begin to loosen.

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Does Gum Disease only affect my mouth? Can it do damage to other parts of my body?

Infection of the gums (also known as periodontal disease) can be a serious threat to oral health and also to your overall health. The inflammation and infection of untreated gum disease have been shown to be a significant risk factor in many systemic conditions such as diabetes, cancers, heart attack, and stroke. Some of the warning signs of periodontal disease include bleeding gums, receding gums, loose teeth, and bad breath.

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If I've lost some of my teeth, are dentures my only option?

If your natural teeth have to be replaced with dental work, your options may include bridges; implants; and partial or full dentures.

An implant is an artificial replacement for natural teeth with realistic, yet synthetic replacements, which enables you to avoid or replace removable dentures.

There are several categories of dental implants. We will recommend a specific type of implant, depending on your specific needs and general dental condition.

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What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic Dentistry is the art and science of designing wonderful smiles. It combines all aspects of general dentistry with a special emphasis on aesthetics to assure those individual teeth, as well as your smile, look their very best.

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What types of problems does Cosmetic Dentistry solve?

If your teeth are dark or worn, make you look older, if gaps or chips make you feel self-conscious, or if crooked or discolored teeth stop you from smiling fully, Cosmetic Dentistry can help. The negative effects of abnormal gum tissue or out of date dental treatments are also problems that can be corrected with Cosmetic Dentistry.

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Should I Consider Cosmetic Dentistry?

Look carefully at your smile. If you feel it could be better, you should consider Cosmetic Dentistry. Being certain that your smile makes you look your best will give you confidence in your everyday activities while improving your professional and personal image.

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Can I afford Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic Dentistry offers many different options. Some patients require treatments that are relatively easy and inexpensive. Others need more extensive restorations to reach their goals. We will review the treatment plan with you in detail and answers any questions you have before treatment begins. This allows you to thoroughly understand the procedure and the financial obligations. We are happy to discuss treatment or any accompanying aspect of treatment at any point during the process as questions arise. If it is needed, financing is also available.

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How long does it take to get a new smile?

Although each case is unique, some smiles are completed in a single visit. Most, however, take just a few weeks for full treatment.

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Will it Hurt?

There are few issues in our practice that have received as much emphasis as this one. Today, with much better equipment, increased technology, better medications, and our added luxury comfort features, patients are much more comfortable during their treatment. After we have a treatment plan outlined, questions about discomfort and pain control can be easily be answered. There is no need to put off cosmetic procedures, and certainly not needed dental care, because of past fears of pain.

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How do I know I'm going to the RIGHT Cosmetic Dentist?

There are many things to consider when choosing who your dentist will be. It is natural to want the best care available when it comes to your dental health. To help you determine where you can receive the care that you deserve, we’ve included some tips to consider when selecting your dentist.

  1. Explore Your Options
    There is no reason to rush when doing Cosmetic Dentistry. Because you want to finish with a perfect smile, you should spend time learning about the available procedures and the different materials and techniques that can be offered as options for your treatment. By understanding these options, you will be more comfortable with the treatment you receive.
  2. Postgraduate Cosmetic Dental Training
    Technical skill, an artistic eye, and a rigorous program of post-graduate training allow the dentist to perform the procedures at the highest level. It may be surprising to learn that many dentists have not received any cosmetic education or just a simple introduction to cosmetics in their dental education. Your mouth is not the place for an untrained dentist to experiment with cosmetics. It is crucial that your Cosmetic Dentist has continued to learn more about dentistry even after their formal dental schooling has ended. If a dentist does not continually learn about improvements in the field, the rapid evolution of dental technology will pass them by and they will not be able to provide you with the best treatment. Learn what type of post-graduate schooling your dentist has completed ensuring your dental experience is of the highest quality.
  3. Professional Credentials
    In dentistry, just as in many professional fields, there are specialties that require a higher education, greater expertise, and advanced knowledge. While the ADA (American Dental Association) does not recognize cosmetic dentistry as a specific field, the AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry) was formed in 1984 to provide dentists a way to earn professional credentials through hours of continuing education, rigorous testing, and numerous case studies. Check to see if your dentist has completed any higher education to earn professional credentials.
  4. Integrity
    It’s your dentist’s job to evaluate your oral health, and to communicate their assessment of your needs to you. Your dentist should also tell you everything about a treatment plan, including the length of recovery time. Often dentists shorten recovery time estimates to make procedures seem more simple than they truly are. Make sure your dentist is thorough when telling you about a procedure. Be sure the timeline your dentist gives you for your treatment includes a full recovery time.
  5. A Caring Approach and Clear Communication
    It takes a significant amount of trust to allow someone to work in your mouth. You should find someone who truly cares about your personal hygiene. This caring attitude allows you to appreciate your dentist as a person and as a doctor. By being fully comfortable with your Cosmetic Dentist you will be more confident in the work they do and you will have an easier time communicating with them. Not only should your dentist be able to explain any treatment they will be doing, but they should also be active listeners; clearly understanding any concerns you may have, and thus allowing the two of you to reach your common goal: providing you with the smile you want.
  6. Perfectionism
    Cosmetic Dentistry is all about appearance. The purpose of Cosmetic Dentistry is to correct appearance and make beautiful smiles, including not only your teeth, but your gums, lips, and facial structure. It is only possible to make your smile perfect if your Cosmetic Dentist is precise in their work, has a meticulous eye for perfection, and only accepts the highest quality results. Perfection can only be reached through attention to detail and time. Your Cosmetic Dentist should not settle for anything less than the best in order to create the perfect smile for you.
  7. An Artistic Touch
    Excellent cosmetic dentistry requires a well developed aesthetic sense. Your cosmetic dentist should have an artist’s eye, combining what looks natural with what makes you have a beautiful smile. It is crucial that your cosmetic dentist use a high-quality dental laboratory that produces the highest quality dental restorations. Ask your Cosmetic Dentist if the dental laboratory they use is a member of the American Association of Cosmetic Dentist (AACD). This will ensure that your restorations have been made by someone who also has studied and learned the art of Cosmetic Dentistry.
  8. Extensive ‘Smile Design’ Experience
    Just because your Cosmetic Dentist has completed training to become a member of the AACD, it does not mean they have much experience designing and creating beautiful smiles. Ask your Cosmetic Dentist how many experiences they have had with the dental work they are performing on you. For instance, if you are getting veneers, ask your Cosmetic Dentist how many veneers they have placed. Quality work comes from experience, and if your dentist has years of experience, they will perform quality work.
  9. Review Before and After photos of your Dentist’s previous work
    You should ask your dentist to see before and after photos of their work. Just as you wouldn’t buy a car without seeing it, you shouldn’t engage the services of a dentist without seeing the work they perform first. If your dentist shows you a photo album of smiles, ask to be sure they are photos of their own patients and their own work. Beware of commercially produced photo albums that dentists can buy as marketing tools. These photo albums are generic and do not reflect the actual work your dentist has performed.
  10. Other Considerations
    There are just a few other things to consider when choosing your dentist…

    • Ask other patients how their experience with the dentist has been.
    • Ask to take a tour of the dentist’s office, including sterilization areas, to ensure that proper procedures are in place.
    • Ask your dentist about the current technology and materials they use. If your dentist is not utilizing the latest technology and materials, you will not receive the best possible treatment available.
    • Check with the State to ensure that there haven’t been any complaints or adverse State Dental Board actions involving your dentist. In Tennessee, you can do this by logging on to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry Website.
I always get nervous about visits to the dentist. Is there anything you can do to help me?

We want you to relax and enjoy your visit at our office, so we offer a variety of ways to pamper you and help provide a refreshingly different dental experience including:

  • 42-inch flat screen Apple TVs in every dental suite, with over 6,000 CDs, DVD movies and audiobooks to ease your mind and relax your body.
  • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas), conscious sedation, and aesthetic delivery using “The Wand” are all techniques you may choose from to help you feel more relaxed and comfortable.
  • You have the option of enjoying a soothing hot wax hand peel during your appointment to rejuvenate your skin and soothe your senses.
  • At the conclusion of your appointment, a hot towel, lip balm, and bottled water are available, and you can depart with the assurance that you have received outstanding dental care!
  • For those who are especially anxious about dental procedures, or wish to relax during longer or more complex procedures, our staff is expertly trained to provide Sedation Dentistry services.

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What should I expect as a new patient?

We have a web-page devoted to that specific topic, which we encourage you to check out. As always, if you have ANY questions, we’re always here to help you at (615) 591-0294. You can also request an appointment online, or Ask the Doctor any specific questions you may have!

How do I get started?

Your first step is a consultation. Together, our team at Nashville Restorative Dentistry can evaluate your smile and discuss your goals and options for your treatment. By telling us what you want your smile to look like, we are able to create the smile you have always wanted. If you haven’t already, call today to schedule a consultation or drop by and schedule your consultation in person. The appointment desk is waiting to help you at (615) 591-0294., or you can request an appointment online. Let us show you how Cosmetic Dentistry can give you a better, brighter, younger smile!