Pepin Valley Dental
Marie A. Mueske DDS
Andrew B. Christensen DDS
Stephen L. Brown DDS

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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For most people, twice a year is sufficient. Checkups are necessary for regular assessments of the condition and the well being of your mouth. A six-month period is a long time in the life of a cavity, and it is for this reason that visiting the dentist every six months is important. Regular checkups are also essential in the fight against gum disease.

There are many diseases and dental problems which cannot be seen by the naked eye. These may include decay under old fillings, teeth trapped below the gums, cavities between the teeth, bone loss as a result of gum disease, and changes in bone structure which can be affected by many systemic diseases.

X-rays can detect these problems and are, therefore, a useful and important diagnostic tool!

Dental insurance coverage can be confusing! Every insurance policy is different.  We are happy to discuss your particular policy with you. Just give our office a call and we will review your specific coverage.

Plaque, and specifically acid, causes tooth decay. Plaque is a clear and odorless bacteria-laden film that forms on the teeth. The bacteria in plaque interact with the starches and sugars we eat and form an acid. This acid breaks down or de-mineralizes teeth. Our saliva, however, act to help re-mineralize teeth. When the demineralization process is faster than that of remineralization, a cavity forms.

Many steps can be taken to slow down or prevent this breakdown process. Eliminating or drastically reducing your intake of sugars will help greatly in preventing tooth decay. Proper brushing and flossing, and removal of the plaque will also help. And, of course, regular visits to the dentist are critical in detecting cavities early and maintaining a healthy mouth.

Teeth whitening with carbamide peroxide under dentist supervision is safe for teeth and gums. Some patients experience increased tooth sensitivity and temporary discomfort of their gums. These symptoms tend to disappear 1-3 days after stopping the whitening process.

Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits may cause problems that you may not be aware of, such as irritation of the gums and surrounding soft tissue. Over use of over-the-counter home teeth whitening can erode tooth enamel largely because these kits have high acid content.

The best and safest way to whiten your teeth is under dentist supervision.
 

A crown is a tooth-colored covering that wraps around the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. Crowns strengthen teeth that cannot be restored with fillings. They work best for teeth that have large or broken fillings and also for those that are badly decayed.

Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss currently. Anyone at any age can have gum disease. Gum disease attacks the gums as well as the bone, which together form the foundation for your teeth. As the bone literally dissolves away from around your teeth, they become loose and fall out.

Gum disease is caused by plaque. If the plaque is not removed on a daily basis, it will form tartar, which is a breeding ground for germs that cause gum disease. Bleeding gums are the first sign of gum disease. Puffy, tender and red gums are also signs of infection.

Regular visits to your dentist are the best way of stopping gum disease early before too much damage has been done. Gum disease will not go away by itself or with good home care. Plaque deep under the gums can only be removed with professional cleanings.

You should brush your teeth at least two times per day. Our dental hygienists will help to teach you the best brushing and flossing techniques to keep your mouth healthy. We also recommend our patients utilize one of the state-of-the-art electric toothbrushes now available from our office or many other retailers. These brushes make cleaning gentler, easier and aid in plaque removal as well as providing some whitening benefits.

Many people grind or clench their teeth without even realizing it. If you suffer from unexplained jaw pain or headaches, you may be grinding your teeth.  Persistent grinding or clenching can weaken your teeth.  If the dentist determines that you are grinding or clenching your teeth, our office can make you a custom night guard which will relieve pressure and pain associated with grinding, as well as protect the strength of your teeth for the future.

A child’s primary teeth sometimes called “baby teeth” are as important as the permanent adult teeth. Primary teeth often begin to appear when children are 6 months old. Some of the functions for baby teeth are to help the child chew and speak but they also hold space in the jaws for the permanent teeth that are developing under the gums. Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the age of three years. We recommend the child be seen at age one-two years unless there are problems or concerns. Having the child accompany a sibling or a parent as they get a cleaning or exam is a great way to familiarize the child with the office. Another option is to have the child come in for a 'chair ride' as we count their teeth to familiarize them with the dental office.

 

Find out what the American Dental Association recommends here:

http://www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_11.pdf

 

 

Many people fear that a dental appointment will result in painful and stress. Rest assured, our dental team is committed to providing you gentle and pain free dentistry. Our hygienists are careful to use the utmost care and compassion while cleaning your teeth and gums. Our doctors also generally administer topical anesthetic prior to any necessary injections. Our entire team strives to work with each of our patients to accommodate their needs for a stress and pain free dental experience.

Preventive Dentistry

Every dental insurance plan is different. However most work in a similar way; they cover a certain percentage of many procedures, with a yearly maximum. The balance of what your insurance does not cover is your responsibility. Please let us know how we can help you maximize your insurance benefits for the plan you and your employer have chosen, we would love to work together and create a financial plan that works for you!

Restorative Dentistry

This question seems to come up every so often in the media. We only place materials we believe are safe, whether it's amalgam (silver) or composite (plastic). Each material offers benefits, and has reasons for being used in your mouth. Our doctors, as well as the rest of our staff, attend many hours of continuing education every year to stay up on the newest news in dentistry. Please feel free to discuss amalgam with one of our doctors during your next visit. In the meantime, you can read what the Mayo Clinic has to say on the subject of amalgam safety in the mouth:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cavities/expert-answers/dental-fillings/faq-20058381

Every dental insurance plan is different. However most work in a similar way; they cover a certain percentage of many procedures, with a yearly maximum. The balance of what your insurance does not cover is your responsibility. Please let us know how we can help you maximize your insurance benefits for the plan you and your employer have chosen, we would love to work together and create a financial plan that works for you!

Crowns & Bridges

Every dental insurance plan is different. However most work in a similar way; they cover a certain percentage of many procedures, with a yearly maximum. The balance of what your insurance does not cover is your responsibility. Please let us know how we can help you maximize your insurance benefits for the plan you and your employer have chosen, we would love to work together and create a financial plan that works for you!

Teeth Whitening

Every dental insurance plan is different. However most work in a similar way; they cover a certain percentage of many procedures, with a yearly maximum. The balance of what your insurance does not cover is your responsibility. Please let us know how we can help you maximize your insurance benefits for the plan you and your employer have chosen, we would love to work together and create a financial plan that works for you!

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