Frequently Asked Questions

Our team is here to answer your questions and help you in choosing the best treatments for your unique needs. Can’t find your question on the list? No problem! Call our office at your convenience to talk to a knowledgeable dental expert or schedule an appointment.

What should I do if I have bad breath?

It can be embarrassing to have chronic bad breath, which is why it is important that you talk to a dentist about your concerns. First, we recommend a diagnosis to identify the cause of bad breath. Then, you know the most effective way to eliminate the problem. Common treatment recommendations include:

  • Good oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing at home
  • Regular dentist checkups
  • Stop smoking and using chewing tobacco
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day
  • Use rinses and mouthwash to mask the odor

Most of the time, bad breath can be treated using dental treatments to address the underlying problem.

How often should I brush and floss?

Brushing and flossing are important oral health habits that prevent common dental issues such as decay and gum disease. Our recommendation is that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially before going to sleep at night. Flossing should be done once a day to clean between the teeth and below the gumline.

Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?

Amalgam fillings are created using a blend of silver, tin, copper, and zinc – bound by elemental mercury. This metal has been used for more than 100 years in dentistry and the general consensus is that amalgam fillings are safe.

However, we only offer composite fillings in our office. Not only are composite fillings strong and durable, but they are customized for each patient. These tooth-colored materials are carefully shaped to give you a smile that looks and feels as natural as the original tooth.

How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

We recommended our patients get routine cleanings and check-ups every 6 months, although more frequent visits might be recommended based on your dental health. Regular checkups are the foundation of identifying dental problems in the earliest stages, to protect the health of your teeth and gums.

Our team at Christopher Gall DDS offers a thorough approach in monitoring the overall health of your smile, including:

  • Medical history review
  • Diagnostic x-rays
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Gum disease evaluation
  • Check for tooth decay
  • Inspection of existing restorations
  • Tartar and plaque removal
  • Teeth polishing
  • Recommendations for oral hygiene
  • Discuss possible treatments needed

How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?

The earliest stages of gum disease might go unnoticed, which is why you need to be proactive with regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations. Common symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • New gaps between the teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus around the gums and teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Discomfort or tenderness

Why is it important to use dental floss?

Brushing can reach most surfaces of the teeth, but your toothbrush can’t remove bacteria or food particles between the teeth. As a result, these areas are highly susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay.

The most effective solution for cleaning the gum line and between the teeth is with daily flossing. Regular flossing cleans the spaces, while also preventing damage to the teeth, gums, and bone by preventing the buildup of plaque colonies.

How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?

Cosmetic dental treatments can be used to create a beautiful, confident smile. Modern advances in the dental industry make it easy to transform the appearance of the teeth so you feel good about your appearance. Our team at Christopher Gall DDS offers a personalized approach, partnering with each patient to design a custom cosmetic treatment plan. Common cosmetic treatments include:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Tooth-colored composite fillings
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Porcelain crowns
  • Dental implants
  • Orthodontics

What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?

Dental veneers use thin shells of porcelain, custom-designed to cover the front, visible area of each tooth. These porcelain shells are durable, giving you a long-lasting solution for improving the appearance of the smile.

Porcelain veneers are often recommended for the correction of these common dental conditions: severe tooth staining or discoloration, uneven spaces between the teeth, chips, tooth crowding, misshapen teeth, improving the balance of tooth size in comparison to the surrounding teeth.

What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?

Teeth whitening is the most common aesthetic concern of many patients. While there are many over-the-counter whitening products available, the most effective way to achieve a brighter smile is through professional teeth whitening services. This non-invasive treatment changes the color of your tooth enamel to enhance the overall beauty of your smile.

What are my options if I have missing teeth?

At Christopher Gall DDS, we are proactive in preserving the original structure of your natural teeth whenever possible. But if something goes wrong with a tooth, then extraction might be essential. When a tooth is lost, our team can assist with dental restorations to protect the function and appearance of your smile. Options for the replacement of missing teeth include:

  • Dental implants (with crowns and/or bridges)
  • Removable bridges
  • Fixed bridges
  • Dentures

Since each patient is unique, we recommend a consultation with our experienced team to determine the optimal tooth-replacement treatment for your situation.

What can be done about old, unattractive, or discolored fillings?

Many people have fillings that have been in place many years, often resulting in discoloration and inconsistencies in the appearance of your smile. Not only do old fillings look unattractive, but they might also be defective if the filling is failing.

During your dental exam, we complete a thorough inspection of each filling to determine if they need replacement. Common treatments to replace old fillings include composite (tooth-colored) fillings, crowns, onlays/inlays, or porcelain veneers.

When are sealants recommended?

What should I do if a tooth is knocked out?

A knocked-out tooth is an emergency situation, which is why you need to know what to do to increase the likelihood that we will be able to save the tooth. It is possible that the tooth can be re-implanted if you follow these steps and act quickly to schedule an emergency dental appointment:

  1. Carefully pick up the tooth by the crown – don’t touch the root of the tooth
  2. Do NOT use chemicals, soap, or any objects to clean the tooth. If debris is present, then gently rinse the tooth using whole milk or your saliva.
  3. Transport the tooth by placing it back in the socket immediately, then bite down on a wet tea bag or gauze to hold it in place. If the tooth can’t be placed in the socket, then carefully transport it in a small container and ensure it is covered completely with milk or saliva.
  4. Visit a dentist within 30 minutes. The longer you wait to see a dentist, the less chance you have for saving the tooth.

Am I a good candidate for dental implants?

If you are missing one or more teeth, then you are likely a good candidate for dental implants. Schedule a consultation for a full exam. During this appointment, we will discuss your health history and check the density of the bone to determine whether there is a strong enough foundation to hold the implant in place.

How long do dental implants last?

With proper dental care, a good implant can last a lifetime. These dental prosthetics are not susceptible to tooth decay, but you must maintain the health of surrounding gums to ensure the long-term success of this treatment. The tooth and gums should be brushed and flossed, just like a natural tooth. We also recommend regular checkups so our team can monitor the condition of the implant.

What is the success rate of dental implant procedures?

The outcome of this treatment depends on the health of each patient. When someone is in good health and they are proactive with consistent oral hygiene habits at home, the success of dental implants can be as high as 90 – 95%.

Are dental implants safe?

This dental procedure has been used for more than half a century, with a long history of positive outcomes. As with any medical procedure, there is always a risk of complications. The best way to avoid potential complications is by choosing an experienced implant dentist to complete the procedure.