Frequently Asked Questions
HELP! I’m have a dental emergency! What do I do?
What if a tooth gets knocked out in an accident?
Time is your enemy when an accident or any trauma dislodges a tooth. First locate the tooth, or teeth, and determine if the tooth broke or if the entire tooth and root came out in one piece. Gather together the pieces you’ve found, and with warm water gently rinse off obvious dirt or debris. Avoid touching the root as much as possible. Place and transport the tooth in milk or in some of the person’s own saliva.
Rush the injured person and tooth to the dental office. Ideally the tooth will be re-implanted. The tooth may also be splinted with a wire to the adjacent teeth for a period of time.
This is a true dental emergency. If it is after regular business hours you should still call our office. The more time that goes by the less likely that the re-implantation will be successful. If you cannot contact a dentist your nearest Urgent Care or Emergency Room may be able to help.
Now that I’m pregnant, my gums are more sensitive and bleed more easily. Why? What happens if I have a dental problem when I am pregnant?
Changing hormone levels during pregnancy can cause normal, healthy gums to become red, irritated and swollen. This irritation, known as “Pregnancy Gingivitis” is the body’s exaggerated response to plaque and calculus.
It is very important during this time to stay current with your regular dental cleanings and exams to ensure that dental infections don’t get missed and lead to greater problems down the road. Although dentists will typically postpone major treatment until after the baby is born, emergencies do come up and need to be addressed. Because many of your baby’s organs are being formed in the first trimester, this work is ideally taken care of during the second trimester to minimize any potential risk.
Why should I have my teeth cleaned twice a year?
In some instances a six-month schedule in not enough. Based on your dental history, rate of calculus buildup, and pattern of decay a 3 or 4 month interval may be needed. Your dentist can work with you to determine what will be best for you
It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the dentist. What do I need to do?
You’re not alone! Whether it’s been 6 months or 6 years, it’s never too late to get back into the routine.
At our office, we can arrange for you to have a thorough and educational exam appointment. We have been taking care of people just like you for over 30 years – take advantage of our experience! We’re here to help!
What causes bad breath?
While bad breath (or “halitosis”) can be linked to numerous systemic diseases, the majority of bad breath originates in the mouth. A dry mouth or a low salivary flow can also influence bad odor.
There are two main goals in the management of bad breath. First, controlling the bacteria that produce the sulfur compounds and second, to neutralize the sulfur compounds that are produced.
What is plaque and why is it bad?
Bacteria found in plaque create toxic chemicals that irritate the gums. Eventually these bacteria cause the underlying bone around the teeth to be destroyed, a condition known as gum disease. Recent research suggests that gum disease is linked to other health problems including heart disease, stroke, pneumonia and some pregnancy complications.
Removal of plaque with brushing and flossing on a twice daily basis and removal of tartar by your dentist and dental hygienist is the first step in defeating gum disease. By the time gum disease begins to hurt, it may be too late. Seeing a dentist regularly can help prevent this and many other problems.
Are you accepting new patients at this time?
I need to see a dentist but it’s after hours, what do I do?
First, if you believe you are having a medical emergency, immediately dial 911.
If you have a dental after our normal office hours, please contact us at 919-866-3200. Our phone prompt will walk you through the steps to reach us.
How safe are dental X-rays?
Advances in dentistry over the years have lead to the low radiation levels emitted by dental X-rays. Some of the improvements are new digital X-ray machines that limit the radiation beam to the small area being X-rayed, higher speed X-ray films that require shorter exposure time compared with older film speeds to get the same results, and the use of film holders that keep the film in place in the mouth (which prevents the film from slipping and the need for repeat X-rays and additional radiation exposure). Also, the use of lead-lined, full-body aprons protects the body from stray radiation (though this is almost nonexistent with the modern dental X-ray machines.) In addition, federal law requires that X-ray machines be checked for accuracy and safety every two years, with some states requiring more frequent checks.
I have a terrible fear of going to the dentist. What should I do?
The good news is that today there are a number of strategies that can be used to help reduce fear, anxiety, and pain. These strategies include use of medications (to either numb the treatment area or sedatives or anesthesia to help you relax). Dr. Howarth will make every effort to reduce your fear and ease your axiety.
I can’t afford regular dental care. Are there some resources available to me?
Howarth Family Dental Center 530 New Waverly Pl, Suite 302 Cary, NC 27518