Clinical Questions: For Dr. Montina Jackson’s Website

How do I know when it is time to come in for a checkup?

We recommend that patients with good oral health schedule a checkup and hygiene visit twice each year. If you need more frequent visits, we'll let you know. Checkups are important because, even if you don't notice any pain or problems with your teeth, we may find signs of potential problems. For instance, cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer often go undetected until the later stages, making treatment much more involved and more costly. At your hygiene appointment, we'll clean plaque, tartar, and hardened food particles from your teeth, perform a through periodontal examination and oral cancer screening. We will make certain that your gums are healthy and strong.

Why are checkups recommended every six months, even for people with great oral health?

Early detection allows us to provide the most conservative treatment possible, which saves you time, expense, and possible discomfort. Gum disease is another sneaky problem that we try to catch early. It has been linked to stroke, heart attack, osteoporosis, and other health risks, and it is the leading cause of tooth loss in American adults.

Do I need X-rays?

To provide optimal care, we take small, cavity detecting X-rays once a year and a panoramic X-ray or full mouth series of x-rays every three years. . X-rays help us track your oral health and address problems early, when conservative dentistry can correct most issues. If you haven't had a checkup and X-rays in a while, call us for an appointment.

How do you look out for the safety of your patients?

Very well, actually! In addition to following guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), we use disposable products as often as possible. Between each patient visit, we thoroughly clean treatment rooms and sterilize reusable instruments in an autoclave. We also use intraoral cameras and photography for close-up images, which promotes accurate diagnoses. If you have questions about our safety and sterilization methods, call us. We'll answer your questions with enthusiasm because we love dentistry and our patients.

What precautions do you take to ensure patient safety?

We follow strict guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and OSHA. Our practices include sterilizing reusable instruments in an autoclave, then sealing them for the next use; disinfecting treatment rooms between patient visits; and using disposable products when possible. We always wear disposable gloves during exams and treatment, for your safety.

What do you do to maintain a safe and sterilized environment?

Your safety is important to us, so we fully sterilize our reusable instruments in an autoclave and use disposable products as much as possible. Each operatory is cleaned thoroughly between patients. We adhere to guidelines set by the CDC and OSHA and perform weekly monitoring and testing on our sterilization equipment.

I brush every day, but my breath just is not fresh. Is there anything I can do?

In your checkup, we can look for the cause of your bad breath, also known as halitosis. Some patients suffer from bad breath caused by tooth decay, gum disease, or a smelly substance put off by bacteria. With modern procedures and products to promote fresh breath, our team can help you regain your confidence!

My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?

Bleeding is usually a sign of a problem. Healthy gums do not bleed. When gums bleed, the cause usually stems from early-stage gum disease, called gingivitis. On occasion, bleeding gums may simply be the result of brushing too hard. We can consult with you on the proper toothbrush and pressure for safe, effective daily oral care. If your gums show signs of gum disease, we may recommend an additional procedure called scaling and root planning. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for American adults, and it has been linked to many overall health conditions, including stroke, heart attack, and respiratory problems. Untreated, gum disease can escalate to create significant damage to your health, so call for an assessment now. We will help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for life!

Why is oral cancer so serious?

Oral cancer kills more people nationwide than either cervical or skin (melanom

cancer, and only half of patients diagnosed will survive more than five years. The painless, sneaky disease often goes undetected until it spreads to the neck and lymph nodes, at which time treatment becomes less effective. We will perform an oral cancer screening during your exam. If oral cancer is detected in the early stage, patients are much more likely to survive.

Crowns, veneers, onlays, inlays, and partials…Where can I learn more about these procedures?

You can also review our services page for more information. If you have questions about these or other dental procedures, don't hesitate to call us. We would be happy to explain any aspect of your dental care or our service offerings.

Do I have to floss every day? Is it really that important?

Yes! Flossing loosens food particles, plaque, and tartar trapped between teeth. In addition to irritating gums, causing gum disease, and promoting cavities, these three culprits cause bad breath. If you need help learning how to floss quickly and effectively, our hygienist will gladly teach you some tricks to make your daily oral care easier.

Do you refer patients to specialists?

While we are trained and equipped to handle many dental issues in our office, when a specialist would better serve you, we'll refer. Some dental specialists are oral surgeons, periodontists (supporting structures), endodontists (internal tooth problems), orthodontists (for moving teeth), and pedodontists (for children). We refer to only trusted professionals with whom we have a good rapport.

What are mini implant dentures?

MDIs are dental implants that hold dentures in place, and they can be surgically implanted in one day. Implant-supported dentures create a reliable hold and freedom from messy adhesives! Learn more about MDI on their website.

What is an implant and how long do they last?

Implant restorations are a safe alternative to bridges, partials, or full dentures. They look, feel, and function like natural teeth because of a titanium anchor attached to the jawbone. Once the implants are secured, your dentist will attach a handcrafted, permanent crown to each post. The restorations will match your natural teeth and blend seamlessly with your smile. The life of the implant depends on your age, oral status, and personal hygiene. With proper maintenance, they last most people a lifetime.

Who makes a good candidate for dental implants?

Most patients are implant candidates; however, an ideal implant patient has good oral health, adequate bone structure, and doesn’t smoke or drink. The dentist will evaluate your unique case to determine if implants are right for you.

What happens if missing teeth are not replaced?

Missing teeth can lead to a host of other problems, including additional tooth loss. Research shows that if a missing tooth is not replaced, up to 20% of adjacent teeth will fall out in the next 4 to 8 years. Missing teeth also cause remaining teeth to shift, causing spaces between teeth, food impaction, bite collapse, chewing alteration, and TMJ (jaw joint) pain. You’re also more susceptible to gum disease, a serious health condition that can significantly shorten your life span.

What are my options to replace missing teeth?

We offer bridgework, partials, full dentures, and implant restorations to replace missing teeth. Learn more about these services on our services page, and then call for a consultation. With X-rays, intraoral photos, and a thorough assessment of your dentition, the dentist can help you decide which replacement option will be best for you.

My smile is missing teeth. What do you suggest I do?

You'll need to first schedule a consultation with the dentist. She will assess your oral health and discuss options for replacement teeth. In general, you can choose from crown and bridgework, partial or full dentures, or dental implants.

How does gum disease affect the body?

It hides in your mouth, destroying gum tissue and teeth, and it can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and pregnancy complications.

Don’t think it’s your problem?

Conservative estimates report that up to 80 percent of the population unknowingly has gum disease in some form.

How does the doctor keep up to date on current techniques, technology, and materials in dentistry?

Our dentist, and our team, take more than the state's requirement for continuing education each year. We also read trade journals, attend professional association meetings, and do everything we can to keep in tune with the latest developments in general and cosmetic dentistry, as well as dental technology. We are passionate about our careers and our service to our patients. For that reason, we enjoy soaking up new information on our profession, then sharing it with you!

I avoid dental visits because of anxiety…is this normal? Can you help?

Many people fear dental visits because of negative past experiences or control issues. We understand dental anxiety and offer a solution to help you overcome your stress. With oral conscious sedation, we can help you gain full peace of mind and body so that you can receive the dental work you need – and deserve.

I have not been to the dentist in years, and I’m ashamed to let a professional see the condition of my mouth. Is your staff judgmental?

First of all, congratulations on your wise decision to prioritize dental healthcare. Your mouth is a big part of your overall health, quality of life, and self-esteem. We will never judge you; but instead, help you by addressing your oral problems, explaining treatment options, then scheduling a plan of action that suits your schedule and your budget.

How long is a new patient visit? What will happen?

Your first appointment with us will take about an hour. A member of our front-office team will review your paperwork and discuss the reasons for your visit, then escort you to a treatment room to meet the hygienist and then later, the dentist. After discussing your medical and dental history, the dentist will conduct a thorough exam of your teeth and soft tissues. We’ll obtain X-rays and use an intraoral camera to take pictures inside your mouth. You’ll also receive an oral cancer screening. The dentist will explain her findings, answer all of your questions, and discuss his therapy recommendations. You’ll leave with a plan to achieve the fantastic smile that you deserve!

What is occlusion?

Occlusion, also called bite, is the way your top and bottom teeth fit together when you close your mouth. Your occlusion can be affected by injury, tooth loss, eating habits, as well as, cosmetic or restorative dental work. If your occlusion is off balance, it can result in teeth grinding, chronic headaches, or TMJ (jaw joint) disorder. The dentist will evaluate your occlusion during your regular dental exam.

I have chronic headaches. Can you help?

Chronic headaches may be a symptom of a misaligned bite, bruxism (grinding), or TMJ disorder. Our dentist will carefully examine your occlusion (bite), jaw, head, and neck to determine the underlying causes of your pain. Often, we can correct the problem with a custom nightguard. Call our office if you have more questions about headache relief with non-surgical therapies.

My spouse snores at night. Can you help?

First, you will need to schedule an appointment. One out of eight people who snore have sleep apnea, a serious medical condition that increases risks of heart attack and stroke. Depending on the severity of your case, the doctor may be able to prescribe an oral appliance to alleviate snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea.

My denture comes loose at the most inopportune times. What can I do?

Schedule an appointment to allow us to perform a complete oral examination and to analyze the fit, comfort and the looks of your denture. Because your gums underneath your denture changes over time, it’s a good idea to have your denture relined every 5 to 10 years. The dentist can also secure your denture with dental implants. Anchored securely by the jawbone, dental implants will tightly hold your denture in place, eliminating slipping, clicking, and the need for denture pastes or creams.

I want to know more about changing my smile. What do you suggest?

An appointment. Your smile and your goals are unique. We offer a wide range of cosmetic services, and after your consultation, you'll know which services will deliver the smile of your dreams.

How can I improve my smile?

That sounds like an easy question to answer, but it isn't! Your smile is unique, and we won't compromise your individuality with smile enhancements. Smile design dentistry done right requires an initial consultation in which we will discuss your goals, preferences, and options for care. Generally speaking, we may suggest porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, all-white restorations, and/or replacement teeth. Orthodontics may also be involved. After your comprehensive evaluation and consultation, we'll present a smile makeover plan for your new smile. We offer digital imaging for smile previews, as well.

My teeth are stained. Can you help?

Yes. We offer whitening solutions to brighten teeth dramatically. Call for an appointment today!

How can I make my smile brighter?

We offer custom-made take-home trays with professional whitening gel for safe and effective teeth whitening in the comfort of your own home. Home whitening yields excellent results – up to eight shades or better! Two weeks of use produces optimal results, but if your teeth reach the desired shade before then, simply discontinue treatment.

Is teeth whitening safe?

Absolutely. We bet you didn't know that teeth whitening, in some form, has been around since the 1700s. Modern whitening uses safe and effective bleaching gel to melt away stains and discoloration.

How can I safely whiten my teeth?

The ADA recommends dentist-supervised teeth whitening for superior results. The dentist will be able to assess your soft-tissues and tooth enamel to determine the best type of whitening in your unique situation. Our professional-strength whitening solution contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, both of which have been proven safe and effective in clinical studies. , Call today and reserve your appointment to learn which option is right for you.

Are there differences between over-the-counter teeth whiteners and professional teeth whiteners?

Over-the-counter whiteners are not as efficient as professional-grade treatments. The whitening kits you buy at the drugstore are not customized to fit the shape of your teeth, making them messy and ineffective. In addition, they typically only whiten two to three shades. We offer home teeth whitening kits that are custom designed for maximum comfort and efficiency. Each night for a week or two you’ll need to apply our professional-grade whitening gel to the trays, and then wear them at night. Within just a few days, you’ll notice a difference, and by the time treatment is complete, you’ll smile with confidence. Take-home trays can also touch up and maintain in-office whitening.

What can you do to improve the appearance of my smile?

Well, we'd like to start by evaluating your oral health, existing smile, and discussing your idea of a spectacular smile. We may suggest porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, replacement teeth, and replacing metal dental work with esthetic restorations. However, your smile may benefit from some artistic bonding and reshaping. Maybe orthodontics will give you the straight smile you've always wanted. Call to schedule a cosmetic consultation, and together, we'll determine the best road to your ideal smile.

Do veneers look natural?

Yes! The dentist will carefully determine the size, shape, and color of your veneers based on you unique features and preferences. Then, a skilled ceramist will handcraft the veneers according to your and the doctor’s specifications. Made from high-quality porcelain, veneers allow natural light to shine through, which will give your smile a healthy, natural glow.

What can you do to straighten my smile?

Porcelain veneers can correct slight misalignments and gaps, as well as discolorations, chips, and other imperfections. From Hollywood to Beverly Hills, porcelain veneers are one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures available today.

How can you close the gaps between my teeth?

Cosmetic bonding is a simple, esthetic procedure used to fill gaps in a single office visit. The dentist will blend a composite resin material to match the shade of your teeth, then shape and sculpt it, so that it blends seamlessly with your natural smile. A curing lamp hardens the material, creating a super-strong bond. Depending on your smile, the dentist may also suggest porcelain veneers. In just two visits, porcelain veneers turn stained, chipped, misaligned, and widely spaced teeth into Hollywood-ready smiles.

I have old, dark fillings. Is there any hope for my smile?

Dark fillings and metal crowns can be replaced with strong, aesthetic solutions. Our dentist has placed composite resin fillings for years, and we also offer porcelain crowns.

Administrative Questions

Do you accept referrals?

Yes, and thank you for your confidence. We appreciate your referrals and promise to extend the same comprehensive, caring service to your friends and coworkers that we give you every time you visit.

Does my insurance cover that?

Dental insurance is diverse. Some policies cover only a small percentage of fees, while others cover 50 percent or greater. The more you or your employer pays for premiums, the better the coverage, in most cases. For the most part, dental insurance covers some restorative and preventive procedures. Cosmetic treatment is not usually covered. We accept CareCredit to make cosmetic dentistry affordable for all of his patients. If you have questions, give us a call. We'll be happy to tell you what your insurance will cover.

Where are you located?

Visit our map on the contact us page, or call for directions.

Will you care for my entire family?

Absolutely. We enjoy creating gorgeous, healthy smiles for patients of all ages. If we find that your child – or you, for that matter – would benefit from seeing a specialist, we'll refer to a trusted colleague. Some children deal with dental appointments better at a pedodontist's office, that's what a children's dentist is called. We also refer patients who have extensive dental problems, like advanced periodontitis or problematic root canals, to specialist for optimal care. As a general dentist office, our preventive, restorative, prosthetic, and cosmetic dental services include treatments suitable for patients of all ages.

Insurance is very confusing. Can your office administrator help me file?

Yes. We understand your confusion and have an expert on staff to help you. Simply bring your card or claim into our office along with the benefit booklet your employer gives you. You may choose to call to speak with our friendly insurance assistant.

Will I be charged if I need to cancel an appointment?

Your time is an invaluable commodity, as is the time of all of our valued patients. In order to avoid a charge for a failed or canceled appointment, we require a notice of two business days. This allows us to give that valuable time slot to another waiting patient.

Will you see my kids and my grandparents?

Yes! We love families and see many of them. Our services are diverse, so we offer dentures for our older patients, as well as sealants for our youngest patients. Call to schedule comprehensive initial exams for everyone in your family – because their smiles are invaluable family assets!

When do you like children to have a first dental visit?

For children with no observable dental problems, we want to see your child as soon as they have all of their baby teeth, usually between two and three years old. If you notice any development problems with your child's mouth or teeth, call us to schedule a visit immediately. Please let our receptionist know about your children so she may provide you with valuable information about caring for Children’s teeth.

Why do some dentists do extractions and root canals, while others refer patients to specialists?

Every general dentist receives a similar education in dental school. However, general dentists can choose which continuing education courses to take each year. Some dentists learn advanced techniques for root canals, dental implants, and laser dentistry, while others focus on administration and practice management. In addition, each dentist has his or her area of expertise. Some prefer to send root canal patients to endodontists for better care, while others enjoy root canals and have invested in the tools and training to perform them regularly.

Will I be charged if I miss an appointment?

To keep the cost of dental services economical, our office must maintain a solid calendar of appointments. When a patient doesn’t show up for a scheduled visit, we still have to carry the overhead for that hour. We understand that emergencies arise, and we are sensitive to these special situations. However, if you miss an appointment without letting us know ahead of time, we reserve the right to bill you for the lost time. To avoid a missed appointment fee, simply call us two business days in advance, so that we can fill your appointment time with a patient who needs to see us quickly. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Do you accept dental insurance?

We work hard to help our patients maximize their dental insurance benefits. Our practice is in-network with many companies, and we file as an out-of-network provider with many others. As a courtesy, we will file claims electronically and accept assignment of benefits. Your co-pay or deductible is due at the time of service. Please call our office with any questions.

Can I finance my dental work?

We have partnered with CareCredit, a trusted name in third-party financing, in order to make dentistry more affordable. CareCredit offers revolving credit, low monthly payments, and no interest for up to six- months for patients who qualify. Visit the CareCredit website to fill out an online application.

What payment methods do you accept, and what are your financing options?

. For your convenience, we accept cash, check, and major credit cards, including MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. Third-party financing is available through CareCredit for qualified applicants.

How can I ask the doctor questions directly?

At our dental office, we take pride in having open and honest relationships with our patients. Feel free to call the office any time, or email Dr. Jackson from our website, at www.JacksonsDentalCenter.com. We’re happy to explain treatment options, offer advice, and answer any other questions you may have.

Emergency Questions

Does the dentist see emergency cases?

Yes. We will see emergency cases during regular business hours. After hours, we offer a phone number on the answering machine, so patients of record can contact our dentist on call.

What should I do if I have an emergency when the office is closed?

We value your dental health and comfort around the clock, even after office hours. In the event of a true dental emergency, please call our office and let us know the nature of your condition. We’ll return your call as soon as possible, give you helpful information over the phone, and then determine if you need to be seen right away.

My child has had an accident and his/her tooth has been entirely knocked out. What do I do?

Place the tooth in a glass of milk and call or come in to our office as quickly as possible. Don't forget to bring the tooth! Use a warm, wet washcloth to cover the gums where the tooth fell from.

I have a temporary crown in my mouth. What should I do if it comes off or breaks?

First, call us. If the office is closed, simply use a dab of toothpaste to reattach the temporary, and then visit us for a replacement when the office opens. You can also find dental adhesive in your local drug store, if you prefer not to use toothpaste.

My existing denture just broke and it’s hurting and looks bad. How can you help me?

Great news. Dr. Jackson’s husband, Jerome Jackson, is the master technician at Jackson’s Dental Laboratory, right here in our building. With both Dr. Jackson and Jerome Jackson available, they can give you expert advice and service for your problem dentures.

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