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Is teeth whitening safe? 
Absolutely. Teeth whitening techniques and materials have come a long way. Modern teeth whitening uses safe and effective bleaching gel to melt away stains and discolorations. We offer tooth whitening or "tooth bleaching." Teeth whitening can be performed to reduce discoloration and staining, or simply to provide you with whiter, brighter teeth. Whiter teeth tend to help minimize the appearance of facial wrinkles, giving way to a more youthful and energetic appearance. 

My gums bleed when I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?
It is certainly not desirable to have bleeding gums following brushing. However, the condition may or may not require attention, depending on the source of the problem. Bleeding gums can be caused by any of the following: improper, rough, 'scrubbing' instead of gentle, circular brushing motions; using a hard-bristled tooth brush instead of a soft one; plaque or tarter build-up below the gum line; or something more serious like gingivitis or periodontal disease (gum disease). Gum disease can cause loose teeth, inflamed gums, and eventually tooth loss. Regular cleanings and maintenance is an important step in stopping gingivitis and gum disease. Your dentist and hygienist are a key part of limiting this disease from progressing. 

At what age should my children first see a dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and other dental organizations recommend that your children first visit the dentist around one year of age. At Thompson Family Dentistry, we can check on the development of your child's teeth and look for signs of problems such as baby bottle tooth decay, gum disease and thumb sucking. 

I want my front teeth to look better, but I do not want to wear metal braces. What would you recommend?
We offer a variety of options to aid in improving one's smile including Invisalign®, or "invisible braces." These come in a series of trays that work to align your teeth without unsightly metal brackets. You can insert and remove the trays manually, and no one will know that you are wearing braces. They are virtually invisible. We also offer veneers that cover the existing teeth. These veneers are bonded in place and can offer wonderful esthetics to create a beautiful smile. 

How can I tell if I have a TMJ problem?
The average patient will not know if they have sustained a jaw joint or TMJ injury in an accident because the wide range of different pain symptoms that occur can be confusing. The only way to determine if you have sustained an injury to your TMJ is to have a complete evaluation. The most common symptoms related to a TMJ injury or disorder are pain in front of the ears especially while chewing, clicking noises in the jaw hinge joints, headaches at the sides of the head and pain in the back of the neck. If you have any of these symptoms, call today for an appointment. 

I brush everyday, but my breath just is not fresh. Is there anything I can do?
Millions of people struggle with halitosis, or bad breath, despite daily teeth brushing. Here is a checklist of procedures that can eliminate the problem: twice daily brushing, daily flossing, and tongue cleaning; regular professional cleanings, and careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances. However, if your hygiene is meticulous and the problem persists, come visit our office. We can help identify the cause and, if it's due to an oral condition, develop a treatment plan to help eliminate it. 

Should I brush or floss first?
The sequence makes no difference as long as you do a thorough job. You want to make sure you have a toothbrush that fits your mouth and is comfortable to use and be sure to brush at least twice a day. Tooth brushing may get most of the plaque and bacteria from the surface of your teeth but it may miss plaque or other debris between your teeth. That is why flossing is so important. Cleaning between your teeth daily with floss can reach between teeth where a tooth brush cannot. 

What do I do if I have an emergency when the office is closed?
In case of a true dental emergency, please call our office and leave a voice message that lets 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 immediately. 

How often should radiographs or x-rays be taken?
How often radiographs should be taken depends on the patient's individual health needs. It is important to recognize that each patient is different from the next, so the scheduling of x-ray exams should be individualized for each patient. When you visit our office we will review your history, examine your mouth, and then decide whether you need radiographs and what type. If you are a new patient, we may recommend radiographs to determine the present status of the hidden areas of your mouth and to help analyze changes that may occur later. If you have had recent radiographs at your previous dentist, we may ask you to have the radiographs forwarded to our office. 

How do I know when it's time to come in for a check-up?
Typically, dental recall appointments (check-ups) should be scheduled every six months. During this visit, a cleaning will be performed along with a dental exam and x-rays if needed. This cleaning, exam, and x-ray appointment will ensure that problems are prevented before they become larger issues. Occasionally, a patient receiving special treatments or procedures may be scheduled on a more frequent recall schedule, such as every three to four months. Our office will be happy to schedule an appointment for your cleaning and we will send you an appointment reminder card in the mail to help you stay on your regular interval. 

What makes your office different from other dental practices I visit?
At Thompson Family and Cosmetic Dentistry we treat you like a member of our family. We respect your time and encourage you to let us know about any concerns or dental problems you may have. Our goal is to help you obtain and maintain the best possible oral health using the most advanced technology and procedures available. We take time to understand your dental history and evaluate the best options for your particular dental needs. In addition, we help you understand the whys and wherefores of preventive care through patient education.