Consistent with our vison statement, we actively facilitate our patients dental education. We believe that the one person who knows best about choosing from a list of various treatment options is our PATIENT. In order to make informed choices, our patients must understand the risks, benefits, advantages and disadvantages as well as the cost and sequence of treatment.

We enjoy answering our patients’ questions and offering guidance as our patients make informed choices regarding their care.

1. What can I do to prevent oral cancer?

Cancer can affect any part of the mouth, including the lip or tongue. 95% of all oral cancers occur in people over 40. Smoking, chewing tobacco, and alcohol also increase the risk. Signs and symptoms of oral cancer include: a sore or irritation that does not heal after two weeks, color changes (red or white), pain or numbness, lumps, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas, changes in bite, or difficulty with chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue. When not found early, oral cancer may spread to the lymph glands in the neck. Since early detection is so important, if you notice any changes, see your dentist immediately. Your dentist can screen for precancerous changes, and help detect cancer at a stage when it can be more successfully treated. Periodic oral exams are essential to maintain good health.

2. What are the warning signs of gum disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the soft tissues (gum) and bone that surround and support your teeth. Bacteria in plaque create toxins that irritate the gums, causing them to become inflamed. Over time, the gums pull away from the teeth, forming pockets. Eventually, the infection destroys the underlying bone. If left untreated, the teeth can become loose, fall out, or need to be removed. By age 40, 98% of us have periodontal disease somewhere in our mouths. You can look for: bleeding, red, swollen or tender gums, persistent bad breath, loose or separated teeth, a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite, or pus between your teeth and gums. Your dentist can examine your teeth and gums by probing and with X-rays, and can determine your periodontal health.

3. Can sealants help to protect my child’s teeth from decay?

The chewing surfaces on the back teeth develop with grooves, pits, and fissures which are impossible to keep clean. Plaque and bits of food hide there. Sealants keep out the plaque and food by forming a thin covering over the pits and fissures. Newly erupted permanent teeth are the best candidates for sealants. To place a sealant, the teeth are cleaned, then conditioned with a weak acidic solution which helps the sealant adhere to the tooth, and finally, the sealant is brushed onto the tooth enamel, and allowed to harden. Sometimes, sealants need to be reapplied after years of wear, and are checked regularly by your dentist.

4. Should I buy a soft, medium, or hard toothbrush?

Easy does it describes the best tooth brushing technique, which involves placing your toothbrush at a 45° angle to the gums, and moving gently back and forth in short strokes. Use a toothbrush that has soft polished bristles, using a size and shape that feel comfortable and allow you to reach the surfaces of every tooth. Treat yourself to a new toothbrush every 3 months. A hard, brittle brush can injure your teeth and gums. Our teeth can become abraded from using hard brushes and vigorous scrubbing. By gently moving the toothbrush back and forth, you can clean your teeth effectively while preventing injury to the gums and erosion of the tooth enamel.

5. What is “nursing-bottle decay”?

Nursing bottle decay can destroy the teeth of an infant or small child. It is caused by frequent exposure to sugary liquids (milk, formula, fruit juice) for long periods. Allowing a baby to fall asleep with a bottle during a nap or at night allows the sugary liquid to collect and remain around the teeth. Avoid dipping a pacifier into sweet liquids. Children can be taught to drink from a cup by their first birthday. After each feeding, wipe the baby’s teeth and gums with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze pad. Begin brushing after the first tooth appears. By spending a few minutes each day to care for your child’s teeth, you can help your child’s smile get off to a healthy start.

6. Why should I use fluoridated toothpaste? Isn’t fluoride just for children?

Even with brushing, flossing, eating the right foods, and seeing a dentist regularly, no dental fitness plan is complete without fluoride. Fluoride is safe, convenient, and effective. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in almost all our foods and water supplies. Just as exercise is a vital component of any physical fitness program, fluoride is essential to dental health and well-being. Fluoride incorporates itself into tooth enamel, strengthening teeth against decay. It promotes the remineralization of early decay (incipient lesions). It helps reduce the harmful effects of bacterial plaque which contribute to gum disease.

We are conveniently located on Maplecrest Road across from Bettendorf High School, near the Genesis Medical Plaza, and one block east of 18th Street.