How can we help you?
At Lusk Family Dentistry, we never underestimate the importance of patient education. Not only do we care about the health of our patients, but we know that good oral care is essential for a person’s overall health.
Some of our most common questions are answered below. If you have any other questions, or if you have questions about your specific treatment or oral health in general, please don’t hesitate to ask! We want to help you make informed decisions about the oral health of you and your family.
Different insurance benefits cover different procedures, but we are happy to submit insurance forms for you so that you can maximize your benefits as much as possible. We accept most major dental insurances and try to work with you to have you be seen in our office. Please visit our financial page for more.
Accepted Payments for Dental Services
Please be prepared to pay any deductibles and co-pays at the time of treatment. We accept cash, checks, and major credit cards. To help you with your payments we also offer financing through CareCredit. To see if your insurance is taken or to learn more about CareCredit please call our office.
Some people who have full dentures and no remaining natural teeth are under the impression that they no longer need to visit the dentist regularly. However, good oral health includes healthy gums and adequate bone to support the denture. Dr. Lusk is specialized in keeping your dentures in the best shape possible.
Changes To Your Dentures
The longer patients wear dentures, the more likely it becomes that the denture may begin to fit poorly due to hard and soft tissue changes. Ill-fitting dentures can lead to other health issues such as poor nutrition due to the difficulty in eating healthy foods as a result of their dentures not fitting properly.
Sealants are a thin, protective coating that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. Sealants help keep bits of food, bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth, thus helping to prevent cavities from forming.
How Are Sealants Placed?
Sealants are a quick and painless process. First, Dr. Lusk will clean and dry your tooth before placing an acidic gel on your teeth. This gel roughs up your tooth surface so a strong bond will form between your tooth and the sealant. After a few seconds, Dr. Lusk will rinse off the gel and dry your tooth once again before applying the sealant onto the grooves of your tooth. A special blue light is then placed over the tooth which hardens the sealant.
Children and adults alike can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. Your first molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save time and money in the long run.
Call our office to be seen for your cavity treatment and to have sealants placed to protect your smile.
Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. The bacteria in plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease if they are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing.
Plaque that is not removed daily by brushing and flossing between teeth can eventually harden into tartar. Brushing and flossing become more difficult as tartar collects at the gum line. As the tartar, plaque, and bacteria continue to increase, the gum tissue can become red, swollen and possibly bleed when you brush your teeth. This is called gingivitis, an early stage of gum (periodontal) disease.
Preventing Plaque Buildup
Since plaque is constantly growing in your mouth, the following steps are important for keeping your teeth healthy and strong:
- Brush your teeth twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque from tooth surfaces and protect your teeth from decay.
- Flossing is an essential step in preventing gum disease. Clean between teeth daily using traditional floss or a water flosser to remove plaque from the places where your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Visit our office twice a year for professional cleanings and oral exams.
Although recent news reports have questioned the benefits of cleaning between your teeth, using an interdental cleaner (like floss) is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.
Along with brushing twice a day we recommend cleaning between your teeth once a day. This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into tartar. Flossing also helps prevent gum disease and cavities.
Other Flossing Options
You do not have to use traditional string floss as there are several options for cleaning between teeth. You might choose to use dental floss or another product specifically made for this purpose like a dental pick, pre-threaded flosser, tiny brushes that reach between the teeth, water flosser or toothpick.
Keep in mind that cleaning between your teeth should not be painful. If you do it too hard, you could damage the tissue between your teeth. It’s normal to feel some discomfort or even have a small amount of bleeding when you first start, but don’t give up. With daily brushing and cleaning between your teeth, that discomfort should ease within a week or two.
Occasional bad breath happens to almost everybody. While chronic bad breath (also known as halitosis) might have more serious causes, occasional bad breath can be prevented fairly easily with good oral care.
Bad Oral Care
If you’re not brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day you should reconsider. When you don’t brush after eating, the food particles in your mouth become a breeding ground for bacterial growth, causing you to have bad breath and develop cavities. Brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper is also recommended.
Chronic bad breath could also be a sign of gum disease. Gum (periodontal) disease happens when the bacteria that forms in your mouth as a result of plaque buildup on your teeth causes toxins to develop and irritate your gums. If you think gum disease could be what’s behind your bad breath, call our office — if left untreated, gum disease can lead to very serious damage of your gums and teeth.
Other Bad Breath Factors
Certain medications, salivary gland issues, and mouth breathing can cause dry mouth (xerostomia), which can also lead to bad breath. Dry mouth occurs when you’re not making enough saliva to combat the acids caused by plaque, and it also allows the dead cells that naturally collect on your tongue, cheeks, and gums to build up. When this buildup doesn’t get washed away by your saliva, all those cells start to decompose, causing your breath to smell badly. While this isn’t a long-term solution to chronic dry mouth, certain sugar-free gums and mints can help boost your saliva production.
Bad breath is kind of embarrassing, and we know seeking help for it is a little awkward. But it’s something we’ve all dealt with, or will deal with, and it ties directly to your oral health. If you are concerned that you are suffering from bad breath, call our office for an appointment today.
The American Dental Association recommends that most people visit the dentist twice each year for an examination and cleaning. Patients who have dental issues, such as periodontal disease, might need to come in every three to four months for deep cleanings.
Dental Cleanings and Exams
We know visiting the dentist isn't at the top of your bucket list every 6 months, but it can make all the difference in your oral health. By preventing serious issues from occurring, you'll also be saving yourself time and money down the road. When dental issues go untreated, the expensive and treatments needed can become extensive.
If you have any questions, or if you'd like to schedule your appointment for a cleaning, don't hesitate to contact our office today to get started!
Periodontal (gum) diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth become loose and fall out, or need to be extracted.
The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums that is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. In gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dental hygienist. This form of periodontal disease does not include any loss of bone or tissue that holds teeth in place.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis. In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets in the gums around your teeth that become infected. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Any of these symptoms may be a sign of a serious problem. Call our office to schedule an appointment if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Studies have shown that people with poorly controlled diabetes are at greater risk for dental problems. They're more likely to have infections of their gums and the bones that hold their teeth in place, because diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the gums. Having a healthy supply of blood to your gums ensures that they are able to fight off infection quickly.
High blood sugar may also cause dry mouth and make gum disease worse. Less saliva allows for more tooth-decaying bacteria and plaque buildup.
Maintaining Dental Health
Regular dental visits are important. Our team will help you with any questions you may have about maintaining good habits. Practicing good oral hygiene and controlling your blood sugar levels will help your body fight off the bacteria in your mouth that cause gum disease and decay. Call our office today to schedule your next dental cleaning and exam.
When people hear that they have a cavity, they are often surprised because it doesn't hurt. The truth is that early cavities do not always cause pain.
What Is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay begins by entering the tooth at the outermost layer – the enamel. Since the enamel is the strongest, thickest layer of the tooth, and does not contain any nerve endings many patients will not feel any pain when the cavity is in this early phase. Once the decay penetrates the enamel, it continues to spread and pass through the other layers of the teeth. In most cases once the patient starts to have hot or cold sensitivity or pain, the decay has already spread much deeper.
You do not want to wait until you feel pain to have your cavity treated. Waiting too long can often cause for the need for more extensive and costly treatment such as a root canal, crown, or even an extraction. Read more about our Tooth Colored Fillings here.