FAQs

Dr. Foster and Dr. Gross at Comprehensive Contemporary Dentistry in Chevy Chase MD

Dr. Foster and Dr. Gross at Comprehensive Contemporary Dentistry

Frequently Asked Questions

The doctors and staff at Comprehensive Contemporary Dentistry in Chevy Chase, Maryland are committed to providing you and your family with the highest quality dental care. Our dental office is conveniently accessible from the communities of Bethesda and Chevy Chase, MD. Below are common questions that we receive in our office. Click on the question to read the answer.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?

Sensitive teeth can be the result of many different issues such as natural variation, recession, grinding, decay, and fractures. Once a doctor makes a diagnosis, treatment will be recommended. This can be anything from simply changing the toothpaste you are using or wearing a night guard to surgery. Sensitivity cannot be seen so you must let us know if you have very sensitive teeth.

What Should I Do to Prevent Gum Disease and Tooth Decay?

First off, realize that we are not all created equally. Some people will skate along with minimal effort and never develop problems, others will struggle with oral health their entire life. The biology and ecology of the mouth is incredibly complex and we as care providers continue to refine our techniques and tools for fighting oral disease. Brushing and flossing is important but if you are doing these things and still developing problems, getting educated is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Make sure your dental team is educating you. Filling cavities is easy but preventing new cavities or new bone loss should be the goal. If know you are prone to problems there are things you can do to stay ahead of them. It may require more work but it will be worth it and it will minimize or eliminate your dental emergencies.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. It is a condition caused when bacteria surrounds the teeth and enters the gums. The gums can look red and bleed. In order to prevent the condition from worsening, regular hygiene visits are highly recommended. During your visit, our hygiene team will teach you how to properly care for your mouth.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal Disease is a quiet disease that begins with little or no symptoms. It is caused by bacteria that surrounds the teeth and enters the gums. The immediate condition is known as ‘gingivitis.’ The gums become irritated, inflamed and often bleed. If not properly treated, the condition worsens. Noticeable symptoms may appear. They include:

• Bad Breath
• Gum Recession
• Gum Sensitivity to Acidic Foods
• Abscesses
• Tooth Pain
• Tooth Mobility
• Tooth Loss

How Do You Treat Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a chronic condition that needs immediate attention. Through a series of periodontal cleanings, root planing & scaling, laser therapy and local antibiotics, this condition can be controlled. Periodontal surgery may be necessary for severe cases.

What is the Difference Between a White and Silver Filling?

Silver fillings, known as amalgam, have been around for decades. They are made from a metal alloy and were, for a long time, the best restoration for fillings. The metal fillings do not stick or bond to the tooth, they are simply held in place but the way the dentist prepared the tooth to receive the filling. The metal can expand and contract based on the temperature of food and drink you consume and they can develop chips and fractures. Over time, this allows for bacteria to enter the tooth. Like all restorations, the assumption is that they will require replacement at some point.

White fillings, also known as composites or “bondings,” are made of plastic or glass polymers. These cosmetic fillings allow us to fill a cavity with a substance that will look and feel just like your existing tooth structure. This type of restoration is created with a resin material that sticks or bonds to teeth to prevent decay. Rather than a gray or silver material in your mouth, the composite color will match the tooth color.

How Can I Improve My Smile?

There are several ways in today’s dental world to enhance your smile. Certain procedures include:

• Tooth Whitening
• Invisalign
• Bonding
• Porcelain Veneers
• Porcelain Crowns

We have the capability to improve your smile using all or some of these procedures. For an exact consultation, please contact our office so that we may provide you with a customized treatment plan.

What is Tooth Whitening?

Tooth whitening is a safe and cost effective procedure to create a beautiful, healthy smile. Over the years, fluoride has been added to the whitening product. This reduces the risk of tooth and gum sensitivity.

Tooth Whitening should be monitored by your dentist and only done after a comprehensive exam and hygiene cleaning.

The whitening process can last for a number of years if maintained properly. Beverages such as coffee, tea, cola and wine will reduce the lasting effect. Remember, if it could stain a white shirt, it will stain your smile!

What is Bonding?

Bonding usually refers to a cost effective procedure used to fill gaps in front teeth and to change a tooth’s color or shape. The results can be dramatic. Within a few hours, you will have a great smile! Bonding, like tooth whitening, may change color over time due to coffee, tea, cola and wine.

What are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that go directly on your natural teeth. This entire procedure can take as few as two visits. Veneers change the size, shape and color of a patient’s teeth. This procedure is used to repair fractured teeth, teeth darkened by age or medication, or a crooked smile. Many times, patients ask for porcelain veneers to simply feel and look younger with a straighter, whiter smile!

What are Crowns?

Crowns, sometimes referred to as “caps,” are a permanent procedure sometimes done for cosmetic reasons but usually serve to strengthen a tooth that has been weakened by decay, fractures or large fillings. Crowns are referred to as “full coverage restorations” meaning they cover the entire tooth. They have the ability to change the size, shape and color of the teeth in as few as 2 visits.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a “man-made” replacement for a missing tooth or tooth root. They can also be used as anchors for bridges or dentures. Usually made from titanium, this small screw-like object is inserted directly into the upper or lower jaw bone. Amazingly, there is usually minimal discomfort involved with this procedure. Typically, but not always, an integration period of a few months is reserved to allow the dental implant and the bone fuse together prior to the restoration being placed.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

Dental implants look and function like your natural tooth.
Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth.
Dental implants are maintained by routine hygiene visits to your dental office.
Dental implants decrease the possibility of bone loss, periodontal disease, tooth movement and further tooth loss.
Dental implants replace the need for a removable full or partial denture.
Dental implants focus only on the tooth or teeth that are missing. A traditional bridge would involve the two or more adjacent teeth being compromised to create a false tooth in between.
Dental implants do not rust or get decay.

Who is a Candidate for Dental Implants?

A local anesthesia is applied to the area (like most modern dentistry additional sedation is not necessary but may be desired by the patient). The dentist will often make a minor incision in the gum. A pilot hole or “Osteotomy” is prepared in the jaw where the implant is then placed. If an incision was made, a suture or two is placed. The procedure is usually completed within an hour with little to no post operative pain. Most cases will have a 3 to 4 month healing period prior to finishing the restoration. A second uncovering surgery is rarely utilized anymore.

How Much Does a Dental Implant Cost?

Fees for dental implants vary and patients are often confused or misled by quotes that do not include the entire process. Always schedule an implant consultation to discuss the procedure and all fees involved.

Are the Implants Done at Your Office or Will I Have to See Somebody Else?

Most cases will be completed within the office however special circumstances may require special skills or equipment. If your case would be better treated outside the office, we will know exactly where to send you and walk you through the entire process.

How Long does a Dental Implant Last?

With routine dental hygiene and proper home care, a dental implant can last approximately 30 years to a lifetime. They are often considered comparable to natural teeth in their longevity.

What Payment and Insurance Options Do You Offer?

We will be more than happy to submit all insurance forms for you and help you recover the most from your dental health benefits. We will do everything we can to help you afford the treatment you need and want. For patients who require major work, a complete payment plan is designed with an appropriate payment schedule. Forms of payment accepted by the office are check, cash, or any major credit card. Care Credit is also available.

Does Your Office Offer Financing for Services Provided?

Yes. We understand that dentistry can involve a significant investment and we are committed to helping you achieve your goals in anyway we can. Please contact our dental office to discuss the options we have available to make your smile perfect!

H. Brandt Foster DDS • Comprehensive Contemporary Dentistry
4702 Chevy Chase Drive, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815 • 301-986-8804
© 2013