There are many different aspects of dentistry, and we know that this can sometimes be confusing or overwhelming when you are seeking information. Ronald K. Rich, DDS, MAGD has provided this page of frequently asked questions to help provide basic dental information. We welcome you to call 281-980-2537 to speak with a member of our team if you have further questions, and to schedule your appointment with Dr. Ronald K. Rich, our caring dentist in Sugar Land, Texas.
How safe are dental x-rays?
Dental x-rays are very safe. The amount of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of x-rays is very small. Advances in dentistry over the years have led to increasingly lower amounts of radiation emitted by dental x-rays. These advancements include digital x-ray machines and higher speed x-ray films, both of which limit exposure time and the amount of radiation emitted. In addition to this, federal law requires that x-ray machines be checked for safety and accuracy every two years. Dr. Rich only prescribes taking x-rays when he feels they are necessary. X-rays are sometimes the only way to diagnose decay between the teeth, bone loss caused by periodontal disease, abnormalities, infections, and tumors.
Why should I visit the dentist regularly?
Many people only visit the dentist when they have a problem. They may think they are saving money, but in reality their treatments end up costing significantly more money and time than regular dental visits would. Regular dental visits allow us to provide you with preventive care. Your home care (brushing and flossing), diet, genetics, medication use, and other health conditions, all play a daily roll in your dental health. Whereas, we as dental professionals can’t control these things, we can catch problems and treat them before they become bigger problems if we catch them earlier rather than later. Many dental problems do not have symptoms until they reach advanced stages. Preventive Care can stop problems in the early stages of development, and will hopefully stop these problems from developing in the first place.
My Gums are bleeding when I brush, should I stop brushing and let them heal?
No! Bleeding indicates disease. Healthy gums do not bleed. If your gums are bleeding you should continue to floss and brush and rinse with warm salt water rinses until the area heals. If you do not see improvement in a couple days you should make an appointment to have your teeth and gums checked as soon as possible.
Why do I need to floss?
Flossing reduces the number of bacteria in your mouth. Brushing your teeth will get rid of some of these bacteria, but flossing will reach areas of your mouth that your toothbrush can’t reach (in between the teeth-interproximal). If you do not floss, plaque remains between your teeth, and hardens into tartar, leading to decay and gum disease if left untreated. Plaque can be removed by brushing, but tarter and calculus can only be removed using special instruments and treatment by one of our highly skilled DENTAL HYGIENISTS.
How can I prevent cavities?
Brush your teeth correctly at least 2 x a day, spending 2-3 minutes each time. Make sure you brush every tooth and every surface. This is how long it takes to get rid of bacteria that destroy tooth enamel. Don’t brush too hard, as it takes very little pressure to remove bacteria and plaque, and too much pressure will hurt your gums. Floss at least once a day. If you have any areas in your mouth that trap food then you need to floss after you eat to remove any food particles that remain in those areas as well.
Be aware of the sugar you digest. You will be surprised at the sugar content in many foods and liquids. (The AHA recommendation is no more than 24 grams for women and 36 grams for men of added sugar per day. Do you know the sugar gram content of the food and liquids you consume? Gatorade 12oz=21g, 32 oz.=56, Red bull=37g, sweet tea=33g, Dr. Pepper=64g, Coke=39g)
The best thing for our overall health is to eliminate as much added sugar from your diet as possible. If you just can’t resist sweet or sticky foods, brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating/drinking.
Do not forget your regular dental visits. Routine dental checkups help to notice and treat any problems that may be developing, especially in the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth.
What are dental sealants? Who should receive them, and how long do they last?
Dental sealants are a thin, plastic coating painted onto the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent decay. The painted-on liquid sealant bonds into the depressions and grooves of the teeth, forming a protective layer over the tooth enamel. Typically, children are the recipients of sealants. They should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as those teeth come in, providing protection through the ages of 6 to 14. Adults can also benefit from sealants if they do not have decay or fillings in their molars. Sealants should be checked for chipping or wear during regular dental cleanings and exams.
How do whitening toothpastes work and how effective are they?
All toothpastes help remove surface stains. Some whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional stain removal. Whitening toothpastes only help remove surface stains, and do not contain bleach. They will not produce the bleaching and whitening effects of professional teeth whitening treatments. Whitening toothpastes can lighten your tooth’s color by one shade, while the teeth whitening treatments provided professionally can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter on average. Dr. Rich offers several options for bleaching. We will be happy to discuss these with you at your visit.
What options are available for changing the shape of my teeth?
There are many treatments to help change the shape of your teeth, make your teeth appear longer, close spaces and gaps between teeth, and repair chipped or cracked teeth. These treatments include:
- Dental bonding
- Dental crowns
- Dental veneers
- Tooth recontouring (reshaping)
Each of these treatments differs in terms of cost, durability, and time needed to complete the procedure. We can discuss these options at your dental visit or you are welcome to call our office at 281-980-2537 for a cosmetic consultation appointment.
I’m terrified of visiting the dentist. What should I do?
Millions of people in the US fail to get necessary dental care because they are afraid to go to the dentist. If you are terrified or anxious about visiting the dentist, you are not alone. You will be in great hands at Dr Rich’s office. Dr. Rich is known by his patients as being the most compassionate and gentle dentist they have ever seen. He has many patients who have been coming to see him for 30 years and wouldn’t think of going anywhere else due to his gentle touch and excellence in dentistry.
If you are afraid or worried, talk to our office team about your fears. We completely understand and will take your fear seriously, and work with you to determine the best ways to make you feel less anxious and more comfortable at our office.
How does your office handle my Insurance?
Since the Affordable Care Act we have seen unbelievable changes in insurance. All insurance companies offer different dental policies. Your insurance policy is a contract that was negotiated by your employer (or you, if it is an individual policy) and the insurance company. The contract is written by the insurance company and the premiums are based on that contract. The amount paid is also dictated by that contract. Please supply us with your accurate and up-to-date insurance policy information prior to your dental visit. With this information we will be happy to file your insurance claims for you. We will do our best to calculate what your insurance will pay for your treatment but we are never able to guarantee what the insurance company will pay. Dr. Rich is not in-network with any insurance companies which means you will be seeing him out-of-network. Your responsibility to Dr. Rich will be to pay any part of your treatment that is not paid by your dental insurance.
Dental Insurance plans do not take into account YOUR DENTAL HEALTH and what YOU need. They are very limited. Dr. Rich will diagnosis your dental needs after a thorough examination based on his education, 30+ years in practice and thousands of hours of continuing education. We are not a cookie-cutter office. He will prescribe the best course of treatment for YOU. We will do everything we can to help you understand what is and what is not covered by your contract and do all we can to help you get the benefits you and or your employer pay for.
We work with many different dental insurances every day and recognize how complicated and confusing these contracts are to understand. Our staff is here to help you. Please call our office if we can answer any specific questions about your insurance coverage.
It is also necessary that you contact us with updated insurance information if your policy changes (we have seen plans change2-3 times in a year).