What is a Full Mouth X-ray and do I really need one?

A full mouth x-ray or FMX is 20 x-ray films. This set of x-rays is highly detailed and helps me determine if you have cavities, fractures, diseases, infections, pathologies, and any other problem. Every new patient that comes to my office will receive a full set of x-rays. I use this set of x-rays to find current problems in your mouth and also use it as a baseline for comparison to x-rays in the future should a problem arise. It is the standard of care in dentistry today to have this set. The amount of radiation from a full mouth x-ray is like a day and a half in the sun.

What is a fluoride rinse?

Fluoride is a mineral that increases the strength of your teeth by attaching itself to the surface of the enamel during the rinse. Fluoride incorporated into your teeth make your teeth more resistant to acid. Acid from food, drinks and bacteria will dissolve minerals from your teeth resulting in cavities. Fluoride acts as an anti-bacterial agent killing bacteria as well. Toothpaste with fluoride helps reduce cavities more so than toothpaste without fluoride.

Is bleaching bad for your teeth?

No. There has never been a documented case that someone has bleached their tooth to death. Bleach material is a peroxide-based chemical that gets absorbed into the tooth. Once inside the tooth, the peroxide causes the color molecules inside to break down resulting in whiter teeth. Over time the bleach does leach out of the teeth. This is important because this can affect the bond strength of new tooth-colored fillings. This leaching of peroxide will also help reduce plaque levels, resulting in healthier gums.

How long will I be numb after dental treatment?

The answer varies for each individual, but the average length of numbness after the end of dental treatment is about 2 hours. During that time, you may eat food and drink liquids but keep in mind not to bite your cheek, tongue, or lips. Especially important to watch children while they are numb. Children will have a tendency to “play” with the area being numb resulting in soreness later when the numbness wears off.

How long is a new patient exam?

A new patient exam is one hour and thirty minutes long. During this time a full mouth x-ray will be taken (20 films), a thorough comprehensive exam is performed by the dentist, a standard cleaning if applicable, and a fluoride treatment at the end, which is strongly recommended. Every cleaning will not take this long. The next cleaning will typically be six months from the original new patient exam. This appointment will only be one hour long.