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Below is a list of our frequently asked questions:

Should you have a question that is not answered below, please feel free to give us a call, email us, or fill out the form below.

  • You will feel almost like you are in a napping and very restful state. After your treatment, you will be refreshed without memory of sights, sounds and smells of the procedure. You can expect a safe, comfortable, and entirely non-memorable dental visit.
  • As many as 75% of US adults and children experience some degree of dental fear.
  • The medications that we use for sedation dentistry are the same as those used in outpatient surgical centers. In addition, we exclusively use fully reversible agents. What this means for you is that sedation is fully and rapidly reversible, providing the highest level of safety and security.
  • After your sedation you may expect an extended period of drowsiness and relaxation. For some, this is rather brief, but for many that will extend throughout the remainder of the day of your care.
  • We intentionally use sedatives that have a combined sedation and amnesiac affect. We do this in order to ensure that your visit will be both comfortable and non-memorable.
  • In addition to providing sedation for patients with anxiety about dental care, Sedation Dentistry may be right for you if you have experienced: fear and anxiety or a previous traumatic dental experience, difficulty numbing, bad gag reflex, sensitive teeth, complex dental problems, or simply have a busy schedule. Many people find sedation dentistry especially helpful.
  • Many patients choose sedation because we can complete multiple treatments in a single visit
  • Call and schedule a free consultation today: 508-717-3780.
  • Oh yes, many!
  • There are many options available to you at Southcoast Smiles and Perfect Smiles.
    • For example, we provide Nitrous Oxide, otherwise known as “laughing gas,” at absolutely no charge for many patients.
    • Often, a combination of oral anxiety medications and nitrous oxide can offer the level of comfort desired.
  • We know everything about our patients while they are sedated. We like to say that our sedation patients are our safest patients because of the measurements that we are constantly monitoring:
    • Oxygen levels; we provide oxygen throughout the appointment.
    • Blood Pressure
    • Heart Rate
    • Carbon Dioxide
    • EKG
  • There are endless products on the market to whiten your teeth, but seeing a dental professional for this treatment is always advised. Not only are the products used in-office stronger and more effective, but we can also make sure your treatment does not aggravate sensitive gums. Visit our Cosmetic page to learn more about the whitening options we offer.
  • No. whitening works by oxidizing the stain in your enamel. It does not thin or effect your enamel over time.
  • The products that are used in-office are stronger and more effective. We can also make sure your treatment does not aggravate sensitive gums.
  • In most cases there are no side effects if a treatment is supervised by dental professionals. Mild to moderate sensitivity is possible. However, with in-office treatments we prevent this by using materials to protect gums and recession. We also have post-operative treatments that can alleviate sensitivity.
  • There are a lot of different causes of white spots. Two of the biggest reasons are fluorosis (receiving too much fluoride at a young age) or demineralization, which is softening in the enamel from diet or health issues.
  • A thin layer of unsightly or misshapen tooth material is removed and replaced with a strong, highly aesthetic stain-free ceramic. Call us to schedule your consultation: 508-717-3780
  • The pros and cons of veneers are as follows: Dental Veneers are a very conservative way of creating a gorgeous smile. Unlike tooth material, veneers do not stain. They can be shaped in a more aesthetic form than your existing teeth. Many times they can be used to correct a moderate amount of crowding and the results are more immediate than orthodontic treatment.
  • The disadvantages of dental veneers are that they are not appropriate for areas of large decay, they should not be used to repair wear caused by grinding and, like any tooth, they can be damaged by accidents or abuse.
  • Dental Veneers are generally made of an ultra-hard ceramic material designed specifically for great longevity and radiant beauty. Our office uses a number of different materials to create the best result possible result specifically for you.
  • Our office exclusively uses a high-quality ceramic resin tooth-colored filling material matched to your tooth color. We do not use mercury-containing materials for any restorative care as we feel it is not the latest and healthiest option.
  • The method of dental restorations is dependent upon the depth and degree of damage existing in your tooth. One of the most important methods used by our office, and one that is quite uncommon in dental practice, is the use of laser diagnosis for early interception, which then allows us to use a procedure referred to as micro-abrasion. Micro-abrasion allows us to perform no-shot, no-drill treatment. It is a microscopic procedure performed under magnification and is extremely conservative. We believe in minimally-invasive dentistry wherever possible. For larger breakdowns it is still necessary to remove broken and decayed material which can then be filled.
  • Teeth become infected from many causes. Decay, periodontal disease, fractures and even just the passage of time. In fact, in prehistoric times tooth infection was the leading cause of adult death.
  • Root canal therapy is simply the way that we remove infection from a tooth. With technology, a root canal is safe, comfortable, and successful.
  • When your more than 50% of your natural tooth structure is loss, a metal or metal strength ceramic is recommended to replace or rebuild the missing tooth structure.
  • The reason for restoring a tooth with a crown as opposed to using a filling is simply that as breakdown becomes larger it is necessary to do more than fill the gap lost due to decay. When there is a greater loss of material you need to reinforce the tooth with something stronger.
  • NO. At our office we do same-day crowns. You do not leave wearing a temporary tooth for weeks. That’s what a crown does. You should expect that treatment by crowning should be no more difficult or uncomfortable than that of having a filling. The procedure will take longer because it is more technically involved.
  • Our office uses a number of technologies for crowns. With technology constantly advancing, we are always developing better and better ways to perform treatment. Many crowns today are fabricated using solid ceramics designed and milled by specialized computer while you wait. These crowns are cared for in exactly the same way as any of the crowns that you may have received in the past.
  • This is an area of dentistry that is a little bit confusing. Teeth that require crowns do not necessarily require a root canals. However, teeth that require root canals always require crowns. The purpose of crowning a tooth may be to improve its aesthetics but always is for the purpose of strengthening the tooth. On the other hand when a tooth requires a root canal it has undergone a great deal of breakdown, therefore, by definition, it is a tooth that would require further strengthening and thus a crown is recommended.
  • The art of crown restoration has risen to extraordinary levels. Today with the extraordinary ceramic technologies available and great laboratory techniques it is possible to create crowns that are indistinguishable from natural tooth to the naked eye.
  • Yes, we are able to match the shade and shape of the crown to your natural tooth.
  • How long a crown last relates primarily to both the degree of prior destruction and your daily maintenance. In our 40-year practice history we have many crowns fabricated with older technologies still in great shape from those early years. There are times on the other hand where the degree of existing break down suggest that a crown that is fabricated will not last this long. Come and ask us about your specific question and we will be able to provide a more accurate answer.
  • Crowns are cemented or bonded in place with special adhesives designed to both strengthen and whenever possible prevent further breakdown. Crowns can last for well over a decade if maintained properly. At our office we warranty our crowns up to 5 years.
  • The revolution in computer-guided diagnosis and treatment has made it possible in many situations to design and fabricate an entire crown and bond it in place directly, therefore restoring your fractured tooth all in one visit. This saves you time, the inconvenience of additional visits and gets you back to the rest of your life immediately. While this technique is still not very common in most practices, it can be a great help to busy individuals and those who want to minimize the number of trips to the dentist!
  • Both are a great way to restore an area where a tooth is missing. The decision between bridge and implant has many factors including the health of the nearby teeth and the strength of the bone in the area of loss. Both methods will restore your ability to smile and chew successfully, but we strongly suggest that you come in and talk with us about the more appropriate method for your specific situation.
  • Bridges are the easiest way to restore a gap in your smile that is not removable. When the teeth on the sides of the missing spaces have had large fillings, or have decay, bridges are a great economical option to tooth replacement. The disadvantage is of a dental bridge is that teeth are bonded together and therefore, they cannot be as easily flossed as individual teeth.
  • There are a number of different types of dental implants and ways to restore one tooth or many teeth including full arches using dental implant techniques. All of our implant techniques involve a process called osseointegration whereby the natural process that causes cells to attach one to the other is used to attach your new implant directly to bone. Call us at 508-717-3780 for a free consultation.
  • If you need a dental implant it’s probably because you had a tooth removed need to secure a denture, or multiple teeth need to be replaced. The implant procedure is essentially the reverse of removing a tooth only because it is well-controlled and easier. It does generally require more time because of the number of very detailed steps involved, but you should not expect the process to be difficult.
  • Implants are made of the finest titanium alloys. It is been found that titanium is a magnificently strong and incredibly biocompatible material. Now having a successful track record of over 50 years. It is the closest tooth replacement option to your natural teeth.
  • Implants work a little bit differently than teeth do because of their method of attachment, however in the way that they feel and function there are exactly like teeth – only a little bit stronger!
  • Dental implants are a magnificent invention that restores the natural function lost due to the breakdown of teeth. They permit those with one missing tooth to suddenly have a complete smile again. They permit patients with multiple missing teeth to span across the mouth and restore an entire smile. They permit those with dentures to have a method of attachment that prevents the constant moving, shifting and soreness that is commonly found with dentures. And they even permit those with no teeth to be restored to the great function of the early years of life!
  • Post-extraction you can expect rapid healing. Standard procedure according to the American Dental Association is to place a bone graft in the place of missing tooth and bone. A bone graft will speed up the healing process of the bone.
  • We provide all our post-operative extraction patients with detailed instructions for their aftercare. We outline the do’s and don’ts as well as what to expect for the first 24 hours after their extraction. Our patients’ comfort is our number one priority. We also have someone on call to answer any of your questions and help with any of your needs after business hours.
  • We go to great lengths to save every tooth possible but, on occasion, teeth must be removed either due to decay or gum disease. When this need arises, you can be assured that you will be completely comfortable.
  • Having bad breath after a tooth extraction is not unusual and for most, this often improves as the area heals. We like to prescribe antibiotics that can help with any smell of infection.
  • Periodontal diseases is a serious disease that can result in major damage to the gums and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost. Whether your gum disease is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends on whether or not you seek treatment from a dental professional, continue recall visits, and keep up with your oral health care at home. Studies have shown that periodontal disease is linked to other systemic diseases such as, but not limited to, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and osteoporosis.
  • Once it has been determined that you have periodontal disease, your dentist or and hygienist will likely suggest a non-surgical periodontal therapy, which involves removing the tartar (which is deceased bacteria that hardened to the tooth) and from above and below the gum line.
  • In most cases periodontal disease is silent with no symptoms. However, some people may experience the following symptoms: bleeding gums, receding gums, loose teeth, gums that are tender to the touch, and tooth loss. Most people with uncontrolled periodontal disease experience bad breath.
  • If you have one or more of these symptoms of periodontal disease, give us a call at 508-717-3780 to schedule a consultation to discuss what treatment may be best for you.
  • There are a number of risk factors for Periodontal Disease: smoking or using tobacco products, family history of gum disease, uncontrolled diabetes, malnutrition, pregnancy (hormonal changes), dry mouth, but most of all not seeing a dentist regularly.
  • Patients who have had periodontal therapy in the past have a higher chance of getting the infection again. This being said, you may need to be on a 3 or 4 month maintenance visits instead of 6 month recall like preventative cleaning patients.
  • As long as your gums and jaw bone are healthy, there are no age limits to having braces. If you are considering braces, schedule a free consultation where we can go over the best option for you.
  • We offer traditional braces, clear (ceramic) braces or removable clear aligners. Head over to our Orthodontics page to learn more.
  • Braces can be needed for any number of reasons, including: crooked or crowded teeth, overbites or underbites, incorrect jaw position, and disorders of the jaw joints. These can all be corrected with braces.
  • That depends upon your treatment plan. Most patients can count on wearing full braces between 12 and 24 months.
  • Braces aren’t just for kids. More and more adults are also wearing braces to correct minor problems and to improve their smile.
  • An ideal time for placement of braces is between 10 and 14 years of age, while the head and mouth are still growing and teeth are more accessible to straightening. It is recommended to bring your child to see an orthodontist for a consultation before the age of 10 to 14 years of age for preventive and preliminary corrections. At our office we offer several different appliances and treatment options that can reduce the amount of time a child would need to wear braces. In some cases a the need for braces can be eliminated if preventive treatment is done early on.
  • There are many types of dentures: Complete Dentures, Temporary Dentures, Healing Dentures, Transitional Dentures, Flexible Dentures and a wide range of Partial Dentures. Give us a call at 508-717-3780 to discuss which options will bring you the comfortable, great smile you’re looking for.
  • Dentures is like any other prosthetic body part can take some time to get comfortable with. At our office we recommend and include adjustment visits in the process. Also, at our office we recommend the standard of care by securing floating dentures with at least two dental implants. If dental implants are not placed to secure the dentures, over time, bone is loss, dentures become ill fitting, and sores can develop.
  • Dentures are made of acrylic and porcelain. Sometimes, some partial dentures are secured into other teeth using some metal.
  • Removable partial or full dentures require proper care to keep them clean, free from stains and looking their best. After eating, make sure to remove and rinse dentures by running water over them to remove food debris. Keep up with your regular dental visits to have them examined and professionally cleaned. We recommend seeing our patients with dentures once a year to check the fit of the dentures, perform an oral cancer screening, and also professionally clean the denture.
  • Biting and chewing often can feel different than before. Like any other prosthetic body part, it will take some patience and practice eating with dentures. At our office we recommend the standard of care by securing floating dentures with at least two dental implants.
  • Adjusting to traditional dentures will take some time, but with a few simple techniques, the adjustment period can be pretty quick. At our office we recommend and include adjustment visits in the process.
  • Yes. Some dentures have attachments, implants, etc. so they still need to be observed and cleaned by a dental hygienist and dentist. If you have a traditional denture with no attachments you should see a dental professional once a year for an oral cancer screening, check up, and professional cleaning.
  • There is no drilling required to apply a sealant. The tooth is conditioned then a thin layer of composite-like (white filling) material is painted into the groove of the tooth, and then it is set with an high intensity LED light.
  • The majority of back teeth will get decay over time. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing these deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface. Teeth with sealants are at a far less risk for getting a cavity.
  • Anyone who has back teeth that do not have fillings in them.
  • Sealants can last for as long as 3 to 5 years (sometimes longer), but should be checked during regular dental hygiene appointments. Our office warranties them for 2 years, you can view the warranty by clicking here.
  • No. A sealant is completely painless; there is no drilling or local anesthesia needed.
  • A sealant does not require the removal of decay or tooth structure like a filling does. A sealant cannot be placed in between the teeth like a filling can.
  • An increase in hormones can increase the inflammation of the gums. Your gums may also bleed more often due to this change. If you have morning sickness you may have sensitivity around your front teeth. Vomiting caused by morning sickness may be too acidic for your teeth and cause decay. At our office we offer a mineral replacement and balance out your saliva PH and protect the enamel. Visit our Pediatric page to view our brochure “What to Expect When You’re Expecting: A New Mom’s Guide to Oral Health.”
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Food low in carbs and acidity are great for your teeth (ex: avocado, yogurt, cucumbers, carrots, bananas, and watermelon). Also, products like MI paste, fluoridated over-the-counter toothpaste, and some mouth rinses are safe and can prevent cavities during pregnancy. At our office we have a guideline for you to follow during and after your pregnancy.
  • Dental treatment is safe in any trimester. If the dental treatment is elective (whitening) we will wait until after the birth of the baby. Dental treatment is ideal in the second trimester because you will be more comfortable in the chair. Emergencies are able to be treated in any trimester. Visit our Pediatric page to view our brochure “What to Expect When You’re Expecting: A New Mom’s Guide to Oral Health.”
  • Absolutely. It is actually more important to maintain your oral health throughout your pregnancy. You will be more comfortable during your second trimester, which is the best time to receive dental care, if you haven’t already in the first trimester. Visit our Pediatric page to view our brochure “What to Expect When You’re Expecting: A New Mom’s Guide to Oral Health.”
  • In some cases when a mother has not been to a dentist in years she may develop periodontal disease. This disease is related to inflammation and there have been studies that link preterm and low birth weight babies to mothers with periodontal disease. It is important to have this treated before pregnancy and if you are pregnant it is important to have it treated as soon as possible. Visit our Pediatric page to view our brochure “What to Expect When You’re Expecting: A New Mom’s Guide to Oral Health.”
  • We recommend the first dental visit be 6 months after their first tooth erupts or their first birthday, whichever comes first. Our goal is to have happy and healthy patients who love coming to see us not matter what age they are! Head over to our Pediatric page to download our brochure “A Guide to Your Child’s Oral Health” for more information on your child’s first dental visit.
  • Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars. The sugars in the liquids pool around the infant’s teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria that causes plaque. One way to help prevent this is to not put your child down to sleep with a bottle (unless plain water) because this can cause “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.”
  • Teething rings, cool towels, and teething necklaces.
  • Yes. Baby teeth help children chew and speak properly. They are also space-maintainers for adult teeth. If a tooth is lost prematurely the adult tooth may never erupt and uncomfortable treatment (possibly surgery) may be necessary to help it erupt.
  • Fluoridated toothpaste should be used as early as the first tooth comes in. First tooth—Age 3: smear (grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste. Age 4—6: a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Brush new baby teeth with a wet cloth or finger brush (be sure to let our staff know you are pregnant to receive a care package which includes a finger brush). After the baby eats, wipe their mouth with a damp cloth to remove excess milk to get them used to having their mouths cleaned and prevent possible yeast infections.
  • A custom-made mouth guard is the best way to protect teeth during contact sports—it helps prevent any type of injury to the teeth. Watch our Rhode Show segment on our Pediatric page to learn more!
  • If an adult tooth is knocked out place it in milk or water (if milk is not available), and call the dentist immediately.
  • Mix a teaspoon of table salt into a small plastic cup of warm water.
  • Apply a cold compress to the outside of the child’s cheek close to the sore area.
  • Give the child an oral anti-inflammatory medication appropriate for their age.
  • Schedule an appointment with the dentist.
  • This happens often when the baby teeth are still loosening. Most of the time this is normal. However, if your child is having discomfort, has an abscess (bubble) on the gums near the tooth, or is not eating bring them in to have them evaluated.
  • At the first visit we will do a chair ride. The child will get to see all of the fun equipment like the chair, the air and water (we call it our blow dryer), and the suction (aka Mr. Thirsty). If the child is doing well we may have the dentist ‘count’ the teeth. If they are still very nervous we will not force them to complete any treatment or even sit in the chair. It is our job to make them love us, not scare them away.
  • Please see our “A Guide to Your Child’s Oral Health” brochure for lots of information on first visits. The most important thing is to make it fun!
  • No. The baby will ingest it and this can lead to a condition called methemoglobinemia, which if neglected can lead to serious conditions including permanent brain damage.
  • We accept both in-network and out-of-network plans. The difference with out-of-network plans is that your insurance company will not pay what other insurance companies will towards our fees.
  • With every visit, we will do a complimentary insurance breakdown so you will know exactly what your insurance covers before you incur any charges. If you are a new patient, as we are gathering records we will have a team member working on the details of your insurance coverage.
  • We accept all major credit cards, check and cash for payment. We also offer financing options such as Care Credit. Please see our financing page to apply online. We also can have a private appointment and treat coordinator can assist you with the application.
  • At Southcoast Smiles and Perfect Smiles, the technology we use for digital x-ray imaging uses a low dose of radiation. Bitewings are taken at your maintenance cleaning visits and they are used to see areas in between the teeth we cannot see with the naked eye. The amount of exposure is about .005 mSv (Millisieverts) which is comparable to the daily natural environmental exposure. The FDA recommends that at your dental cleaning visits to get posterior (back) x-rays and exam every 6-12 months if the teeth are touching as they have a risk for cavities. In our office we also use platinum digital sensors which have 10x less radiation than the conventional packet film. The average exposure time for one x-ray is 0.12 seconds. We have even invested in state-of-the-art panoramic and CT scanners to ensure the least amount of exposure possible for our patients!
  • Yes. Custom-made mouth guards not only last longer than store-bought ones, but they are more of a custom fit making them more comfortable. When a mouth guard is not comfortable, the athlete is likely to chew it, reducing its thickness and resulting in less protection. Watch our Rhode Show segment to learn more!
  • Bacteria that sit in between your teeth and tongue. Also, if you have periodontal disease you could have bad breath from the infection.
  • There are several options for replacement teeth. Some of the more common options are implants and bridges.
  • Gums bleed due to gingivitis or periodontal disease, which is due to bacterial inflammation and ulceration in the gums.
  • One cause of tooth sensitivity is cracks in the tooth’s enamel surface. Extreme temperature changes cause teeth to expand and contract. Over time, microscopic cracks may develop, allowing hot or cold sensations to seep through to the nerves beneath the tooth enamel.
  • There are over the counter toothpastes like Sensodyne that may work. There are also stronger treatments that can be given to you from your dentist that can be used daily to combat this sensitivity. We also offer root sealants to block sensitivity.
  • It begins when bacteria inflicts damage on the hard surface of the teeth, and the destruction will spread into the deeper layer if left unchecked.
  • Research today suggests a link between gum disease and diabetes. It has been established that people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. Be sure to see your dentist regularly for check-ups.
  • Everyone’s dental needs are different so your recall may be different than other patients. The majority of patients with minimal dental health issues should see a dentist twice a year.
  • Symptoms include a sore that doesn’t heal, a lump, or a white or red patch on the inside of the mouth. Regular visits to the dentist or dental hygienist are the first line of defense against oral cancer.
  • It is a lack of salivation which directly causes a dry mouth. This can be caused due to health conditions, most medications, and allergies.
  • There are lots of dry mouth remedies including gels, rinses (Biotene), and toothpastes. Sugar free lozenges are also helpful. You may need additional topical fluoride as well to help prevent cavities. DO NOT use caramels or candies to increase your saliva flow as this will most likely cause cavities.
  • Grinding can damage teeth and result in tooth loss, it can also affect your jaw. We can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.
  • Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay
  • Yes. A manual toothbrush often misses plaque in hard-to-reach areas. Also, even with the most technique sensitive toothbrush and brushing you are only reaching around 300 strokes (or less) per minute. A Sonicare toothbrush has 30,000 strokes per minute. This increase in stroke volume will help to vibrate plaque and bacteria from your gums and may help to keep teeth whiter.
  • Replace toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months. Consider getting a new toothbrush sooner if you have been sick, especially if they toothbrush is stored closed to other toothbrushes. Look at the bristles, if they are frayed, they won’t clean teeth as thoroughly.
  • Toothpastes are formulated to meet your every dental need and come in many flavors. If you’re confused as to which toothpaste is right for you and your family, have your dentist recommend one.
  • Once a day is sufficient but there is no harm in flossing more than once a day.
  • Sonicare toothbrushes are the best on the market and will help keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible compared to manual brushes. If you cannot use a Sonicare brush, make sure the bristles on your brush are soft—medium and hard bristles can cause recession in the gums.
  • Here are some steps that might help ensure that Perfect Smiles can save your smile:
    • Don’t touch the root of the tooth.
    • Rise it off with milk if dirty.
    • Keep it moist by dropping it into a glass of milk
    • Come in to our office as quickly as possible.
  • You can also call the office at any time after business hours and press 3 to reach a clinician.
  • The best way to reduce inflammation is with three Advil (600 mg total), three times a day, for three days. If you are unable to take Advil, there are several natural methods you can use to reduce the pain: visit our Emergencies information for those methods.
  • You can also call the office at any time after business hours and press 3 to reach a clinician.
  • For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down and come into our office as quickly as possible.
  • You can also call the office at any time after business hours and press 3 to reach a clinician.


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