Robert K Elloway, DDS

 

5790 Magnolia Avenue, Suite 103, Riverside, CA 92506

(951) 684-2085

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: Why should I go to the dentist regularly?

 

A: Many people do not see a dentist on a regular basis. They go only when they have a problem. We call this “crisis treatment” as opposed to “preventive treatment.” While these patients may feel they are saving money, it usually ends up costing much more in both dollars and time. The reason for this is that most dental problems do not have any symptoms until they reach the advanced stages of the disease process. A simple example is tooth decay. We often hear, “Nothing hurts…I don’t have any problems.” However tooth decay will often go undetected, until it gets close to the nerve of the tooth. By that time, root canal treatment followed by a post, buildup, and crown are often necessary, instead of the filling which could have been placed several years earlier when the cavity was just beginning to form. Your dentist can usually detect a cavity 3-4 years before it develops any symptoms. It is not uncommon to see a patient with a huge cavity and who has never felt a thing. This is why regular checkups are important.

 

Q: What can I expect at my first visit?

 

A: During your first visit to our office, you will receive a thorough dental examination that includes X-rays and comprehensive risk assessments. Dr. Elloway will develop a personal dental care plan based upon your immediate needs, current dental health and long-term oral health goals. This individual plan will include recommendations for cleanings, restorations and preventive treatments.

 

Q: I am afraid of going to the dentist ... What can I do?

 

A: Fear of the dentist is common, and we care deeply about helping our patients to overcome these ainxieties. We want you to let us know what your concerns and questions are so that we can do our best to make your visits pleasant. Asking questions about your mouth and treatment plan will help to remove fear of the unknown and give you an opportunity to become involved in your dental health. We make it a proirity to provide a relaxing office environment and encourage you to let us know how to help make you comfortable.

 

Q: Which type of toothbrush should I use?

 

A: The brand of the toothbrush is not as critical as the type of bristle and the size of the head. A soft toothbrush with a small head is recommended because medium and hard brushes tend to cause irritation and contribute to recession of the gums, and a small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. It's unnecessary to "scrub" the teeth as long as you are brushing at least twice a day and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings.

 

Q: Is one toothpaste better than others?

 

A: Generally, no. However, it's advisable to use a fluoride containing toothpaste to decrease the incidence of dental decay. We recommend our patients use what tastes good to them as long as it contains fluoride.

 

Q: How often should I floss?

 

A: Flossing of the teeth once per day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can't reach. Flossing also helps to keep your gums healthy.

 

A: Flossing of the teeth once per day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can't reach. Flossing also helps to keep your gums healthy.

 

A: Decay occurs when plaque — the sticky substance that forms on teeth — combines with the sugars and/or starches of the food that we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel. The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are also ways to prevent decay.

 

Q: What's the difference between a "crown" and a "cap"?

 

A: These are restorations to repair a severely broken tooth by covering all or most of the tooth after removing old fillings, fractured tooth structure, and all decay. The restoration material is made of gold, porcelain, composites, or even stainless steel. Dentists refer to all of these restorations as "crowns". However, patients often refer to the tooth-colored ones as "caps" and the gold or stainless steel ones as "crowns".

 

Q: What's the difference between a "bridge" and a "partial denture"?

 

A: Both bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth. A bridge is permanently attached to abutment teeth or, in some cases, implants. A partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and is easily removed by the patient. Patients are usually more satisfied with bridges than with partial dentures.

 

Q: What about "silver" fillings versus "white" fillings?

 

A: Although the U.S. Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver fillings), more patients today are requesting "white" or tooth-colored composite fillings. We also prefer tooth-colored fillings because they "bond" to the tooth structure and therefore help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay. While fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature, and they also look better. However, "white" fillings cannot be used in every situation, and if a tooth is very badly broken-down, a crown will usually be necessary and provide better overall satisfaction for the patient.

 

Q: Do I need to have a root canal just because I have to have a crown?

 

A: No. While most teeth which have had root canal treatments do need crowns to strengthen the teeth and to return the teeth to normal form and function, not every tooth needing a crown also needs to have a root canal.