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Frequently Asked Questions

My temporary crown fell off.  What should I do?

The first thing to do is inspect the crown to determine if it is broken.  If it is not broken, it may be replaced temporarily with a bit of toothpaste or denture adhesive.  Call your dentist to have the crown re-cemented with dental temporary cement.

What should I do if my tooth hurts?

Small cavities and gum disease rarely cause discomfort until they are very large.  Please contact your dentist as a toothache rarely resolves on its own.  Meanwhile, studies have shown that most dental pain is managed best with a combination of OTC medications such as Advil (Ibuprofen) and Tylenol (Acetaminophen).  Consult your doctor, dentist, or pharmacist to determine if these are acceptable for you to take.  Do not take more than the recommended doses on the bottle as too much can harm your kidneys or liver.  Your toothache may be a medical emergency if you have any swelling extending to your eye or down your neck, especially if you cannot open your eye or are having difficulty breathing.  Contact your dentist immediately or proceed to the Emergency Room.

Do I need an antibiotic for this?

Due to the increasing incidence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, antibiotics are not given as universally as in the past.  Thankfully, antibiotics for dental infections often aren’t necessary.  Swelling around an infected tooth that extends into the cheek or around the jaw often warrant antibiotic use.  However, simple toothaches or even root canals and extractions do not routinely require antibiotics except in select incidences.  Your dentist will determine if an antibiotic and what type is appropriate for you.

Do I really need x-rays?

The short answer is yes.  There is a multitude of diagnostic information that cannot be gained without the use of dental radiographs.  Some cavities, bone loss from periodontal disease, infections, tumors, etc. cannot be seen without the use of x-rays.  It is like attempting to fix your car engine without looking under the hood.  Patients are often worried about the amount of radiation exposure they will receive in routine dental radiographs.  Radiation exposure at the dental office is far below total exposure from typical medical and CT imaging.  Recent studies are showing that the use of lead aprons in the dental office may be deemed unnecessary in the future.  Current digital radiographic technologies also require lower radiation levels and further decrease any risk.

How often should I brush my teeth?

The most widely accepted amount of tooth brushing is 2 minutes, twice daily with proper technique.  Flossing (or another method of mechanically cleaning between your teeth) is usually necessary only once daily.  Studies have shown that the average person only brushes once a day for approximately 45 seconds.  Looking at a clock while brushing can ensure that you are cleaning your teeth for the recommended time.

Why do I need my teeth cleaned regularly at the dentist?

Regular tooth cleanings and exams are critical for your oral health.  Many tooth problems such as cavities and gum disease are typically painless disease processes and routine visits to the dental office help to catch these problems before they progress or become painful.  You will also receive an oral cancer screening to look for any anomalies or potential lesions.

What do I do if my denture broke?

Please do not attempt to glue the denture or broken tooth back together with super glue.  This never works and makes repairing your denture at the office much more difficult, sometimes impossible.  If new denture teeth do not need to be ordered, a dentist can often repair these breaks the same day.

I recently had a joint replaced and my doctor mentioned something about antibiotics and my dental visits?

In the past all patients receiving a total joint replacement were given an antibiotic before dental procedures to help prevent an infection of the prosthetic joint.  These guidelines have changed recently to be more individually selective.  Please bring any recommendations about antibiotics given to you by your orthopedic surgeon to your dental appointment so the correct antibiotic can be prescribed for you if necessary.

120 S. River St., Enterprise, OR 97828 USA
TYLER B. SCHAFFELD D.M.D DESCRIP (541) 426-3783 tylersdental@gmail.com