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FAQs | Welcome to the South Capitol Smile Center Website

Frequently Asked Questions

SOUTH CAPITOL SMILE CENTER, WASHINGTON DC

Q: I really do not like visiting the dentist, is there anything you can do to help me relax?

A: Many people are uncomfortable with visiting the dentist. Your comfort is our highest priority and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. For entertainment and distraction, stereo headphones with music are available. We can also discuss minor sedation if this is a route you would like to explore.

Q: I brush every day, but my breath is just not fresh. Is there anything I can do?

A: Millions of people struggle with halitosis, or bad breath, despite daily teeth brushing. Here is a checklist of procedures that can eliminate the problem:
• twice daily brushing
• daily flossing and tongue cleaning
• regular professional cleanings and careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances.

However, if your hygiene is meticulous and the problem persists, we can discuss several solutions. If we suspect a systemic or internal problem such as an infection or underlying condition, we may recommend a visit with your family physician or a specialist to identify the cause.

Q: What is a crown and why do I need one?

A: If Dr. Samaddar has recommended a crown to you, it is likely either to correct a broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay).

Q: I know I need X-rays, but I’d prefer to not be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-rays?

A: Yes, we exclusively use digital X-rays (radiographs), which use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film X-rays. You will find that South Capitol Smile Center, we research the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that promote your overall health, safety and comfort.

Q: How does fluoride help my teeth?

A: Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults by halting tooth decay. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation. Fluoride is a safe chemical component when used correctly. When your dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam, that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use any of the professional strength fluoride varnishes, gels or foam products carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Q: I just want my smile to look good. What are some options to help the appearance of my smile?

A: You are not alone. Most people want to have a nice smile since it is the first thing others notice about you. You may be interested in a few minor adjustments or may have concerns that need more attention. Some smiles can be enhanced with simple whitening or bonding treatments. Other smiles need Invisalign®, porcelain veneers, crowns or bridges; gum contouring; periodontal therapy or a combination of all these techniques. Dr. Samaddar will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals, areas of concern and the overall condition of your oral health. Contact us today for a smile evaluation to determine what course of action will produce the best solution for you.

Q: I want my front teeth to look better, but I do not want to wear braces. What would you recommend?

A: Dr. Samaddar has a number of ways to improve the look of your front teeth without the use of unsightly braces. For slightly crooked or unevenly worn teeth, a bit of reshaping and the addition of porcelain veneers may be sufficient to give them a bright, uniform look. For more extensive orthodontic needs, another option is Invisalign™, an FDA-approved system that uses clear, removable aligners to incrementally straighten your teeth, without uncomfortable brackets or wires.

We would be happy to talk with you further about the option that best suits your individual situation. Attention to detail, respect for the individual and a true concern for each patient are the hallmarks of our personal care and our quality product. We are committed to helping you fulfill your ultimate self-image.

Q: How can losing a back tooth affect my smile?

A: Losing a back tooth will darken your overall smile, making it look smaller and narrower. Your smile will appear to stop short, and the look will be exaggerated if your missing tooth has teeth on both sides of it. Function during chewing will be reduced and function of many teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth. When you are missing a tooth, you compensate by chewing differently, putting pressure on different parts of your mouth. This can cause your other teeth to shift, creating gaps and spaces and may even cause fractures that result in additional tooth loss or the need for restorations. It’s a domino effect. Let’s discuss how we can keep your smile healthy for life.

Q: What are my options to replace a missing tooth?

A: By replacing missing teeth either with a bridge or implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and give your smile back its beautiful, full and functional appearance. A bridge is one solution for replacing a tooth. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, Dr. Samaddar places a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile. A dental implant is also an excellent solution. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Once the post has bonded to the bone, it can act as a new, solid support for a natural looking porcelain restoration. Implants can replace a single tooth, or an entire set of teeth, offering more function and permanence than traditional dentures.

Q: What can I expect from my first appointment?

A: During your first appointment, your overall dental and oral health will be assessed with a comprehensive oral evaluation. Upon completion of your medical / dental health information, we will ask you to tell us your goals regarding your smile, teeth, and gums. Digital photos and X-rays will be taken of your teeth to identify areas of decay, cracked teeth and malfunctioning restorations. Dr. Samaddar’s goal is to preserve as much of your teeth as possible by catching any issues in their earliest stages. We’ll also assess your gums and recommend the appropriate hygiene treatment for you.

Q: Do you accept new patient referrals?

A: Over the years patients have given us the compliment of referring family and friends to our practice. Our reputation for excellent dental care depends on two things: our good work and your beautiful smile. Your confidence in our care motivates us to continue to strive for excellence. Thank you for your referrals. Your trust and support are greatly appreciated.

Q: My teeth keep chipping and cracking. What causes this? What can I do about it?

A: Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth, but don’t remember when the injury occurred, damaged their teeth while they were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip, crack and even break. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth, we may recommend a dental appliance called a nightguard. A custom fitted nightguard protects your teeth from grinding and clenching in your sleep. Dr. Samaddar takes great care in making sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Do you also suffer from headaches? If so, you may find that a side benefit of your nightguard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask us about having a nightguard custom created for you.

Your teeth may be hitting in poor alignment, not just during sleep, but also possibly while eating and normal daytime activities! If this is the case, re-aligning your teeth, even if you have already had orthodontic treatment in the past, may be something to consider. Most of us were not told to wear our retainers for life and if we stopped, our teeth most likely will have shifted over time. We can thoroughly review all scenarios and guide you to a healthy place for your smile.

Q: I want and need a lot of dental work, but I’m afraid I can’t afford it. Do you offer monthly payment plans?

A: Yes, we do offer monthly payment plans with our financial partner, Care Credit™. We provide a variety of ways for you to pay for your treatment so that it fits comfortably into your personal or family financial goals. Cristal works with you to create the solution that accommodates you so you can have the beautiful, healthy smile you have always desired.

Q: I want cosmetic dentistry. Does my insurance pay for it?

A: Dental insurance is designed to assist you in paying for your dentistry. Most procedures are not fully covered by your insurance. Cosmetic dentistry, in particular, is not covered by most dental insurance plans. However, if your tooth wear is due to breakage, sometimes you can have the benefit of restoring teeth and at the same time improving esthetics. This is something we can discuss together when you visit our office. To help you afford your smile, we do offer a variety of payment options in addition to a monthly payment plan provided by our financial partner, Care Credit™. We also pay special attention to maximizing the benefits that your insurance does provide. Ask Cristal how you can comfortably afford your dentistry and maximize your dental insurance benefits.

Q: What different payment options do you provide?

A: Helping to make your dental care financially comfortable and affordable is important and we proudly offer a variety of options:

  • Cash or personal checks
  • VISA/MasterCard/Discover/AMEX
  • 3, 6, 12, or 18 month – No interest monthly payment plans as well as low interest and extended payment plans through CareCredit.

We estimate fees and insurance reimbursement before starting recommended treatments and file insurance forms and follow up with insurance companies on your behalf.

Optimal, comprehensive, and minimally-invasive dentistry is our goal and we base our treatment recommendations on what is best for you and your long-term health. Any treatment not paid by insurance is your financial responsibility.

Q: My gums bleed. Why is this?

A: Gums can become red and inflamed, often bleeding during brushing or flossing. This could be due to being overdue for checkups, improper home care, systemic diseases, or a combination of any of these. Timely treatment can reverse these conditions. However, if these conditions are ignored, your oral health can worsen.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis can affect your gums, bone and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, more extensive, specialized treatment from your general dentist or even a periodontist may be recommended. If left untreated, chronic inflammation could result in in tooth loss. As the mouth is the gateway to the body, untreated oral disease could put you at risk for other serious health problems.

Q: My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?

A: It is certainly not desirable to have bleeding gums following brushing. If this problem persists despite correct brushing and flossing methods or occurs every time you brush, contact our office to set up an evaluation appointment. The condition may or may not require attention, depending on the source of the problem. Bleeding gums can be caused by any of the following: improper, rough “scrubbing” instead of gentle, circular brushing motions; using a hard-bristled tooth brush instead of a soft one; plaque and/or tartar build-up below the gum line; or gum sensitivity due to gingivitis or periodontal disease. An evaluation may be your best option for uncovering dental issues.

Q: What is periodontal disease?

A: Periodontal disease is a condition which affects the structured that hold our teeth in place. If any soft tissue and bone infection travels down and destroys the stability of your teeth in the mouth, you could be at risk for tooth loss. As with any disease process, early detection, prevention and maintenance is the best practice.

Q: How do sealants protect teeth?

A: A sealant is a non-invasive plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth—premolars and molars. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids and guarding against disease-causing bacteria. Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. However, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to efficiently extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food. Both adults and kids can benefit from sealants on both baby teeth and adult teeth, when the need is identified.

Q: Sometimes when I chew I get a sharp pain. What can I do to correct this?

A: Dental pain brought on by many factors. Sometimes it is biting in an “off” manner when you hit something you normally wouldn’t – like another tooth, or a piece of food, and that tenderness can go away with time. Sometimes pain with chewing is caused by a fracture, or crack, in the tooth. The pain can be corrected by placing an inlay/onlay, a porcelain crown, or with more advanced treatment. You want to correct the pain as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth. Contact us today to schedule a visit if this type of issue is causing you concern.

Q: How can porcelain veneers help my smile?

A: Porcelain veneers improve your smile by correcting a multitude of cosmetic concerns including: gaps in teeth; chips and broken teeth; dull or yellowing teeth that cannot be whitened with traditional means; “gummy smile” (showing too much gum when one smiles); and crooked teeth. Porcelain veneers broaden, straighten, whiten and beautify most any smile. This procedure can be done in as little as two clinical visits. Many of our patients feel like this was the best improvement that could have been done for their overall confidence. Ask us at your next appointment, or send us an email about how porcelain veneers can improve your smile.

Q: I want my teeth to be whiter. Do you recommend at-home or in-office whitening?

A: Dentist directed at-home whitening and in-office laser whitening are effective ways to brighten your smile. Dr. Samaddar customizes the treatment to ensure your happiness with the results. With prescription whitening gel, take home or in-office treatments are both great options. You will receive detailed instructions about how to maintain your bright new smile.