We’ve compiled a list below of the most common dental related questions we receive. If you have a concern not addressed here please let us know. Call or email us, we’re happy to help.
Where is your office located?
Smithfield Family Dentistry is located in the heart of downtown Smithfield, Virginia, nestled on idyllic Main Street. Our office is 309 Main Street, located between Bank of America and Victoria’s Rose gift shop. We are a brick building and our driveway runs along the side of our building with a parking lot in the rear – also accessible from Cedar Street. The entrance to our office is on the rear side of the building.
Is your office open on Fridays and Saturdays?
Our office does see patients on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of every month from 8am to 1pm. We are not open on Saturdays.
When should I start bringing my child to the dentist?
We recommend you first bring you child to the dentist around the age of 2 and when you are scheduled for a checkup visit. This way, your child can observe you, see what tools are used, hear the different sounds made by those tools and get a feel for what to expect when they come to the dentist office. At that visit, some children will feel comfortable with proceeding with their own appointment if time allows. Typically, by the age of 3, a child will be coming to the dentist for their own individual appointment. Every child is different, so we like to make sure they are comfortable at the dentist. We prefer not to cause any undue pressure or stress that could result in a fear of the dentist. This approach helps your child ease into the idea of coming to the dentist and that the dentist is not a scary place to be!
How often should I come to the dentist?
Preventative dental appointments should occur at least every 6 months. In some cases, these appointments are recommended even more frequently, but this is something that the dentist and hygienist will determine is appropriate for each individual patient.
What is a cavity/tooth decay?
Tooth decay is caused by certain bacteria in the mouth. When a person eats sugar and other refined carbohydrates, these bacteria produce acid that removes minerals from the surface of the tooth. The enamel surface then becomes brittle and breaks, allowing the bacteria to destroy the underlying, softer layers of the tooth.
How can I prevent cavities?
The best way to prevent cavities is by brushing twice a day for 2 minutes and flossing daily. Limiting refined sugars from your diet is also helpful because this will take away the food source that cavities feed on. Fluoride, which is an ingredient in many toothpastes and rinses, helps strengthen enamel and make teeth more cavity resistant. Regular 6-month checkups and dental cleanings, professional fluoride treatments and placing sealants on permanent molars are also key ways to prevent cavity formation.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a chemical ion of the element fluorine. Fluoride is found naturally in soil, water, foods, and several minerals. Fluoride has been proven as an effective way to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride works by stopping or even reversing the tooth decay process by remineralizing the enamel surface, which keeps tooth enamel strong and solid. Fluoride can be found in many dental products.
What is fluorosis?
Dental fluorosis is a permanent condition that causes changes in the appearance of tooth enamel. It may result when children regularly consume excessive fluoride during the teeth-forming years, age 8 and younger. Also, pregnant women should consider not consuming excess fluoride because their unborn child’s teeth are forming in-utero! Dental fluorosis ranges from mild, appearing as white spots on the enamel – to severe, appearing as dark pits in the teeth. Fluorosis can be caused by drinking water with excessive fluoride or swallowing fluoridated toothpaste – this is why children under the age of 5 should typically use fluoride-free toothpaste. Fluoride is a key agent in the prevention of cavities, but it must be used in the appropriate dose.
How can I correct staining caused from too much fluoride in the water?
Too much fluoride in the drinking water that results in mottled, whitish-brown stains is known as fluorosis. Fluorosis is considered an intrinsic stain, which means this stain formed while the teeth were being formed. Due to this, these stains cannot be removed with whitening toothpastes and gels. In some cases, these stains can be faded by a process called Microabrasion. This is where we lightly polish the stained surfaces with a dental bur to help lighten or blend the stains. If these stains do not respond to microabrasion, the stains would have to be covered up, whether it is by placing composite bonding, veneers or crowns over the enamel.
What are dental sealants, who should get them, and how long do they last?
Sealants are plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves of permanent molars of children. We recommend as soon as children get their 6- and 12-year molars, they have these areas sealed. These teeth typically have very deep grooves on the biting surfaces of the teeth that easily collect food and plaque and can also be very hard to keep clean. Therefore, after a cleaning in our office, we recommend having sealants placed to prevent decay from forming. This is a painless, quick procedure and typically the sealants will last several years!
Is whitening my teeth safe?
Tooth whitening has been shown to be safe if used as directed. Sometimes whitening can cause some short-termed sensitivity, but this is typically resolved once whitening is completed.
What can be done about generalized cold sensitivity?
Generalized cold sensitivity is something lots of people suffer from. It can be caused by thin enamel, exposed root surfaces, or a patient can just have sensitive teeth! The number one way to address generalized sensitivity is by using a sensitivity toothpaste (ie. Sensodyne, Colgate Sensitivity) or dental product. These products typically contain the ingredient of potassium nitrate, which has been clinically shown to lessen sensitivity. If these products do not give you the results you would like, some people benefit from professional fluoride treatments or having a professional desensitizer placed to areas of sensitivity.
What powered toothbrushes do you recommend?
Powered toothbrushes are very beneficial when it comes to plaque removal. There is a wide variety of powered brushes on the market today, ranging from battery powered to rechargeable, electric powered brushes. Sonicare and Braun Oral B are leaders in the powered toothbrush industry. We suggest you look for one of these brands, and then choose your brush based on personal preference.
Do you take my insurance?
Smithfield Family Dentistry is a participating provider for DeltaDental and Cigna insurance companies. We will file any insurance that you may have as a courtesy to you, however, there may be a co-pay that you will be responsible to pay. We are always more than happy to research your particular plan and send your insurance company a pre-authorization in order to give you a better idea of what your plan will cover for the services provided in our office. We do not accept, nor do we file Medicare or Medicaid. Our financial advisor is always happy to assist you with any questions regarding your insurance.
How long has Dr. Cook been practicing?
Dr. Cook graduated with his dental degree in May 2003. In July 2003, Dr. Cook started Smithfield Family Dentistry and has been enjoying practicing dentistry ever since!
Does your office do root canals, extractions or implants?
Yes, Yes and YES! We are well trained in all of the above procedures and can handle most of these procedures in our office. Although, we do these procedures on a case by case basis. In some events, it is better suited for a specialist to complete the needed treatment. In this event, we have a team of very skilled, knowledgeable specialists that we can refer patients to if needed. We work very closely with these specialists to provide you with optimal dental care.
If I have a dental emergency on the weekend or afterhours, what do I do?
We are very concerned for your dental health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, times arise when you need dental care or advise when our office is not open. In that event, we have a dental emergency line that will reach Dr. Cook. A person can be forwarded to this emergency number from our afterhours office voicemail. If possible, Dr. Cook will do his very best to reach you and help you in a timely manner!
Do you offer sedation?
We do offer Nitrous Oxide sedation. This is also referred to as “laughing gas”. Having this type of sedation can really help relax an anxious patient or child, plus it is 100% reversible – meaning as soon as the appointment is over, there are no lingering side effects of sedation! There is an extra fee required for Nitrous Oxide administration.
Does your office offer orthodontics (braces)?
We do offer two different orthodontic options in our practice. Six Month Smiles and Invisalign are great alternatives to conventional braces and both options yield pleasing outcomes!