Common Questions and Answers
Will Dr. McCabe use Novocain? Nitrous oxide? IV sedation? And is it safe?
Novocain was a local anesthetic. Today we typically use a derivative of Novocain called Lidocaine which is used to numb only the particular area of the mouth we will be working in. Typically the numbness will last 3-4 hours, we recommend not eating anything as you can accidently bite your lip and not feel it.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a conscious sedation that is used to help reduce anxiety. When we use Nitrous oxide a patient will be awake and able to respond to commands but will often feel like they are floating, somewhat aware, and very relaxed. Nitrous oxide is safe for kids and adults. When treatment is done we allow you to breathe 100% oxygen and within 5 minutes the affects of nitrous oxide are gone, you can even drive home.
IV or Intravenous sedation is a conscious sedation that will eliminate anxiety and affect memory during the procedure. A patient will be asleep for a majority of the procedure and will often not remember the procedure at all. At this time we do not offer it in our Newton practice, but we work with top specialists who utilize IV sedation.
Can I use my dental insurance?
We currently are in network with Delta Dental Premier and Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), but as a courtesy to our patients we can file your insurance claims for all carriers. Our receptionists will gladly answer any questions regarding your insurance and your proposed treatment. For every insurance carrier there are multiple policies making it very difficult to know in detail about each policy. We are able to give you guidelines to the possible coverage by the insurance carrier and submit a pre-determination for an estimate of what your insurance might cover.
As health care providers, we emphasize that our relationship is with you, not your insurance company – as your insurance company does not have your best interest in mind. Insurance is a business so your insurance company will often agree to pay for the least expensive option instead of the solution that is best for your particular needs. As a courtesy to our patients we can provide the filing of your insurance claims, all charges from the date of service are your financial responsibility. We realize that temporary financial setbacks could affect the timely payment on your account. If such setbacks arise, please contact us quickly for assistance with your account.
What is a crown, FPD, RPD, implant?
Please visit each section for more information as this is a very brief overview.
- A crown covers one of your natural teeth to help protect it. A crown does not need to be removed by the patient (link)
- A dental bridge replaces a missing tooth by attaching to the two teeth next to the missing one. A bridge does not need to be removed by the patient (link)
- A Partial denture can replace one or multiple missing teeth by holding onto some of your natural teeth. A partial denture needs to be removed
by the patient every night. (link)
- An Implant can replace a missing tooth to multiple missing teeth by attaching into your jawbone and letting a fake tooth attach to it. A dental implant does not need to be removed by the patient (link)
What happens at my first visit?
At your first visit you will have the opportunity to sit down and chat with Dr. Thomas McCabe to discuss your medical history, dental treatment, and what brings you in today. Dr. McCabe may recommend taking a series of digital X-rays to get a more detailed and in-depth view of your entire mouth. These X-rays or radiographs allow us to see things between your teeth, under your gums, inside your bone, and even inside your tooth! This can allow us to easily fix small issues before they become a big problem. Even if you have no teeth X-rays may also be needed, as this will help Dr. McCabe determine if you have enough bone to support dentures, plus check for cysts, lesions, tumors, and even bone fractures. Then a thorough oral exam including a head and neck cancer screening is done to help diagnose any issues and develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
How can I prevent cavities?
We recommend spending two to three minutes brushing your teeth everyday, as it takes that long to clean your teeth of the bacteria that destroy tooth enamel. It takes very light pressure to remove plaque and bacteria, we recommend not brushing too hard. The only way to get bacteria from between your teeth is by Flossing - Floss at least once a day.
The foods that bacteria in your mouth like the most are the sugar in candy, crackers, fruits, and most junk food. Try to minimize the number of times during the day when sweet items are eaten and please remember brush your teeth after eating sweets.
If you are not able to brush after a meal, rinsing your mouth with water help can help remove some food from your teeth until you are able to brush. Coming in for regular dental visits also prevent cavities because our expert hygienists are able to clean below the gums.
What is periodontal or gum disease?
People often respond to bleeding gums the wrong way. Typically, gums that bleed easily are a sign of the start of periodontal disease or gingivitis. People often stop brushing as much and as well because it could be painful or it can cause the gums to bleed again. Sadly, when the gums are inflamed, brushing could actually help reduce the inflammation and make them feel better. Most importantly, you should see Dr. McCabe to have a periodontal exam completed to determine the status of the disease and the best treatment.
Chronic dental discomfort and pain are obvious signs of a potential serious problem. Taking over-the-counter medications could provide some temporary relief, but these drugs only mask the problem and seeking an evaluation by our Newton practice will help solve the problem.
Periodontal disease is infection and inflammation of the gums and bone supporting the teeth, which if left untreated, will cause permanent bone destruction that could lead to tooth loss. Many times periodontal disease causes no pain and the infected patient is unaware of the condition, this is why it is important to have regular visits with Dr. McCabe who can diagnosis this condition before it is too late. Periodontal disease that has been left untreated is linked to increased risk for stroke, heart disease, respiratory disease, low birth weight babies, and prostate cancer. Other signs of periodontal disease are:
· Bad breath
· Loose teeth or teeth that have moved
· Pus coming out from around the teeth and gums
· Bleeding gums
· Red or swollen gums
If the periodontal disease is in the early stages treatment can be performed in our practice in Newton. However, advanced stages may require surgery.
Why are my teeth getting darker?
Many factors play a roll in making your teeth darker and destroy the white smile you were naturally born with. The main things that make your teeth darker are: Tobacco - smoking or using smokeless tobacco will stain your teeth yellow due to the nicotine and intensive heat on the teeth. Certain drinks can actually stain teeth. Hot tea and hot coffee are hazardous to your white smile because the teeth have a temperature change when you drink something hot. This change in temperature and the cold hot cycling - causes the teeth to contract and expand allowing dark stains into the teeth. Decreasing the amount and frequency of coffee and tea can go a long way helping you keep your white smile. Certain foods – food that are slightly acidic make the outer surface of the enamel on the tooth more permeable to stains. Aging – as we age the outer white enamel surface of our teeth wears away. This wears comes from daily eating, drinking, and any habits like biting nails or chewing on a pen. As the white enamel wears away the naturally dark yellow dentin interior of the tooth becomes more visible. All of this continuously works on our teeth making our white smile slowly fade.
Why is my dentist concerned I have diabetes?
Recent research suggests a link between periodontal gum disease and diabetes exists. The studies have shown that people with diabetes that is poorly controlled and blood glucose levels which are extreme, are more susceptible to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, like all infections can cause blood sugar levels to raise that will make diabetes harder to control. Don't forget to tell us of any changes in medications.
How can I whiten my smile?
Usually you can expect teeth whitening to last from six months to two years. Things, which can cause staining such as coffee, red wine, and smoking, will help keep your teeth whiter for longer. Temporary sensitivity, which goes away one to two days after whitening, could occur. After the temporary sensitivity goes away, the sensitivity you had had prior to starting the whitening process should return.
Toothpastes that advertise that they whiten teeth typically only clean surface stains and don’t really change the color of the teeth. Your teeth are not actually being whitened but there could be some visible result.
My teeth feel fine. Do I still need to see a dentist?
Your mouth, gums, teeth may feel fine, but it's still important to see Dr. Thomas McCabe at least every six months because problems can be present without you knowing or feeling anything. The appearance of your smile is important, and Dr. McCabe can help keep your smile looking beautiful and healthy. Dentistry has had many advances in technology and materials so you don’t have to settle for chipped, stained, missing, or misshapen teeth. We have many different treatment choices that can help you confidently smile, including:
· Resin bonded composite tooth color fillings that appearance mimics natural teeth
· Professional teeth whitening
· Full smile makeovers and replacing teeth
Adults, teens, and kids should all see Dr. McCabe for regular checkups at least once every 6 months. Patients who have a greater risk for gum disease or oral cancer may be need to see us more than just twice a year. Dr. McCabe will help recommend how often you should come in for regular checkups to keep you healthy.