Frequently Asked Questions

Oregon City Family Dentistry

t Oregon City Family Dentistry, we try hard to make sure you don’t just receive great care, but that you’re also a part of it. That means being able to answer any and all questions you have so that you can make informed decisions about your oral health!

How do I know if I have gum disease?

Patients often believe that tooth decay is the only thing keeping them from a healthy mouth for life. While fighting tooth decay is paramount, the bigger threat is often gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, and it has been linked to serious conditions like heart disease and diabetes. The disease is widespread, and about 75 percent of Americans will struggle with gum disease at some point in their lives.

At Oregon City Family Dentistry, we aggressively treat gum disease with non-surgical methods and provide home care information to help patients keep their mouths’ healthy for the rest of their lives. Gum disease can come with many painful symptoms, but it’s possible to have no symptoms and still have a serious problem! The only true way to know if you are free of gum disease is to schedule regular visits with our office.

Here are common signs of gum disease:

● Swelling or bleeding of the gums
● Receding gums
● Bad breath
● Loose or failing teeth
● Pockets around the gums
● Bone loss

Gum disease, while not curable, can be managed with home care and regular dental visits. Gum disease typically occurs in two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis, with periodontitis being more serious. Patients with periodontitis often see pockets form around the gums. These pockets are typically filled with bacteria and plaque that threaten the health of your teeth. Our office offers a deep cleaning that removes plaque and bacteria from underneath the gumline to stop the development of painful periodontal pockets. Bacteria that causes gum disease multiplies quickly, so we ask patients with gum issues to visit our office for cleanings three to four times a year.

We hope that these questions and answers have given you a better understanding about your oral health. If you have further questions about your oral health or our comprehensive services, call our office today
at 503-656-8250 or use the convenient online form to schedule your first appointment.

When should my child first see the dentist?

Parents never miss a scheduled doctor’s appointment to review the overall health of their growing infant or toddler, but that’s often not the case for the dentist. Surprisingly, millions of parents in America do not take their children to a dentist during the first several years of their life.

At Oregon City Family Dentistry, we treat families and children. We recommend that parents bring their children to our office before the child’s first tooth appears or by the age of 2. By seeing your child early in their life, we can not only monitor their oral health, but we also can make them comfortable with the dentist. Dental fear is a problem that affects millions of Americans, and some of these people refuse to see a dentist. If we can treat your child at a young age and show them that a dental office can be a fun and happy place, we can set the stage for good oral health for life.

Drs. Annalisa and Kyle Smith have children of their own and work to make all of their younger patients comfortable. They have even designated a section of their office as the “kids’ corner.” During your child’s exams and cleanings, we can offer preventative treatment that will help keep their teeth free of cavities. We place dental sealants on molars to reduce exposure to harmful acids and bacteria and apply fluoride varnish to your children’s teeth to reduce the risk of cavities.

Taking your child to the dentist is a great way to set the stage for a healthy and happy mouth for life!

What is bruxism and how can you treat it?

Have you ever woken up with an achy jaw? Or do you find yourself bouting with intense headaches throughout the day?

If you’re struggling with any of these issues, you’re likely suffering from bruxism – a condition that causes patients to clench or grind their teeth. In addition to intense headaches and pains in the jaw, bruxism can cause:

  • Popping, clicking, or locking of the jaw
  • Worn enamel or flattened teeth
  • Chipped or loose teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tender neck and shoulder muscles
  • Tingling in the fingertips

Patients suffering with bruxism often have alignment or bite issues that affect the TMJ (temporomandibular joint). We use our TMJ literally thousands of times a day, whether for chewing, talking, yawning, drinking, or any other jaw movements. The TMJ is irritated when the teeth and jaw muscles are not properly aligned, which triggers the long list of often painful symptoms.

At Oregon City Family Dentistry, we can craft a special mouthpiece for you to wear at night that keeps your bottom and top teeth from touching while you clench or attempt to grind. Our mouthpieces are custom-made and fit comfortably inside your mouth. In addition to helping your bruxism, our office works with a specialist to treat more severe TMJ issues.

How can dental implants help my smile?

There are millions of Americans struggling with missing teeth – whether that means individual missing teeth or entire arches of missing teeth. Living without your natural teeth can be a challenge for a number of reasons. First off, life without natural teeth makes it extremely difficult to properly chew and digest your food. This ultimately leads to poor diet, eating habits, and an overall unhealthy lifestyle. The second problem with missing teeth is jawbone loss. When we lose our teeth, our jawbone begins to recede because it has lost its main function – to support the teeth. The third and most obvious problem is cosmetic. Missing teeth are distracting and often keep us from smiling with total confidence. A confident and beautiful smile is key because it can lead to social and professional opportunities.

The best option in dentistry today to replace missing teeth, by far, is dental implants. At Oregon City Family Dentistry, we help you through the process of getting the implant or implants placed to restore a single tooth, multiple teeth or secure partial dentures and full dentures. Patients who wear removable dentures understand the struggle that comes with eating, chewing, and even cleaning their oral devices. You can get rid of the sliding once and for all with implant-retained dentures. We simply place a few dental implants around the mouth to secure the denture in place, and in no time, you’re back to eating food that you have avoided with traditional dentures.

Dental implants nearly mimic the function of your natural teeth. Studies have found that implants provide about 90 percent of the chewing force of natural teeth and can last decades, if not forever, if cared for properly. Our patients who have had dental implants are simply amazed at the transformation in their life. Following the procedure, they can again eat the food they love and not have to worry about loose dentures ever again.

We’ve included some of our most commonly heard questions here, but this is hardly an exhaustive list! If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to call us right away at 503-656-8250 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to helping you!

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We hope that you’ve found our website to be helpful and educational. Our Oregon City dental office is dedicated to providing you and your family with complete dental care.

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