Q: I have a a terrible fear of going to the dentist yet I recognize the importance of seeing the dentist to maintain good oral health. What should I do?

If you fear going to the dentist, you are not alone. The good news is that today  there are a number of strategies that can be tailored to the individual to reduce fear, anxiety, and pain. These strategies include, use of medicines ( to either numb the treatment area or sedatives or anesthesia to help you relax). Here at Thornton Dental, the welcoming staff and friendly atmosphere plus the gentle and kind dentists who are sensitive to the patients' needs will help you forget your fear.

Q: What can I expect from my first visit?

The purpose of your first visit is to get to know us and your dentist. Your dentist is available to answer any questions you have about your dental care and address any specific concerns regarding your smile and dental health. A set of x-rays is usually taken to help your dentist make a comprehensive oral exam. Dental prophylaxis or cleaning normally follows.

Q: Why does my jaw sometimes hurt?

Pain in the jaw is referred to as temporomandibular joint disorders or TMJ. The pain can be caused by any of the following:

Overuse injuries  caused by either chewing gum, clenching the jaw from stress, and grinding your teeth during sleep.

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Q: I noticed that I grind my teeth when I am asleep. What can I do to stop grinding my teeth?

Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep. If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your doctor or dentist about options to reduce your stress. Attending stress counseling, starting an exercise program, seeing a physical therapist, or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants are among some of the options that may be offered.

Q: At what age is it best for my child to have braces?

It depends on the problem that needs to be corrected. If the child has a crossbite, the soonest possible time is recommended. Most of the time braces are recommended when the child is between 9.5 and 12 years of age. That is when a lot of growth takes place. Some children are really ahead of the game in terms of growth. They will get braces sooner. Some patients whithout severe problems can wait until all their baby teeth fall out around the age 12 or later.

Q: Can I still have braces at 40?

Yes. You are never too old to have braces. The only problem with that is, the bones have matured and are stronger, therefore the treatment may take a little longer.

Q: What are the advantages of choosing invisalign over the traditional braces?

A lot of people prefer  Invisalign because it is clear and invisible.  Also, Invisalign is a removable appliance. Therefore, it is easier to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly. With traditional braces, the wires and brackets  get in the way of brushing and flossing well.

Q: Why do I have a gap between my 2 front teeth? Can that be corrected?

Diastema is a space or gap between two teeth. It appears most often between the two upper front teeth. However, gaps can occur between any two teeth. A mismatch between the size of the jaw bones and the size of the teeth can cause either extra space between teeth. If the teeth are too small for the jaw bone, spaces between the teeth will occur. This can be corrected by having orthodontic treatment.

Q: My daughter has a habit of thumbsucking. What are the negative effects?

Thumb sucking tends to pull the front teeth forward, creating gaps. Your child’s palate (the roof of the mouth) may become arched causing what’s known as an “Open Bite". It may also cause front teeth to be pushed forward, causing bite and speech problems. Many older children who still suck their thumbs may have trouble making “S” sounds or sounds requiring the tongue to touch the front teeth. Thumbsucking continues after permanent teeth come in or especially in cases of excessively hard sucking, dental problems can occur. 

Q: My eight year old has an on and off toothache. Can young children get a root canal?

When cavities in children get really deep, the pulpal tissue becomes irritated and inflamed.  This is when they feel the "toothache".  The dentist removes the decay and then the pulp chamber (the top part, not the root canals) This procedure is called PULPOTOMY and is often called a baby root canal. It is not really a root canal and is a very common procedure in children.


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