Frequently Asked Questions

Unlike other dental web sites, our FAQ is not prepared by one or two doctors. What we have done is compiled the best answers for our FAQ, organizing it all here for you. For instance, if you have a question about root canal treatments we guide you to the American Academy of Endodontics FAQ section. So instead of getting your answer from an individual doctor, you get it from the most reputable source for root canal treatment issues.

All the answers provided are for general information only. Your dentist will be able to answer any specific questions about your case. You should consult your dentist before making any decisions regarding treatment for your oral health issues.

Contact us if you have a question and you live in or around Austin.

Select a category for your question:


Why do I have to have an exam before I can get a cleaning?

Proper dental care says the doctor must perform a full exam before a cleaning in order to properly diagnose the type of cleaning you will need. In most cases you will only need a simple cleaning, known as a prophylaxis. Sometimes a person’s oral health requires advanced cleanings or a referral to a periodontist (a dentist who received specialized training in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease) for more exact treatment.

Why doesn’t Omni Dental Group do amalgam fillings?

Although amalgams are still used, their use is controversial. Omni Dental group chooses not to use them for various reasons including:

  • It is outdated technology. Amalgams date back to the 1840s
  • Amalgams expand and contract with time and can cause microleakage and microfractures.
  • Amalgams unnecessarily expose patients to mercury.

Omni Dental Group uses alternative, mercury-free modes of treatment including composite fillings, inlays, and onlays. Check with a front desk associate for details on how this may affect you and your insurance coverage.

What is a filling?

A filling is used to restore a tooth that has suffered loss due to decay by rebuilding the tooth to its natural shape. The filling is created by filling the tooth with a dental material such as amalgam or composite resin. Omni Dental Group does NOT do amalgam fillings due to indications that amalgam contains mercury which can leak into the patient’s system and cause various health problems.

Composite resin, an alternative to amalgam, is a tooth-colored material made of plastic dental resin. These fillings are strong, durable, and make for a very natural looking smile. Many dental insurance plans cover their use. However, you should check your insurance plan for what is called an “alternate benefit clause”. An alternate benefit clause states that the insurance will only pay for the lower cost of an amalgam filling. If your insurance has this clause, you will be responsible for the difference between the cost of the amalgam filling and the composite resin filling.

What is a crown?

Crowns, often called “dental caps”, are a type of dental restoration which, when cemented into place, fully cup over the portion of a tooth which lies at and above the gum line. Crowns can be made out of porcelain (or some other ceramic material), gold (or other metal alloys), or a combination of both. Since dental crowns encase the entire visible aspect of a tooth, a dental crown in effect becomes the tooth’s new out surface.

What is a bridge?

A bridge is a dental appliance that replaces a missing tooth (teeth). A false tooth (or teeth), known as a pontic(s), is/are fused between two crowns to fill in the area left by the missing tooth (teeth). The crowns hold the bridge in place. This is known as a fixed bridge. Fixed bridges cannot be taken out of your mouth as you might do with removable partial dentures.

What is periodontal (gum) disease?

Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated , can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.

What causes periodontal disease or what factors contribute to periodontal disease?

There are many causes of periodontal disease: The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. Other factor such as smoking/tobacco use, genetics, pregnancy and puberty, stress, medications, clenching or grinding your teeth, diabetes, poor nutrition, and diseases that interfere with the body’s immune system may contribute to the condition.

What can I expect the first time I visit a periodontist?

Your periodontist will do a comprehensive exam in your first visit. Radiographs (x-rays) may be used to show home levels between your teeth to check for possible bone loss. It’s very important for your periodontist to know if you are taking any medication or being treated for any condition that can affect your periodontal care.

What is periodontal surgery?

Periodontal surgery is necessary when your periodontist deermnies that the ittsue around your teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired with non-0surgical treatment , Surgical procedures remove the disease-causing bacteria and allow the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone. Four types of surgical treatments most commonly prescribed are:

  • Pocket Reduction Procedures - The bacteria is removed and the tissue is repositioned back into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide.
  • Regenerative Procedures – Membranes, bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins can be used to encourage your body’s natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue
  • Crown Lengthening – Crown lengthening adjusts the gum and bone level to expose more of the tooth so it can be restored.
  • Soft Tissue Grafts – Soft tissue grafts can be used to cover roots or develop gum tissue where absent due to excessive gingival recession.

How do I know if I have periodontal disease?

Persistent swollen, red or bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, and bad breath are warning signs or periodontal (gum) disease – a serious infection that, left untreated , can lead to tooth loss.

Jot down your answers to the following questions to find out if you have the symptoms of periodontal disease.

  • Do you ever have pain in your mouth?
  • Do your gums ever bleed when you brush your teeth or when you eat hard food?
  • Have you noticed any spaces developing between your teeth?
  • Do your gums ever feel swollen or tender?
  • Have you noticed that your gums are receding (pulling back from your teeth or your teeth appear longer than before?
  • Do you have persistent bad breath?
  • Have you noticed pus between your teeth and gums?
  • Have you noticed any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite?
  • Do you every develop sores in your mouth?

Why do I need a root canal, buildup, and crown in a tooth that is not hurting?

A tooth would require a root canal when there is radiographic and clinical evidence that the nerve is dead or dying. Omni Dental recommends a buildup and crown be performed within a month of completion of a root canal to avoid fracturing of the tooth and possible additional treatment.

Why do I need a crown after I have a root canal?

By the time the average person has had a root canal, there are almost always other structurally compromising things going on with the tooth. After a root canal, your tooth loses moisture and can easily fracture. Without a crown, the tooth may fracture. Once the fracture is extensive and severe, an extraction will be required. Once extracted, the area is only restorable by a bridge, implant, removable appliance, or a combination of the three.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an implant denture and regular, removable denture?

Implants serve as a foundation for replacement teeth. The teeth can be fixed (cemented or screwed in to place permanently) or removable i.e., detachable in the form of clips or snaps over the implant posts individually. Both options offer tremendous improvements and benefits over the typical conventional appliances that rest on the tissues alone.

The removable approach is usually less costly and is easier for the patient to maintain since the appliance can be removed and the patient has easier access for cleaning. The fixed approach is desirable in that it most closely resembles the feel, appearance, and stability of one’s own natural teeth. Both approaches afford the patients improved comfort, function, health, cosmetics and improved self-esteem and confidence.

My dentist told me I needed my fillings replaced because they are racking my teeth. Is there any truth to having fillings replaced or is the dentist trying to make a buck?

Teeth can crack due to excessive stress during years of function, as a result of stress related nighttime clenching and grinding, trauma, a diet of hard foods, chewing ice cubes, chewing on a uncooked popcorn cornel. They can also crack when they have very large silver fillings that expand slightly into the areas of minimal structural support.

Whatever teeth you have that have cracks in them should be restored. The cracks act as a major access point for the acid by products of the bacteria we all have in our mouths and make decay a very easy process to develop. Certainly when the virgin teeth started to break down and intervention was warranted by fillings, these very same fillings have a limited life expectancy with an average filling lasting 5-7 years. Sometimes the fillings only last 2 years and sometimes it is 20 years and that is dependent on diet and oral hygiene.

Do you offer sedation dentistry?

Yes. Omni Dental Group offers various forms of sedation, much as oral sedation and nitrous oxide. Special arrangements can be made with an anesthesiologist if a patient requests deeper sedation. Check with a front desk associate for details.

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