Questions About Family or Cosmetic Dentistry?

Below is a list of some of the questions we get asked most frequently from our patients. If you have a question that isn't answered below, feel free to give us a call and our team at Piedmont Dental Partners will be happy to assist you.
Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums
How often should I visit the dentist?
You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before them get worse and harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach.
How often should I brush and floss my teeth?
You should brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. You should floss once a day as well.
What is the proper way to brush my teeth?
The following guidelines are important to brushing correctly.

1.Firstly, make sure to use a soft bristled brush. Hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth.

2. Place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gumline. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline.

3. Use short back and forth strokes or tiny circular movements to brush your teeth. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth.

4. Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth.

5. Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.

6. Finally, don't cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes.
What is the proper way to floss?
The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly.

1. Take 18" of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand .You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1-2 inches in between for cleaning.

2. Gently move the floss up and down the spaces of your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage.

3. As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it up and down against the surface of one tooth. Gently clean at the gumline as well. Repeat this for the other tooth.

4. Repeat this process for all of your teeth.

What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
What is periodontal (gum) disease
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occures when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing, as well as tooth loss.
What are the signs of periodontal disease?
The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact your dentist if you experience any of these:

  • gums that bleed while brushing
  • red, swollen or tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • bad breath that doesn't go away
  • pus between your teeth and gums
  • loose teeth
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • a change in the fit of partial dentures
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, and visiting you dentist regularly. Also make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth.
Teeth Whitening
Why do our teeth turn yellow?
While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow color substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint.
What are the different types of teeth whitening options?
Below are the three most popular teeth whitening options available today.

In-office teeth whitening
In-office teeth whitening works by producing a significant color change in your teeth in short amount of time, usally within an hour. The procedure is done at the dentist's office applying a high-concentration peroxide gel on the teeth after they have been protected with a special shield.

Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits
These whitening kits are purchased from your doctor for use at home. The strength of the gel used in these kits is lower than that used for in-office bleaching, and thus the gel can be applied for longer periods of time. Usually the trays are worn a couple hours a day or overnight for a few days or weeks depending on the product.  Research has proven home whitening is the safest and most predictable way to whiten teeth.

Over the counter whitening
Over the counter teeth whitening kits are store-bought and use a lower concentration gel than both in-office bleachin and take-home kits purchased from your doctor. While they are cheaper, they typically are less effective than methods that can be performed by your dentist because of the low concentration gel. Additionally, over the counter trays are not custom fit for your teeth, which can result in irritation to your gums while wearing the trays.
How long does teeth whitening last?
Teeth whitening usually lasts from one to three years before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only "touch ups" are required to maintain the whiteness.
Other Common Questions
What can I do about bad breath?
Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, including the types of food you ingest, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and other causes. Going to your dentist will help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so that you can take steps to elminate it.

Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene and regular checkups to the dentist will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth which emit odors. It will also help prevent or treat periodontal disease (gum disease), caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist). Finally, make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any residue.
What are your office hours?

We are in the office Monday through Thursday 8:00am to 5:00pm with lunch from 1:00pm-2:00pm, and we are in the office the second and fourth Friday of the month from 8:00am-12:00pm.

What should I do in case of a Dental emergency?
During office hours patients should call our main phone number 328-3886. If a dental emergency should occur after office hours Established Patients should call our main phone number 328-3886. You will be directed on how to contact the on-call Doctor.
Is there a way I can ask my doctor questions directly?
We encourage our patients to have open, direct communication with Dr. Landrum and Dr. McLaughlin; therefore they both are available daily to answer your questions either via e-mail or phone. Depending on office traffic and the complexity of your questions, they strive to respond within 24 hours.
Do you accept my insurance plan?
We are not a participating provider (HMO, PPO) for any dental plans. Our office is more than happy to help you with your insurance benefits; filing insurance claims for you, and accepting direct payment. However, as the patient, you are ultimately responsible for your account, so it is always suggested that you check the particulars of your plan in order to anticipate your out of pocket expenses. We would be happy to answer any more questions you may have, simply ask one of our friendly and knowledgeable team members. We are here to assist you!
What Are Your Different Payment Options?
Our office is making a concerted effort to keep the cost of your dental care down so that you and your family can receive quality, individualized care. In order for us to achieve this goal, payment by cash or check at the time of your dental visit is preferred.

Here is a list of different options:
  • We accept all major credit cards.
  • Have Dental Insurance? We will file your claims for you. Once you become a valued patient we will allow you to pay your share of what the insurance will not pay, and file with your insurance for the remaining balance.
  • Finance your treatment through Dental Fee Plan by Capital One.
I really don't like visiting the dentist, is there anything you can do to help me relax?
We understand that many people have concerns about having their teeth worked on. So, we strive to create a relaxing atmosphere. We all have a contagious attitude of enjoying our work that's hard to beat. Plus, our entire staff is trained to be alert and aware of your concerns, so that we can make your visit as comfortable as possible. Of course, for extreme anxiety and/or complex procedures, we do offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation, or IV sedation as well.
How do I know when it is time to come in for a checkup?
For your convenience, we will schedule you ahead of time for your next cleaning and check-up; that way you can have the day and time that suits you best. Our staff will follow up with you as a courtesy to remind you of your next appointment.
What if I need to cancel an appointment?
We do not charge for cancellations; however, we would appreciate a minimum of 24 hours notice of cancellation for the benefit of other patients.
What about my children, at what age do they first see a dentist?
Early visits provide several advantages: they give us the opportunity to spot and prevent any potential oral health/dental problems; they can also give the child a positive, non-threatening dental office experience. That's why we recommend parents bring their child in at or after the age of three.
Patient safety?
Our entire practice team is well-versed in state-of-the-art sterilization techniques designed to ensure patient safety. This goes beyond wearing gloves and face masks to prevent passing germs, but includes a state-of-the-art sterilization center. If this is an area of concern for you, just ask for a tour. You'll not only be impressed, but reassured: your safety is a top priority.
I'm a new patient. Can I get copies of any forms that you need me to complete, prior to my visit?
We’re happy to provide you with all the necessary new patient forms prior to your first appointment. Simply click on the "New Patient Information” icon in the margin, and choose the appropriate forms from the listing provided. From there, you can quickly print the forms you need. If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you’ll find that we provide a free download version for your convenience. Or if you prefer, just call our office and we will mail them to you.
What makes you different than any other dental practice I can visit?
You'll never have so much fun in a dental office as you will at ours. How do we know? Because we have fun! And it's contagious. We love turning plain, everyday expressions into beautiful smiles.