Patient education is an important aspect of dentistry. Here at Smile Architects, we believe that providing excellent service is only half the story; the other half is understanding what dentistry does and how it is performed. The ability to consult and ask a dentist in Houston, TX, is beneficial for both the patients and the providers, so we’ve included the answers to some common questions below.

Do I Have To Pay for Exams/Consultations?

We offer a free, complimentary exam/consultation for cash patients. For insurance patients, we bill the insurance, so there are no out-of-pocket costs.

Do You Accept Walk-In Patients?

Yes, but it depends on the schedule and the urgency of the visit. Scheduled patients have priority. If we’re too busy, you’ll be asked to schedule an appointment on a later date.

When Do I Need To See a Dentist?

The general recommendation is to see a dentist for a regular cleaning every 6 months. If you have any concerns about your oral health, you might consider going sooner.

When Do I Have To See a Specialist?

We’ll refer you to a specialist when a certain procedure requires someone in that field.

Are Extractions Painful?

Extractions should virtually be pain-free once the anesthetic sets in. You’ll feel pressure, but there should be no pain during the operation.

How Often Do I Need To Brush My Teeth and Floss?

The recommendation is brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day to keep the oral cavity clean and prevent infection or bacterial growth. Flossing gets those food particles trapped between the teeth that toothbrushes can’t reach.

Why Do I Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth can grow in wrong and cause problems. They can grow at an angle, and in some cases, horizontally. This causes an impact with the other molars, resulting in pain and other complications.

How Much Do I Have To Pay for a Certain Service?

We can’t give an accurate estimate until after an oral evaluation. Our dentist needs to know the severity of any complication and if there are any concerns.

What Should I Do After Oral Surgery and How Long Does It Take To Heal?

After oral surgery, you should bite onto the gauze until the area stops bleeding, replacing the gauze every hour. After the bleeding stops, avoid drinking through straws or rinsing your mouth for the first 24 hours, spitting, rigorous activities, and chewing in that area. In fact, you’ll want to avoid the surgical area altogether until it heals.

Eat soft food and gradually return to a normal diet. Depending on the surgery, the surgical area will heal in a week or two. Keep your mouth clean and eat a proper diet to recover as fast as possible.

How Do I Prevent Staining On My Teeth?

One of the most common causes of staining is food and drinks; coffee is a prime example. The best prevention is reducing the amount of things in your diet that can cause staining. Proper oral hygiene helps too.

What Is the Bone Grafting Material Made From?

The bone grafting material can be made from your own bone or a variety of material that’s compatible with the body.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

Root canal therapy is needed when the pulp, the center of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are, gets infected. We remove it to avoid further complications.

What Should I Do If Part of My Tooth Breaks Off?

Try to hold onto the fragment(s) to show our dentist. Depending on how severe the break is, you may feel pain since the tooth is exposed. Try to avoid getting the area infected and take pain reliever if necessary. We can offer you different solutions depending on the problem. If it’s a minor chip, the tooth can be smoothed out. Major breaks could require a composite or crown to reconstruct the tooth.

Why Do I Need a Deep Cleaning?

Also known as scaling and root planning, a deep cleaning is needed when there’s a buildup of dental plaque and calculus on the teeth. They can cause inflammation and other problems. Removing the tartar is essential for good gum and overall oral health.

Is It Normal To Bleed When Brushing/Flossing My Teeth?

Constant bleeding when brushing should be brought to our attention to ensure you don’t have a periodontal disease or gingivitis. Mild bleeding when flossing is usually because you just started flossing. The bleeding stops after routine brushing and flossing, improving the gum health.

Should I Rinse With Mouthwash Every Day?

This is optional. Only brushing and flossing is necessary, but if you want extra cleaning or freshening, use the product as directed for optimal results.

How Long Do I Have To Wear Braces?

Treatment length for braces varies for each individual. A variety of factors determine the length of braces, such as the level of crowding and the patient’s age.

Do Braces Hurt?

Generally, you feel pressure from the wires as they are adjusted to move the teeth. However, no sharp pain should ever occur. If that does happen, it’s most likely from the wires poking your mouth. We can easily trim them at your next appointment. In the meantime, you can put a bit of the wax that was given to you on it.

How Much Will Braces Cost?

You’ll need to have a consultation with our orthodontist before we can give you an estimate.

What Can't I Eat While Wearing Braces?

The main foods to avoid are the hard and sticky ones. Foods like corn chips and nuts can break/loosen the brackets or bend the wire. Sticky candy or gum can also loosen the brackets. You want to avoid biting hard things head-on. For example, you can eat apples, but try to cut them into bite-size pieces first.

How Do I Get Regular Cleanings When I Have Braces?

Before a regular cleaning, our orthodontist removes the metal wire. After our dentist cleans your teeth, the wires are placed back on.

How Do I Brush and Floss My Teeth With Braces?

You have to brush thoroughly because food particles can be trapped in the brackets and wire. Angle your toothbrush so it can cover the top and bottom of the braces. You also need a floss threader to get behind the wires, then you can floss normally. If food is still stuck in the braces, you may need a proxabrush to get it out.

When Do I Have To Wear My Retainer(s)?

After you get your braces removed, you typically wear your retainer(s) constantly for a set amount of months, as determined by our orthodontist. After that time, you wear them only at night. Retainers keep your teeth where they’re supposed to be.

What Happens If I Lose My Retainer(s)?

Your teeth start to move after your braces come off, so you need to wear your retainer(s) daily. If you happen to lose it, reach out to us as soon as possible so we can make a new one.

What Should I Do If a Bracket Gets Loose or Broken?

Hold on to it. We’ll put it back on at your next appointment.

What Is the Age Limit for Braces?

There is no real age limit for braces, but generally, the younger the better. The teeth can be more easily corrected at a young age and the bone can facilitate the movement better.

What Happens If I Don't Wear My Retainer(s)?

In short, your teeth start to move again. If they move out of the corrected position, you may have to get braces again to fix it. You can quickly notice the effect of not wearing a retainer. If you skip, the retainer may be tighter the next time you try to put it on.

Any other questions can always be answered by one of our staff members. You’re welcome to contact Smile Architects by phone or visit our office.