Simply put, we make smiles happen for all ages!

FAQs

Why choose Merry Dental Care?

First and foremost, we care about you and your health.  We care about quality dentistry and we care about each other. From your first phone call to every follow-up interaction, we pride ourselves on being the best. We contribute our resources to many charitable endeavors and have been awarded the Mpls/St. Paul Magazine Top Dentist recognition multiple times. Partner with us and you will not be disappointed.

Why should I go to the dentist regularly?

Avoiding dental treatment often ends up costing more in dollars and time. Many dental problems do not have signs or symptoms until they reach advanced stages. Routine preventative examinations can detect problems before they begin to hurt. Regular cleanings are necessary to prevent periodontal disease which can lead to tooth loss and contribute to other health problems. Our doctors will discuss with you how frequently you should be seen for your exams and cleanings.

What will happen at my first dental visit?

When you contact our office, we will gather basic demographic information over the phone and guide you to access registration, medical history and, if necessary, record transfer forms. When you become a new patient, we ask that you provide insurance information so that we can research your plan prior to your first appointment. If you have seen a dentist in the last few years, it is helpful to have your records transferred before your first visit. We can request the records for you once we receive your record transfer form. Your doctor will perform a comprehensive dental and periodontal exam and we will take any necessary dental x-rays. If it has been a long time since you have seen a dentist or we note signs of periodontal disease you may need to schedule additional time to complete the cleaning.

Why do I need x-rays?

X-rays are an essential diagnostic tool that allows us to provide the best treatment recommendations for you. Dental x-rays allow us to see decay between teeth and below restorations that is otherwise not visible to the eye. They also allow us to see the health of the bone, identify periodontal (gum) issues, and can detect developmental abnormalities and pathologies. Early detection may prevent more costly and time consuming treatment in the future. We use the latest digital technology to minimize your exposure to radiation.  Our doctors prescribe x-rays based on each individual patient’s needs. In some instances we may use the CariVu, a radiation-free cavity detecting device.

Tell me why fluoride is good for the teeth.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is an additive in many foods and water. Minerals in your teeth can be lost (called demineralization) from tooth enamel (the hard outer protective layer) when acids attack the enamel. These acids come from plaque and bacteria in your mouth as well as from consuming highly acidic foods and beverages. Minerals from foods, beverages, and dental treatments (fluoride, calcium and phosphates) can be deposited in the teeth (called remineralization). Tooth decay occurs when too much enamel is lost without the needed repair. Fluoride makes teeth more resistant to the loss of enamel and is believed to reverse early decay. Not only does fluoride help accelerate the remineralization process, it also disrupts acid production.

Fluoride consumed by children deposits in the developing teeth making them stronger.  Most municipal water supplies have added fluoride. If your child drinks well water or filtered water, you may want to discuss adding fluoride with your dentist.

Fluoride can be applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses, some of which are available without a prescription. Stronger formulations require a doctor's prescription. Our dental professionals can provide additional fluoride through in-office treatments of a fluoride varnish. These are recommended for people with a high decay rate, those who have dry mouths (due to medications, illness or cancer treatments), patients with many restorations, and patients with receding gums.

What else can I do to prevent tooth decay?

There are three important elements: keeping your mouth clean, avoiding sugary and acidic foods, and regular dental visits. Teeth should be brushed gently twice daily with a soft bristled toothbrush for two minutes to ensure removal of food debris and cavity causing bacteria. Daily flossing is also important.

Sticky or sugary foods, even natural items, contribute to dental cavities. Beverages with high sugar content or those that are highly acidic contribute to the breakdown of the enamel coating on teeth. Brushing and/or rinsing after consuming these items will help. If you cannot brush, rinse well with water. Studies also show that chewing gum with xylitol may also lower your risk for decay.

Do sealants help prevent cavities?

In agreement with the American Dental Association, Merry Dental Care Center recommends dental sealants to help prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants, placed on the chewing surface of back teeth, act as a barrier to shield teeth from sweet or sticky foods and decay causing bacteria. They are most commonly recommended for children as their adult teeth erupt. We use BPA-free sealant materials.

What can I do about sensitive teeth?

Some toothpastes have ingredients specifically added to reduce sensitivity such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. Using these in addition to avoiding acidic foods can bring some relief in a few weeks. Powered toothbrushes, used gently can also help. For people who continue to have sensitivity we recommend in-office application of fluoride varnishes or the use of prescription strength fluoride toothpaste.

What causes bad breath?

There are many factors that contribute to bad breath. It may be as simple as needing a teeth cleaning. It may be that better brushing, including a thorough scrubbing of the tongue, is necessary. Chronic gum disease is often a factor. Foods in your diet such as onions and garlic or unique diets, may affect the smell of your breath. Dry mouth caused by dehydration, a diminished saliva flow, or mouth breathing, can cause mouth odor, especially contributing to “morning breath”. Tobacco or marijuana use will cause malodor. There are medical conditions that can also cause bad breath and chronic long term mouth odor may be a signal of an underlying medical condition. Our doctors can discuss your concerns in a comfortable and helpful manner.

What is periodontal (gum) disease?

Periodontal disease is an inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting bone cause by bacteria in your mouth. If left untreated, it can contribute to bone loss and loss of teeth. Many studies have shown that periodontal disease affects your general health and increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, preterm delivery, low birth weight babies, respiratory disease and prostate cancer. Indicators that you have periodontal disease include red, bleeding, swollen, or tender gums. A bad taste or persistent bad breath is also cause for concern. Loosening, mobile, or shifting teeth is often a sign that the disease is more advanced.

What medical conditions may require a change in dental recommendations?

  • Diabetes may increase your risk for dental infection and gum disease. In addition, gum disease may contribute to diabetes and related health problems.
  • Pregnancy changes the body’s hormones which may contribute to inflamed and sore gum tissues. Some dental insurance companies allow payment for additional cleanings during pregnancy. Studies have shown that untreated gum disease can lead to preterm labor and low birth weight babies. Also, many women suffer more frequent episodes of vomiting during pregnancy. The associated acids can be harmful to the teeth. Rinsing followed by brushing 15 minutes later will help reduce the negative effects.
  • If you are being treated for a medical condition requiring chemotherapy or radiation it is possible that you may have oral side effects ranging from persistent sores to dry mouth, increased levels of decay, and greater risk of infection. Please discuss treatment options with your dentist.
  • Patients who have had joint replacement therapy, or are planning to do so, should discuss their dental condition with their surgeon. It is often recommended that a thorough dental exam and cleaning is done 1-3 months prior to the joint replacement surgery. Decisions about antibiotic premedication for dental procedures after joint replacement will be based on the recommendation of your orthopedic surgeon. We ask that you bring documentation of your surgeon’s recommendation to your first visit following the joint replacement. We will discuss pre-medication with you if you request.

These are just a few of the conditions that can affect your dental health. It is important to notify our dentists and hygienists of any medical conditions prior to starting your appointment.

What causes canker sores?

The medical term for a canker sore is apthous ulcer. Scientific studies have not been able to identify a single cause for canker sores. Trauma, such as biting your cheek or scraping with a sharp chip, can initiate the development of a sore. It is believed that genetics or allergies are possible factors. Stress and mineral deficiencies can also be contributing causes. Many people find that certain foods, such as highly acidic fruits and beverages can trigger episodes. Some studies have shown that using toothpastes free of sodium lauryl sulfate can decrease the frequency of apthous ulcers. We have treatment options available for stubborn canker sores. Please discuss with your doctor if you suffer from frequent sores.

Should I consider cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry utilizes the dentist’s skills, art training, and advanced technology to offer an enhanced smile. Everyone has different thoughts and concerns about their smile. A wide variety of options are available to make changes that can be subtle and discrete to dramatic and show-stopping. Studies have shown that an attractive smile can boost self confidence and enhance other’s perception of an individual.  If you are interested, schedule a complimentary consultation with our experienced and award winning doctors.

How can I get my teeth whiter?

Many factors affect the color of teeth and everyone’s teeth are different. Some people are born with darker teeth. Exposure to antibiotics or excessive fluoride can cause teeth to discolor when they are forming. Teeth can discolor from the inside which happens with age as well as when a tooth dies. Teeth can also discolor from the outside from the consumption of dark foods and beverages or smoking.

Most whitening toothpastes are abrasive and can contribute to the wearing-away of enamel which permanently damages the outer protective layer of your teeth. If you would like to try whitening toothpaste, please discuss with one of our doctors first.

Merry Dental Care Center offers two options for teeth whitening. If you would like a quick whitening option, perhaps for a special event, we offer a treatment performed in the dental chair giving almost instant results. The other alternative is custom whitening trays that are used to apply a whitening gel to your teeth at home over a number of days. The gels are available in varied strengths. This option can reverse tooth discoloration caused by aging or other factors. We also recommend custom bleaching trays as follow-up whitening after an in-office treatment.

The factors that have caused your teeth to darken will influence how long whitening lasts. Even though the results can fade, occasional touch ups can be done to brighten your smile again. In some cases other cosmetic treatments such as microabrasion or veneers may be necessary to restore your smile. Our doctors are trained and skilled in these various procedures. Please ask our doctors for details regarding your specific expectations and concerns.

Do you offer Invisalign?

Our doctors are trained in various teeth straightening options. It can be considered as a solution for both cosmetic and functional concerns. Straightening your teeth without wires and brackets has become the preferred method of many of our patients. We are happy to provide Invisalign, Clear Correct, and other customized options to straighten teeth. Movement of your teeth happens by wearing a series of custom-made, removable, clear aligners. Our doctors will guide you through the benefits of the various treatment options to find the best straightening solution for you. Please call for a complimentary consultation.

Tell me about advanced dental technology available in dentistry.

At Merry Dental Care Center, we strive to be leaders in the field with advanced training and state-of-the-art equipment. We use digital x-rays, intra-oral cameras, and the CariVu (a radiation-free cavity detecting device) to accurately diagnose decay or damage to your teeth. We have air polishers and ultrasonic cleaning devices to assure that your cleaning is thorough. We use CAD/CAM technology to provide crowns fabricated in our office using a 3-dimensional image of your tooth that is optically captured and digitally communicated to the milling unit. We offer a laser device for soft tissue treatments. We also have an oral cancer detecting device available at your request. The Velscope handheld scope can be utilized as an adjunct for detecting some types of oral cancer.

These are just a few of the tools we use to stay at the forefront of technology.

What can I do in a dental emergency?

If you have pain, swelling, or bleeding from your mouth or if you have a traumatic injury to your mouth or teeth, please call our office immediately. We will make every attempt to see you on the same day to address your immediate concern. If your dental emergency happens after hours and you are a current patient, you will be directed to contact one of our dentists.

If your tooth is broken, try to find the piece(s) as the doctor may be able to rebond it to the remaining part(s) of the tooth. Emergencies involving swelling or infection may be referred to a specialist.

Injuries to the tongue or soft tissues should be rinsed gently with warm water. Apply a gauze or towel with gentle pressure for 15-20 minutes. Cold compresses will help with swelling. If bleeding is profuse (exceeds 20 minutes) or if the injury is severe, visit an emergency facility as soon as possible.

I knocked out my tooth. Can it be saved?

Dental injuries should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible. If a tooth is knocked out or pushed out of alignment these tips may help save it. Hold the tooth from the top and do not touch the root. Do not rinse, rub, or scrub to remove dirt or debris as this may remove the layer of cells needed for the tooth to be replaced and held in the bone. If the patient is old enough to reliably hold the tooth in their cheek or under the tongue this is the best option to ‘carry’ the tooth to the office. If this is not possible, store the tooth in a jar with the person’s saliva or milk. If you are at a sporting event, a trainer may have a special saline used to transport teeth. If you are comfortable and can assess how the tooth should fit in the mouth, the doctor may instruct you to gently try to reinsert the tooth and hold it there by having the patient bite down on a tissue or cloth. It is important to treat the tooth as soon as possible; within two hours of the injury is best.

Why should I use an athletic mouthguard?

Mouthguards can help prevent or minimize injuries to the teeth and oral structures. They are especially important for people with braces or teeth that have been artificially restored. The best mouthguards are custom fit by a dentist and come in many colors. Many athletic associations require mouthguards. Please check with your association as many school leagues require colored guards so they are visible to referees. Caring for your guard is easy; rinse and store in a dry case. Avoid heat and chewing on the guard which will lessen its effectiveness and lead to the need for replacement.

When should I bring my child for their first dental visit?

Children are special to us and we love to see them at Merry Dental Care Center. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child have their first dental visit by the age of one. We will introduce your child to our office, complete an exam, discuss dental development and oral habits, recommend appropriate fluoride, discuss home dental care and diet. Our focus is on creating a positive first dental experience which might only be an opportunity to get acquainted. You may choose to have your child sit on your lap if that makes them more comfortable. We will also answer any questions you may have and make appropriate recommendations.

What can I do for pain or clicking in my jaw joint?

The pain can come from your temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) or the supporting structures. Dysfunction with this joint can cause pain in the area, radiating headaches, tooth pain, clenching, locking up of the joint, or clicking and popping noises when you chew. Please relay any of these symptoms to our doctors. They can discuss and recommend treatment options.

What happens if I have dental anxiety?

Most of our patients find that our unique office environment, welcoming staff, and gentle doctors make their appointments comfortable and relatively stress-free. If you feel you need to speak with the doctors regarding options to conquer anxiety, please mention when scheduling your appointment.

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