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Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Maria Chartz, DMD

More Information About Our Services

What to expect on your first visit

Scheduling regular dental visits help to avoid oral health issues then diagnose and treat any conditions. We want you to be prepared when going to the dentist for the first time – whether you are experiencing dental pain, changing dentists, or it’s time for your checkup.

At our dental office, we don’t want you to hide your charming smile; we want to make it grow and give you the confidence you deserve. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Before Your First Appointment

For your first time, we ask that new patients fill out an informational packet. Please click on the links below and fill out the forms. 

Make sure to plan enough time off from work or school not to feel rushed. If you don’t have much time to spare, we suggest scheduling an end-of-the-day appointment to go home after your visit with us. Get to the office at least 15 minutes early to complete any essential paperwork and give the staff time to set you up. When you check in at the reception desk, come prepared with your driver’s license and insurance card. 

Do you have dental insurance? See what options your dentists provide. You may have to pay a copay at the office, or your dentist might bill you the balance after your insurance pays them. 

During Your First Appointment

The dental hygienist covers your chest with a plastic or paper cloth at a typical dental appointment. Laying out on a tray, you’ll see ultrasonic tools that the hygienist uses to work on your teeth. You can expect them to begin the oral health screening process by scraping off any buildup of plaque and tartar on the surfaces and along your gum line. Your teeth will be polished with a tool that has a spinning head. The appointment may end with floss and fluoride varnish  to make those pearly whites extra clean. 

Please inform your hygienist if you feel pain or discomfort throughout the cleaning process. There will be rest breaks when needed. 

The hygienist will then bring in the dentist to conduct a thorough exam and check each tooth. They will be looking for pockets or gaps between your teeth and gums. A periodontal probe, metal or ultrasonic tool, helps the dentist find any problem areas while measuring the depth of your gum pockets. 

Once completed, the dentists will talk to you about your oral health. Feel free to ask any questions and address comments or concerns at this time. 

After Your First Appointment

If your mouth is sore, it is suggested to take over-the-counter pain relievers. Don’t hesitate to call the office between routine visits if you have additional questions or are experiencing any pain and discomfort. 

Participate in follow-up care. It is highly recommended to schedule a dental exam every six months sometimes sooner depending on the dentist/hygienist findings at initial visit. Your dentist will provide you with details regarding the next steps if you need to come in for specific appointments, such as to treat cavities or have a root canal procedure or any major restorative work. 


At our dental office, our goal is to provide you with a healthy smile and to make your dental experience as relaxing and comfortable as possible.

What to expect when you need to have a crown on your tooth!

What is a crown?

A dental crown is a restorative cover that sits over the top of your tooth. This cover is usually made from porcelain or a white metal known as zirconia, and it helps protect a tooth while restoring its color, shape, and strength.

There are several reasons that someone might need a dental crown. Your dentist might recommend one if you have a cavity that’s too large for a traditional filling, if your tooth is worn down, decayed, or otherwise weakened, or if you’d like to hide a badly discolored tooth.

The Procedure

Getting a dental crown usually takes two visits to your dentist. At your initial visit, the dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic, then prepare the tooth for the crown. This means they will clear away any decay and shave down the tooth so the crown will fit once it’s in place.

Next, your dentist will make an impression of your prepared tooth (either with a mold or a digital scan). This impression will go off to the lab so the crown can be built, and you’ll head home with a temporary crown over your tooth.

Your second visit is typically two weeks later. Your dentist will remove the temporary crown at this appointment and place the custom-made crown in its place. The dentist will examine the crown for proper fit, color, and comfort – and if everything looks good, they will cement the crown onto your tooth. Just like that, you’re all done… and your smile looks great!

What to expect when getting a filling/inlay!

They’re the four words that everyone dreads hearing at the dentist’s office: you have a cavity. Just the thought of having a cavity filled evokes a feeling of stress and anxiety in countless patients. Visions of loud, painful drills dance through their minds. The good news is, tooth restorations have come a long way in the last several years. Knowing exactly what the filling process entails ahead of time can help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with getting a cavity filled.

What is a filling?

A filling is a material used to fill a cavity after the decay is removed. Not all fillings are the same, however. They can be made from a variety of materials, including:

  • Amalgam. Typically, amalgam is a mixture of tin, and silver. Dubbed the “silver filling”, amalgam has been used to fill cavities for over 150 years. It’s an inexpensive choice for patients and a quick and easy material for dentists to use. But most patients don’t want them anymore due the color. And the misconception of them having mercury in them.
  • Composite resin. For patients who aren’t crazy about the idea of amalgam fillings, composite resins are often used. Composite resin, which is a tooth-colored filling, is a less costly option than a gold filling.
  • Ionomers. Ionomers are also tooth-colored filling options. They’re commonly used for small cavities or cavities in between teeth. Some ionomers even release fluoride, which is an added bonus for patients who are cavity prone.
  • Gold. Gold is becoming an increasingly less popular filling option. That’s because it is both costly and difficult to work with. When gold is used as a filling, the procedure itself is likely to take longer.
  • Ceramics. Ceramics are another tooth-colored filling option. Unlike composite resin and ionomers, ceramics require the use of special equipment. Thus, it may take several appointments to complete the filling process when ceramics are used. Additionally, they’re typically a less cost-effective option than other tooth-colored filling choices.

Why are fillings necessary?

Cavities are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes. Cavities, also called tooth decay or caries, are caused by a combination of factors, including bacteria in your mouth.

Left untreated, the cavity will continue to progress, causing significant pain. Untreated tooth decay can also lead to abscesses, which are painful infections that can ultimately result in bone loss. Fillings, then, are essential for stopping the progression of decay and repairing the affected teeth. They typically last for several years before replacement is necessary.

What to expect when getting a filling/inlay done!

To begin the filling process, your dentist will first numb the area to be treated. The dentist will begin the numbing process by applying a topical anesthesia– otherwise known as a numbing gel– to the area before injecting it with an anesthetic. After your mouth is sufficiently numb, your dentist will remove the decay with a drill and then replace the decayed area with a filling.

After the filling process is complete, the dentist will check your bite to make sure you are not excessively hitting the filling,  Your mouth will remain numb for at least a couple of hours. This is a normal occurrence as the anesthetic wears off gradually. During this time, it’s important to be mindful of what you eat and drink. You don’t want to risk burning your mouth or chewing on the numbed areas.

Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures is a common occurrence after having a tooth filled. This sensitivity should resolve within a few days to a few weeks. In the meantime, there are toothpastes available to help with your discomfort. Ask your dentist for recommendations.

Remember: arming yourself with knowledge is essential to overcoming dental anxiety. For more information about the filling process, or to discuss any other dental concerns, contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!

Dental implant stages

Do you have a tooth (or teeth) that is missing or needs to be removed? A dental implant can restore your smile permanently.

Dental implants: replace broken, rotten, and missing teeth and allow you to skip the bridgework and dentures. However, the process doesn’t happen overnight. There are three major dental implant stages that every patient goes through. And you could spend up to a year completing them. They include:

  • Pre-surgical appointments
  • The surgery itself (three individual stages)
  • Recovery and follow-up appointments

Have you thought about implants but aren’t sure what to expect? Keep reading, and we’ll show you what happens at every stage of the dental implant procedure.

What is a dental implant?

Before diving into the dental implant surgery, it’s worth reiterating what a dental implant is– and isn’t.

Dental implants aren’t teeth.

Instead, the implant is a prosthesis. When we talk about implants, we refer to the small post that goes into your jaw bone and forms the foundation for your crown (or bridge). The crown is the tooth, i.e., the part you see.

The implant is the most complex part of the procedure because it requires interaction with your jawbone and gums. If it doesn’t set correctly, it not only means your tooth won’t stay in place, but it can also result in problems for the rest of your mouth.

What to expect pre-surgery?

You can’t waltz into a dental office and get implants. The planning process is one of the longest implant stages because it requires you to see multiple professionals, each of whom has different specialties.

For example, you need to see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for a full exam of your mouth and jaw to see if you are a good candidate for the surgery.

You can also visit a periodontist, who examines your gums, jawbone, and the other structural support around your teeth. They also consider your candidacy for dental implants.

Then, you need to see a prosthodontist (at our office) who specializes in both dentures and implants.

Why does all this need to happen? Dental implants always require one surgical procedure, but many people need more help to ensure the implant is a good fit for your mouth.

The whole process can take about a year.  Please speak with our prosthodontist about the time frame, as this depends on the number of implants placed and the type of prosthesis being made.

Will I Be a Candidate for Dental Implants?

A significant part of the pre-surgery assessments with the various specialists revolves around assessing your candidacy for dental implants.

The ideal candidate is someone who has good general health as well as adequate oral health. Ideally, you have healthy gums (no periodontal disease) and a strong jaw bone (more on that later). Both are important for supporting the implant (the prosthesis).

You typically qualify for dental implants whether you are missing one or all of your teeth.

If you have diabetes (either type 1 or 2), you may need further exams. You need careful control of your blood sugar to ensure the healing process goes as planned. Immune deficiencies may also disqualify you because they compromise your ability to heal.

If you are pregnant, you may be told to wait until after you give birth before the surgery itself.

Do You Need Bone Grafting? It Could Add Days or Months

Dental implants are built into your jaw – just like real teeth. Your jawbone needs to support them for the implants to function correctly.

You already read that you will visit a periodontist who will examine your jaw. They do this to make sure the bone is thick enough to hold the implant over a long period of time. If they determine you cannot, they then decide whether you need a bone graft.

A bone graft is a surgery that involves transplanting bone tissue. In this case, you will transplant the tissue to your jaw bone to strengthen or thicken it. The bone used may be from elsewhere in your body or synthetic.

What happens next depends on the extent of the graft needed. Significant grafts can take days or months to complete. Using artificial material works faster because you don’t need to regrow the bone.

In cases where the graft is artificial and straightforward, you may have the graft on the day of your implant surgery. However, you may also need one or more appointments well in advance. Your care team will be able to explain the plan that works best for you.

What to expect during your dental implant surgery

As you draw nearer to your surgery, you will need to follow some pre-operative procedures. Most of these are designed to keep you healthy in the days and weeks after the surgery.

You may receive an anti-bacterial mouth wash or some prescription antibiotics. These are preventative measures that lower your risk of infection after the procedure.

Finally, you need someone to drop you off and take you home. While this isn’t essential for localized anesthetics, it is imperative if you use an IV or oral sedation.

Do You Need Sedation?

The type of sedation you need is mostly up to you.

The procedure always involves a local anesthetic at a minimum. However, due to the nature of your surgery, it is in your interest not to feel every second of it, particularly if you need multiple dental implants.

Both oral and IV sedation are available to dental implant patients.

Oral and IV sedation range from minimal to moderate to deep sedation. What you choose should depend on issues like:

  • Your pain threshold
  • Your teeth sensitivity
  • Your gag reflex
  • The work needed

If you have a low pain threshold and require a significant amount of work, then you may benefit from a higher level of sedation.

Your dentist can tell you more about the sedation offered and what type makes the most sense for your procedure.

You may be under instructions to avoid food after midnight before the surgery if you are using IV sedation. If you stick to localized anesthetics, then you need to eat a big breakfast because you won’t eat again for several hours. Additionally, eating will be painful for a few days post-op.

With these notes in mind, you’re ready for your procedure. Here’s what a typical implant surgery looks like.

The Three Dental Implant Surgery Phases

The surgery takes places in three stages:

  • Placement of the implant
  • Attaching the abutment
  • Fitting the crown

The first phase would take place in our dental office, one to see how many implants are needed and where they should be placed.  Of course if it is just one tooth missing it goes in the area of the missing tooth.  But we have to evaluate the area and assess if this is the best option for you. Then you will be referred to a surgeon for the placement of the implant/or extraction and preparation of an implant.

During the first phase, your provider will numb your mouth with local anesthesia. Once the drug works, they will make an incision in your gum and expose the bone.

With the incision in place, they use a drill, which creates space in the bone for the implant screw. Don’t worry, the drill is very quiet, so it shouldn’t startle or scare you if you remain awake for the procedure.

From here, the implant goes into place, and your incision may receive a stitch or two depending on the size.

Then, you wait a few months so that the implant and the bone become one piece (through osseointegration) to ensure there’s a secure attachment.

When it heals, you undergo the second phase of the procedure. During this appointment, your provider re-exposes the implant through another incision. You then will return to our office and digital impression will be made to start the fabrication of the implant crown.

Creating the crowns takes several appointments, and they differ by the depending on what type of case you have (whether it is a single tooth replacement or multiple teeth)

During the final step, you receive your new crown(s). You may receive a trial procedure before the final fit that allowing us to ensure that everything fits perfectly (case dependent).

What to expect during dental Implant Recovery

Recovery time varies patient by patient. If you needed one tooth removed and replaced, then your recovery time will be much faster than someone who needed several implants and a bone graft.

For most people, there is bruising, swelling, and some localized pain after the surgery. The worst day is typically the second, and it declines across the third. However, it doesn’t require more than an over-the-counter NSAID (ibuprofen or Tylenol) or at the most codeine or hydrocodone. You may not be comfortable, but you can go back to work the day after surgery.

How to Protect Your Dental Implants After Surgery

You will receive a full list of post-operative instructions from your care provider. These may differ depending on the kinds of procedures you had.

In general, you can expect to stick to soft foods for several days after the procedure. You also need to brush your teeth carefully to compensate for any bruising and swelling in your gums and mouth.

You can also manage the swelling and discomfort simply through using ice packs and warm, wet washcloths at different intervals throughout the day. You may find the swelling continues up until 40 hours post-op, and then it begins to decline.

Your incision wounds should heal quickly, but you do need to use a warm saltwater solution to keep it clean. You should also limit beverages that aren’t water.

Finally, although you will be undoubtedly excited that you have the smile you always wanted, you need to be careful when examining your mouth. Avoid pulling on your lips or cheeks to see your teeth because you might inadvertently re-open some sutures.

How Many Checkups Do I Need After Surgery?

Once you have your final appointment to place the crown, you will need several check up appointments.

The first appointment is usually one or two weeks after the placement. During the appointment, the dentist removes any sutures and ensures everything is healing. They also check for any signs of infection.

After six weeks, you return to the dentist again. They will examine your oral hygiene and ensure that your gums (soft tissue) are healing well.

Next, you have a three-month maintenance appointment. At the appointment, your dentist will use radiography to examine your jawbone and ensure that the implant is in place and there is no sign of bone loss around the implant. They also look for signs of apical periodontitis and inflammatory bone lesions around the implant.

You then have a new appointment at six months and then annually for three years. These are in addition to your typical annual or biannual cleanings, which you need for general oral health.

These checkups are essential. Most implant complications begin as minor issues. However, leaving them unchecked can transform them into severe and irreversible problems that could lead to the loss of your implants or even other teeth.

Are You Ready for Dental Implant Surgery?

Dental implants can restore and transform your smile. However, they are a significant undertaking. Because the implant goes directly into your jawbone, you need your whole mouth assessed to ensure that the implant won’t fail.

The dental implant stages can take up to nine months, depending on the kind of care you need. At the same time, they offer a permanent fix to your smile that comes without the disadvantages of bridges or dentures.


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