Frequently Asked Questions
How long is a new patient visit? What will happen?
Your first appointment for an exam, consultation, and cleaning will take about an hour and a half. A member of our front-office team will review your paperwork and discuss the reasons for your visit, then escort you to a treatment room to meet Dr. Collier. After reviewing your medical and dental history, the dentist will conduct a thorough exam of your teeth and soft tissues. With your permission, we’ll take X-rays and use an intraoral camera to take pictures inside your mouth. You’ll also receive an oral cancer screening, and our hygienist will clean your teeth. (You may receive your dental cleaning prior to your exam.) Dr. Collier will explain his findings, answer all of your questions, and discuss his therapy recommendations. If your case is complex, we may schedule a follow-up appointment for treatment planning.
How do I know when it’s time to come in for a checkup and cleaning?
We recommend that patients with good oral health schedule a checkup and dental cleaning twice each year. If you need more frequent visits, we’ll let you know. Checkups are important because, even if you don’t notice any pain or problems with your teeth, we may find signs of potential issues. For instance, demineralization is a precursor to decay, oral cancer often goes undetected until the later stages, and gum disease can be very stealthy. At your hygiene appointment, we’ll use technologically advanced tools and a gentle touch to clean plaque, tartar, and hardened food particles from your teeth. We’ll also make sure your gums are healthy and strong.
What do you do to maintain a safe and sterilized environment?
Your safety is important to us, so we sterilize our reusable instruments in an autoclave and use disposable products as much as possible. Each operatory is cleaned thoroughly between patients. We adhere to guidelines set by the CDC and OSHA and perform weekly tests on our sterilization equipment.
My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?
Bleeding is usually a sign of a problem. When gums bleed, the cause usually stems from brushing too hard or from early-stage gum disease, called gingivitis. We can consult with you on the proper toothbrush and pressure for safe, effective daily oral care. If your gums show signs of infection, we may recommend a deep hygiene treatment to alleviate your symptoms and return your gums to good health. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for American adults, and it has been linked to many overall health conditions, including stroke, heart attack, osteoporosis, diabetes complications, and respiratory problems. Untreated, gum disease can significantly damage your health, so call our McKinney dental office for an assessment now. We’ll help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for life!
What happens if missing teeth aren’t replaced?
Missing teeth can lead to a host of other problems, including additional tooth loss. Research shows that if a missing tooth isn’t replaced, up to 20% of adjacent teeth will be lost in the next 4 to 8 years. Missing teeth also cause remaining teeth to shift, creating spaces between teeth, food impaction, bite collapse, chewing alteration, and TMJ pain. You’re also more susceptible to gum disease, a serious health condition that can significantly shorten your life span.
What are my options to replace missing teeth?
We offer bridgework, partials, full dentures, and dental implant restorations. Learn more about these options on our Services pages, then call for a consultation. With X-rays, photos from an intraoral camera, and a thorough assessment of your smile, Dr. Collier can help you decide which replacement option is best for you.
How can I improve my smile?
That sounds like an easy question to answer, but it isn’t! Your smile is unique, and we won’t compromise your individuality with smile enhancements. Smile design dentistry done right requires an initial consultation in which we’ll discuss your goals, preferences, and options for care. Generally speaking, we may suggest porcelain veneers, orthodontics, teeth whitening, all-white fillings or crowns, and/or replacement teeth. After your comprehensive evaluation and consultation, we’ll present a treatment plan for your review.
How can I safely whiten my teeth?
The American Dental Association recommends dentist-supervised teeth whitening for superior results. Dr. Collier will assess your soft tissues and tooth enamel to determine the best type of whitening for your unique situation. She may recommend in-office bleaching with Zoom! Whitening or take-home teeth bleaching. Our professional-strength whitening solution contains hydrogen peroxide, which has been proven safe and effective in clinical studies, and fluoride, which helps strengthen tooth enamel.
Call today to reserve your appointment and learn which option is right for you.