Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to arrive early for my first appointment?
If you have completed your new patient paperwork and provided all of your dental insurance information please arrive 5 minutes early to allow time to check in. If you still need to provide us with your dental benefits or fill out your paperwork please arrive 15-20 minutes early.
What do I need to bring to my first appointment?
Completed New Patient Paperwork (Patient Registration, Medical History, Financial Agreement, HIPAA Consent Form)
Photo ID or Driver’s License
Dental Insurance Card (if applicable)
How long will I be there for my first appointment?
It varies patient to patient, however, typically our new patient appointments last approximately 1.5 hours.
What should I do if I require premedication?
Please be sure to request a prescription from your physician prior to your appointment. If you are unsure please contact our office and we would be happy to help.
Why should I visit the dentist regularly?
Many people do not see a dentist on a regular basis and only go when they have a problem or major toothache. This is known as “crisis treatment” versus “preventive treatment.” While these patients may think they are saving money, it often ends up costing much more in dollars and valuable time. This is because many dental problems do not have symptoms until they reach the advanced stages of the disease process. Take tooth decay for example. It is typical to for us to hear, “Nothing hurts… I don’t have any problems.” This is because tooth decay often does not hurt until it gets close to the nerve of the tooth. It is not uncommon to see a patient with a huge cavity who has never felt a thing. The dentist can usually detect a cavity 3-4 years before it develops any symptoms. This early detection can help you prevent root canal treatment.
Why does the dentist require x-rays to be taken?
Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen with a visual exam alone. Taking x-rays annually will help to reveal:
- small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings/crowns)
- infections in the bone
- periodontal (gum) disease
- abscesses or cysts
- developmental abnormalities
- some types of tumors
Taking x-ray periodically aids in finding and treating dental problems at an early stage which can save you time, money, and often unnecessary discomfort in the long run. X-rays can often detect damage to oral structures not visible during a regular exam. If you have a hidden tumor regular x-rays may even help to save your life. Any additional questions or concerns should be discussed with your dentist.
What can I do at home to prevent cavities?
Make sure that you are spending 2-3 minutes twice a day brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush. This time is crucial in order to rid the mouth of bacteria filled plaque that works to destroy your tooth enamel. It takes very little pressure to remove plaque so be sure not to brush too hard. Brushing too hard can cause recession. Floss, floss, floss! It is so important to floss at least once daily in order to remove the bacteria from in between your teeth.
Your diet also plays a huge factor in cavity formation. The bacteria in your mouth love sugar! Limit the amount of sugar you consume throughout the day and make sure to rinse with water and brush after consumption.
If you are unable to brush after eating, rinse your mouth with water – this will help remove food from your teeth.
Make sure to see your dentist and hygienist regularly.
My teeth are sensitive. What can I do?
Sensitivity toothpaste contains potassium nitrate, which is successful in alleviating sensitive teeth. After a few weeks of use you should notice a decrease in sensitivity. Stay clear of highly acidic foods as these can increase sensitivity and work against the sensitivity toothpaste. Examples of foods high in acid are lemons, oranges, strawberries, fruit juices, coffee, tea, sodas. If you are still experiencing sensitivity after prolonged use of sensitivity toothpaste schedule an appointment with your dentist or discuss it at your next checkup. If necessary, the dentist may prescribe a high fluoride home regimen or place a special compound in office to the roots of your tooth to reduce or eliminate the sensitivity.
What should I do about bleeding gums?
Bleeding gums can be a symptom or sign of gingivitis or periodontal disease. Make sure that you are brushing 2x daily and flossing daily as recommended. People will often respond to bleeding gums by stopping brushing as frequently and efficiently because it causes them pain. However, when gums are inflamed brushing will help to reduce the inflammation. Be sure to schedule an appointment to have your gums evaluated by your dentist.
Periodontal disease, what is that?
“Peri” means around, and “odontal” refers to teeth. Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth. These include the gums, the cementum that covers the root, the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone. In the earliest stage of periodontal disease, what is known as gingivitis, the infection affects only the gums. In more severe forms of the disease, all of the supporting tissues are involved. If left untreated it can cause permanent jaw bone destruction and tooth loss. Untreated periodontal disease has been linked to an increased risk of several health conditions including heart disease and stroke.
Signs of periodontal disease include:
- bleeding, tender gums
- sensitive teeth and pain when chewing
- bad breath
- loose or shifting teeth
- pus coming from around the teeth
Early periodontal disease in most cases can be treated in-office. In some cases treatment for advanced periodontal disease may require surgery. Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated successfully. Be sure to see your dentist and dental hygienist regularly and follow all recommended course of treatment.
I have diabetes. Why does this concern my dentist?
Research has shown that those diagnosed with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. Gum disease can be a factor in causing blood sugar levels to rise, making diabetes harder to control. If your blood glucose levels are poorly controlled you may be more likely to develop gum disease and could potentially lose teeth.
I just found out I am pregnant. How can this affect my mouth?
Some pregnant woman may be prone to experiencing pregnancy gingivitis. This condition can cause the gums to swell or bleed and become red or tender. The health of your mouth can affect the health of your baby. Studies have shown a correlation between periodontal disease and preterm low birth-weight babies. Pregnant woman with periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that’s born too small or too early. To prevent or keep this condition under control, be sure to see your dentist and hygienist regularly throughout your pregnancy.
Why do I have to take antibiotics prior to my dental appointment?
There are some conditions, like a total joint replacement, that require pre-medication prior to dental treatment in order to prevent infection and adverse effects that can be caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream during the course of treatment. If you are unsure if you need to pre-medicate prior to your dental appointment please contact our office for help.
I am undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation for cancer treatment, how can this affect my mouth?
Chemotherapy and radiation can cause a number of problems in the mouth, some of which might include: mouth sores, infections, dry mouth, bleeding of the gums and lining of the mouth and general soreness and pain of the mouth. It can be harder to control these things while undergoing chemo or radiation treatment as the immune system is generally compromised as a result of the treatment. There are some special mouth rinses that can be prescribed to help with discomfort during treatment. It is very important to see your dentist before treatment begins and then to continue with recommended follow-up care. These treatments can cause dry mouth, and recommendations might be made for additional care both in-office and at home.
What causes canker sores?
The exact cause of canker sores is unknown. Some factors may include genetics, allergies, stress, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Trauma to the inside of the mouth can also result in the development of canker sores. Ill-fitting dentures/partials, braces, toothbrush trauma, or biting your cheek may all produce canker sores. Certain foods can also trigger them or make them worse, such as citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables. Foods like chips, pretzels and hard candies have sharp edges that can nick and injure the soft tissue of the mouth. To treat a canker sore, rinse your mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash or warm water and salt. Over the counter treatments are also available. If the canker sore is still present and bothersome after two weeks you may consider scheduling an appointment with the dentist.
I have dentures and I don’t have any teeth to clean. Is it necessary for me to still see my dentist?
Absolutely! Annual visits to the dentist, or sooner if soreness is present, is highly recommended. Visits to the dentist include more than just “checking teeth.” While patients who wear dentures no longer have to worry about dental decay, they may have concerns with ill-fitting appliances or mouth sores. It is especially important if you have dental implants as these need to be cleaned just like your natural teeth. During these visits, an oral cancer screening will be performed as well as an evaluation of the fit or need for replacement of the existing appliances. Regular visits can help you to avoid more complicated problems down the road.
What are people saying?
“Williams Family Dentistry is amazing! I’m absolutely terrified of dentists, but their caring staff ensures that my fears are acknowledged and assists me with finding ways to overcome them. They are the only dental office that I trust. They take great care of their patients and I will never go anywhere else.”
“I’ve seen multiple other dentists in town over the years and am so happy I switched to Williams Family Dentistry! Everyone who works there is so friendly and I feel like they are much more thorough than any other place I’ve been to before. Highly recommend!”
“Everyone at Williams Family Dentistry is very friendly and ready to help you in any way they can. Melanie is an amazing hygienist and I appreciate her skills and knowledge every time I am there. Dr. Shanna is a wonderful dentist. Her care and compassion for her patients is amazing. She is a great addition to a wonderful family of dentists.”
1511 Emerald Plaza
College Station, TX
Monday 8am – 5pm
Tuesday 8am – 5pm
Wednesday 8am – 5pm
Thursday 8am – 4pm