Michael Barton, DDS

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need dental x-rays?

Dental x-rays are extremely helpful, and often necessary in detecting oral diseases of the teeth, surrounding gum and bone. They can reveal small cavities between the teeth that cannot be seen visually. Infections in the bone, abscesses, cysts and other abnormalities can also be detected with x-rays. Current standard of care dictates that a complete set of x-rays is recommended every 3-5 years, and cavity-detecting x-rays (bitewings) should be taken every year.


My teeth are still yellow after I get my teeth cleaned. Can I safely get them any whiter?

Many treatment options are available. Dr. Barton will want to examine your teeth and gums to assure good oral health. Once things are healthy, one treatment option is to make custom whitening trays that hold the whitening gel close to your teeth. Another option is Opalescence Tréswhite, a disposable whitening treatment that provides beautiful, long-lasting results – and can safely and effectively whiten teeth (while preventing cavities and improving the overall health of your enamel).


What is a crown?

A crown is a replacement for missing tooth surfaces that cannot be restored with a filling. If fits over the tooth and makes weak teeth stronger. Teeth get weakened through the years for several reasons. Extensive decay or an old, large deteriorating filling generally requires a crown to restore the tooth.


I have a chipped front tooth. Can this be fixed without a crown? Will it look natural?

With a variety of bonding techniques like white plastic “composite” which comes in a variety of shades, Dr. Barton can match most teeth colors, and it can be sculpted and polished to look just like your natural tooth.


How often should I brush and floss?

Dr. Barton recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste and flossing daily to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean in between these spaces,  it also disrupts plaque colonies from building, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone. Rinsing – especially if you are unable to brush before and after meals is also a good practice.


How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

Dr. Barton advises having your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though he may recommend more frequent visits depending upon the particular patient need. Basic examinations include: medical history, examination of diagnostic x-rays, oral cancer screening, gum disease evaluation, examination of tooth decay, examination of existing restorations, removal of calculus (tartar) and plaque, teeth polishing and oral hygiene recommendations for best care.


What are porcelain veneers?

Porcelain veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted to cover the fronts of teeth.  They are very durable and will not stain, making them a very popular solution for those seeking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile.


What is a bridge?

A bridge consists of three or more crowns linked together. A bridge is recommended to replace a missing tooth or teeth. A bridge helps provide a continuous chewing surface, keeps teeth from drifting out of position, protects teeth and improve aesthetics.


Why does anyone need a mouth guard?

Whether you are an athlete or casual sports participant, you should wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth. If you grind your teeth while you sleep, a bite guard will help reduce symptoms of TMJ.


When should a child have his/her first dental appointment?

A child should have his first dental appointment no later than his third birthday. However, many dentists recommend a child have his first appointment when his first tooth comes in.


What are the warning signs of oral cancer?

Early symptoms include: a sore on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat that does not heal; a lump on the lip, in the mouth, or the throat; a red or white patch found anywhere in the mouth; unusual pain or bleeding in the mouth; swelling of the mouth; and any difficulty or discomfort felt in chewing or swallowing.


What is TMJ?

TMJ disorder or TMD can cause a wide variety of mild to severe symptoms, from jaw clicking and minor discomfort to sharp pain in your temple, ear, jaw and teeth; it can also "lock" your jaw open or shut, or dislocate the jaw altogether.


What are partial dentures?

Both full and partial dentures replace missing teeth. A partial denture can be an option when not all the natural teeth are missing. It is retained in the mouth by clasping onto remaining teeth. A partial denture is also removable.


What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure to fix a tooth by removing the pulp chamber of the tooth and filling it with a suitable filling material. A root canal is usually performed when the tooth cannot be filled or restored any other way because the decay has reached the nerve of the tooth or the tooth has become infected.