Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect at my oral hygiene visit?

During your regular 6-month checkup, you will receive a dental cleaning where your hygienist will use special instruments to remove excess plaque and tartar buildup, we will take X-rays and Dr. Hellmann will perform a comprehensive oral examination to check for abnormalities and answer any questions you may have. The whole visit will take up to 1 hour.

Do you accept my dental insurance / Medicare plan?

We do accept most major insurance plans including Aetna, Anthem, Assurant, Advantica, Cigna, Dentemax, Delta Dental, Humana, Met Life, United Concordia, United Health Care and Medicare.

I don't like my teeth or my smile. What can I do?

Schedule an appointment for a consultation by calling (636) 458-2700. Dr. Hellmann will give you a comprehensive oral examination and recommend treatment options.

Do you treat children?

Yes, we are happy to treat people of all ages.

How safe are dental x-rays?

Dental X-ray exams are safe. The required levels of radiation exposure is very low, which makes the risk of potentially harmful effects very small. Dental X-ray tools and techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation and every precaution is taken to ensure that radiation exposure is As Low As Reasonable Achievable (the ALARA principle). A leaded apron minimizes exposure to the abdomen and may be used when it will not interfere with acquisition of the dental radiograph. Also, a leaded thyroid collar can protect the thyroid from radiation, and should also be used whenever possible. The use of a leaded thyroid collar is recommended for women of childbearing age, pregnant women and children.

What are dental sealants, who should get them and how long do they last?

Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities. They are a resin material usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay occurs most often. The sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. This resin bonds into the depressions and grooves of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary. The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates. However, adults can benefit from sealants as well.

What is a dental filling?

A dental filling is a direct restoration used to repair decayed or damaged teeth. This is most often the first line of defense in teeth that have been compromised. Composite resin fillings are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden.

I'm interested in changing the shape of my teeth. What options are available?

There are a few different options for changing the shape of your tooth, from crowns to veneers. The best way to determine what is best for your needs is to schedule a consultation.

How many visits will it take to fix my teeth and improve my smile?

Some procedures may take 2-3 visits to complete, while others can be completed from start to finish in just one visit. It depends on what kind of work you are having performed.

What are the benefits of a dental crown?

A crown is a dental restoration that completely covers a tooth. Crowns are most often needed when decay has caused so much damage to the tooth that not enough natural tooth structure remains for it to survive on its own. The crown will replace the decayed area and will provide protection for the tooth. Crowns can also be a cosmetic option, used to change the appearance of a persons tooth. There are many dental materials that can be used to fabricate a crown, including porcelain fused to metal crowns and non-metal crowns.

What are the benefits of partial dentures?

Partial dentures consist of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum colored plastic base, which are connected by metal framework that holds the dentures in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from changing position.

What are my options for complete dentures?

Complete dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional denture is made after the natural teeth have been removed and the gum tissue healed 8- 12 weeks later. Immediate dentures are made in advance so they can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. The benefit of immediate dentures is the patient does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore, a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.

What is a fixed dental bridge?

The purpose of a dental bridge is to permanently replace missing teeth. A bridge is made up of two or more crowns that are placed on the teeth surrounding a gap. These anchoring teeth are called abutments and the false teeth are called pontics, which can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or dental implants.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.

How do you treat Periodontal Disease?

If you have some signs of gum disease, your dentist may recommend professional dental cleanings more than twice a year. We also provide advanced scaling and root planing. This is a deep cleaning, nonsurgical procedure done under a local anesthetic. During this procedure, plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line are scraped away (scaling) and rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth (planing). Smoothing the rough spots removes bacteria and provides a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth. Scaling and root planing is done if your dentist or hygienist determines that you have plaque and calculus under the gums that needs to be removed. If a surgical approach is necessary, we refer to great periodontists.

Am I a good candidate for veneers?

Veneers are suitable for dental patients interested in altering the look of their smile. You might be a good candidate for veneers if you have severely stained teeth or cosmetic imperfections in the structure of your teeth. It is important that you have good overall oral health, sufficient tooth enamel and moderately straight teeth.

Can I get my teeth whitened?

As a patient at Wildwood Family Dentistry, there is no reason why you cannot have a healthy smile full of white teeth. We offer safe and effective in-office and at-home bleaching options. Call us today at (636) 458-2700 to schedule your teeth whitening service.