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Dental equipment

Here you can find answers to the most
frequently asked questions from our patients


We love educating our patients on the most effective ways to take care of their teeth. Here you can find answers to our patients’ most frequently asked questions about family dentistry and oral health.   

  • What can I expect at my first visit?
    We will review your past dental and medical histories. We will discuss your wishes and expectations for your dental care. We will determine which x-rays are appropriate for you. If you have recent x-rays at another office, please have them e-mailed to prior to your next visit with us. A plan of any necessary treatment will be made and presented to you. Many will have their teeth cleaned at this first appointment. If you require a more extensive Periodontal cleaning (deep cleaning or Scaling and Root Planning) you may be reappointed for this treatment.
  • What age should my child have his or her first visit?
    According to recommendations from the ADA, you should plan for your child to have their first visit to the dentist by their first birthday. The first visit at age 1 is used primarily to educate parents on proper diet and oral care. At Meade Zolman Family Dentistry, our families usually begin a regular regimen of dental visits and cleanings at the age of 3. It is recommended that you start brushing your child with a non-fluoridated toothpaste when the first tooth erupts. It is a good habit to start wiping a baby’s gums with a warm damp washcloth after feedings even before the first teeth appear. If you have a concern, regardless of age, please contact our office at 616-895-7199.
  • Can I go to the dentist when I am pregnant?
    Yes, it is actually even more important to visit the dentist when you are pregnant as gingivitis, (red and swollen gums), is a common problem for pregnant women. An increase in hormone levels is usually the cause; it is easily reversible. There’s evidence suggesting that periodontal (gum) disease in an expectant mother may result in the premature birth of her baby. Dental care is also important when you are pregnant to keep your mouth healthy, which inevitably keeps the baby healthy. Brush your teeth and floss regularly and have regular dental cleanings every 6 months. Make sure to tell your dentist and hygienist if you are pregnant, nursing, or if you think you may be pregnant so they can delay x-rays. Limited x-rays may be safely taken (with a lead apron and thyroid collar) while pregnant if you present with urgent dental needs. Any potentially infectious dental conditions should be treated sooner rather than later.
  • What is a Root Canal?
    A Root Canal is a procedure to remove the dental pulp (nerve and blood vessels) and/or infectious bacteria of a tooth that is causing a certain pain, exhibiting swelling in the gums or discoloration following trauma. See more about root canals (CLICK HERE)
  • Why would I need a crown?
    A crown (sometimes referred to as a “cap”) may be recommended for several reasons. When a tooth has had a large filling, the overall structure of the tooth is greatly weakened putting the tooth at risk of breaking. A crown can reinforce the structure of the tooth thereby strengthening it. The long-term success of a crown is improved if done before a tooth breaks. A crown will also be recommended if you were to break a piece of tooth, as large fillings are not as durable, over time, as a crown. Does it hurt to bite or chew with a particular tooth? This may indicate a crack in the tooth. A cracked tooth is made to feel better by preventing the crack from opening or spreading by covering the tooth with a crown. A cracked tooth left untreated may progress to the point that the tooth breaks in such a way that it becomes no longer repairable and must be removed. Other reasons for crowns include misshaped or discolored teeth, as part of a dental bridge, following root canal treatment, or as the final step with an implant tooth.
  • Why do I get cavities so easy? I have soft teeth.
    With a few exceptions, it is not true that some people have “hard” teeth while others have “soft” teeth. It is very true that some people are more prone to getting cavities. There are several factors that contribute to how susceptible one is to developing cavities (or dental caries). It takes three things to develop a cavity: 1. Tooth 2. Very specific Bacteria 3. Acid. Bacteria attach to the teeth in the form of plaque. More than 700 different strains of bacteria have been detected in mouths. Most people are host to between 30-70 strains. Of the 700 different types of bacteria found in the mouth, only a few are capable of causing cavities. These cavity-causing bacteria eat carbohydrates (sugar) and excrete (release) acid as a byproduct of metabolism. It is this acid that dissolves the tooth structure to cause a “cavity”. The bacteria then move into the cavity, out of reach from the toothbrush, and continue the process. Some people don’t have any or many of these specific bacteria (they are the “hard” teeth people). Some people have lots of these bacteria (the “soft” teeth people). Other factors include saliva make-up, gum recession, diet (sugary food, acidic food, and drink, sticky foods and snacks), and frequency of food/drink intake. At Meade Zolman Family Dentistry, we will help formulate a plan with you to decrease your risk of developing cavities in the future.
  • Why is flossing so important?
    Even the best tooth brusher is only able to brush about 70% of a tooth’s surface area. Toothbrush bristles will not reach between teeth or below the gums. Flossing disrupts the bacterial plaque (and its food source) that cause cavities and gum disease.
  • Why do my gums bleed when I brush?
    Bleeding during brushing or flossing is an early warning for gum disease. Gum disease includes Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. Almost all people have a spot or two of gingivitis characterized by red bulbous gum tissue that easily bleeds when rubbed. If treated, gingivitis is curable with no long-term effects. If untreated, gingivitis will progress into periodontitis. Periodontitis is characterized, again, by red swollen gums but is often accompanied by gum recession and bone loss. Dental x-rays are generally necessary to detect this bone loss. Periodontitis can lead to teeth that are loose or shifting and even tooth loss. If you are noticing changes in your gums or teeth, give us a call at (616) 895-7199.
  • Do you provide dental services for GVSU students?
    Yes! Less than 5 minutes away, off of Lake Michigan Drive. We offer routine dental cleanings, preventative screenings, and emergency dental care, all in one place. Call us to set up an appointment at 616-895-7199

For more information about any of our services or to discuss dental work you need, contact our office today! We look forward to hearing from you.

Dental Services
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