Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What can I expect from my first appointment?

A: When a new patient joins our dental family, we are committed to taking the time to perform a truly comprehensive examination. This thorough collection of information allows Dr. Stromboe to formulate a customized plan to help you achieve and maintain optimum oral health.

During your first visit, Dr. Stromboe and her team will review your treatment goals and will collect the information needed to create the perfect plan for you. In most cases, Dr. Stromboe will review her findings with you at the end of this initial appointment. However, in cases where a patient’s treatment needs are a bit more involved, Dr. Stromboe will take the time to review the findings gathered from your initial appointment, after which she will invite you back for a no-fee follow-up appointment where she will present your customized treatment plan.

Your first visit will include:

  • A review of your goals for your oral health
  • A cosmetic evaluation of your smile
  • A review of your medical history (focusing on issues that can affect your oral health)
  • A thorough examination of your teeth, including needed X-rays
  • A detailed periodontal (gum) exam
  • An oral cancer screening

A common question patients often ask is, “Will I get my teeth cleaned at my first appointment?” Part of your initial exam includes a thorough evaluation of your periodontal, or gum, health. We find that some patients have very healthy gums, while others have severe periodontal disease. Depending on the health of your gums, we will schedule you for the type of cleaning that is most appropriate for you.

Most patients are apprehensive about dental care. Dr. Stromboe strives to make your first appointment, and every appointment thereafter, a great experience. Her goal is to educate you about your oral health so that you can make informed decisions about your new smile.

Your Child’s First Visit

We love treating children at Dr. Stromboe’s office. We often times find that they are our very best, and certainly most entertaining patients. We understand that for children and their parents, the first visit can sometimes be a little scary. Please know that we realize your little one may be a bit fussy at their first appointment, but that after a few visits, they should feel comfortable and even excited to come see us. Hopefully, by the time they need work completed on their teeth, they will feel at home with our office and will know that their experience will be a great one!

Your child’s first appointment will include:

  • A thorough examination of their teeth, including needed X-rays
  • An evaluation of their hygiene and gum health
  • An evaluation of the eruption patterns of their teeth
  • An evaluation of the alignment of their teeth
  • A review of dietary and oral hygiene habits
  • Teeth cleaning and fluoride application
  • Brushing and flossing instructions
  • A consultation with parents to review findings, to give recommendations, and to answer any questions they might have

We look forward to helping you start your child off early with good oral health and great oral hygiene habits. Our goal is to help your child learn to love going to the dentist!

Q: Does Dr. Stromboe see children? If so, at what age should we bring our child to see her?

A: Yes, Dr. Stromboe encourages bringing your child for their first exam when their first tooth appears, or by their second birthday, whichever comes first.

Q: I really do not like visiting the dentist; is there anything you can do to help me relax?

A: Many people are uncomfortable with visiting the dentist. Your comfort is our highest priority and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. Nitrous oxide and oral sedation are offered to keep you comfortable and relaxed. Read more about Sedation Dentistry.

Q: I brush every day, but my breath is still not fresh. Is there anything else I can do?

A: Millions of people struggle with halitosis, or bad breath, despite daily teeth brushing. Here is a checklist of procedures that may eliminate the problem: twice daily brushing; daily flossing and tongue cleaning; regular professional cleanings; and careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances. However, if your hygiene is meticulous and the problem persists, we can offer several additional solutions.

First, we can recommend a plastic tool called a tongue scraper that cleans away bacterial build-up on your tongue, significantly alleviating odor. We can also recommend a specially-prepared rinse or toothpaste designed to actually breakdown the odor-causing sulfur bonds that cause bad breath. Finally, we may also suspect a systemic or internal problem such as an infection or underlying condition, in which case we may recommend a visit to your family physician or specialist to identify the cause.

Q: What is a crown, and why do I need one?

A: If Dr. Stromboe has recommended a crown for you, it is likely either to correct a broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). The decay in your tooth eats away healthy tooth structure much like rust eats away at metal, and if not removed, that decay will deteriorate the tooth to the point where extraction is the only viable treatment option. Sometimes, the decay is removed while still leaving healthy tooth structure, but not much of it. A crown can then be placed, restoring the look and function of your tooth while allowing you to keep your natural, underlying tooth structure. Most crowns are precision-milled porcelain or full metal (gold) and are individually customized for each patient, giving you a natural, long lasting smile.

Q: I know I need X-Rays, but I'd prefer to not be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-Rays?

A: Yes, we do offer digital X-Rays (radiographs). Digital X-Rays use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film X-Rays. You will find that in our dental practice, we research the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that promote your overall health, safety, and comfort.

Q: How does fluoride help my teeth?

A: Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults by halting tooth decay. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation. Fluoride is a safe chemical component when used correctly. When your dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam, that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use any of the professional strength fluoride varnishes, gels, or foam products carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Q: What is the difference between a "Prophy" and "Perio Maintenance"?

A: For more information on the types of Professional Dental Cleanings please visit our General Dentistry page.

Q: I just want my smile to look good. What are some options to help the appearance of my smile?

A: You are not alone. Most people want to have a nice smile since it is the first thing others notice about you. You may be interested in a few minor adjustments, or you may have concerns that need more attention. Some smiles can be enhanced with simple whitening or bonding treatments. Other smiles need porcelain veneers, crowns, or bridges; gum contouring; periodontal therapy; or, a combination of all these techniques. Dr. Stromboe will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals and areas of concern and on the overall condition of your oral health.

Q: I want my front teeth to look better, but I do not want to wear braces. What would you recommend?

A: Dr. Stromboe has a number of ways to improve the look of your front teeth without the use of unsightly braces. For slightly crooked or unevenly worn teeth, a bit of reshaping and the addition of porcelain veneers may be sufficient to give them a bright, uniform look. We would be happy to talk with you further about the option that best suits your individual situation.

Attention to detail, respect for the individual, and a true concern for each patient are the hallmarks of our personal care and our quality product. We are committed to helping you fulfill your ultimate self-image.

Q: How can losing a back tooth affect my smile?

A: Losing a back tooth will darken your overall smile, making it look smaller and more narrow. Your smile will appear to stop short, and the look will be exaggerated if your missing tooth has teeth on both sides of it. Function during chewing will be reduced, and the function of many teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth. When you are missing a tooth, you compensate by chewing differently, which puts pressure on different parts of your mouth. This can cause your other teeth to shift, creating gaps and spaces, and may even cause fractures that result in additional tooth loss or the need for restorations.

Q: What are my options for replacing a missing tooth?

A: By replacing missing teeth either with a bridge or implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and will give your smile back its beautiful, full appearance. A bridge is one solution for replacing a tooth. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, Dr. Stromboe places a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile. A dental implant is also an excellent solution. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Once the post has bonded to the bone, it can act as a new, solid support for a natural looking, porcelain restoration. Implants can replace a single tooth or an entire set of teeth, offering more function and permanence than traditional dentures.

Q: Do you accept new patient referrals?

A: Yes. Over the years patients have given us the compliment of referring family and friends to our practice. Our reputation for excellent dental care depends on two things: our good work and your beautiful smile! Your confidence in our care motivates us to continue to strive for excellence. Thank you for your referrals. Your trust and support are greatly appreciated.

Q: My teeth keep chipping and cracking. What causes this, and what can I do about it?

A: Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth don’t remember when the injury occurred, damaged their teeth while they were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip, crack, and even break. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth, we recommend a dental appliance called a nightguard. A custom-fitted nightguard protects your teeth from grinding & clenching in your sleep. Dr. Stromboe takes great care in making sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Do you also suffer from headaches? You may find that a side benefit of your nightguard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask us about having a nightguard custom created just for you.

Q: I want and need a lot of dental work, but I'm afraid I can't afford it. Do you offer monthly payment plans?

A: Yes, we do offer monthly payment plans through our financial partner, CareCredit. We provide a variety of ways for you to pay for your treatment so that it will fit comfortably into your personal or family financial goals. Velvet, our Financial Manager, will work with you to create the solution that best accommodates you so you can have the beautiful, healthy smile you have always desired.

Q: I want cosmetic dentistry. Does my insurance pay for it?

A: Dental insurance is designed to assist you in paying for your dentistry; however, most procedures are not fully covered by your insurance. Cosmetic dentistry, in particular, is not covered by most dental insurance plans. To help you afford your smile, we do offer a variety of payment options in addition to a monthly payment plan provided through our financial partner, CareCredit. We also pay special attention to maximizing the benefits that your insurance does provide. Ask Velvet how you can comfortably afford your dentistry and maximize your dental insurance benefits.

Q: What different payment options do you provide?

A: Your comfort matters – not only in the treatment chair, but also when it comes to your payment arrangements. Dr. Stromboe has several options to help you fit the dental care you need into your financial picture:

  • Cash or personal check
  • Credit Cards – Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover
  • Insurance, on assignment
  • Monthly payment plans through CareCredit® financing (W.A.C.)

Additionally, we offer a 5% discount for advanced cash payments on the entire treatment plan (when total out-of-pocket expenses exceed $1,000).

Again, be sure to direct any questions to Velvet, our Financial Manager.

Q: My gums bleed. Why is this?

A: Gums affected by gingivitis become red and inflamed, often bleeding during brushing or flossing. Timely treatment can reverse these symptoms; however, if these symptoms are ignored, your gingivitis can worsen, becoming a condition called periodontitis. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat.

Periodontitis affects your gums, bone, and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment from your general dentist or even a periodontist. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss – teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t diagnose and treat periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.

Q: My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?

A: It is certainly not desirable to have bleeding gums following brushing; however, the condition may or may not require attention – depending on the source of the problem. Bleeding gums can be caused by any of the following: improper, rough “scrubbing” instead of gentle, circular brushing motions; using a hard-bristled toothbrush instead of a soft one; plaque and/or tartar build-up below the gum line; or, gum irritation due to gingivitis or periodontal disease. If bleeding persists despite correct brushing and flossing methods, or if bleeding occurs every time you brush, contact our office to set-up an evaluation appointment.

Q: What is periodontal disease?

A: Periodontal disease is a silent, progressive, and destructive disease that can result in bleeding and receding gums, bad breath, and even tooth loss. Periodontal (gum) disease is chiefly responsible for adult tooth loss, bleeding, receding gums, and bad breath in adults. There is also now extensive research to show the correlation between periodontal disease and many other health issues such as cardiac disease and diabetes. Many adults have some degree of gum disease without even realizing it because the disease is normally painless until in its advanced stages. Fortunately, periodontal disease is easily prevented with proper hygiene, home care, and professional treatment. If diagnosed in its early stages, the treatment for periodontal disease is easier, less invasive, and more effective.

Q: How do sealants protect teeth?

A: A sealant is a flowable plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars.) This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids, and guarding against disease-causing bacteria and decay.

Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth; however, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves of teeth to efficiently extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque, food, and decay.

Q: Sometimes when I chew I get a sharp pain. What can I do to correct this?

A: Most dental pain brought on by chewing is caused by a fracture, or crack, in the tooth. The pain can often times be stopped by placing an inlay/onlay or a crown. You want to stop the pain as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth. Damage can include death of the nerve (abscess) or loss of the tooth entirely. Contact us today to schedule a visit if you are experiencing this type of pain.

Q: How can porcelain veneers help my smile?

A: Porcelain veneers improve your smile by correcting a multitude of cosmetic concerns, including: gaps in teeth; chipped and broken teeth; dull or yellowing teeth that cannot be whitened with traditional means; “gummy smiles” (showing too much gum when one smiles); and, crooked teeth. Porcelain veneers broaden, straighten, whiten, and beautify most any smile. This procedure can be done in as little as two clinical visits. Many of our patients feel like porcelain veneers were the best improvement they could have made to enhance their overall confidence. At your next visit, ask us about how porcelain veneers can improve your smile.

Q: I want my teeth to be whiter. Do you recommend at-home or in-office whitening?

A: Dentist directed, at-home whitening and in-office whitening procedures are both effective ways of brightening your smile. In either case, Dr. Stromboe customizes the treatment to ensure your happiness with the results.

Your custom home-whitening kit involves a special tray that is customized to fit over your teeth. You will also receive a prescription whitening gel, which is inserted into the tray before you wear it. Dr. Stromboe gives you detailed instructions about how long you should wear the tray each day, and you should expect the entire home whitening process to take between two and four weeks, leaving you with a dazzling smile!

Q: How can I safely whiten my teeth?

A: There are a number of procedures available to help whiten your smile, from at-home whitening products to in-office supervised treatments. Dr. Stromboe evaluates the potential for whitening your teeth based on their current color and the causes of any discoloration.