Frequently Asked Questions
For 25 years, Dr. Loper has been providing quality and reasonably priced dental care in Littleton, CO. Her number one goal is to provide customized dental treatment to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Each patient is treated with a unique approach to allow for the best dental experience possible. Our guidelines are created by you!!! Dr. Loper’s office has grown exponentially and this is mostly due to the kind referrals of her existing patients.
Dr. Loper has chosen staff to complement her style and as a result of this is certain to provide you with superb dental service. The entire staff looks forward to accommodating the dental needs of every person that walks through our door. Hope to meet you soon!!!
Are you accepting new patients?
Yes we are currently accepting new patients.
What is considered a dental emergency?
A dental emergency is a dental condition requiring immediate attention. This includes severe pain, swelling or bleeding due to an infection or trauma.
Do you have emergency appointments available?
We do have emergency appointments available. We make every effort to see emergency patients on the same day or the next day. A doctor is on-call for after-hours emergencies. The after-hours call number can be found on our message machine when you call our office.
What to do after a gum disease diagnosis?
If you have been informed that you have gum (periodontal) disease, there are many options to treat your condition depending on the severity. The gum issues may be as simple as swollen, bleeding gum called gingivitis, to a more advanced situation that could include loose teeth, odor and inability to reverse the condition, called advanced periodontal disease. A multitude of adults have early to moderate to advanced stages of this dental condition. For many, a simple cleaning solves the problem. For others multiple treatments called scaling and root planing (or a deep cleaning) while numb may be necessary. This treatment is a more aggressive cleaning beneath the gums to remove calculus and tartar build-up. This treatment is generally followed with maintenance cleanings at 3 to 4 month intervals. The most challenging cases will be sent to a local “gum specialist” called a periodontist for treatment to include surgery, bone grafting and/or laser treatments. Once a patient has become stable gum disease wise they return to our office for routine care. A reminder that true periodontal disease takes years to show up in the mouth. A variety of factors add to the chance for gum disease to appear. Those include smoking, diabetes, poor oral hygiene, lapse in routine dental appointments, crooked teeth as well as some genetic factors including salivary content. We perform thorough evaluations at all of your cleaning visits which includes pocket probing, recession measurements, mobility observation, radiographic evaluation and intra-oral evaluation. We offer cleanings with both hand instruments and ultrasonic care. Your personal preference is always number one. Let your hygienist know your preference!
How do I protect myself from oral cancer?
Early detection and treatment of oral cancer is very important. Oral cancer screenings are completed during each exam to ensure early detection of any abnormalities.
How do I protect my teeth from wearing down?
Many factors including stress, poor sleep quality and malocclusion (uneven bite) can contribute to clenching or grinding your teeth. Excessive grinding can lead to unhealthy tooth wear, headaches, muscle tension and jaw pain. A dental evaluation is helpful in determining the extent of wear and possible causes. A dental splint or nightguard can be made to help relax the muscles and protect teeth from wear.
How do I prevent periodontal disease?
Routine maintenance care like an exam, x-rays and cleaning can help to prevent periodontal disease and aid in early detection. A referral to a gum specialist called a periodontist will be made if further care is needed.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue that can lead to the loss of bone surrounding the teeth if left untreated. Periodontal disease can lead to loosening teeth that eventually need to be removed.
What is preventive dentistry?
Preventive dentistry includes services such as x-rays and a routine exam and cleaning to maintain good oral health and provide education on how to best care for your teeth.
Do you do dental extractions in your office?
We provide both simple and complex extractions in our office. For more complex extractions, we will refer you to an oral surgeon.
How long does it take to heal after an extraction?
For simple extractions the recovery time after an extraction is about a few days. For more complicated extractions, recovery can take up to a week. The gum tissue will smooth out in a couple weeks and the underlying bone takes about 6 months to fully heal.
When is a dental extraction necessary?
A dental extraction is necessary to remove a broken or decayed tooth that is beyond repair. Other reasons why an extraction may be necessary are severe bone loss around a tooth due to gum disease or a tooth infection.
Root Canal Treatment
Do you offer root canals in your office?
We do offer root canal treatment in our office for most cases. More complex cases are referred to a root canal specialist called an endodontist.
What happens if an infected tooth is left untreated?
Neglecting a tooth that needs a root canal can lead to a serious infection called an abscess that can spread to other parts of the body.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
A root canal is needed if the nerve tissue inside a tooth becomes infected or inflamed. Some symptoms include pain, swelling and/or discoloration of the tooth.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a procedure to remove an inflamed or infected nerve in a tooth. The canal space is cleaned and then filled to prevent re-infection.
Is teeth whitening covered by insurance?
Teeth whitening is usually not covered by insurance because it is a cosmetic procedure.
Does teeth whitening hurt?
Teeth whitening can be associated with post-treatment sensitivity. Sensitivity can be managed with desensitizing agents and by using a lower percentage of whitening agents. The sensitivity is temporary and does not cause any damage to the teeth.
What are the benefits to professional teeth whitening?
The whitening agents used in professional whitening procedures are a higher concentration than those found in over-the counter products. Custom trays made in our office fit your teeth better and provide more efficient whitening of your teeth and are more comfortable to wear.
Do you offer take-home teeth whitening?
We do have take-home teeth whitening systems that are very effective in whitening teeth.
Why should I consider braces?
It is proven that humans are fascinated by beautiful smiles! Great smiles increase personal esteem as well as improving function.
As a reminder, when teeth are aligned properly they are also easier to keep clean. Braces also may help to alleviate headaches associated with misalignment of the teeth and jaws.
Braces are now available in a variety of options which can be suitable for all ages and needs. These include routine braces with metal brackets and wires, clear ceramic braces, braces on the insides of your teeth as well as a series of removable trays which can align the teeth.
We have several dental specialists called orthodontists that we will be happy to refer you to if teeth treatment with braces is necessary.
Healthy Teeth Tips
There are a lot of reasons to keep your family’s teeth healthy. Here is a list of ways to keep teeth healthy regardless if you are a child or enjoying the Golden years:
- Begin dental visits at an early age. 3 years old is ideal! Believe it or not, 25% of children show evidence of decay before entering elementary school. An option to help prevent decay is to place a sealant or coating in the deep grooves of a child’s tooth. This can reduce the risk of getting a cavity significantly.
- Use dental products that have the ADA (American Dental Association) logo on them. This includes toothpastes, mouth rinses and floss that can aid in reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease.
- Brush minimally two times per day and floss daily!
- Toothbrushes should be replaced every 90 days
- A super option for a toothbrush is a an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes offer a wider handle to grip which works well for individuals with dexterity issues. There is a timer which increases the time that all ages brush as well. Studies show the improvement in oral hygiene with the use of an electric toothbrush. This means a decrease in gum disease and cavities as well. Ask any of our staff members for dental product recommendations.
- Rinse with water or an antibacterial mouth rinse following eating if there is not a toothbrush available. Chewing sugar-free gum may also aid in rinsing food debris as the chewing stimulants your saliva which will then aid in decreasing gum disease and cavities.
- Wear a sports mouthguard during sporting activities such as skateboarding, baseball, volleyball, football, basketball and hockey. Trauma to your teeth can be irreversible! Ask our team if you are interested and we can fabricate a custom sports guard for you.
- Smoking and chewing tobacco have long-term effects on your teeth and gums. There is increased risk for periodontal (gum) disease as well as on your general health including cancer of the mouth or lungs. Please counsel your children of the negatives of smoking and chewing tobacco.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. This will most definitely make you a healthier individual but also aids in the condition of your teeth and gums.
- Avoid “sugar” loaded snacks and beverages. These break down into simple sugars that produce chemicals that erode your teeth causing cavities. Juices and soda are the worst culprits in assisting with tooth decay. Hard candy as well as sticky snacks are close to your teeth longer and therefore allow for a quicker deterioration as a result of this. Rinsing your mouth thoroughly with water following these foods is a terrific idea.
- Schedule routine dental appointments. These include a dental cleaning, routine exam as well as radiographs. As a reminder, it takes dental decay one year of growth before it shows up on an x-ray.