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Urszula Firlik, DDS | Q & A in Belmont


6225 West River Drive NE, Belmont, MI 49306, Tele (616) 361-0603

    Q & A



Why are my teeth sensitive?

Sensitive teeth often happen because your gums have slightly receded. This recession of the gum line allows the underlying dentin to be exposed, and this allows water and food easier access to sensitive nerves. To manage this, there are a number of toothpastes, gels, and dental procedures that can be used. If you have very sensitive teeth, call us to discuss that.

What should I do to prevent gum disease and tooth decay?

Good teeth and gum care start at home. Brushing and flossing on a daily basis is the best way to take care of your teeth and gums.  By keeping to a daily routine you will greatly minimize the risk of gingivitis or tooth decay, especially as you age.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a condition found when bacteria surrounds the teeth and enters the gums.  The gums can become irritated, inflamed, and bleed.  In order to prevent the condition from worsening, regular hygiene visits are highly recommended.  During your visit, our hygiene team will teach you proper flossing techniques and oral hygiene protocol for home care, which will prevent periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a quiet disease that begins with little or no symptoms.  It is caused by bacteria that surround the teeth and enter the gums.  The immediate condition is known as ‘gingivitis’.  The gums become irritated, inflamed, and bleed.  If not properly treated, the condition worsens.  Noticeable symptoms appear.  They include:

  • Bad Breath
  • Gum Recession
  • Gum Sensitivity to Acidic Foods
  • Abscesses
  • Tooth Pain
  • Tooth Loss

How do you treat periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a chronic condition that needs immediate attention.  Through a series of periodontal cleanings, root planing and scaling, laser therapy, and local antibiotics, this condition can be controlled.  Periodontal surgery is necessary in severe cases.

What is the difference between a white filling and a silver filling?

A silver filling, known as amalgam, has been around for decades.  Made from a metal alloy, it was the best restoration filling.  The metal expands and contracts with heat and cold in the mouth.  This allows few bacteria to enter a tooth once filled, keeping the tooth healthy and strong.

A white filling, also known as a composite, is often made of plastic or glass polymers. This cosmetic filling allows us to fill a cavity with a substance that will look and feel just like your existing tooth structure.  This restoration is created with a resin material and fits tightly into a tooth to prevent decay.  Rather than a gray or silver material on your tooth, the composite color will match the tooth color.

How can I improve my smile?

There are several ways today to enhance your smile.  They include:  

  • Tooth Whitening
  • Bonding
  • Porcelain Veneers
  • Porcelain Crowns

We have the ability to improve your smile using some or all of these procedures. Please contact our office so that we may provide you with a customized treatment plan.

What is tooth whitening?

Tooth whitening is a cost effective and safe procedure to create a beautiful, healthy smile.  Over the years, fluoride has been added to the whitening product.  This reduces the risk of tooth and gum sensitivity. Tooth whitening must be monitored by Dr. Firlik and done only after a comprehensive exam and hygiene cleaning.

The whitening procedure can last for a number of years, if maintained properly.  Beverages such as coffee, tea, cola, and wine will reduce its lasting effect.  Remember, if it could stain a white shirt, it will stain your smile.

What is bonding?

Bonding is a cost effective procedure used to fill gaps in front teeth and to change a tooth’s color.  The immediate results are amazing.  Within a few hours, you will have a great smile!  Bonding, like tooth whitening, can change color over time from the consumption of coffee, tea, cola, and wine.

What are porcelain veneers?

Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are placed directly on your teeth. This entire procedure can take as few as two office visits.   Veneers can change the size, shape, and color of your teeth.  They are used to repair fractured teeth, teeth darkened by age or medication, or a crooked smile.  Often patients ask for porcelain veneers to feel and look younger with a straighter, whiter smile!

What are crowns?

A crown is a permanent cosmetic structure that covers the entire tooth.  It will change the size, shape, and color of a tooth in as few as two office visits. 

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is the foundation for an artificial replacement of a missing tooth.  Made from titanium, this screw-like object is inserted under the gum and directly into the upper or lower jaw bone.  There is usually minimal discomfort involved with this procedure.  After a period of a few months, the dental implant and the bone fuse together.  This creates an anchor for the new tooth to be placed onto the dental implant. 

What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

  • Dental implants look and function like your natural teeth.
  • Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth.
  • Dental implants are maintained by routine hygiene visits to our office.
  • Dental implants decrease the possibility of bone loss, periodontal disease, teeth movement, and further tooth loss.
  • Dental implants replace the need for a removable full or partial denture.
  • Dental implants replace only teeth that are missing.  A traditional bridge, on the other hand, involves two or more adjacent healthy teeth combined with a "false" tooth between them.

Who is a candidate for dental implants?

With major advancements in dentistry and dental implants, most people are candidates for dental implants.  There might be exceptions due to chronic illness, heart disease, and severe osteoporosis.

What does the dental implant procedure involve?

The average dental implant procedure requires three to four office visits.  The first visit is to take an x-ray of the area, to take an impression for a surgical guide, and for a temporary prosthesis to cover the implant. 

The next visit is to place the implant. During this visit, a local anesthetic is applied to the treated area.  (Additional sedation is not necessary unless recommended by Dr. Firlik.)  Dr. Firlik then will make a minor incision to prepare for the implant, and the implant is placed into the jaw bone.  The treated area then will be closed with sutures.  The entire procedure usually is completed with minor pain.

You will return three months later to create the porcelain crown that will be placed over the implant.

How much does a dental implant cost?

Fees for dental implants vary, depending upon many factors.  Please schedule a consultation to discuss the procedure and costs.

How long does a dental implant last?

With regular dental hygiene visits and proper home care, a cental implant can last from 30 years to a lifetime.

Does your office offer financing for services provided?

Please contact us today to discuss financing options that we have available to make your smile perfect!