Dental FAQs Cary, NC Dentist

At Kildaire Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we are here to answer any and all questions you might have regarding your dental health. On this page, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions that we receive from our Cary, NC patients. If you would like more information on patient services, see For patients.

Kildaire Family & Cosmetic Dentistry interior

Dental FAQs

Why should I go to the dentist regularly for cleanings?

Many people only go to the dentist when they have pain, an issue, or even a dental emergency. We call this treatment “crisis treatment.” Because many dental problems, such as cavities, are not noticeable until their early stages, waiting until there is pain means the problem will likely be more severe and more difficult to treat.

At Kildaire Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we know that it is not only easier to treat tooth issues in their early stages but also that we can prevent complications and protect your dental health through routine care. Visiting us on a regular basis helps you have a healthy smile year-round.

When should my child go to the dentist?

Children should visit the dentist by their first birthday OR six months after their first tooth comes in. Teeth come in at different times for each child, so it’s important to ensure you bring in your child by his or her first birthday to ensure that they have a good foundation for healthy teeth.

How can I get my kids to brush their teeth?

Getting a child to brush his or her teeth can be a daunting task. There are a couple of ways to encourage your child without making brushing seem like a chore:

  • Make it fun! Being enthusiastic about teeth brushing time will make your kids enthusiastic about it, too. There are a number of products on the market to make brushing even more fun, from toothbrushes that sing to tablets that make the plaque in the mouth change color.
  • Brush together! Children want to do what their parents do to be “more grown-up.” Seeing you brush your teeth and floss will encourage your children to follow your lead.
  • Remember that your child may need your help until he or she is old enough to thoroughly clean all teeth. Need more recommendations? Give us a call!

How safe are dental X-rays? What are they used for?

In short: very safe! At Kildaire Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we use digital X-rays, which emit up to 90% less radiation than traditional X-rays. We also typically take fewer images because the digital sensors allow us to better capture images.

To make sure you’re fully protected, we use lead-lined full-body aprons to guard against any stray radiation. The federal government and the State of North Carolina approve and monitor devices used for taking X-rays in dental offices to ensure their safety.

We use X-rays as a diagnostic tool for a number of issues, including:

  • Areas of decay between teeth or hidden by restorations
  • Infections in the bone
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Abscesses or cysts
  • Developmental abnormalities
  • Some types of tumors
  • Presence of wisdom teeth

My insurance plan will not pay for some dental procedures and treatments. Does this mean this treatment is not necessary?

There are times when we recommend a treatment that isn’t covered by dental insurance. It is important to remember that our recommendation is based on what’s best for you and your oral health.

Lack of insurance coverage for a procedure or treatment does not mean it isn’t necessary. In fact, many times, delaying your treatment will lead to even higher expenses down the road. Kildaire Family & Cosmetic Dentistry accepts many insurance plans, and we offer an affordable in-house family treatment plan for patients without dental insurance.

I knocked out a tooth; can it be saved?

If you’ve experienced dental trauma that caused injury to your gums or obvious tears on your lips, cheeks, etc., you need to call your dentist immediately or go to the emergency room. If a tooth has been knocked out, it may be able to be saved. Call our office and follow these instructions to improve your chances of saving the tooth:

  • Rinse — do not scrub — the tooth to remove dirt and debris.
  • Place the clean tooth in your mouth between your cheek and gum or under your tongue.
  • Do not attempt to replace the tooth in its socket, as this could cause further damage.
  • Get to the dentist as soon as possible. Successful re-implantation of the tooth is possible only when treatment is performed promptly.
  • If it is impossible to store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person, wrap the tooth in clean gauze and immerse it in milk.

What can I do about sensitive teeth?

If your teeth are highly sensitive to temperature or pressure, Dr. Zhang recommends that you come in for an exam so that we can pinpoint the underlying cause of your sensitivity. Some ways we may recommend treating tooth sensitivity include:

  • Sensitivity toothpaste — the active ingredient, either strontium chloride or potassium nitrate, is very effective in treating tooth sensitivity. Make sure you continue using the toothpaste, even if the sensitivity seems to go away. Toothpaste that contains calcium, phosphate, and fluoride can also be helpful.
  • Avoid highly acidic foods. Citrus fruits, tea, and soda can increase sensitivity and limit the effectiveness of sensitivity toothpaste.

What is a dental implant?

Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth, from one to many. An implant is a small titanium post that is placed into the jawbone. The bone heals and fuses with the post in place of the natural tooth root, creating a solid anchor for a restoration like a crown or dental bridge.

What is a dental crown?

dental crown, or cap, is an overlay that covers the visible part of a tooth. Its purpose is to protect the tooth and any filling that may have been placed in the tooth. Crowns are typically made of porcelain but can also be gold, platinum, or silver, and the coloring of the crown depends on the material used.

When we place a crown, it is cemented onto a natural tooth or a dental implant. The life of a crown varies from patient to patient, but with proper diet and good oral hygiene, crowns can last 8 to 12 years, sometimes even longer.

What is root canal treatment?

If you have a severely infected tooth, we may recommend a root canal. Root canal treatment involves removing the tissue or nerves from a tooth to avoid removing the entire tooth.

While patients usually dread hearing the term “root canal,” the procedure is actually quite simple: Dr. Zhang will numb your mouth, make a small opening on the top of the tooth, and clean out the nerve tissue and bacteria. Then, we seal the tooth to prevent future infection and top it with a filling or crown.

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath can come from many sources. Occasional bad breath and “morning breath” are caused by bacteria that we normally have in our mouths. When you come in for your routine exam, we can show you ways to clean your tongue and use floss to remove food particles, which is often all that is needed to solve simple bad breath issues.

Some medical conditions, like GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), can cause odorous gases, which in turn cause bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Seeking treatment for GERD can help your bad breath if this is the cause.

What about oral piercings?

Oral piercings, including lip and tongue piercings, can result in complications with your oral health. Infections in the mouth, damage to teeth, and changes in speech are the most common complications. Rare but more serious side effects include swelling, excessive bleeding, and scarring of your tongue.

There are so many toothbrushes and toothpaste in the store. Which types should I use?

When it comes to toothpaste, Dr. Zhang recommends choosing one that contains 0.24% fluoride. The flavor is completely up to you and your tastes! If you find that you’re sensitive to ingredients in certain toothpaste, contact us. We can give you samples of different kinds of toothpaste and let you know which we think will work best for you.

Young children should also use fluoride toothpaste but remember to only use a small smear (about the size of a grain of rice). Children have a tendency to swallow toothpaste, and swallowing too much fluoride can lead to tooth discoloration. Help your child with their brushing, including putting paste on the toothbrush, until he or she is old enough to not swallow the toothpaste.

As for toothbrushes, the important thing is to choose a soft-bristled brush. The size should be based on the size of your mouth — a brush that is too large may not be able to reach all tooth surfaces.