How can we help you?
We are happy to answer questions about our services and procedures.
These are a selection of some common questions that patients have. If your question isn't answered here, please contact our office. It's important to us that our patients understand their dental care.
Cleanings & Examinations
Even with excellent hygiene habits, it's easy to miss small areas of your teeth. Over time, the missed plaque will harden into tartar, which can only be removed with a dental hygienist's tools. When tartar accumulates beneath the gumline, the end result is red, puffy, inflamed gums — the beginnings of periodontal disease.
Examinations are an important opportunity for us to check in with you, see how you are doing, and make sure that your teeth are healthy. We want to catch problems when they are small and can be treated easily. This allows for more comfortable and less costly dentistry for you.
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Unfortunately, by the time you are in pain, simple measures are often no longer effective. Regular examinations allow us to nip this situation in the bud and keep your teeth healthy and beautiful. Please call our Roanoke dental clinic to schedule your next appointment.
X-rays are a dentist's most important diagnostic tool. Often, problems start inside your teeth or beneath the gumline. By the time the problem is visible to the naked eye, it can be painful and more difficult to treat. Using x-rays taken on a regular basis, we can catch problems early and treat them quickly and comfortably.
Crowns & Bridges
Dental crowns are designed to be durable and to function much like your own teeth. You need to use common sense, however, and avoid biting down directly on foods like hard candy or nuts.
A broken crown is not just costly to replace, but you may also damage underlying healthy tooth structure.
A dental bridge is a solution for filling the space left by a missing tooth. It is basically a single dental restoration that usually includes two dental crowns and a replacement tooth (pontic) that fills the empty space. The dental crowns are secured to adjacent teeth on either side of the empty space and provide support for the artificial tooth.
Modern dental materials and technology have dramatically improved the appearance of dental crowns and bridges. The porcelain used in today’s crowns and bridges can be color-matched to blend perfectly with the shade of your natural teeth.
With proper placement, your dental restoration should be virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
If the chip in your tooth is small and located in the right place, we may be able to repair it using dental bonding. Our doctor will perform an exam to determine if dental bonding can benefit you.
Small dental flaws, such as gaps between your teeth, can sometimes be fixed with cosmetic dental bonding.
Bonding is a cost-effective treatment that is non-invasive and effective. To determine if your particular problem can be solved with dental bonding, call our office to schedule an exam.
Dentures & Partials
At first, your dentist may recommend that you wear your dentures to sleep. This will speed up your mouth’s adjustment to the dentures and allow you to quickly detect and correct any spots where the fit is uncomfortable. After your mouth has adjusted to the dentures, they may be worn throughout the day and removed while you sleep.
When you first get your dentures, you will need to start with soft foods and slowly introduce harder foods as you get used to biting and chewing with the dentures in. Chew gently and take smaller bites to avoid loosening the dentures as you eat.
It will take your mouth some time to get used to the feel of dentures. After a few months, however, you will feel comfortable eating and talking with your dentures in and experience little to no soreness or discomfort. If you ever do experience soreness or if your dentures aren’t fitting right, please let us know.
Digital Dental X-Rays
Many of our health-conscious patients are curious about the necessity of dental x-rays because they are concerned about radiation exposure. We understand, and we are here to help you make the best choices for your smile.
Digital Dental X-Rays
Digital dental x-rays are extremely safe and reduce radiation emission by up to 80 percent over traditional dental x-rays. That may mean little to you at first, but it may help to know that dental x-rays have always emitted considerably less radiation than nearly all other types of medical x-rays.
Radiation is all around us, and you actually have more radiation exposure by being outside on a clear day than you will have from your routine dental x-rays.
Not only are digital dental x-rays safe for you, but they are also better for our environment because they eliminate the need for chemicals required to develop film x-rays.
Benefits of Digital Dental X-Rays
Digital dental x-rays are also superior because they are more convenient – we have an instant image that appears on our treatment room monitors for immediate evaluation by our dentist. We store these images securely in your digital chart and can access them quickly to monitor oral health changes that occur over time.
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If you ever have questions about why we recommend periodic dental x-rays, or if you need them at your next dental exam, contact us. Our knowledgeable team is available to help.
While our dentists can diagnose many conditions with a visual exam, we cannot always see what is happening beneath your protective tooth enamel or below your gumline. Digital dental x-rays make this possible and allow us to make an earlier diagnosis, potentially saving you time and money and allowing us to treat conditions before they become critical – or painful.
Benefits of Using Digital Dental X-Rays
By offering digital dental x-rays, we have significantly improved the safety of the care we provide. Digital dental x-rays emit up to 80 percent less radiation than traditional x-rays and give us instant access to high-resolution images for proper diagnosis of conditions such as bone loss, decay, and infection.
The cost of dental x-rays is low compared to complex restorative dentistry, making them a good investment in your oral health and the appearance of your smile. Without them, we would only have part of the story when it comes to your health, and the rest would be left to chance.
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If you have questions about the necessity, safety, or process of digital dental x-rays, we encourage you to call or ask at your next appointment. We are dedicated to providing quality dentistry that supports a healthy, comfortable smile, and we look forward to hearing from you.
As with all dental treatment, we personalize your dentistry to meet your health needs and will make recommendations designed to keep you healthy and comfortable. According to the ADA, for most patients, yearly x-rays are enough to evaluate your teeth, bone, and gums and identify any conditions that put your oral health at risk.
Different Types of X-Rays
If you suffer from gum disease (periodontal disease) or you have a history of losing teeth, we may recommend x-rays more frequently. Conversely, if you do not have significant dentistry or a history of tooth decay, we may be able to schedule x-rays every two years if you remain healthy.
Here are some of the different types of x-rays commonly offered:
- Bitewing x-rays – checks for dental decay (yearly)
- Full mouth x-rays – examines the tooth structure from crown to root and assesses bone levels (every 3 to 5 years)
- Periapical x-rays – typically used for restorative dentistry or emergency dental appointments when an image of the whole tooth structure is needed (as needed)
- Panoramic x-rays – takes a comprehensive image of all of your teeth at once and includes your jaw joints, bone, and dental anatomy (every 3 to 5 years)
Every patient is different, and the timelines listed above are a generalization based on averages. We will adjust your x-ray recall schedule to ensure you always have up-to-date information regarding your oral health.
We are in the business of protecting teeth. When we recommend a dental extraction, it is only because no other option exists and we need to remove your tooth to relieve symptoms or to protect your oral health.
A dental extraction is not the end of the world, though it does create some concerns for our patients. We are here to help. While you may have some anxiety about your dental extraction, we always strive to provide gentle, comfortable treatment by using appropriate levels of anesthetic to make sure you don’t feel any pain.
Tooth Replacement Options
Losing a tooth can cause concern about your smile and be able to eat the food you need to stay healthy and that you enjoy. We offer many tooth-replacement options to complete your smile. We will go over all of your options at your appointment and start an appropriate plan to have you feeling yourself again as quickly as possible.
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Dental extractions are sometimes avoidable with preventive and restorative dentistry. If you notice something is wrong or if you feel any symptoms, including pain or swelling, contact us right away. Acting fast will often give us the opportunity to save your tooth.
Give us a call to schedule a dental appointment.
A dental extraction poses many questions regarding the future of your smile and your oral health. Unless you have a wisdom tooth extracted, we recommend replacing a missing tooth. This will prevent your teeth from shifting and causing additional problems with your oral health. When your teeth shift, it can expose roots and cause problems with your bite. When you replace a missing tooth, you prevent the shifting that occurs with tooth loss.
Additionally, replacing missing teeth makes it easier to chew and to smile confidently.
Tooth Replacement Options at Our Roanoke Office
We offer a number of options to meet your needs:
Fixed dental bridge – We can replace a missing tooth with an artificial tooth anchored by two dental crowns. We will match your dental bridge to your existing teeth for an esthetic result.
Partial denture – If you are missing multiple teeth, we can replace multiple teeth at once with a partial denture. Partial dentures come in either a metal base or a lightweight acrylic base. We will discuss which option will work best for you.
Complete denture – If you are facing dental extractions of all of your teeth on your upper or lower arch, a complete denture will replace all of your teeth at once. Our dentures are highly esthetic and fit comfortably.
One of the priorities in our dental office is to provide comfortable, gentle dentistry for our patients. Dental extraction treatment is no different. Before we begin, we will discuss your history with dental care. If you have difficulty getting numb, let us know. We can take some extra time anesthetizing your tooth to make sure you have a comfortable experience. Gentle care is important to us and since each patient is different, we will discuss any concerns you may have before we even begin.
What to Expect After a Dental Extraction
It is normal to have some discomfort and swelling following a dental extraction. Typically, this can be addressed with over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen. We will talk to you about dosing recommendations and what to expect as you recover. Fortunately, the human mouth heals fairly quickly, as long as you avoid certain behaviors such as smoking and drinking through a straw following treatment.
You will likely feel dramatic improvement in a couple of days and will feel completely healed within a week or two. We will schedule a follow-up exam to monitor your healing and make sure that everything is on track. We will be here with you every step of the way.
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We also offer a number of options for replacing missing teeth, if necessary. Contact us for an appointment and we will go over everything with you, so you feel comfortable with your dental treatment.
All members of the family are welcome and of all ages. The dental team at McDonald Family Dentistry focuses on providing the highest quality family-focused experience. One of the best things about having a family dentist is the convenience of taking care of all your dental needs for the whole family in one place.
The Advantage of a Family Dentist
Scheduling a trip to the dentist for cleanings can be done in groups. With our flexible scheduling, it might be possible to get the whole family taken care of in one day, making it easier to fit everyone's smile needs into busy family schedules. In addition, our familiar, family-oriented environment of friendly faces creates a comfortable atmosphere that becomes familiar and welcoming from the moment you walk through our doors.
From Our Family to Yours: McDonald Family Dentistry
McDonald Family Dentistry proudly serves the Roanoke, VA area and is a family dentist first. Founded and run by husband and wife, dentist duo Ben McDonald DDS and Kate McDonald DDS, let our family be the dentists you trust to take care of your loved ones' precious smiles.
Contact us today to speak with our professional and experienced dental staff. We are happy to discuss your scheduling needs and get you or a family member scheduled for a dental visit.
We recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice daily using good technique. Our skilled dental hygienists will be happy to review your technique with you and give you pointers to help you improve so you can get the most out of your home-care routine.
As a general dentistry practice, we take care of most of the dental needs that arise on a day-to-day basis by supporting good oral health and wellness using preventive, restorative, and teeth replacement dentistry services. Dental exams, cleanings, x-rays, fillings, crowns, bridges, and dentures are all part of what we do here in our office.
We are also here to answer questions about your oral health and to educate patients on the importance of healthy teeth and gums.
Cosmetic Dental Services in Roanoke
In our office, we also offer cosmetic dentistry enhancements to improve the way you feel about the appearance of your smile. We can discuss this with you at your regular dental exam or we can schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation.
Each patient is different. While we strive to provide most of the care you need here in our office, we want what is best for you and will refer you to treatment with a specialist when necessary.
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Our goal is to help our patients maintain good overall health by promoting the health of their teeth and gums. We will let you know if we find any conditions that require treatment, so that you and your dentist can discuss which options will work best for you.
You probably see the words general dentist on local signs and online, but may wonder what that actually means.
Like your primary care physician, your general dentist is your main point of contact for your oral health. General dentists provide most non-specialty services that patients of all ages need to stay healthy.
This includes preventive dentistry such as:
- Dental exams
- Fluoride treatments
- Dental sealants
- Mouthguards for sports
General dentists also repair teeth that suffer from decay, fractures, or trauma. Restorative dentistry refers to:
- Dental crowns
Teeth replacement is a big part of general dentistry and is designed to keep your smile looking good and to make sure you can eat a healthy diet.
- Partial dentures
Since cosmetic dentistry is not a dental specialty, most general dentists are the ones who will be designing a beautiful smile and offering enhancements such as:
- Teeth whitening
- Cosmetic bonding
- Tooth-colored fillings and crowns
- Porcelain veneers
If you have a dental question, need help or advice, your general or family dentist will be able to make treatment recommendations for you. If you require a trip to a specialist, general dentists usually have specialists in their professional network that they know and trust.
Many people are more health conscious than ever and realize the value of maintaining good health instead of just waiting to treat problems as they arise. General dentistry provides most of the services that patients of all ages require to keep their teeth and gums free from disease.
For optimum oral health, we recommend the following steps:
Brush Your Teeth at Least Twice Daily
Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, brush your teeth for two full minutes using a small circular motion with the bristles gently angled toward your gumline. Using excessive force to brush will not clean your teeth more effectively and may damage delicate gum tissue.
Floss at Least Once Daily
Using 2-3 feet of floss, floss up and down each side of each of your teeth. Do not force the floss any further than it will comfortably go. Think of your floss as a squeegee that removes plaque. Don’t miss flossing behind your back teeth.
Dental Exams, Cleanings, and X-Rays
Every patient is different. Follow your dentist’s recommended recall schedule to maintain healthy teeth and gums. For most patients this will require a visit every six months. For patients who suffer from gum disease, have some catching up to do, or who have reduced dexterity that makes home care difficult, we may recommend more frequent visits to maintain your oral health.
Periodontal Disease Prevention & Treatment
In its earliest stages, we can reverse gum disease by improving your hygiene routine and adding in an antimicrobial treatment. Once gum disease has progressed past a certain point, however, the disease is not reversible. We can still provide treatment that will stop the disease in its tracks and prevent further deterioration of your gum and bone tissue.
Coming in for regular cleanings with one of our excellent dental hygienists will help keep your gums in great shape, but what you do at home matters as well. Brush twice daily and floss every evening. Our hygienists will be happy to show you good brushing and flossing technique.
Other steps you can take to prevent gum disease include:
- Don't smoke or chew tobacco.
- Eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash. We'll be happy to recommend one.
- If you have a health condition that can affect your dental health such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, please let us know so that we can take extra steps to help keep your gums healthy.
The appropriate treatment for your gum disease will vary depending on how far your disease has progressed and any contributing factors such as hygiene and other health conditions. Some of the treatments recommended for gum disease include:
- An increased dedication to excellent oral hygiene
- Antimicrobial rinses and other products
- An antibiotic medication that is placed in the gum pockets
- Deep cleaning (scaling and root planing)
- Laser therapy
- Gum surgery
We will discuss your situation with you and recommend the treatment that we believe will be the most appropriate for your unique needs.
Composite fillings bond directly to your tooth, which results in the removal of less healthy tooth structure. Amalgam fillings require additional sculpting of the tooth to provide anchors for the solid amalgam. Composite fillings are not as hard and inflexible as amalgam fillings, which means stresses caused from biting and chewing can be distributed more naturally and reduce the risk of your tooth cracking.
Yes. Unlike amalgam fillings, tooth-colored fillings are a custom-mixed resin composite. The composite mixture is matched to your tooth color and bonded directly to the tooth. This usually results in a filling that is nearly indistinguishable from your natural tooth.
Most insurance companies will cover composite fillings up to the cost of a silver amalgam filling. You may be responsible for the difference in cost between the more expensive composite filling and the amalgam filling. Our office will happily review your insurance coverage and discuss your financial options with you.