How can we help you?
Dentistry technology changes fast, and you may have questions about the types of treatment that will work best for you. Some of our most common questions are listed here. If you don’t see yours, give us a call or contact us via the handy form on our contact page.
Diagnostic and Preventive Services
How often you should visit the dentist for exams and cleanings depends on your oral health. Each patient is completely different and faces different oral health challenges. Your oral health also changes throughout your life as your medical conditions change.
For example, pregnant women go through hormonal changes that can affect their oral health, so they may require more frequent hygiene appointments to stay healthy. People with arthritis and other conditions that affect their dexterity (which can limit their ability to brush thoroughly) may require more frequent appointments to prevent conditions such as periodontal disease. Patients who have not visited the dentist in awhile may have some catching up to do to get them back on track.
No matter what your current condition is, we will never make you feel guilty or scold you for missing dental appointments. Our entire team will focus on helping restore your oral health so that you have a beautiful, comfortable smile you can feel good about.
When you visit our office, Dr. Browning will make a recommendation for treatment based on your current needs. For some patients, every six months may be enough, but for patients who have a lot of dentistry or who are prone to periodontal disease, visits up to four times per year can keep you healthy.
Yes, although you might have not stayed on a consistent recall schedule in the past, getting back into the habit of regular dental appointments is the only way to keep you and your teeth in a healthy and stable state. Do not be embarrassed of the outcome after your first appointment back - giving you an understanding of what treatment is needed and working with you to complete the necessary treatment is what we are here for and we are more than happy to help you.
Please know that you are not alone, but also know that the staff at Browning Family Dentistry is very experienced in making our patients as comfortable as possible throughout their visit. Using devices such as the Cavitron to clean your teeth, or even using nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help you relax will allow you to have a better outlook on going to the dentist.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child have their first dental appointment by their first birthday. By providing your child with early childhood dental care, we can identify and address common conditions such as decay and periodontal disease.
We work together with parents on home care techniques, challenges when it comes to habits such as thumb sucking or snacking, and what to expect as your child ages. By creating a partnership with parents, we can provide your child the best possible outcome when it comes to their dental health.
In your child’s early visits, we will focus on acclimating them to the dental office and helping them feel comfortable and secure while they are with us. We will take your child for a ride in the dental chair, perform an exam, and, when they are ready, we can provide professional dental cleanings to keep their teeth healthy and free from plaque and tartar.
As your little one grows, we will incorporate digital x-rays, fluoride treatments, and decay-preventing sealants.
Your child is our top priority at our Waynesboro, VA dental office. We look forward to providing exceptional dental care to your entire family.
A dental prophylaxis is a thorough cleaning of the teeth performed by a licensed dental professional, typically by a dental hygienist every 6 months.
A dental sealant is a plastic coating placed on the tooth, typically on the chewing surface of the back teeth, to prevent the formation of decay in the teeth. Sealants are recommended in children when their first permanent molars erupt around age 6, but they can be placed and recommended for any age on any teeth. If a person presents with deep grooves and pits in the teeth then sealants are recommended due to these areas being more susceptible to catching food and bacteria which can lead to cavity development. Sealants do not involve any drilling to place onto the teeth, they are simply painted onto the selected tooth surfaces and then cured with a light; the procedure is painless.
Bitewing x-rays are recommended every 1-2 years, depending on a patient's need. These x-rays are needed to show the crowns of the top and bottom of the back teeth simultaneously, as well as being able to see areas in between the teeth that are not easily seen by looking into the mouth.
Full mouth series of x-rays are a complete set of dental x-rays showing every tooth and the mouth, including the root and structures surrounding those teeth. These x-rays are recommended every 3-5 years, depending on a patient's need.
Panoramic x-rays show the entire upper and lower jaw, including all of the teeth, and are able to show unerupted permanent teeth and wisdom teeth. These x-rays are commonly taken on patients needing braces or their wisdom teeth extracted. Similar to the full mouth series of x-rays, a panoramic x-ray is recommended every 3-5 years depending on a patient's need.
Periapical x-rays are taken when you have one specific tooth bothering you in order to try and find the problem and determine a solution. These are not only recommended but are necessary at any dental appointment you come to with any type of dental pain in order to fully diagnose the cause of your discomfort.
Yes, we offer only digital x-rays in our office. Why? Digital x-rays are proven to expose a patient to 50-80% less radiation than the previously traditional film x-rays. Because radiation accumulates over time for an individual, digital x-rays provide a very small dose of radiation which makes them safer to use. The amount of radiation you are exposed to by taking 4 bitewing x-rays at your dental check up is 60% less than the amount of radiation you are exposed to naturally by the environment everyday. Dental x-rays are only taken every 2-5 years depending on a patient's need, therefore a person accumulates more radiation in a year by natural factors such as the sun and food than they ever would from updating dental check up x-rays every couple of years. Compared to the film x-rays, the digital sensors used have rounded edges to provide a more comfortable feeling when placed in a patient's mouth. Another reason we only use digital x-rays is how time efficient they are being that after an x-ray is taken it is immediately available to be viewed on the computer in seconds. Precautions are also used in our office by having patients wear a lead apron which covers vital and reproductive organs, such as the thyroid gland, during the x-ray procedure.
Fluoride is a natural occurring chemical used in dental products and recommended by dental offices to prevent tooth decay and reduce tooth sensitivity. We promote the use of fluoride due to its preventative qualities against cavities by making the tooth stronger and more resistant to decay. The fluoride options provided in our office are beneficial for all ages. At Browning Family Dentistry we offer and recommend our topical fluoride options which are applied directly to the tooth surface compared to systemic fluoride which is ingested instead of being directly applied. A fluoride foam tray is recommended for children age 6 and up which is placed in their mouth for 4 minutes to allow the fluoride foam to enrich the enamel surface of the teeth with fluoride particles to increase the resistance of the teeth to acid and decay. For children under 6 and adults we recommend to have a fluoride varnish treatment which involves the fluoride to be directly painted onto the front side and back side of the teeth. It is easier for children under 6 to manage the fluoride varnish instead of the tray since they are more prone to swallowing the fluoride, as well as it is difficult for them to sit still for very long. The varnish is recommended for all adults, especially those prone to cavities or sensitivity, and this can be directly applied to those areas of the teeth to provide a preventative service as well as sensitivity relief.
Better known as a bite or night guard, an occlusal guard is a removable dental appliance used to aid in the cushioning from the impact of the teeth together. Clinching and grinding of the teeth are habits that patients have, which mostly occur while they are sleeping and most people are usually unaware they are doing this in their sleep. The results of clinching and grinding have been known to break and crack fillings and even their teeth over time. The purpose of an occlusal guard is to prevent any further or potential damage brought on by excessive clinching and grinding habits. Overall, it is a good investment to prevent further dental work from needing to be completed.
A cavitron is an ultrasonic scaler which uses high frequency vibrations and water flow to clean the teeth efficiently. In conjunction with the standard scalers used to clean teeth, a patient receives an overall better cleaning due to the effectiveness of the cavitron removing the majority of the build up present on the teeth with the vibrations, as well as the flushing out of any harmful bacteria present along the gums with the water.
A dental hygienist uses a periodontal probe which is a dental instrument able to measure the attachment level of the ligament and bone surrounding a tooth. The probe is placed between the gum and the tooth and is only placed down far enough to measure the ligament attachment, which in a healthy mouth is only 1-3 mm below the gum line. The space being measured naturally has a pocket that the probe is small enough to fit into so there is minimal to no discomfort when having these areas measured. Every tooth is measured on the sides, front and back to ensure that the gums are healthy all the way around the tooth. Typically a healthy mouth takes no longer than 2 minutes to probe. If a person presents with periodontal disease the probe charting usually takes longer but no longer than 5 minutes. Measuring for gum disease is included in the prophylaxis appointment and has become a standard procedure.