Frequently asked questions



There are many reasons why people become anxious or fearful at the thought of dental treatment, and one of the most common is the anticipated discomfort of an injection. There is a lot of great technology available today that’s designed to make your dental experience more comfortable than ever before. At Reflections Dental Spa, we use gentle anesthesia techniques that make uncomfortable injections a thing of the past! The discomfort that most people feel with a conventional injection occurs when the anesthetic is deposited in the soft gum tissue. Today, we can virtually eliminate the discomfort of an injection because our computer-aided Wand system supplies a flow of anesthetic in a slow, comfortable manner, making the sensation barely perceptible. In addition to experiencing an injection that you can barely feel, you won’t have to panic at the thought of a needle coming at you because the Wand system is a small instrument that looks like a pen. The Wand provides such a gentle experience that you may not even realize you have had the injection!

Unfortunately, many people do not see a dentist on a regular basis and only go when they have a problem. This is known as reactive treatment as opposed to proactive treatment, and it simply means that you are not taking the steps to protect your teeth while they’re still healthy. While it may seem that this approach saves money in the short-term, it usually ends up being more cost prohibitive in the long run. This is because most dental diseases don’t present any symptoms in the early stages when treatment is simple and less expensive. Dental diseases like decay (caries) do not hurt until they reach the interior portion of your tooth and need more extensive work to correct. Periodontal disease is a dental “silent killer” that usually does not cause any symptoms until the very advanced stages. By the time periodontal disease gets to this point, there might not even be any treatment options left to save the tooth. There have been multiple studies conducted that show a strong correlation between periodontal disease and your overall health. When caught early enough, problems like fracture lines around old fillings can be restored and replaced before the tooth fractures. If you put off treatment, however, this type of problem can’t be detected, and your only options may be extensive work or tooth loss.

Brushing is very important, and the correct technique is critical for removing plaque. But even the most effective brushing is not going to dislodge the plaque and bacteria that are trapped in between your teeth below your gum line. Flossing removes a lot of plaque, which is soft when initially formed. If you do not floss, or if it’s not effective, plaque hardens into calcified deposits called tartar, or calculus. As calculus sits on your teeth, it helps breed more aggressive bacteria. Over time, these bacteria cause continued destruction of the supporting tissues of your teeth. Once calcified, calculus cannot be removed with floss. You will need to come to our San Ramon dental office for a professional deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing. Flossing is critical if you want to maintain healthy gums.

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is an inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting bone structure. If left untreated, gum disease can ultimately lead to permanent deterioration of the jaw bone and possible tooth loss. Preventing gum disease doesn’t just benefit your oral health. Untreated periodontal disease has been linked to an increased risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and pregnancy complications. One of the reasons that gum disease is so prevalent is that it can often develop and damage your teeth before you even notice any symptoms. Preventing gum disease with proper oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings should be a priority for everyone. But it’s good to know the signs of periodontal disease so you can get treatment as quickly as possible.

We would love to help, and we’ll start by telling you that each baby is unique! The first baby tooth usually comes in between five and seven months of age and they usually have all their baby teeth by three to four years of age. But this can vary significantly! The permanent teeth start coming in around six years. Erupting teeth can cause a lot of drooling and fussiness in babies, and they usually have all their baby teeth by three to four years of age. But this can vary significantly! The permanent teeth start coming in around six years. Erupting teeth can cause a lot of drooling and fussiness in babies. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child see a dentist early after the time the teeth erupt.

Newly formed teeth usually have deep grooves, which are more prone to decay than other areas of the child’s teeth. These teeth tend to be less calcified and softer, and are at higher risk for decay because they are harder to clean. It’s essential for us to protect these teeth, primarily your child’s permanent molar teeth, which erupt around six and twelve years of age. Placing sealants in the deep grooves prevents cavities from forming. Before placing the sealant, we thoroughly clean and prepare the tooth before applying the thin resin coatings to the deep grooves. This prevents plaque and bacteria from getting in there and beginning the decay process. Sealants are most critical in the early years of tooth eruption. At this stage, teeth are softer with less mineralization, and your children are learning to brush and floss properly.

The radiation you get from a dental x-ray exposure is very low. At our San Ramon office, we have invested in digital panoramic x-rays that cut down the amount of radiation by more than 90% compared to traditional films. You can get more radiation by eating 50 bananas or spending the day at the beach! For your protection, we use lead aprons only to expose areas of concern. All our digital radiographic techniques aim to reduce the amount of exposure while still giving us all the information that we need to make better choices for your treatment. Digital x-rays provide us with information regarding decay or any other abnormalities in your jaw and teeth. They also give an accurate picture of the health of your bone holding the tooth in your jaw. This helps us to detect conditions in the early stages before they become complicated. We would like to get all the information to provide the best care for you, our patient!

Twice-yearly cleanings are something an old dental advertisement company came up with as a slogan! Most insurance companies seem to have followed that motto in deciding the allowed exams and cleanings in a year. Ideally you should be brushing and flossing twice a day, but in reality, we tend to fall short, which allows plaque and tartar to build up on the teeth. Teeth have a lot of nooks and crannies where bacteria can hide and form deposits or cause decay. A cement-like substance called tartar is what we remove when you come in for your hygiene visits, so it doesn’t cause more inflammation and bone loss. Every six months is a reasonable period to evaluate and manage mild cases of inflammation and infection of your gums. In some instances, we recommend having you come in every three to four months for a deeper cleaning based on your specific conditions.