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Answers to Commonly Asked Questions…


How do I know when it’s time to come in for a checkup?
We recommend that patients with good oral health schedule a checkup and hygiene visit twice each year. If you need more frequent visits, we'll let you know. Checkups are important because, even if you don't notice any pain or problems with your teeth, we may find signs of potential issues. For instance, demineralization is a precursor to decay, oral cancer often goes undetected until the later stages, and the symptoms of gum disease are often very mild. At your hygiene appointment, we'll clean plaque, tartar, and hardened food particles from your teeth. We'll also make sure your gums are healthy and strong.

What precautions do you take to ensure patient safety?
We follow strict guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and OSHA. Our practices include sterilizing reusable instruments in an autoclave, then sealing them for the next use; disinfecting treatment rooms between patient visits; and using disposable products when possible. We always wear disposable gloves during exams and treatment, for your safety.

My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?
Bleeding is usually a sign of a problem. When gums bleed, the cause usually stems from brushing too hard or from early-stage gum (periodontal) disease, called gingivitis. We can consult with you on the proper toothbrush and pressure for safe, effective daily oral care. If your gums show signs of periodontal disease, we may recommend a deep hygiene treatment to alleviate your symptoms and halt the progression of this disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for American adults and has been linked to many overall health conditions, including stroke, heart attack, respiratory problems, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Untreated, gum disease can significantly damage your health, so call for an assessment now. We’ll help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for life!

Do I have to floss every day? Is it really that important?
Yes! Floss loosens food particles, plaque, and tartar trapped between teeth. In addition to irritating gums, causing gum disease, and promoting decay, these three culprits cause bad breath. If you need help learning how to floss quickly and effectively, our hygienist will gladly teach you some tricks to make your daily oral care easier.

Do you refer patients to specialists?
While we’re trained and equipped to handle a wide variety of dental issues in our Houston office, when a specialist would better serve you, we'll refer. Some dental specialists are oral surgeons, periodontists (supporting structures), endodontists (internal tooth problems), orthodontists (for moving teeth), and pedodontists (for children). We refer to only trusted professionals with whom we have a good rapport.

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What are my options to replace missing teeth?
We offer bridgework, partials, dentures, and dental implants. Learn more about these options on our Services page, then call for a consultation. With X-rays and a thorough assessment of your smile, Dr. Richardson can help you decide which replacement option is best for you.

How does Dr. Richardson keep up to date on current techniques, technology, and materials in dentistry?
Dr. Richardson and our team take more than the state's requirement for continuing education each year. In addition, Dr. Richardson has completed rigorous training at renowned dental institutions such as the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies and the Hornbrook Group Center for Advanced Clinical Education. She’s also a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry. We all read trade journals, attend professional association meetings, and do everything we can to keep in tune with the latest developments in general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and restorative dentistry, as well as dental technology. We’re passionate about our careers, so we enjoy soaking up new information on our profession, then sharing it with you!

I haven’t been to the dentist in years, and I’m ashamed to let a professional see the condition of my mouth. Is your staff judgmental?
First of all, congratulations on your wise decision to prioritize dental healthcare. Your mouth is a big part of your overall health, quality of life, and self-esteem. We’ll never judge you; instead, we’ll help you by addressing your oral problems, explaining treatment options, then scheduling a plan of action that suits your schedule and your budget.

I want to know more about changing my smile. What do you suggest?
An appointment. Your smile and your goals are unique. We offer a wide range of cosmetic services, and after your consultation, you'll know which services will deliver the smile of your dreams.

What’s the difference between porcelain veneers and Lumineers?
Lumineers are actually a brand of veneers that requires minimal or no tooth preparation prior to placement. Some patients prefer Lumineers because of the quick application and reduced risk for sensitivity. However, others prefer traditional porcelain veneers because of their completely customized design.

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7000 Fannin Street, Suite 1660, Houston, TX 77030 USA
Sue Ellen Richardson, DDS Houston TX dentist (713) 796-9600