Frequently Asked Questions

We understand you will have questions and for your convenience have put together the following list of Frequently Asked Questions. At any time, however, feel free to reach out to us if you have additional questions.

At Heine & Associates Family Dentistry, we pride ourselves in building relationships with our patient families and are committed to making dental care as convenient as possible. We value your time and want to provide the information you need as efficiently as we can. The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you have another question, just let us know. There is a form at the bottom of the page where you can submit your question and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Are you accepting new patients?

Yes! We are currently accepting new patients and their families and welcome you to make Heine & Associates Family Dentistry your new oral health home. With a pediatric specialist on staff, we treat patients of all ages from infants through adults. We also serve children and adults in need of orthodontics.

How long is the first dental appointment?

At your first appointment we will need to get a full picture of your treatment goals and current state of your oral health. We will take a full set of digital x-rays, the doctor will meet with you and provide a thorough exam and together you will discuss any treatment options and plans for your health. You should expect to spend 1-1.5 hours at your first appointment. For children, however, the focus of the first appointment is to put your child at ease and get comfortable with our pediatric staff. We will still get a full set of x-rays and provide an exam, but less time may be needed for the appointment.

Do I need to arrive early for my appointment?

It is best to arrive at least 10 minutes early to ensure that all of your paperwork is complete and you are ready for your appointment. For your convenience, new patient forms can be filled out and submitted online, or if you prefer, you can download the forms and bring them in with you. Check out ourNew Patient Forms.

What if I have to cancel my appointment?

We understand that things come up and you may have to cancel. Please let us know as soon as you know you have to cancel by calling 215-968-4545. We do, however, require 24-hour notice to cancel an appointment. Otherwise a $50 fee will be applied.

What if I am nervous or anxious?

At Heine & Associates Family Dentistry, we do everything we can to make you feel comfortable in our office and alleviate any fears and concerns that you may have to provide a positive dental experience. We also offer multiple options and techniques that can further help you relax. Please let us know if you experience anxiety and ask us about the different methods we offer. Prior to you or your child’s first appointment, we can also do a meet and greet appointment with a tour of our office to aid in creating a comfortable experience.

What is the purpose of dental X-rays?

Many dental issues are not first visible during an exam, but can be detected on an X-ray allowing for earlier treatment and prevention. Dental X-rays can help detect tooth decay, infections, gum disease, development abnormalities, and more.

Are dental X-rays safe?

There is very little risk in dental X-rays. We use the latest digital technology with high speed film along with lead aprons as precaution to limit radiation exposure and ensure the safety of our patients.

How can we prevent cavities?

Cavities are caused by bacteria and plaque buildup that leads to tooth decay. The best line of defense is to maintain good oral care habits, brushing teeth at least twice a day for 2-3 minutes as well as daily flossing, regular dental check-ups and cleanings. Other methods and treatments that can help prevent cavities include maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, limiting sugary drinks, brushing after meals (or if unable, rinsing your mouth with water) and dental sealants.

What kind of toothbrush do you recommend?

After testing numerous toothbrushes, we have concluded that electric, if used, is the best. Manual toothbrushes can also be effective, but opt for one with soft bristles. We also recommend that you change toothbrushes every 3-4 months and after colds or infections to reduce the risk of spreading germs.

When should I start brushing my baby's teeth?

We recommend that you start brushing your baby’s teeth after their first tooth. Starting with a clean cloth and water, brush your child’s teeth at least once a day at bedtime. When moving to a toothbrush opt for one with soft bristles and specially designed for infants.

What do sealants do?

Teeth have natural crevices that can trap food and bacteria leading to cavities. To help reduce the risk of cavities, sealants are a protective coating added to the surface of teeth and filling in those crevices serving as a barrier between bacteria and tooth enamel.

Are baby teeth important?

Absolutely. Baby teeth help children develop their speech clearly, are necessary for natural, proper chewing and aid in forming a path for the permanent to follow.

Should I be concerned about my child's thumbsucking or pacifier use?

Thumbsucking and/or pacifier use is very common and only needs to be a concern if it goes on for an extended period of time. Most children stop on their own, but if it continues past age 3, our pediatric dentist may suggest methods to aid in stopping use.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

Several home remedies can help alleviate a toothache, including a rinse of salt and warm water or applying a cold compress to the area. You can also give your child acetaminophen (Children’s Tylenol) for pain relief. If the toothache persists, call our office.

Should we consider a mouthguard?

Mouthguards can be a great method for protecting one’s teeth, gums, cheeks and face, especially when playing sports. The best mouthguards are the ones custom-fitted, which can be done here at our office.

How can pregnancy affect my oral health?

It is not uncommon for pregnant women to develop “pregnancy gingivitis” indicated by tender or red gum tissue, swelling and bleeding. Call our office to discuss treatment options and to avoid the risk of advanced gum disease (periodontal), which has been linked to preterm and low birth weight babies.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is advanced gum disease with inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting bone structure. Signs may include tender, red or swollen gums, bad breath, bleeding of the gums, pain when chewing, loose teeth or gums that have pulled away from teeth. If you suspect you have gum disease, call our office to set up a checkup. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to permanent destruction and/or tooth loss. It has also been linked to an increased risk of other health conditions including heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease.

Is there a link between diabetes and gum disease?

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, let our office know, especially if you notice any changes or conditions. Studies show that patients with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing gum disease. And like all infections, gum disease can affect blood sugar levels and be a factor in causing them to rise.

Can a cancer diagnosis affect oral health?

Treatment options for cancer (chemotherapy and radiation) can certainly affect your oral health, potentially causing infections, bleeding in the gums, mouth sores, and general soreness in your mouth and jaw. There are several options we could consider to help alleviate these issues. Please come see us before your treatment begins.

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