Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does a Root Canal Hurt?

No, a root canal does not hurt.  When a tooth needs a root canal there are typically a couple of reasons.  One, the tooth has developed an abscess.  Two, a large area of decay has entered the nerve space.  Three, the tooth has died.  All of these are reasons a tooth would need a root canal.

Now with that being said, the tooth is typically hurting due to one of the previously mentioned reasons.  When I perform a root canal I am sure to have profound anesthesia, meaning you WILL NOT feel anything other than the pressure.

2. How Do I Use Dental Floss?

Floss is cheap, so don't be stingy! Tear off about a forearm's length to start. Wrap one end around the middle finger of one hand to "anchor" it, and pick up the other end about 4-6 inches away with the middle finger of the other hand. This allows you to manipulate the floss with your thumb and fore finger. As you soil a section of floss, "reel" in another 4-6  inches of clean floss with the anchor finger as you release the floss with the other finger. 

Once you get the floss past the tooth contact, move the floss up and down, perpendicular to the tooth. Never shoe-shine the teeth in a back-and-forth motion! You will either notch your teeth or cut your gums, or both!
3. How Do Whitening Toothpastes Work and How Effective Are They?

All toothpastes help remove surface stains through the action of mild abrasives. Some whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional stain removal. Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains only and do not contain bleach; over-the-counter and professional whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide (a bleaching substance) that helps remove stains on the tooth surface as well as stains deep in the tooth. None of the home use whitening toothpastes can come even close to producing the bleaching effect you get from your dentist's office through chair-side bleaching or power bleaching. Whitening toothpastes can lighten your tooth's color by about one shade. In contrast, light-activated whitening conducted in your dentist's office can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter.

4. How Often Should I Get Regular Dental Checkups?

For most people, a  checkup and cleaning every 6 months is standard protocol. Depending on a person's dental health, however, a dental cleaning every 3 to 4 months may be recommended.

5. How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

Exposure to all sources of radiation -- including the sun, minerals in the soil, appliances in your home, and dental X-rays -- can damage the body's tissues and cells and can lead to the development of cancer in some instances. Fortunately, the dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of X-rays is extremely small. 

Advances in dentistry over the years have lead to the low radiation levels emitted by today's X-rays. Some of the improvements are new digital X-ray machines that limit the radiation beam to the small area being X-rayed, higher speed X-ray films that require shorter exposure time compared with older film speeds to get the same results, and the use of film holders that keep the film in place in the mouth (which prevents the film from slipping and the need for repeat X-rays and additional radiation exposure). Also, the use of lead-lined, full-body aprons protects the body from stray radiation (though this is almost nonexistent with the modern dental X-ray machines.) In addition, federal law requires that X-ray machines be checked for accuracy and safety every two years, with some states requiring more frequent checks.

6. I'm Interested In Changing The Shape of My Teeth, What Options Do I Have?

Several different options are available to change the shape of teeth, make teeth look longer, close spaces between teeth or repair chipped or cracked teeth. Among the options are bonding, crowns, veneers, and recontouring. 

Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied to the tooth surface and hardened with a special light, which ultimately "bonds" the material to the tooth. 

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped "caps" that are placed over teeth.  The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line. 

Veneers (also sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials that are designed to cover the front surface of teeth. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth. 

Recontouring or reshaping of the teeth (also called odontoplasty, enameloplasty, stripping, or slenderizing) is a procedure in which small amounts of tooth enamel are removed to change a tooth's length, shape or surface. 

Each of these options differ with regard to cost, durability, "chair time" necessary to complete the procedure, stain resistant qualities, and best cosmetic approach to resolving a specific problem. Come in today to see if one is right for you!

7. What are Dental Sealants?

Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that is painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth -- usually the back teeth (the premolars, and molars) -- to prevent tooth decay. The painted on liquid sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and groves of the teeth forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. 

Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. In this way, the dental sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants. 

 Sealants can protect the teeth from decay for up to 10 years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wear at regular dental check-ups.

8. What dental insurances are accepted?

At Gallegos Family Dentistry we accept virtually all insurance programs.  If you do not have dental insurance, do not worry, we offer several different payment options for your convenience.  Call our office today to learn more.

9. What Is The Best Kind Of Toothbrush To Use?

Generally speaking, a  soft bristled toothbrush is best. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric, anything harder than soft, is too hard. Stiff bristles may give you that clean feeling, but they can also abrade your teeth and cause gum recession.

10. What should I do if I am nervous about going to the dentist?

At Gallegos Family Dentistry, Dr. Gallegos provides a couple of different sedation techniques.  One, he is a certified conscious sedation dentist.  Secondly, we offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas).  Finally, Dr. Gallegos has an extremely gentle touch making every effort to make sure your visit is as comfortable as possible.

11. Where are you located?

We are located on the NW corner of Coors Blvd, and Montaño Rd next to Spinn's Burgers in the Montaño Crossing shopping center.  We are centrally located with plenty of parking and easy to access coming from any direction.  Our address is 4411 Montaño Rd. NW Suite D, Albuquerque NM, 87120.