Frequently Asked Questions

Patient Education

We want our patients to learn all they can about their own oral health, including correct flossing & brushing techniques, understanding consequences of clinching or grinding teeth, the use of night guards & mouth guards, avoiding tooth decay, eliminating bad breath… and much more! Go to for specific Oral Health information regarding Pregnancy, Babies & Kids, Preteens & Teens, Adults under 40, Adults 40-60, and Adults over 60

What should I do for bad breath?

There are various reasons one may have bad breath. But in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Studies show that simply brushing the tongue reduces bad breath by as much as 70%.

How often should I brush & floss?

Flossing and brushing help control plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease. Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth & gums. Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.

How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

Your teeth should be checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or hygienist may recommend more frequent visits. Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.

How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it. Most are not aware of it because the disease is painless in the early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it’s possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Having regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations is important and will help detect if periodontal problems exist. Periodontal disease begins when plaque, a sticky, colorless, film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that inflame gums and slowly destroy the bone. Brushing and flossing regularly and properly will ensure that plaque is not left behind to do its damage.

Why is it important to use floss?

Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrushes can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone. When plaque is not removed above and below the gum line, it hardens and runs into calculus (tartar). This will further irritate and inflame the gums and also slowly destroy the bone. This is the beginning of periodontal disease.

What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?

Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional treatments and may not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away, eventually revealing a darker or yellow shade. The color of our teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which may become darker over time. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea, and wine may also contribute to tooth discoloration, making our teeth yellow and dull. It is important to have your teeth evaluated by your dentist to determine if you are a good candidate for bleaching.

May I bring my young children to the office, while I am receiving my dental treatments and/or procedures?

Due to staffing and liabilities, Gibbs Dentistry is unable to provide supervision and care for your young children during parental treatment. Please arrange supervision for your young children, prior to your visit to our office for dental care.

Are X-rays really necessary?

YES. Exams consist of two parts. The first is X-rays which are used to diagnose & detect cavities between teeth and below gums which cannot be seen by the naked eye. X-rays also detect loss of bone, abnormalities in jaw structure and diseases that may not be visible during an oral exam.

Is there an after hours emergency phone number?

YES. Emergency After Hours, Holidays & Weekends, please call 252-639-8171. Note: this special phone number is for established patients of Gibbs Dentistry only.