The enamel of the tooth is the hard ceramic like shell which covers the exposed part of your teeth (above the gum line).


Plaque is the white fuzzy film that forms along the gum line at the bottom of your teeth. It is a soft and sticky substance that if not removed on a daily basis, with proper brushing and flossing, can cause gingivitis or periodontal disease. Anytime you have something to eat or drink, your body increases production of bacteria that causes plaque to form. Your saliva mineralizes or causes the plaque to become tartar.


Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps maintain the enamel of teeth. Fluoride may be added to drinking water in very low concentrations to help prevent cavities. If you need even greater protection, a fluoride treatment can be given after your next cleaning.


Tartar is formed from plaque on your teeth that wasn’t brushed away effectively. Tartar is a hard, rock-like consistency that forms above and below the gum line and in between the teeth.


Calculus is just a fancy way to say tartar, that hard “calcified” material on your teeth which is either visible or hidden below the gum line.


Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissues when plaque and calculus build up along the gum line. Gingivitis can cause bleeding, reddened or swollen gums and painful brushing. Untreated gingivitis can lead to gum disease or periodontitis.

Periodontitis or Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis is a fancy word for gum disease. Periodontitis occurs after a prolonged period of time without cleaning your teeth. As calculus builds up on your teeth and your gums recede, you can develop chronic inflammation and may experience painful, swollen and bleeding gums. You may even see pus or infection oozing from you gums, experience a foul taste in your mouth or be told you have bad breath. Untreated periodontal disease leads to loss of teeth and has been linked to a number of major medical problems including premature births. Floss, floss, floss!


Caries is another name for decay.


Halitosis is another word for bad breath and can be temporary from eating your favorite Italian dish with garlic or become chronic as in periodontal disease. Bad breath can also be caused by dirty dentures, unflossed bridges, poor brushing or dry mouth. Ask Dr. Roberts to help you evaluate your cause of bad breath.


A small or large hole in your tooth caused by decay.


Brushing 2 times a day is optimal and helps remove plaque and prevent periodontal disease. It is always best to brush morning and night, but if you only brush once a day, bedtime is best so that all the food you’ve eaten during the day doesn’t turn into plaque overnight which causes cavities. Dr. Roberts recommends a soft head toothbrush as vigorous brushing with a stiff bristled brush can damage you gums and the enamel of your tooth resulting in toothbrush abrasion.


Flossing is cleaning between your teeth. Dentists and hygienists recommend you floss every day. Floss can be plain, waxed or flavored but they all do the same thing. You may prefer special picks or brushes. Superfloss is an excellent tool to use under bridges, around implants or when wearing braces. Superfloss has a stiffened end to allow easy threading around or under the appliances, and a spongy broad floss that makes removing material in wide spaces much easier. The goal is to remove trapped food and debris from between your teeth where your toothbrush cannot get to. Dr. Roberts always says, “Only floss the teeth you want to keep”.

Dry Socket

A dry socket can occur usually 3-4 days following an extraction. When Dr. Roberts extracts your tooth, your body forms a clot over the extraction site, protecting the site and the nerves there. If the clot is dislodged, intense pain can occur that pain pills will not help. In this case call our office at once and we will bring you in to apply a specific medicine that will stop the pain instantly. We always provide instructions to follow after you have a tooth pulled but dry socket is most commonly caused by drinking through a straw, forceful spitting, smoking and drinking carbonated beverages in the first 48 hours following an extraction.

Nitrous Gas

Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is used during dental procedures to help relax and calm patients. Patients breathe the gas through a nose piece that can be kept on during the dental work, if needed, or just during the administration of local anesthetic. Often, what most patients report is a euphoric, calming effect and they sometimes say they “feel happy and want to laugh,” thus the nickname! Nitrous is very safe, does not stay in the system long and you will be able to drive home after your dental work is completed.

Local Anesthetics

Local anesthesia is used in dental procedures to prevent any pain. It is used to numb a specific part of the mouth for fillings, root canals, extractions, etc. and is administered by injection only by Dr. Roberts or Amanda, the hygienist. There are several factors that determine how long you will be numb depending on your body’s metabolism, the anesthetic used and how much is required. We always recommend you eat a meal before your appointment as you may be numb as long as two hours following a procedure and Dr. Roberts always reminds our patients not to eat till the sensation returns as you may accidentally bite your cheek or lip. Dr. Roberts feels very strongly that you should be pain free during your procedure and always instructs our patients to lift their hand to signify if they feel anything but pressure and he will stop immediately and administer more anesthetic. Some patients report a “racing heart” sensation with local anesthetic and this can be lessened or eliminated depending on the medicine used so always report how you feel and ask our staff any questions you may have regarding the numbing process. Topical numbing gel is used before the injections to minimize any sensation or discomfort and most of our patients report, “I didn’t even feel that or that was nothing like I was afraid it would be”


Dr. Roberts uses only digital x-rays at his office. Digital x-rays have revolutionized dental imaging! They are very safe, fast convenient and crystal clear. Our x-rays can be seen by you and Dr. Roberts almost instantly, are stored in your paperless chart and can easily be emailed to another dentist office if you ever relocate, or if Dr. Roberts sends you to a specialist. Despite the recent hype in the media, digital x-rays are very low radiation and are very safe. We have protective lead aprons for you to wear during your x-rays and if you have any concerns, please ask Dr. Roberts when you come in to see us.

Gum Disease

Gums are the tissue that surround and support your teeth. Gum disease is when this tissue becomes infected and is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease, which is also called periodontal disease. Plaque (the bacteria on teeth) is constantly forming, so regular dental care is important to preventing buildup that affects the gums.


Dental implants are roots placed in your mouth for either permanent teeth to be placed on or ones that you can remove.


A crown covers your tooth to help restore its original shape and size. Crowns can also be used to make teeth stronger and look better.