Dentistry FAQs | Princeton Dental Group

301 N Harrison St. Suite F, Princeton, NJ 08540

F. Charles Wightman, D.D.S.

Darren S. Brummel, D.D.S.

Patrick H. Pagana, D.M.D.

Elisa A. Marantz, D.M.D.

Alisa H. Wain, D.D.S.

Reena M. Varghese, D.M.D.

Joseph Luzzo, D.M.D.

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Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic treatment, is the process of removing the dental pulp, or soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves. When the pulp is diseased or injured and unable to repair itself, it loses its strength.


The most common causes of the pulp dying are a cracked tooth, a deep cavity requiring large fillings, or traumatic injuries to the tooth, all of which may allow bacteria and their products to enter into the pulp. If the injured or diseased pulp is not removed, the tissues surrounding the root of the tooth can become infected. Without treatment, the tooth may have to be extracted.

What is a root canal?

Frequently Asked Questions – Princeton, NJ

A crown (also known as a “cap”) is a dental restoration that covers a tooth to restore it to its normal shape, size and function.


Crowns are used to:

  • Restore a tooth when there isn’t enough tooth remaining to support a large filling

  • Attach a bridge to replace a missing tooth

  • Restore a fractured tooth

  • Cover a badly shaped or discolored tooth


Two dental visits are needed to complete the treatment. At the first visit the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing its outer portion to accommodate the thickness of the crown. If the tooth needs additional structure, the dentist will build up the core of the tooth. An impression is made to provide an exact model of the prepared tooth. This is used by the laboratory technician to develop the shape and size of the crown. A temporary crown is placed while the final crown is made.


At the second appointment the crown is placed and the dentist will make any necessary adjustments. The crown is then cemented into place.

Why do I need a crown?

Bonding involves molding tooth-colored dental material directly onto the surface of your teeth to improve minor flaws or to restore areas of decay in teeth.


Bonding can:

  • Close gaps between teeth

  • Repair chips

  • Mask stains

  • Restore areas of tooth decay


Using composite resin material, bonding is usually completed in one office visit. After preparing the tooth, the surface is etched with a gel to allow the attachment of the bonding material. The bonding material is applied to the tooth and then molded and shaped to become part of the natural tooth. The material is hardened with a high-intensity light. Several layers of the bonding material may need to be applied and hardened in order to give the tooth its final shape. After the bonding is complete, the tooth is smoothed and polished.


You may experience some temporary tooth sensitivity after the procedure. Using a sensitivity toothpaste can help reduce this. With good maintenance, the results of bonding can last for many years. Come into the office to learn whether bonding is right for you.

What is cosmetic bonding?

Princeton Dental Group uses digital x-ray imaging.


There are many benefits to using digital x-rays:

  • Digital images are sent directly to the computer and can be viewed immediately

  • Digital images can be enlarged, making it easier for you and the dentist to see the pictures

  • Digital images can be sent electronically to other dental offices when a referral is necessary or you move to a new location

  • Digital images eliminate the need for film and film processing chemicals, making them environmentally friendly

  • Digital images usually require less radiation, making the risk of potentially harmful effects very small

What are digital x-rays?

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Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions, disorders, and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Often considered necessary for complete oral health, dentistry can have an impact on the health of your entire body.

What is dentistry?

A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Your dentist has completed at least eight years of schooling, and received either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree, or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. If your doctor is a pediatric dentist, this means that he or she specializes in caring for children from infancy through their teen years. A pediatric dentist has received the proper education and training needed to work with young kids. Other specializations include:

  • Endodontics (root canals)

  • Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)

  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics

  • Periodontics (gum disease)

  • Prosthodontics (implants)

What is a dentist?

Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:

  • Helps prevent tooth decay

  • Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss

  • Prevents bad breath – brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath

  • Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence

  • Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco

  • Strengthens your teeth so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

Your teeth may feel fine, but it's still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Your smile's appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep your smile healthy and looking beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Today's dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:

  • Professional teeth whitening

  • Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth

  • Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers

My teeth feel fine. Do I still need to see a dentist?

Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important, and you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine whether the dentist is right for you. During your appointment, consider the following:

  • Is the appointment schedule convenient?

  • Is the office easy to get to and close by?

  • Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?

  • Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?

  • Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?

  • Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?

  • Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?

What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once!

  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.

  • Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities) and avoid tobacco (this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).

  • Don't be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.

  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months.

How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year of age. During this time, your child's baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child's first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.

At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?

Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year. Your doctor will help determine how often you should visit the dentist for regular checkups.

How often should I see the dentist?

A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth because of tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This produces an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss between teeth at least once.

What is a cavity?

A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure to talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.

What is a filling?

According to your dentist and the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria-causing plaque. It is also recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your teeth. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!

How often should I brush my teeth?

Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. Your dentist recommends that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently. Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you've been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.

When should I change my toothbrush?

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease:

  • Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums

  • Chronic bad breath

  • Loose teeth, or loss of teeth

  • Extreme tooth sensitivity

  • Receding gum line

  • Abscessed teeth

What is gum disease?

Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups

every six months?

Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience. If you are a new patient, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need for your first dental visit.

How do I schedule my next checkup?

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