F. A. Q.

Q. What causes decay?

A. 98% of adults in the United States get decay. To get a cavity, you need to have three things: (1) Teeth that will decay (98% of adults do), (2) Bacteria in your mouth (everyone does), and (3) Refined sugar in your diet (If you live in the United States, you have access to this daily). The bacteria in your mouth metabolize the sugars that you eat to produce acid that then dissolves away the enamel of the tooth to cause the cavity.

Q. What causes gum disease?

A. Gum disease is caused by allowing bacteria to remain at and below the gum line on a regular basis. Gum disease results in bad breath, unattractive gums and teeth, and tooth loss.

Q. Why do I need my teeth professionally cleaned?

A. Although the bacterial plaque and food debris on and between your teeth can be removed at home with regular brushing and flossing, minerals from your saliva deposit on your teeth to form calculus, (commonly called tartar). You cannot remove tartar with normal brushing and flossing. When you come in to a dental office to get your teeth cleaned, the hygienist removes those hard deposits. It is important to remove those hard deposits because they are not only a physical irritant to the gum tissue, but microscopically, they look like coral and harbor bacteria. The live bacteria within the tartar infect the gum tissue, and when the bacteria die in the tartar, their waste products poison the gum tissue. Regular cleaning (for most adults, that is twice a year), allows us to remove the tartar which you cannot remove at home, which allows you to maintain your mouth in a healthy state.

Q. How old should a child be for their first visit to the dentist?

A. We recommend that as soon as the child is old enough to accompany a parent to a dental hygiene visit, they come along to see that the dental office is not a scary place, but that we are friendly, helpful people. After the parent’s appointment, we will often allow the child to go for a ride in the dental chair and take home some prizes so that they have a positive experience before they are actually a patient. On average, by the age of 27 months, all of the primary teeth have erupted, and that is a good time for the child to come in for their first dental visit. However, developmentally, many children are not ready or able to sit approximately 45 minutes through a dental hygiene visit at that age. We recommend that parents use their judgment as to when the child is developmentally ready to come for a dental visit. Often around this age, even 6 months can make a big difference in how well the child is able to handle a dental visit.

Q. Where does the name Burtless-Creps come from?

A. When Dr. Chad and his then fianc√©, Becky, were engaged to be married, they decided that combining their names was the best way to represent the fact that were becoming one as husband and wife. And so, they hyphenated their names. This was back in 1981, and at that point it was very common for professional couples to not change their names when they got married and to keep their pre-married names. We didn’t like that idea at all. (We viewed hyphenating our names as a good way to demonstrate our becoming one in marriage.) The reason everyone calls Dr. Chad , ”Dr. Chad” is because Dr. Burtless-Creps is too big a mouthful.