Southlake Dental

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

We are happy to answer questions about our services and procedures.

These are a selection of some common questions that patients have. If your question isn't answered here, please contact our office. It's important to us that our patients understand their dental care.

Other

Southlake Dental has a long history of serving patients in Northwest Indiana, dating back to 1932! We are located at 55 E. 86th Avenue in Merrillville, IL. You'll find our office in Suite C inside the building.

We work with many dental insurance plans to make dentistry convenient and affordable for our patients, and we're in-network with Cigna DPPO and Delta Dental.

Merrillville dentist Dr. Christopher Lukasik offers a wide range of dental services to meet adult and children's needs. So it's simple and convenient for families to complete their dentistry in one place. 

Patients enjoy leading-edge technology when they visit Southlake Dental, which makes many procedures more comfortable and efficient. Dr. Lukasik also completes many continuing education courses to bring our patients the most advanced techniques and procedures.

A focus on preventive care every six months helps our patients protect their smiles and avoid more significant problems.

Whether you need a tooth repaired or enhanced, or even if it's just time for your next routine teeth cleaning and checkup, you'll find the dental professionals at Southlake Dental to be kind and caring. We encourage you to call us at (219) 769-6424 to schedule your next dental visit today. 

Family Dentistry

We welcome all ages in our office! We are happy to discuss your scheduling needs, so just give us a call and speak with our friendly front desk staff!

Your dentist in Merrillville, IN sees patients of all ages, including kids, teens, adults, and senior adults!

We recommend bringing your child in when you notice the first tooth erupting. This allows your dentist to see the state of the tooth, the alignment, and to assess whether there are any issues.

From the beginning, we work to make your child feel comfortable, and our dentist is great with kids—helping them feel relaxed and confident in the dental office environment.

We also spend time answering your questions and providing advice for at-home routines, including how to brush your child’s teeth or how to transition him or her to independent brushing and flossing.

As your child grows, we add appropriate services to ensure smile health, including:

  • Dental fillings
  • Teeth cleanings to lower cavity risks
  • Routine exams to make sure your child does not have emerging issues
  • Dental sealants to keep debris away from teeth
  • Fluoride treatments to strengthen teeth

Are You Looking for a Merrillville, IN Dentist for Your Child?

Children love our dental office, and we love helping them realize their best smiles. If you’re ready to schedule an appointment for your child, reach out to a dental staff member today to get started.

We look forward to meeting you!

If you’re the parent of a small child, you will play a crucial role in maintaining their oral health as they age. Together with your Merrillville dentist, you will help your child learn to brush, floss, and successfully care for their teeth. But when does this process begin?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children see a dentist after receiving their first tooth or by their first birthday, whichever is earlier. This early start ensures that a knowledgeable dentist is monitoring your child’s smile from a young age and that your child starts getting used to being in a dental chair to help reduce any potential dental anxieties.

Although we would like to see your child starting around the age of one, we won’t begin “actual” dental treatment until more teeth have developed during their toddler years. By the time your child is two or three years old, they should have enough teeth for us to perform basic dental cleanings and for you to focus on their oral care while they’re at home. 

By visiting a Merrillville children’s dentist regularly, you help your child develop healthy dental habits that will last as they grow up. The more exposure they get to the dentist while they’re young, the better off they will be!

General Dentistry

You probably see the words general dentist on local signs and online, but may wonder what that means.

Just like your primary care physician, your general dentist is your main point of contact for your oral health. General dentists provide most non-specialty services that patients of all ages need to stay healthy.

This includes preventive dentistry such as:

  • Dental exams
  • Cleanings
  • X-rays
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Dental sealants
  • Mouthguards for sports
  • Nightguards

General dentists also repair teeth that suffer from decay, fractures, or trauma. Restorative dentistry refers to:

  • Fillings
  • Bonding
  • Dental crowns

Teeth replacement is a big part of general dentistry and is designed to keep your smile looking good and to make sure you can eat a healthy diet.

  • Bridges
  • Partial dentures
  • Dentures

Since cosmetic dentistry is not a dental specialty, most general dentists are the ones who will be designing a beautiful smile and offering enhancements such as:

  • Teeth whitening 
  • Cosmetic bonding
  • Tooth-colored fillings and crowns
  • Porcelain veneers

If you have a dental question, need help or advice, your general or family dentist will be able to make treatment recommendations for you. If you require a trip to a specialist, general dentists usually have specialists in their professional network that they know and trust.

Cleanings & Examinations

As with all dental treatment, we personalize your dentistry to meet your health needs and will make recommendations designed to keep you healthy and comfortable. According to the ADA, for most patients, x-rays every one to two years are enough to evaluate your teeth, bone, and gums and identify any conditions that put your oral health at risk.

If you suffer from gum disease (periodontal disease) or you have a history of losing teeth, we may recommend x-rays more frequently. Conversely, if you do not have significant dentistry or a history of tooth decay, we may be able to schedule x-rays every two years if you remain healthy.

Here are some of the different types of x-rays commonly offered:

  • Bitewing x-rays – checks for dental decay (every 1 to 2 years)
  • Full mouth x-rays – examines the tooth structure from crown to root and assesses bone levels (every 3 to 5 years)
  • Periapical x-rays – typically used for restorative dentistry or emergency dental appointments when an image of the whole tooth structure is needed (as needed)
  • Panoramic x-rays – takes a comprehensive image of all of your teeth at once and includes your jaw joints, bone, and dental anatomy (every 3 to 5 years)

Every patient is different, and the timelines listed above are a generalization based on averages. We will adjust your x-ray recall schedule to ensure you always have up-to-date information regarding your oral health.

While our dentists can diagnose many conditions with a visual exam, we cannot always see what is happening beneath your protective tooth enamel or below your gumline. Digital dental x-rays make this possible and allow us to make an earlier diagnosis, potentially saving you time and money and allowing us to treat conditions before they become critical – or painful.

By offering digital dental x-rays, we have significantly improved the safety of the care we provide. Digital dental x-rays emit up to 80 percent less radiation than traditional x-rays and give us instant access to high-resolution images for proper diagnosis of conditions such as bone loss, decay, and infection.

The cost of dental x-rays is low compared to complex restorative dentistry, making them a good investment in your oral health and the appearance of your smile. Without them, we would only have part of the story when it comes to your health, and the rest would be left to chance.

If you have questions about the necessity, safety, or process of digital dental x-rays, we encourage you to call or ask at your next appointment. We are dedicated to providing quality dentistry that supports a healthy, comfortable smile, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Coming in for regular cleanings with one of our excellent dental hygienists will help keep your gums in great shape, but what you do at home matters as well. Brush twice daily and floss every evening. Our hygienists will be happy to show you correct brushing and flossing techniques.

Other steps you can take to prevent gum disease include:

  • Don't smoke or chew tobacco
  • Eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash.
  • If you have a health condition that can affect your dental health such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, please let us know so that we can take extra steps to help keep your gums healthy.

Southlake Dental is located in the city of Merrillville in northwest Indiana. We are proud to serve our community and patients from neighboring areas such as Green Acres, Crown Point, and New Elliott. 

Our dental office is a short, convenient drive from the Southlake Mall, which lies approximately three miles to the east. You will find our dental office building just off Highway 53 in a small office park. To view photos of our location, please click here. 

We accept new patients from anywhere who want to be part of our dental office family. Whether you live just down the road or choose to travel to our practice from farther away, we’d love to work with you! 

Our Merrillville dentist sees patients Monday through Thursday beginning at 8:00 each morning, and we always do our best to schedule families for the same block of time to make getting dental care as convenient as possible. 

We encourage prospective patients to stop by our dental office to meet our treatment staff and to get a feel for the warm, welcoming atmosphere we’ve worked hard to create. Feel free to come and see us at 55 E 86th Avenue, Suite C, or give us a call at (219) 769-6424 to schedule a new patient cleaning and exam!

Emergency Dental Care

We will do our very best to get you in the same day for dental emergencies. If this is not possible, we will see you the next day at the latest.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Many patients are not happy with their teeth. It could be stubborn discoloration, uneven spacing, or even mild overlapping.

Dental veneers in Merrillville, IN can hide these issues and more. They are thin, shields that fit across the front of your teeth. They look like natural enamel and may conceal the following:

  • Discoloration
  • Small gaps between teeth
  • Abnormally shaped teeth
  • Slightly crooked teeth
  • Gummy smiles

Dental veneers are considered permanent because your dentist removes a little tooth enamel to flush your veneers to your teeth, which prevents bulging.

If you’re considering veneers, the first step is scheduling a consultation with your Merrillville dentist. We want to make sure that your oral health is in top shape before beginning cosmetic therapies. If the dentist gives you the okay, we start the veneer process.

Following placement, your dentist provides specific upkeep instructions. However, you’ll want to brush and floss as usual and visit your dentist for regular checkups and teeth cleanings to keep your teeth healthy. Tooth decay and gum disease can lead to tooth loss and loss of your veneers.

Dramatically Enhance Your Smile with Dental Veneers

Dental veneers were once a Hollywood secret, but today we can change your smile with these fantastic tooth shells. Reach out to a dental team member today to schedule your consultation.

Professional teeth whitening can dramatically improve the appearance of your smile. It is inexpensive, non-invasive, and the perfect complement to your next life event—whether it’s a wedding or dream cruise.

Unlike store-bought kits and creams, professional teeth whitening is prescription-strength and approved by your dentist. With store-bought systems, it’s hard to get the results you want, and there is no guarantee that the gels aren’t abrasive and harmful to your teeth and gums.

Professional teeth whitening in Merrillville means an even result and a thorough lifting of brown and yellow tooth stains. It means feeling confident when you smile and talk to friends and family. At Southlake Dental, we want that for you!

For lasting results, it’s essential to understand why teeth stain. The culprits include:

  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Bright sauces
  • Age
  • Certain medications

By reducing your intake of certain foods and beverages, you can maintain your white smile for longer. Additionally, you should never skip brushing, flossing, and regular teeth cleanings in our dental office.

Our dentist or hygienist can provide more customized suggestions based on your unique situation as well.

Contact Our Dental Team for Teeth Whitening in Merrillville

If you’re looking for a whiter and brighter smile, we can’t wait to help. If you’re ready to schedule your consultation, or if you have any questions, contact us today.

Stained teeth can be disheartening, but your dentist in Merrillville, IN offers professional teeth whitening to restore brightness.

Professional teeth whitening is safe because your dentist evaluates your oral health before recommending this cosmetic treatment. We also take precautions to ensure our whitening gel stays on your teeth and away from your gums. Whitening gel on gums is typically the culprit when it comes to ongoing tooth sensitivity following whitening.

We keep the gel off your gums by creating custom whitening trays that fit the unique contours of your teeth. You take these trays home—along with our custom whitening gel—and whiten your smile on your time.

However, whitening your teeth without a dentist’s approval may not be the best course. Over-the-counter whitening products can be too harsh for your enamel. Additionally, these kits may not fit your teeth, allowing product spillage onto the gums and tooth sensitivity.

For an even and predictable whitening experience and outcome, we recommend professional teeth whitening in Merrillville, IN.

Are You Ready for a Whiter, Brighter Smile?

If you’re considering whitening your smile and would like to schedule a consultation, reach out to a member of our friendly dental staff today. We are always happy to help our patients achieve their whitest smiles!

Smile Makeovers

Dental implants in Merrillville, IN are the most natural tooth replacement options available today because they replace your tooth and your root. This helps prevent bone loss, shifting teeth, and future dental health problems.

The good news is that dental implants are not painful. The implant process is surprisingly easy when you have a gentle implant dentist on your side.

A dental implant is a thin post made from strong titanium. Your dentist surgically implants this post in your jaw, where it integrates with the bone over 4-6 months. Once integration is complete, we place a dental crown that stands in for your missing tooth.

During the implant process, your dentist in Merrillville, IN makes sure the area is completely numb before starting work. And patients have reported only mild soreness for a day or two following a dental implant placement—similar to what you might experience after a filling or root canal.

At Southlake Dental, we care about your comfort, and we always make sure you’re at ease before beginning treatment. Let us know if we can do anything extra to help you relax!

If you’re looking for a gentle dentist in Merrillville, IN, we are here to take care of your teeth and restore your smile.

Dental Implants

Dental implants in Merrillville are the gold standard in tooth replacement for a number of reasons. An implant restores not only your lost tooth and your smile but also your root, which protects against bone loss. It is also the closest you can get to having the appearance and function of a natural tooth.

Tooth implants naturally fuse and integrate with your bone due to their titanium component. This process, called osseointegration, takes anywhere from three to six months. When the process is completed, your dental implant provides stability and function, and we are able to add a tooth crown.

We can also use dental implants to support prosthetics like a bridge or denture for patients who are missing multiple teeth.

Dr. Lukasik can discuss options for replacing one or multiple teeth with you during an evaluation. He'll let you know if you're a good candidate for dental implants and how long it will take to complete the process and restore your smile. For patients who are getting dentures or replacing teeth in the sightline of your smile, there may be some temporary solutions to restore your smile while your implant is healing and integrating with your bone. 

To learn more about dental implants and how they can restore your smile, contact Southlake Dental today at (219) 769-6424 to schedule your evaluation with Dr. Lukasik.

Crowns & Bridges

Dental crowns are one of the most versatile restorations; they are used widely across general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. Your dentist in Merrillville, IN provides quality dental crowns that you can depend on as well. And we can create these crowns during a single office visit.

What Is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a sturdy tooth cover that goes on over an existing tooth. It is colored and shaped to blend in with your natural teeth.

In many cases, it can take weeks to get your dental crown, but we offer same-day dental crowns in Merrillville, IN.

Versatile Dental Crowns

Dental crowns have a variety of uses, which makes them a dependable go-to in modern dentistry.

  • Supporting a weak tooth—Your dentist may fit your tooth with a dental crown following trauma or a root canal treatment. Infections and injury can make your treated tooth vulnerable to breakage. A dental crown provides a buffer to prevent breakage.
  • Concealing flaws—A dental crown can conceal a variety of tooth flaws, including discoloration, shape issues, small chips, and small gaps between teeth.
  • Topping a dental implant—A tooth crown also tops a dental implant abutment and acts as your replacement tooth.
  • Anchoring a dental bridge—Dental crowns also fit on either side of a restoration bridge, capping adjacent teeth and allowing the restorations to fill in your smile gap.  

We look forward to providing your dental crown.

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