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.

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!

Cosmetic Dentistry

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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