Common Questions

Answers to Your Questions

Do you see children?

Yes, we welcome children and teens. Dr. Foster offers checkups, cleanings, restorations, and complete orthodontics for children, as well as adults.

What if I have a dental emergency?

As an emergency dentist in Columbia, TN, Dr. Foster is happy to see you during business hours. In the event that you experience a dental emergency after hours, if you are a current patient, an emergency phone number is available with our answering service. If you are not a current patient, please go to your nearest emergency room, then follow up with Dr. Foster the next day.

What does a root canal feel like?

Root canal therapy is a procedure to remove damaged tooth pulp (what we often refer to as the ‘nerve’) and avoid tooth extraction. The acute toothache associated with a root canal is actually caused by infection, which creates pressure inside the tooth, at its nerve center. Pressure grows, and the pain intensifies. Root canal therapy removes all infection, which relieves pressure and pain. As a sedation dentist, Dr. Foster can administer a sedative to make you feel mentally and physically ready for any dental procedure.

What does Dr. Foster recommend for teeth whitening?

Many over-the-counter whitening toothpastes, strips, and trays work well to remove light discolorations from tooth enamel. Dr. Foster does NOT suggest that anyone undergo professional teeth whitening from a mall kiosk or by anyone who is not a licensed dentist in good standing with the ADA. If over-the-counter products don’t deliver the results you want to see, Dr. Foster can provide you with custom-made dental trays and prescription-strength whitening gel for home use. He also offers one-visit whitening with Zoom! Whitening, a light-activated teeth bleaching solution that has a stellar reputation.

How can I tell if I need braces?

Ideally, upper and lower teeth fit together in such a way that the jaw joints are perfectly balanced. This alignment of upper and lower teeth is referred to as occlusion. However, many people aren’t born with such harmony in their oral structures. Fortunately, an overbite, underbite, crossbite, crowded, or oddly spaced teeth can be repositioned with orthodontics to improve occlusion, as well as esthetics. During early elementary school years, Dr. Foster may identify conditions that will lead to malocclusion. If he believes your child needs orthodontic treatment, he’ll provide a full explanation and treatment plan. By the late teen and early adult years, if permanent teeth are not properly aligned, Dr. Foster may suggest adult braces. To determine whether you need braces, you should visit Dr. Foster for an assessment and consultation.

I have a toothache. What should I do?

A number of causes can contribute to tooth pain or sensitivity. First, we recommend gently flossing your teeth to dislodge any trapped bits of food that may be causing discomfort. Next, you should swish with a salt water solution. If pain persists, you need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Foster immediately. Toothaches do not go away on their own, and seeking immediate treatment with a gentle family dentist can help relieve your discomfort as conservatively as possible.

Do braces hurt?

Braces are comprised of two primary mechanisms: the brackets that are secured to the teeth and the wires that attach to the brackets and help move the teeth into place. Brackets themselves do not cause any pain. However, you will have to periodically visit Dr. Foster in order to have your wires “tightened.” Many patients report discomfort after tightening but this is easily remedied with an appropriate dose of over-the-counter pain medication. By the next day, most patients do not report any lingering discomfort.

How can I get my braces off sooner?

Every set of teeth is different. Some people may only need a year of braces to straighten their teeth while it could take up to 24 months for others. Attending your regular orthodontic checkups for tightening helps the movement of your teeth stay on schedule. To maintain good oral health and ensure that your braces are working efficiently, we recommend you maintain a consistent at-home dental hygiene routine, as well as avoid any sugary, sticky, or hard foods. Dr. Foster will provide all of his orthodontics patients with advice and recommendations to help maximize the success of their braces.

How can I test for oral cancer?

Anyone can get oral cancer. However, people who smoke and/or drink heavily are at higher risk than others. Luckily, oral cancer survival rates go up the earlier oral cancer lesions are detected. Dr. Foster uses a technology called Velscope that uses a special light to find even very early-stage abnormalities in the tissues of the lips, mouth, and upper throat.

I have a fear of the dentist, but need work done on my teeth. What should I do?

We understand that many of our patients feel nervous, anxious, or even fearful of receiving professional dental care. We also want those patients to know that Dr. Foster is dedicated to making each patient feel as comfortable as possible during their procedure. Our office environment is relaxing and the care we offer is gentle, thorough, and respectful of your needs. For patients with dental anxiety we provide several safe and effective forms of sedation.

Get Answers to More Questions About Your Dental Health

During your visit, we’ll be happy to answer any and all of your questions regarding your dental health and treatment. To learn more, call Creekside Family Dental Care in Columbia, TN, today at (931) 388–3384. Since 1985, we’ve proudly served patients living in Lewisburg, Lawrenceburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, and all surrounding communities.