I don’t really like to go to the dentist. Can you help me feel more relaxed?

Our team understands that many people feel nervous about going to the dentist, and we work hard to help you feel comfortable at our office. We strive to foster a welcoming, relaxing atmosphere, and we offer several options to help you feel more at ease. This includes sedation dentistry, which involves using sedative medications to help you stay comfortable.


I brush my teeth every day, but I still struggle with bad breath. What else can I do?

Maintaining good dental hygiene is important in keeping your breath fresh, but other factors can also contribute to bad breath. If you already brush and floss your teeth every day, and you keep up with your routine professional cleanings, we may suggest a small plastic tool called a tongue scraper to further improve your oral hygiene. This is used to clean away the bacterial buildup on your tongue. Our dentist may also recommend a special mouth rinse or toothpaste designed to break down odor-causing sulfur bonds that cause bad breath. Avoiding certain odor-causing foods, such as garlic and onions, can help to keep your breath fresh as well.

Several types of medical problems can also contribute to bad breath. If we suspect that this type of condition may be the cause, we will recommend that you visit your family physician or a specialist to resolve the problem.


What is a dental crown, and do I need one?

A crown is a dental restoration that entirely covers the tooth, starting at the gums, in order to improve its health, functionality, and appearance. Each dental crown is custom made to precisely fit your smile. Dr. Derek M. Lichter may recommend a crown to repair a broken or seriously decayed tooth. Crowns can also be used to enhance the appearance of your smile, to attach a dental bridge, or to complete a dental implant.


I know that X-rays are important, but I prefer not to be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-rays?

Yes, we offer digital X-rays at our office. Digital radiography is safer for your health and utilizes significantly less radiation than traditional X-rays. Our team is committed to continuously updating the technology and techniques at our office to provide you with the best possible dental experience.


What is fluoride, and how does it benefit my teeth?

Fluoride is a naturally found mineral that can help to protect your teeth from decay. Research has shown that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults. In addition to preventing cavities, fluoride can even repair early tooth decay. While some people worry about the health effects of fluoride, you can rest assured that fluoride is safe when used correctly.

When you visit our office for your regular appointments, we will provide a fluoride treatment that includes a higher concentration of fluoride than is found in toothpaste, mouth rinse, or water.


What are the benefits of sealants?

Dental sealants can help to protect your teeth from tooth decay. The sealant is created from a plastic material that is painted onto the chewing surface of the molars and premolars (back teeth). This seals out the natural grooves and pits of the teeth, which are a common site of decay. The dental sealant thus blocks out plaque, bacteria, and food particles that result in tooth decay. Sealants also form a smooth surface on the tooth, which makes it easier to effectively clean your teeth with normal brushing.


My gums bleed when I brush my teeth. Is this normal?

No, your gums should not bleed when you brush. This may be caused by periodontal disease, or you may be brushing too aggressively. If you notice that your gums bleed easily, we encourage you to contact our office and schedule an appointment. Our dentist and team will be able to evaluate your oral health and provide the treatment you need.


What is periodontal disease?

Also called gum disease, periodontal disease is a degenerative condition that affects the gum tissues. In the early stage of periodontal disease, called gingivitis, the gums become swollen, red, tender, and bleed easily. This stage can often be reversed with proper care. If it is not halted early, however, the condition may progress into the more advanced phase, called periodontitis. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat and may result in bone loss and tooth loss.


Sometimes I feel a sharp pain while chewing. How can I fix this?

In most cases, tooth pain while chewing is caused by a fracture (crack) in the tooth. To relieve this pain, our dentist may recommend a dental inlay or onlay, a crown, or a more advanced treatment. If you notice tooth pain, we urge you to contact our office as soon as possible to resolve the problem; putting off treatment may result in more serious damage and pain.


My teeth keep cracking and chipping. Why is this, and how can I fix it?

If you have noticed cracks and chips in your teeth, but you do not remember any type of injury or damage, you may suffer from a condition called bruxism. Bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching, often results in chips and cracks in your teeth. Many people do not realize they suffer from bruxism because the grinding and clenching occurs at night while they sleep. In addition to tooth damage, bruxism may also cause frequent headaches, jaw pain, and more. To protect your teeth and relieve these symptoms, Dr. Derek M. Lichter may recommend a custom-made night guard. This is a specialized mouth guard that is worn over your teeth while you sleep to prevent clenching and grinding.


I would like my smile to look better. How can you help me improve my smile’s appearance?

We offer several cosmetic dental treatments at our office, which are designed to enhance your smile’s beauty. With these services, we are able to correct cosmetic imperfections such as discolored or stained teeth, chipped or cracked teeth, misshapen teeth, gapped teeth, and more. Based on your unique needs and desires, Dr. Derek M. Lichter may recommend one or more of our high-quality cosmetic dentistry services to help you achieve a more beautiful, inviting smile.


I want my front teeth to look better, but I would prefer not to wear braces. What options do you have for me?

Our team is happy to help you feel more confident in the appearance of your smile. We may recommend dental bonding or porcelain veneers to improve the aesthetics of your front teeth; these solutions can be used to enhance the appearance of teeth that are unevenly worn, slightly crooked, or irregularly shaped.


How can porcelain veneers enhance my smile?

Porcelain dental veneers are a great choice for improving the appearance of your smile. Veneers are very thin shells, created from tooth-colored porcelain, that fit over the front surface of your teeth. Our dentist may recommend porcelain veneers to improve several types of cosmetic dental flaws, including broken or chipped teeth, misshapen teeth, slightly uneven or crooked teeth, stained or darkened teeth, spaces between teeth, fractured or cracked teeth, and very worn teeth. Veneers can change the shape, size, and color of the teeth to give your smile a more inviting, attractive appearance. Because they are custom made from tooth-colored porcelain, your veneers will look natural and beautiful.


I would like to whiten my teeth. Do you recommend at-home or in-office teeth whitening?

Both at-home and in-office whitening are effective options for brightening your smile. In most cases, at-home teeth whitening is more gradual than in-office whitening; however, at-home treatments allow you to whiten your teeth whenever it fits your schedule. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of each type of teeth whitening, we encourage you to speak with Dr. Derek M. Lichter and our friendly team today.


Will losing a back tooth affect my smile?

Yes, the loss of a premolar or molar (back tooth) can affect both the appearance and function of your smile. Your smile will look darker, smaller, and narrower because it will appear to stop short where the tooth is missing. This is exaggerated if the missing tooth has remaining teeth on both sides. The function of your smile is also compromised, making it more difficult to chew and eat as usual. This often results in additional pressure on the other teeth and can cause the remaining teeth to shift out of position. If you have lost a tooth, we encourage you to speak with our team about your options for tooth replacement.


I have lost a tooth. What options do I have for replacing it?

We understand that tooth loss has a large impact on your oral health and function, as well as your appearance and self-esteem. Replacing your missing tooth can help to improve your ability to speak and chew, restore the volume and shape of your face, alleviate uneven stress on the bite, and enhance your smile’s appearance.

Dr. Derek M. Lichter is pleased to offer several options for replacing missing teeth. A dental implant is a screw that is surgically placed in the jawbone to replace the tooth root, and then a replacement tooth is attached on top. Dental implants are permanent and can be used to replace one or multiple missing teeth. If you are missing just one tooth or a couple of teeth in a row, our dentist may suggest a dental bridge. Bridges are anchored on the neighboring teeth and are designed to match the look of your natural teeth. We also offer dentures, which are used to replace multiple missing teeth. To find out which tooth replacement option is right for you, we welcome you to contact our dentist in Chula Vista, California, today.


What should I expect during my first visit to Dr. Derek M. Lichter’s office?

Once you have been scheduled to meet with our dentist, we will guide you through the process of completing necessary paperwork, which includes medical, dental, and personal information. If you would like to complete these forms before your first appointment, it will help you save some time when you come to our office.

During your appointment, we will focus on getting to know you and helping you get to know us. We will listen to all of your concerns and goals for your teeth, smile, and oral health, and we will gather the necessary information to evaluate your current oral health. This includes a comprehensive exam, digital X-rays, and more. Based on our assessment of your dental health, we will recommend any treatments you need to improve your smile and to reach your goals. We are dedicated to helping you feel comfortable during your time here, and we work hard to help you achieve all of your goals for your smile. We are also always happy to answer any questions you may have.


Do you accept new patient referrals?

Yes, we are happy to accept new patient referrals from other dental offices. We also welcome recommendations by our patients to their families and friends. Our team always loves to welcome new patients to our office, and we invite you to contact us if you would like to learn more.


I need extensive dental work, but I’m worried that I cannot afford it. Do you offer monthly or flexible payment options?

Dr. Derek M. Lichter and our team are committed to providing you with the high-quality, personalized care you need, no matter your financial situation. We offer several convenient payment options, including CareCredit and Citi Health Card. These are outside financing companies that offer low monthly payments with no interest for up to 12 months. Please feel free to speak with a member of our friendly team to learn more about our payment options and financial arrangements.


What types of payment options do you provide?

We accept all major credit cards, cash, and checks. We also accept all PPO dental insurance plans, including Delta Dental and United Concordia, and we are happy to help you maximize your benefits. If you would like monthly payment plans, we offer financing through two third-party companies, CareCredit and Citi Health Card. We invite you to contact our office today to learn more about our payment options.


Does my insurance cover cosmetic dentistry?

Dental insurance is designed to help you pay for dental services, but most procedures are not fully covered by insurance. In particular, cosmetic dentistry is often not covered by dental insurance. To help you afford the dental care you want, we strive to help you maximize your dental insurance benefits. We also offer a variety of payment options to meet your needs, including monthly payment plans through CareCredit and Citi Health Card. For more information, we welcome you to call or visit us today.

If you have any other questions about dental care or about our team, we welcome you to contact our office today. We look forward to speaking with you!