Bowers & Oki Family Dentistry
  • What Our Patients Are Saying About Us

    "From the minute you walk in the door until you leave the office - a positive experience! Professional and hospitable. Highly recommend this practice" - L&GW

  • What Our Patients Are Saying About Us

    "As always, very excellent and professional service. We are very happy that Drs. Bowers and Oki took over this dental practice. We were patients of Dr. Cullen for so many years and were just happy to know that the same kind of professionalism is still with this office, with both the doctors, Mary, Cece and all the staff. Thanks" - Del

  • What Our Patients Are Saying About Us

    "Excellent dental care with a gentle, caring and professional approach. Be it a routine cleaning or repairing an old filling I have always felt comfortable and cared for. I wouldn't think of going anywhere else!" - P Gonzalez

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

Here are some common questions we hear from our patients.  If you don't find your answer here, call, text or email our office as we are always happy to help.

General and Family Dentistry

Guidelines for antibiotic premedication prior to dental procedures are constantly changing.  As such, we recommend patients consult with their physician regarding their individual case in order to decide what is best for them. Current guidelines for antibiotic premedication are as follows:

  • prosthetic cardiac valve or prosthetic material used for cardiac valve repair 
  • a history of infective endocarditis
  • a cardiac transplant that develops cardiac valvulopathy 
  • the following congenital (present from birth) heart disease:
    • unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, including palliative shunts and conduits
    • a completely repaired congenital heart defect with prosthetic material or device, whether placed by surgery or by catheter intervention, during the first six months after the procedure
    • any repaired congenital heart defect with residual defect at the site or adjacent to the site of a prosthetic patch or a prosthetic device (that inhibit endothelialization)

A lot of people have anxiety about dental pain and dental procedures.  Pain is the most common fear patients have of the dentist.  At Bowers and Oki Family Dentistry, we aim to make your visit as pain free as possible.  We use powerful topical anesthetics to minimize the pain you feel on injection. 

While you are in the chair, you are always in control.  Should you ever feel pain or sensitivity while working we will immediately stop and administer additional anesthetic as needed to keep you as comfortable and pain free as possible during your dental visit.

We accept all major dental insurances. We are in-network providers with the following insurance companies:

  • Aetna
  • Assurant
  • Cigna
  • Delta Dental
  • Guardian
  • Dental Source
  • GEHA
  • Metlife
  • United Concordia

We recommend checking with your insurance carrier to verify coverage.

Getting your filling or crown should be a pain free and atraumatic experience. Try to eat prior to your appointment, since you will be numb for a few hours following treatment, making eating and drinking after the appointment difficult. When you come to our office remember to bring a list of any new medications you are taking and information on any recent hospitalizations or health changes. If your doctor or surgeon has requested that you take an antibiotic premedication, remember to take the medication 1 hour prior to your appointment. Unless you will be taking an oral sedative, you will be able to drive and return to work after your treatment is complete.

COVID-19

Keeping our patients safe is our top priority during this pandemic.  We have installed air filters in every treatment room and barriers to contain aerosols. Our staff have been rigorously trained in infection control procedures. We adhere to the most recent OSHA, CDC, and ADA guidelines.

Our rooms are cleaned between every patient with products that kill coronavirus.  We heat sterilize all instruments in accordance with guidelines.  Our staff have also been fit tested with N-95 masks to keep everyone safe.  

Our staff has also started to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to add another layer of protection for everyone.  

Yes!  Dental care is not only safe but an important part of your overall health.  Routine dental care can help to keep you healthy and prevent small concerns from becoming painful or emergent concerns.  

Our offices are equipped with all current recommended supplies and equipment to minimize your risk of exposure.  All surfaces and supplies are sterilized and sanitized between patients.  We have barriers separating all treatment areas from common areas and have taken steps to reduce aerosol production.  We have also installed air filtration units in all of our treatment rooms and common areas. All of our staff is well trained in infection control and COVID safe practices, and receive regular updates and training as new information becomes available.

While no place can be 100% safe from COVID-19, our dental office is one of the safest and cleanest places you can be during this pandemic.  

Preventive Care and Dental Cleanings

For most people, brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing once a day is ideal. This gets is enough to get off most of the bacteria before it hardens and has the chance to cause a gum infection or other dental problems. For those patients who are prone to cavities and heavy buildup on their teeth, brushing 3 times a day can help to minimize risk. We recommend waiting 30 minutes after eating to brush however, so the the pH of your saliva can return to a more neutral level. 

Everyone is different and we personalize the interval time for each patient to meet his or her needs. For most people, getting a dental cleaning every 6 months is optimal to prevent the development of periodontal disease, remove buildup, and help keep the gums healthy. Those patients who are prone to periodontal disease, tend to develop heavy plaque and tartar buildup, have heavy stain, have difficulty brushing and flossing, or are at high risk for cavities or other disease of the oral cavity, it will typically be recommend that they get a cleaning every 3-4 months. For some patients with great home care or those that are at an extremely low risk for diseases of the oral cavity and periodontal disease, we recommend a cleaning every 12 months.

During your teeth cleaning appointment, we will do a complete exam to check for cavities and periodontal disease, do an oral cancer screening, take needed x-rays, and remove any plaque, calculus, tartar and stain from your teeth and gums. As with your general health, disease, risk and symptoms can change over time. You may go years without gum disease or cavities and develop them later in life or when lifestyle, medications, or general health conditions change. We make it our job to make sure your care and recommended protocols change along with you to address your needs at every stage. Your needs change over time and we make sure that we are treating you optimally and meeting your current needs. 

The brand of toothpaste is a personal preference.  The important feature you should look for is a fluoride containing toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval.  The main purpose of toothpaste is to provide the fluoride your teeth need to help fight cavities.

Toothpastes advertised as whitening toothpaste often have abrasives in them for surface stain removal.  Using these excessively can wear away the enamel, leading to sensitivity problems.  Tartar control toothpastes often cause staining and are rarely recommended. 

Sensitive toothpastes contain an ingredient to help reduce sensitivity to hot and cold.  These work well for patients with sensitive teeth but generally need to be used regularly to have an affect.

Some people have a high risk for developing cavities.  For these patients, we will prescribe a toothpaste with a different strength of fluoride.  This will help to strengthen the teeth and  decrease the chance of developing a cavity.

Tooth sensitivity can have several different causes. If you are noticing sensitivity in your teeth that you haven't had before, it is a good idea to have your dentist check for possible causes. 

Sometimes sensitivity is caused by something simple such as gum recession or inflammation. Sensitivity can also be a result of tooth trauma (ie. biting on something hard, an accident, or grinding and clenching) or a developing cavity. There are times when sensitivity is a sign of something more significant such as an infection, a tooth fracture, or other oral pathology. 

X-rays or radiographs are a useful diagnostic tool which allow us to see parts of the teeth and surrounding structures that are not visible during a simple oral exam.  They help your dentist find areas of decay between teeth, decay under existing fillings and crowns, bone loss and other signs of periodontal disease, infections, cysts, and some tumors.  In children x-rays help us evaluate growth and check for development of teeth, along with evaluating for dental decay.

Frequency of radiographs varies from person to person based on their risk factors and history of dental decay.  In general, 4 bitewing radiographs are taken once a year and a full mouth series every 5-10 years.

At Bowers and Oki Family Dentistry, we use digital radiography which allows us to use a much lower dose of radiation.  X-rays taken digitally are very safe.

Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)

Regular dental cleanings and exams are done to help maintain your dental health, just like a regular checkup at the doctor is done to monitor your overall health.  These cleanings remove bacteria buildup, allow us to catch problems early and aid in the prevention of dental diseases.

Sometimes, things change in our mouth, just as they do in our body. This can be due to a slow disease process, inadequate homecare (like flossing), oral bacteria changes, general hormonal changes, aging, or medications. Even with regular checkups, we can one day develop periodontal disease, just like we can still develop high blood pressure. Our goal is to catch the disease process early and treat it, before lasting damage is done.

Deep cleaning are needed when signs of periodontal disease are present.  These signs may include swollen or bleeding gums, bone loss, heavy buildup, and deep pockets. When these signs are present, we are no longer looking to maintain your dental health at the current level.  We have an active disease that needs to be treated.  Without treatment, the disease process will continue and we can end up with tooth loss.  

Emergency Dental Care

Yes! If you are having a dental emergency, give our office a call. We are usually able to get patients in that day for an evaluation. We know that dental pain and broken teeth cannot be planned for and are here to help you.

To make an emergency dental appointment, call our office at 505-884-6408. You can also schedule your appointment online by clicking the Make and Appointment button. If you do not see an appointment available online, call our office so we can find an available time to take care of you.

We typically see patients with dental emergency on the same day.  We have time reserved for emergencies in our day, so call us as soon as you notice a problem to make your appointment. 

If you are having an emergency after hours, you can schedule an emergency appointment online or contact the doctors on the emergency telephone line. The doctors are available to assist you over the phone and answer any questions you may have.

A tooth can go a few days with a missing filling, but we typically do not recommend waiting longer. If your tooth is hurting, sensitive, sharp, cutting your lip or tongue we do want to see you as soon as possible.  If the tooth lost a filling or crown but is not hurting or bothering you, we can see you within a few days to a week.

If you have lost a crown or filling, call our office. We are here to answer your questions and determine the most appropriate time and treatment.

A dental emergency is any time you are having pain, swelling, or trauma to the teeth or jaw.  Some common types of dental emergencies include: 

  • Knocked out, avulsed, or displaced teeth 
  • Acute dental infections and abscessed teeth causing swelling and/or tooth pain
  • Broken or chipped teeth, fillings, crowns, bridges or dentures
  • Crowns or fillings that are missing or have fallen out
  • Dental complications related to falls, surgery, car accidents, or other trauma to the teeth and mouth
  • Severe jaw pain, TMJ Disorder related pain

For many dental emergencies, it is best to get an appointment the day the trauma or pain occurs so that you can be evaluated.  In some cases, an immediate appointment is not necessary and can wait a few days.  If you have any concerns, call our office and our friendly receptionists can help to answer your questions and determine the best time for an evaluation.

Tooth Colored Fillings (Composites)

A filling can last anywhere from 2-50 years, with an average life of 8 years. 

How long your filling will last is affected by many factors such as: 

  • Acidity and flow of your saliva
  • Bacteria count
  • Diet
  • The anatomy and strength of your tooth
  • Size of the filling and cavity
  • Habits like tooth grinding and ice chewing
  • Occlusion (how your teeth come together)
  • Homecare (How well and how often your brush and floss your teeth)

Dental Implants

Dental implants can be a timely process, but the results are worth it when you have an easy to maintain, aesthetic, functional tooth.  The entire process can range from 4 months to 1 year.  The length of time involved varies based on many variables including: bone health, gum health, the patient's individual health history, and whether a tooth is already missing or needs to be removed. At your consultation appointment, our dentists will review these factors with you to determine your individual treatment plan.

Dental bridges and Dental Implants are both excellent ways to replace a missing tooth in your mouth.  Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and our knowledgeable dentists can help you make the best decision for your mouth. 

Dental Implants are like a screw that goes into the bone in your mouth. They can replace one or more teeth without cutting down another tooth in your mouth. They can look very esthetic and are easier to maintain, especially for those who have difficulty flossing. 

Bridges can be used to replace one or two missing teeth, when the missing teeth are between healthy natural teeth. Dental bridges use the teeth on either side of the missing tooth/teeth as anchors. The missing tooth is then replaced by a "pontic" that sits above the gum tissue (held in place by the anchor teeth), creating a functional tooth. Bridges do require preparation of the anchor teeth in order to create space for your bridge.

 

 

For more information on the details of dental implants and dental bridges, visit our services page.

Dental Crowns (Caps)

Due to time, wear and trauma, our teeth can become weak or discolored. When a tooth is weakened it can be at high risk for breaking or experiencing further damage. In these cases, a crown is recommended to help protect the tooth from fracture and prevent tooth loss.  

Common situations resulting in a tooth being a candidate for a crown are:

  • Teeth with large cavities or large, older, fillings that are breaking down
  • Broken or cracked teeth, or teeth that have experienced trauma
  • Heavily worn teeth due to grinding or malocclusions (bad bites)
  • Teeth that are malformed or discolored
  • Teeth that have undergone root canal therapy
  • Those teeth experiencing cracked tooth syndrome
  • Patients with cosmetic concerns

Fixed Bridges

Dental bridges and Dental Implants are both excellent ways to replace a missing tooth in your mouth.  Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and our knowledgeable dentists can help you make the best decision for your mouth. 

Dental Implants are like a screw that goes into the bone in your mouth. They can replace one or more teeth without cutting down another tooth in your mouth. They can look very esthetic and are easier to maintain, especially for those who have difficulty flossing. 

Bridges can be used to replace one or two missing teeth, when the missing teeth are between healthy natural teeth. Dental bridges use the teeth on either side of the missing tooth/teeth as anchors. The missing tooth is then replaced by a "pontic" that sits above the gum tissue (held in place by the anchor teeth), creating a functional tooth. Bridges do require preparation of the anchor teeth in order to create space for your bridge.

 

 

For more information on the details of dental implants and dental bridges, visit our services page.

Pediatric Dentistry

The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit around the age of 1 or within 6 months of their first tooth erupting. Finding a dental home at this age allows us to catch growth and decay concerns early in life, which can improve your child's oral health into the future. Our goal is to keep your child's teeth healthy and decay free, while teaching them important home care and diet lessons and developing a positive and fun association with dental health.

Baby teeth play an important role in your child's growth and development.  Baby teeth have roles beyond helping your child eat, chew, and make an adorable smile. Without baby teeth to hold proper spacing in your child's mouth, the permanent teeth may not erupt into their proper position, leading to misaligned teeth and the future need for braces.  This can also affect the growth of the tongue, jaws and airway.  Although they are little teeth, they play an important role in your child's overall health.

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