Frequently Asked Questions


I really do not like visiting the dentist.  Is there anything you can do to help me relax?

Many people are uncomfortable with visiting the dentist.  Your comfort is our highest priority and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit.  The waiting area is set with many comfortable couches and chairs, and multiple new magazines to help ease your mind while you’re waiting.  There is also a fireplace that is lit at certain times of the year, as well as a children’s playroom that is easily accessible through the waiting area.  When you sit down in the chair for your dental work, we offer nitrous oxide to keep you comfortable and relaxed.  Medication prior to the appointment can also be made available at the patient’s request.  We also offer ear buds and sunglasses in order to help you stay calm. 


I brush my teeth everyday but my breath never seems fresh. Is there anything I can do?

Millions of people suffer from halitosis, or bad breath, despite daily brushing. Here is a checklist of procedures that you can do to help eliminate the problem: brush twice daily, floss at least once daily, brushing your tongue, regular professional cleanings and careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances. If these are all consistently performed, and you are still having issues, we have many alternative options and tests to decide the main causes.

First, we recommend that you see your dentist to determine the underlying cause, which could be a number of things from bacterial growth, periodontal disease, sinus infections and post nasal drainage, or any other number of concerns. Next, we will determine the best plan of action to help prevent further issues such as more frequent cleanings, specific strength mouthwash, and stronger toothbrushes. We may also advise that you go see your primary physician if the need persists.


What is a crown and why do I need one?

If your doctor has recommended a crown it is likely either to correct a broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). The decay in your tooth eats away healthy tooth structure much like rust eats away at metal. If not removed, the decay will deteriorate the tooth to the point where extraction is the only viable treatment option. Sometimes, decay can be removed leaving healthy tooth structure, though it may not be enough to sustain itself over time. A crown can then be placed, restoring the look, feel, and function of your tooth while allowing you to keep your natural tooth structure. We offer both porcelain and gold crowns that are individually personalized for each patient, giving you a natural and long lasting smile.


I know I need x-rays, but I’d prefer to not be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-rays?

Yes, we do offer digital x-rays. Digital x-rays use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film x-rays. You will find that in our dental practice we research the latest trends in technology to ensure that your overall health is always bettered while also being safe and comfortable.


How does Fluoride help my teeth?

Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults by halting tooth decay.  It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay before the decay becomes visible.  Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation.  Fluoride is a safe elemental component when used correctly.  When your dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam, it is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash.  The ADA recommends that dental professionals use any of the professional strength fluoride varnishes, gels, or foam products carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance. 


How can losing a back tooth affect my smile?

Losing a back tooth can darken your overall smile making it look smaller and narrower.  Your smile will appear to stop short and the look will be exaggerated if your missing tooth has teeth on both side of it.  Function during chewing will be reduced and function of many other teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth.  When you are missing a tooth you compensate by chewing differently, putting pressure on different parts of other teeth and your mouth as a whole.  This can cause teeth to shift, creating gaps and spaces that may even cause fractures that result in additional tooth loss or needs for restoration. 

What are my options to replace a missing tooth?

Here at the office we offer many options for replacing teeth such as bridges, implants, and partial dentures.  By replacing missing teeth with either of these options, you will alleviate the problems associated with that missing tooth and get your smile back to its original, beautiful, and full appearance.  A bridge is one solution that we offer that uses neighboring teeth as the supportive structure.  This is done by placing a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile.  A dental implant is also an excellent solution.  Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone.  Once the post has bonded to the bone, it can act as a new, solid support for a natural looking, porcelain restoration.  Implants can replace a single tooth, or an entire set of teeth, offering more function and permanence than traditional dentures. 


My teeth keep chipping and cracking. What causes this and what can I do about it?

Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth, but do not know when the damage occurred, usually damaged them while they were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip and crack and, at times, break. It is also possible to clench your teeth during the day without realizing that it is happening. To keep from seriously damaging your teeth, we recommend a dental appliance called an occlusal guard, also known as a night guard. A custom fitted night guard protects your teeth from grinding and clenching your teeth in your sleep. We take care in ensuring that you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joints. Do you suffer from headaches? You may find that a side benefit from your night guard is the prevention of headaches. Many headaches start during the night and are caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask us about having a night guard custom created for you!

My spouse complains of my snoring and I have trouble sleeping at night. My primary doctor spoke of an appliance to help me sleep. Do you make such an appliance?

Here at Dr. Tiernan’s office we strive to make your overall health and wellbeing better than before. One of the biggest issues for adults is trouble sleeping at night due to snoring. In addition to the night guard, we offer an appliance called the snore guard. This type of guard is a flexible mouth piece that is worn at night in order to position the mouth as a whole in such a way that snoring is diminished or erased entirely. The snore guard will also protect the teeth from grinding and clenching; which will help with headaches, neck pain and tooth loss. Overall, this will help you sleep better than you ever have before. Call us today to discuss your options and begin the process to the best sleep you’ve ever had!

New Patients

Experience the Difference.

New Patient Experience

Entering the beautifully appointed reception area of Mark D. Tiernan, DMD & Assoc. and FASTBRACES, you will experience a relaxing and home-like setting designed specifically for putting the patient at ease & to make you feel comfortable.