Ask Dr. Marc

Frequently Asked Questions

Ask the Expert

We understand that dental care can seem overwhelming, which is why we're here to answer all of your oral health questions.

Do you want to learn more about one of our services?

Are you confused about one of our procedures?

Our team is here to clear up any confusion and to give you the tools you need to maintain that awesome smile. After all, who's better to give dental advice than your very own dentist?

Below are some of your most frequently asked questions in Dr. Hollander's own words.

Dr. Marc Hollander

How can I prevent tooth decay? (cavities)

Brush and floss your teeth MORE than one time per day.  Be careful about what you eat and drink! The typical American diet is loaded with refined carbs and salt.  Refined carbs (sugar) contributes to decay. Salt causes a dry mouth. Dry mouth plus refined carbs is a recipe for cavities.  Use a fluoride containing toothpaste. See your dentist as frequently as YOU need. Use topically applied fluorides both at home and at your dental cleanings.  Read food labels to know what you are putting into your mouth.

How can I prevent gum disease?

Read above.  Brush and floss your teeth MORE than one time per day.  Do not rush through this process. So what if doing this properly takes a few minutes 2-3 times per day?  This sure beats Novocain and a drill. All-day, every day.assistance. We understand that financing dental care can be challenging when a procedure is not covered. We also know how important a healthy smile is to our patients.

How frequently do I need to brush my teeth?

Do you like getting numb and having a tooth drilled upon?  I didn’t think so. There is a difference between brushing your teeth and really getting them clean.  A quick 30-second brushing fulfills the mandate to brush your teeth. It is doubtful that you got every side of every tooth clean.  Spend the time to really get them clean. Ideally, this would take place after every time you put something in your kisser. Realistically, do this NO LESS than after breakfast and before you go to sleep.

How frequently do I need to floss my teeth?

Read above.  Flossing takes time to do correctly.  It could take 5-10 minutes if you really want to do it right.  Do this at night, after you brush your teeth before you go hit the sack.  Nothing goes in your mouth after this except water.

How frequently do I need to get my teeth cleaned and checked?

This depends on you.  If you spend the time keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy and if you do not have an underlying gum problem, the typical twice per year standard should work.  If you have gum disease or a high rate of tooth decay (cavities), you probably need to be seen more frequently, possibly 3 or 4 times per year. Understand that at your cleaning appointment much more than a simple “cleaning” is done.  We measure the pockets around your teeth to ascertain the health of your gums. Pockets are the spaces that always exist between the teeth and the gums. Shallow good. Deep not good. An examination of your mouth, throat, head, and neck is also done.  We are looking for signs of grossness. Oral cancer comes to mind.

Do I need to arrive early for my first appointment?

We appreciate it if you arrive a few minutes ahead of your scheduled start time.  We ask that you update insurance and medical information. If you are a new patient to us, we would like to spend a few minutes meeting and getting to know you. Welcome to Dr. Marc Hollander and Associates! You are in the best of hands.

Will my insurance cover my visit?

We are proud to accept most dental insurance plans. Think of dental “insurance” as a dental assistance plan.  While it MAY cover your entire cost, most likely it will cover a portion of it. Typically, there is a yearly deductible to be met.  Your plan likely will cover a certain percentage of the fee. The balance would be your responsibility. Also, most plans have a yearly maximum that they will pay. 

How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?

Healthy gums are a light shade of pink, not bright red.  Healthy gums are firm and tight and do not bleed when poked, prodded, brushed or flossed.  When we check your teeth and gums we measure the depth of the space, the pocket as it is called, between the teeth and the gums.  Deep bad. Shallow good. What constitutes deep? The upper limit for what is considered healthy and normal is 3mm’s. That is close to an eighth of an inch.  As those spaces get deeper, it is harder to keep them clean and healthy. We cannot be sure that with our skill and instruments we are getting the deepest pockets clean, either.

How do I choose a dentist?

One way to NOT select a dentist is who has the biggest advertisement.  Do NOT base your choice on who has a coupon or who is the cheapest. Remember:  You get what you pay for. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors whom they see.  Ask them if they have been happy there? Is everyone courteous and friendly? Are they seated on time, or reasonably close to their scheduled time?  Do they generally run on time or are they always late? Ask what kind of work they had done there? If they have had dentures made, good for them. If you do not need dentures, you need to be sure that that practice does other services, as well.  Have they been happy with their treatment? If one practice name comes up a few times, in a positive manner, that is a really good start. You might want to schedule an interview. I have had times where the patient interviewed me prior to becoming a patient.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. In my practice, this would be at no charge.

How can I get my kids to brush their teeth?

Start them early!!!!!  I firmly believe in “monkey see, monkey do”.  When the kids are young, very young, get the whole family together and everyone brush and floss together.  Kids want to emulate their parents. When they see that mommy and daddy do this after meals and before bedtime, they are learning by example.  Forcing the issue does not work. It might take rewards. If you go this route DO NOT use food as a reward. Make that reward an object, something that they want but do not yet have.  Make them earn it.

How can I get my kids to floss their teeth?

Read above.  This means that YOU better be doing it, too!!

How can I get my kids to clean up their room?

Good luck with that one!

What types of teeth whitening are available?

First, a bit of explanation. Teeth may get lighter, NOT white.  The ONLY way to get them white and to KEEP them white is for me to put a drill on them. Also, be aware that short of my putting a drill to your teeth, no lightening procedure is “permanent”.  Tooth lightening WILL REQUIRE continual touch-up. Now, I break tooth lightening down into two generic types. There are in-office and take-home bleaching. In-office lightening requires that you sit in a dental chair for a period of time while the procedure is taking place.  It can be relatively effective. It is significantly more costly than the take-home lightening. The take-home flavor is very cost-effective and you can go about your life whilst you are lightening your teeth. This can be started almost immediately, also. A periodic touch-up will also be needed.

Do I need a mouthguard?

Do you grind your teeth?  Have you been told that you grind your teeth whilst you sleep?  Are your teeth sensitive to cold and/or chewing pressure? Are your teeth wearing down or are they already badly worn down?  Then you need a mouthguard. I can not necessarily stop you from grinding your teeth but I can stop or minimize the damage done by grinding.  Do you play a contact (or some supposedly non-contact) sport? An athletic mouthguard is advisable, not to protect your teeth as much as to try to prevent you from getting a concussion if you get hit in the lower jaw.  This is different from a mouthguard to prevent you from grinding your teeth. Sorry, they are not typically interchangeable.

How long will my new dental work last?

I guarantee my work.  I guarantee that it will wear out sooner or later.  Nothing I can do is as good as what Mother Nature gave you.  OEM parts are better than aftermarket parts. That said, modern dentistry is pretty good and getting better.  Nothing I can do will last if you do not do your part to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. Brush, floss, use fluorides as directed, get your teeth cleaned as often as is needed, be careful about what you put into your oral cavity.  When in doubt, do more! Notice that I have not said how long will anything last? It is because there are so many variables of which I have no control over. Things should last a long time, years.

How long will my procedure take?

We do our best to anticipate the amount of time to allow for each appointment.  There are times when unexpected things arise that cause that treatment to be more complicated and take longer than anticipated.  We try to be efficient in our scheduling and not schedule too much for everyone’s comfort. It can be hard sitting in the chair for a long time.  We know that and try to schedule accordingly.

Will I need someone to drive me home?

If you drove yourself to the appointment, then typically, when we are done with our work, you are able to drive yourself home.  If you took a sedative, like Valium, before your appointment, then you MUST NOT drive either to or from that appointment. If you had nitrous oxide, laughing gas, then you should be able to drive home.

Will this dental procedure affect my speech?

If you had a local anesthetic, novocaine, then your speech may be affected.  There are times when your tongue gets numb. Yeah, this will affect your ability to talk until the effects of the novocaine wear off.  This could be 3-4 hours, more or less.

Should I avoid certain foods after the procedure? For how long?

Generally, we advise nothing to eat until the effects of the novocaine wear off.  This may be a few hours. We do not want to take any chances with you biting and hurting yourself.  Typically, by the time your appointment is completed, whatever we did will have “set” and be hard enough for you to chew upon.   Drinking may be ok. Maybe. You might not realize that you are slobbering until the front of you gets all wet.

Can the procedure be performed in the dentist's office near me or do I need to go to a special location?

I am pretty good at a bunch of things that I do frequently.  There are many things that I do, just not so often. There are some dentists who have chosen to continue their education and training and specialize in certain facets of dentistry.  Just because I know how to do something doesn’t mean that I should do that procedure. A man’s got to know his limitations. If I feel that your particular situation warrants you seeing such a specialist, I will refer you to a dentist who specializes in that procedure.  There is no need to be a hero.

Will this dental procedure affect my speech?

If you had a local anesthetic, novocaine, then your speech may be affected.  There are times when your tongue gets numb. Yeah, this will affect your ability to talk until the effects of the novocaine wear off.  This could be 3-4 hours, more or less.

How frequently do I need to see the dentist for preventative care?

We recommend that you are seen for routine preventive care at least two times per year.  If you have certain particular dental issues, we may advise that you be seen more frequently.  If you have certain gum problems, we want to see you more frequently. If you are unable to do what we recommend to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, we may recommend that you be seen more frequently.  If you have had extensive dental treatment, we again might recommend more frequent preventive care visits.

I have a fear of the dentist, what can be done?

Talk with me!!!!  If you do not let me know what is going on then I cannot properly treat you.  If you have a fear of the dentist, first, be advised that you are NOT the only person like this.  Tell me what bothers you the most. Is it the sound or the smell, or fear of swallowing something, or what?  If I know what bothers you I can usually come up with a good way to make things easier for both of us.

Are dentists different or can I just go to the closest dentist?

You need to go to a dentist whom you trust and are comfortable having worked with you.  If you need to drive a half an hour to go to a dentist who fits these criteria, then do that!  Just because there is a dental office across the street from you does not mean that that is THE place for you.  You have to trust that that person is doing the right thing for you.

What is the best way to replace a lost tooth?

The best way to replace a lost tooth is the way that works best for you.  There is no one best way. Now with that said, options are certainly different today as compared to years ago.  In the past, to replace a missing tooth we had to make a removable partial denture, a partial, that you would snap-in the morning or take out at night.  We used to make a lot of bridges. These were cemented-in replacements for missing teeth. This involved cutting down teeth adjacent to the missing tooth or teeth and then making something that would be cemented on to those teeth.  This was the best that dentistry had to offer. Last century. Today, implants are THE way to go. Think of an implant as an artificial tooth root that is screwed into the jaw bone. It sounds awful but it is not. Really. This becomes the base, so to speak, that I fasten a tooth onto.  They are VERY predictable. Oh, and easy to do, too.

Where can I get Invisalign?

There are lots of things that I am pretty good at doing.  Ortho ain’t one of them. We would refer you to someone who is very good at this, typically an orthodontist with whom we work. 

Can I get Invisalign from my dentist or do I need to go to an orthodontist?

I generally advise seeing a dentist who specializes in correcting a bad bite.  This would be an orthodontist.

How do I find the best dentist to perform my procedure?

Leave that to us.  I would only refer you to a specialist whom I know and trust, whom I would either see myself or not hesitate to have my family see.

How long before I can eat after my procedure?

If a local anesthetic, novacaine, was used do NOT even think about eating until the effects of it have worn off.  If we did not numb anything, then generally, you can eat immediately.

Does the dentist work emergency hours?

If you or your family have an after-hours dental emergency, do not hesitate to call the office.  My home phone number will be on the message. You can always call if you feel the need. We will see you in the office as soon as is required.

How old should my kids be before their first visit to the dentist?

We generally recommend that kids come to the dentist for the first time between ages 2 and 4.  This depends on a lot of factors. I always ask for mom and/or dad to bring the child with them when they get their teeth cleaned.  Let the child see what goes on with a cleaning. Monkey see, monkey do. Sometimes little ones will let us do a full cleaning appointment.  Sometimes even 6-year-olds will not allow us to do much. We strive to make every visit non-threatening. We never want to create a dental phobic patient.

What is the best way to maintain my teeth?

Brush and floss your teeth!!  Argh

How close to me is Dr. Hollander?

We are as close as you are willing to drive.  The office is conveniently located in Gahanna, on North Hamilton Road, just up from the high school.

Are procedures painful?

You should never feel pain whilst we are working.  We have pretty good local anesthetics these days. If you are feeling pain, let us know.  Possibly you need a little more.

What insurance do you accept?

We work with nearly all dental assistance/insurance plans.  Call the office to be sure that yours is not an outlier.

How much will procedures cost?

Fees are based on time and our costs.  Every case is a little different. Sight unseen, it is hard to give a fee.  Call us today to learn more!

Where are you located?

We are conveniently located in Gahanna, at 118 North Hamilton Road.  The office is just north of the high school, in a medical complex between the Kemba Credit Union and the Chase Bank.

What should I do if one of my teeth falls out or gets knocked out?

If a tooth is completely knocked out, avulsed as it is called, find it!!  Do NOT scrub it off!! If the tooth is dirty it is ok to hold it by the crown and run lukewarm water over it to clean the schmutz off of it.  DO NOT RUB IT. As weird as it seems, it can be stored in your mouth until you can be seen. Don’t swallow it. Duh. This presumes that you will be seen ASAP. Call the office.  We will try to see you as soon as possible. The crown is the part that shows when you smile. The long, probably bloody part is the root. This is the part that you do not want to touch.  If things are not too bad, we may attempt to reimplant the tooth.

What is your best piece of dental advice?

Just remember, the more time you spend in your mouth, the less time I will be in there. The more time you spend on keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy, the less time I will be in there fixing them.

What dental brands should I be using?

I don’t care what you use to clean your teeth and gums. I do not own the company that makes dental floss so it doesn’t matter to me if you use it or not. What I do want you to use is anything that is effective, that will not damage anything , and that you will use every day. Go to a store that sells lots of dental items. Go to the dental aisle and look at all the junk that is available. Pick up something that appeals to you. Read about it. Hold it. See if it makes sense to you. Buy it and try it. Personally, for me, the Sonicare brush and the old-fashioned dental floss is the best. It is very effective, easy to use, and cheap.

Do I need to floss every single day?

Flossing must be a habit. Do it at night before you go to bed, after you have brushed your teeth. Do not stand in the bathroom, stare into the mirror, and watch yourself floss. This is the Google definition of boring. You will rush through flossing and eventually quit. In the beginning, as you are learning, this is ok, however. Always start in the same place in your mouth and do it the same way. Every time. Pretty soon, you will not need to see what you are doing and you will be able to do it by feel. Next, if you watch the boob tube before you go to bed, sit on your couch and floss your teeth. I know this seems gross, but think about it. Multitasking. That’s been a big buzzword. Floss whilst you are doing something else. If it takes you 10 minutes to floss PROPERLY, who cares? It’s not like you are standing in the bathroom and wasting time. It won’t take long before you learn not to slobber all over the front of yourself.

Remember that old dental joke; “You don’t have to floss all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.”

You told me that I need a root canal treatment. What’s the deal?

A root canal treatment is a procedure to remove nerve tissue from inside the tooth. It may be done because you have an abscessed tooth. This is a localized infection stemming from something causing the nerve to die and then becoming infected. Maybe you broke your tooth and in order to repair it we need to remove the nerve so that when all is done the tooth does not hurt you. Suppose there is a deep cavity in your tooth. This may cause the tooth to become sensitive or actually hurt or possibly cause the nerve to die. A root canal treatment is done so the tooth can be saved.

Teeth have nerves in them. Nerves are there for a good reason. Really. They tell us by hurting that there is a problem with the tooth. Without a nerve in the tooth, the tooth may have a problem and we now know about it until it gets bad.

So what’s done?

Teeth are held in the jaw bone by roots. Running through each root, within a small channel, or canal, is the nerve. So, a root canal procedure involves removing the nerve from the canal within the root. Slick, huh? There is no way to make it not sound like a fate worse than death. It is not bad. Seriously. We have great local anesthetic so you won’t feel any discomfort. The worst part is that the procedure is time consuming and boring. A lot goes on from our end but nothing much that you see. Maybe that’s not so bad.

When all is said and done, you will have a perfectly good tooth without a nerve in it. Your tooth will then be filled and likely a crown made for it to protect it from breaking. The alternative would be taking out a good tooth. That was fine last century, but not today.

What about my gums? What are those pockets that you are talking about?

Your teeth are surrounded by that pink stuff, commonly called gums. Healthy gums are a light shade of pink (coral pink), firmly attached to the underlying teeth and bone, do not bleed when we touch them, and are NOT soft and puffy. There is a slight space between the tooth and the gums, much like the space between your fingernail and the nail bed under it. Whenever we clean your teeth, we measure the depth of that space, the sulcus or pocket, as it is called. The upper limit of what is considered healthy and normal is 3 mm’s, about an eighth of an inch. It can be deeper than that because the gums are sick and swollen. That space may be deeper because the bone that holds the teeth in place is sick and is dissolving away. Possibly it is a little (or a lot) of both.

Healthy gums do not bleed a drop. The more they bleed, the sicker they are. Bleeding when you brush or floss is NOT normal. It is NOT a good or even an ok sign. A common misconception is “Oh my gums bleed when I floss them so I better stay away from them and let them heal”. Wrong!!! Your gums are screaming that they are sick. It is up to you and us to understand what they are saying. The proper thing would be to get to that area more diligently to keep everything cleaner. You must remove the source of the infection. That may be food collecting up under the gums. Germs live there. There are good germs and bad germs. We try to eliminate the bad bugs so the good bugs can help things to heal.

So, when you hear us talking about your pockets being deeper than 3 mm’s or bleed easily, or are particularly red and swollen, then the red flags go up. We will advise improved home care. Brush properly and no less than two times per day. FLOSS EVERY NIGHT!!! More frequent cleaning appointments will be advisable, also. Depending on the results of your efforts, more treatment options may be recommended.

What about gum recession?

Did you ever hear the expression “Being long in the tooth”? This refers to gum recession. Ordinarily, your gums cover a certain amount of the tooth. The part that shows when you smile is called the crown. With gum recession, your gums move up the sides of the tooth exposing some of the root. The root is normally in the bone. More of the tooth showing equals long in the tooth.

The best thing that can be done about this is to PREVENT it from happening. Proper brushing technique is the biggest thing that you can do. This involves using a SOFT brush and never ever, never ever, never ever scrubbing side-to-side on your teeth and gums. This over time WILL abrade, or wear away the gums. Think in terms of brushing the way the teeth grow. Up from the bottom and down from the top. Better still is GENTLE circles then up or down. Just do not scrub side-to-side. Ever. Also, less tooth brushing pressure for more time is good.

Ok, you have enough gum recession or tooth brush abrasion that it needs to be corrected, now what? A surgical procedure is done whereby tissue is grafted in place to cover up some or all of the exposed root surface(s). This is not particularly complicated and may be done by either a general dentist or a periodontist. A periodontist is a dentist with years of advanced training who specializes in diseases of the gums and the soft tissues associated with your teeth.

Do I need my silver fillings replaced?

Silver filling material (dental amalgam) was the most popular filling material for a tooth in the last century, up until the 1980’s. As made, they are about 40-50% mercury. Isn’t mercury hazardous? Isn’t this a problem?

In a nutshell, if your silver fillings are holding up, then leave them alone. By holding up, I mean that they are not broken, they are not separating from the tooth (what we call leaking at the margins), or they are not worn out. If they are no longer serviceable, then by all means, they need to be removed and replaced.

What about the mercury in them? Yes, mercury is toxic. Any amount is bad, so less is best. When the amalgam filling is made and placed in your tooth, the mercury is “bound up” so very little can be released into your mouth to be absorbed into your body. Very little is not nothing, however. According to studies, anything that is released into your body is in such low quantity as to be harmless.

We have good alternatives to the old silver fillings. Today we use a tooth-colored composite resin material that is chemically bonded to the tooth. It looks good and does not release hazardous chemicals into your body. We can use ceramic materials as well as gold. There are pros and cons to everything.

I do NOT advocate removing a perfectly good silver filling just because it is an old silver filling. On the other hand, I will be the first one to say to remove it if there is a need for doing so.

Is my dental work permanent?

No, the work I do is not permanent. It should last a long time, but it is not permanent. Permanent, to me, means forever. Nothing will last forever. Nothing I do is as good as your original equipment. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts are better than aftermarket parts. Mother Nature did and does it best. Dentistry keeps improving, but we aren’t perfect.

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We love your awesome smile!

Just for Laughs

Q: What was the dentist’s favorite movie?

A:Plaque to the Future!