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Downtown Dental

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): General Dentistry

How can we help you?

Patient education is important to us at Downtown Dental, and part of that is making sure we leave enough time during appointments to answer any questions you might have. Whether you want to know about taking care of your oral health or you need more information to make the best choices for treatment recommendations, we want you to be informed.

There are quite a few questions we hear over and over from patients, and we have put the most common questions here, for your convenience. Please don’t hesitate to ask us questions that are not listed here. The only sily question is the one that goes unasked!

General Dentistry

cosmetic dentistry | new orleans Keep Your Teeth Healthy! 

No!!!!! Floss picks are good for getting food out of your teeth but that is about all they are good for. The purpose of flossing is to disrupt the bacteria that coat the surface of the teeth both above and below the gum-line. In order to do this effectively, the floss needs to “hug” the tooth while sliding up and down. With traditional string floss, you can use your fingers to contour the floss to the surfaces you are trying to clean…this is much tougher if not impossible with floss picks.

dentist | gum disease | new orleans What Floss Should You Use?

No! Our staff at Downtown Dental call the floss picks "cheater floss". You can get in between your teeth with them, however, they do not adequately wrap around the teeth to remove all the sticky plaque trapped in between. Often, patients using floss sticks will still have tartar buildup, stain and plaque in between the teeth usually just below the papilla (pointed gums between the teeth). This is the area where the sticks usually miss. Floss sticks are better than NOT flossing at all...BUT traditional floss always wins over the sticks! 

Call Downtown Dental To Learn More

If you want to learn more tips, tricks, and advice from dental experts call Downtown Dental today! Our entire staff is excited to meet you and answer any remaining questions you may have. Let's get your smile journey started together!

general dentist | dentist | new orleansGeneral Dentistry in NOLA

In the world of dentistry, prevention is key. There is only one way to prevent dental problems, and that is by visiting your dentist twice each year for examinations and cleanings.

When you see us for regular checkups, we are able to detect problems while they are still small and less invasive to treat. For example, it is much easier to fill a small spot of decay on your tooth than it is to perform a root canal on a tooth that has experienced unchecked decay. Until decay has grown, it normally isn’t painful, so a dental x-ray is often the only way it can be identified.

Prevent Gum Disease by Seeing Your NOLA Dentist Regularly 

Another reason to see your dentist regularly is to protect your gum health. Gum disease, which is the most common reason for American adults to lose their teeth, often creeps up on people without their knowledge. It doesn’t always present with symptoms, particularly in its early stages when it is most treatable. Gum disease usually starts because of excess plaque buildup on the teeth; this plaque hardens into tartar (or calculus) and can only be removed with special dental tools.

Don’t risk your oral health by skipping bi-annual checkups. Call Downtown Dental today to make an appointment!

cosmetic dentistry | new orleans la A common misconception is that cavities are directly related to the amount of sugar you eat. This is partially true however the more important factor is how many times throughout the day you consume the sugar. Every time you consume sugar (cola, peppermints, etc.), the bacteria “eat” the sugar and produce an acid which causes the cavity to grow. This occurs for about 20 minutes on average until the acid is neutralized by your saliva. It doesn’t matter if you take a few sips of cola or drink an entire two-liter, after 20 minutes, the acid is neutralized by your saliva.

Avoid Sugary Drinks to Avoid Cavities!

Each time sugar is consumed, the process starts over. From a cavity standpoint, it would be better to drink a six-pack of cola in 20 minutes and be done for the day rather than sip on 1 or 2 cans over the course of a day.


Absolutely! When scheduling your appointment, just let Natalie know you’d like nitrous oxide, and we will take care of the rest when you come in.

dentist | new orleans | cosmetic dentistComfortable Dentistry in New Orleans 

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a safe way to completely alleviate your dental anxiety while in the dental chair.

Using nitrous is quick and easy: You simply breathe in the gas from a mask, and it immediately puts you in a euphoric state. You will remain conscious and aware of your surroundings, and you will be able to converse with Dr. Rathke and his team during the procedure. But your worries about the treatment you are undergoing will be minimized so you can just relax.

During your procedure, the amount of nitrous oxide you are getting will be carefully monitored. Afterward, the mask will be removed and, almost as quickly, the effects of the nitrous oxide will leave your body. This is great news for people who need to return to work or drive themselves home. It is perfectly safe to do so.

Schedule Your Next Dental Exam at Downtown Dental in NOLA

Don’t hesitate to ask us about nitrous oxide before your next appointment. Our goal is to make your time in the dental chair as comfortable as possible!

dentist | cosmetic dentistry | new orleansChoose the Right Toothbrush!

Most dental patients can clean just as well with a manual as they can with an electric. It's really a matter of how often you can clean your teeth, if any dexterity issues exist and personal preference. If you're a patient that typically brushes 2x day at least (along with other proper oral health practices), then an extra soft/soft manual toothbrush should do the trick. If any dexterity issues exist, if you feel like your teeth don't feel clean after brushing, or if your dental professional in New Orleans suggests electric for any reason...then an electric toothbrush may work better for you. Ask your dental hygienist in New Orleans what's best for you!

Call Downtown Dental To Book Your Dental Appointment

Brushing and proper flossing techniques are vital to keeping your mouth healthy and clean. Combining these at-home procedures with routine dental visits at Downtown Dental are a sure-fire plan to get your oral health back on track. Call our New Orleans dental office today to ask any remaining questions and to book your next dental appointment with us!

cosmetic dentistry | new orleans laMaintain Good Oral Health in NOLA

Cavities are caused by certain bacteria in the mouth that use sugar as an energy source. The bacteria consume the sugar and produce an acid that dissolves the tooth structure. Very tiny cavities can be arrested or stopped with proper oral hygiene, reduced sugar intake, use of fluoride and regular dental visits. The fluoride helps to rebuild the weakened enamel while proper oral hygiene and reduced sugar intake helps to keep the cavity-causing bacteria in check.

Contact Our New Orleans Dental Office Today

Learn more about preventive dentistry techniques by contacting Downtown Dental. We can provide you with comprehensive at home tips and feedback on your current flossing and brushing routine. Feel free to ask our expert dental team any remaining questions you may have and schedule your next teeth cleaning with us! 

dentist | cosmetic dentistry | new orleansGeneral Dentistry in New Orleans

We take every precaution possible to ensure you don't feel any discomfort during or after the procedure. Dr. Rathke will numb the area that will be treated so you won’t feel anything.

If you have anxiety or worries about pain, please let us know ahead of time. Sometimes just having a complete understanding of the procedure and what will happen is enough to alleviate nervousness. We are also happy to provide you with a bit of extra TLC when you come in.

Is Nitrous Oxide Safe?

Keep in mind, too, that we offer nitrous oxide for any procedure. Nitrous oxide is safe and effective. Breathed in through a mask much like oxygen, the effects of “laughing gas” are immediate, and you will feel relaxed—and almost euphoric. You will remain conscious, so you don’t have to worry about “losing control,” and you can still talk to the team and answer questions.

After we remove the nitrous oxide mask, its effects leave the body almost immediately. This means you can drive yourself back to home or work with no side effects.

Call Downtown Dental to Schedule Your Dental Appointment

Nitrous oxide works for patients of all ages and is a great way to deal with dental anxiety. Ask us about nitrous before your next dental appointment! As always, if you have any remaining questions or just want to book your next appointment contact Downtown Dental, we can't wait to see you!

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