Thomas Family Dentistry

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Other

How can we help you?

If you are considering our Hermitage dental office for your family's dental care, we want you to feel confident and informed.

Choosing a dentist is a big decision, and having questions is completely natural.

Here are some of the most common questions we hear from patients. Please feel free to read them below. If you do not see yours listed, just give us a call or email us from our Contact Us Page.


Kid's dentistry | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family DentistryBaby Teeth Play a Major Role in Adult Health

As a parent, it is not uncommon to assume that caries (cavities) on baby teeth are of no concern. Though understandable, this is something that is frequently misunderstood. Your child's baby teeth play a major role in the health and functionality of their adult dentition. 

There are a few reasons why we treat child caries. First and foremost, baby teeth are much smaller in size compared to an adult tooth, and the caries process can travel very quickly through the enamel into the inner structures of the tooth. If the decay reaches the most inner portion of a tooth, there is a risk of infection, which then conducts the need for a root canal and/or more extensive treatment. 

dentist for kids | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family DentistryTreating Cavities Encourages Good Oral Health

We strongly encourage keeping baby teeth until their natural shedding time because these baby teeth hold the space needed for the adult teeth to erupt properly. Thus, having your child's cavity treated ensures its longevity until it is ready to shed. 

Sometimes, if the cavity is in its beginning stages, we can monitor them at each visit until they warrant treatment. If you think your child has a cavity, or he/she complains of a tooth hurting, schedule an appointment with us today to see what your child needs.



Children with extensive treatment needs or kids that are unable to cooperate due to a variety of reasons are usually referred to the Pedodontist. The Peds dentist specializes in dentistry for children and has “more tools in the box”  that are often necessary to properly treat some children.

Extensive treatment needs include:

  • Multiple caries (cavities) on multiple teeth
    • ​Pediatric dentists can treat numerous teeth in one visit to prevent traumatic experiences for your child
  • ​Teeth with very large cavities extending into the inner structures of the tooth
    • ​Peds dentists have specific "tools" and materials for children's teeth in these cases

​​Some children also have a hard time sitting still or are not yet comfortable enough with the dental environment, where they would have a smoother experience with a Pedodontist to meet their treatment needs.

If we feel that your child would benefit from seeing the Pedodontist, we will give you a list of referrals in the area and surrounding areas to see. However, if we feel that your child can readily undergo procedures in our office without added stress, we are more than happy to address their oral needs in-house!

children's dentistry | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry kids cavities | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry childrens dentistry | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry

Image of a tooth with a first aid kit | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family DentistryAre you experiencing facial trauma, severe pain or swelling?

Facial trauma can cause damage to your tooth and/or the root of the tooth, ultimately affecting its lifespan. If you've been hit or experienced any facial trauma and have noticed a change/pain with a tooth, this warrants a dental emergency.

Severe pain or swelling can occur from various dental concerns as well. Dental infections, extensive decay or broken teeth are a few different situations that can cause these symptoms.

Dental Emergency response | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family DentistryContact us in an emergency

Call your dentist if you have lost fillings, toothaches, an unusual/bad taste in your mouth, or sensitivity. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.  We will see you as soon as possible!


Dental Anesthesia | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry Most dental local anesthetics will wear off within a couple of hours. Generally, anesthesia will last one hour on the top and up to four hours on the bottom. If you must eat before your anesthesia wears off, choose something soft, avoid hot beverages and try to chew on the opposite side you had work done on!

Is my bite off? What should I do?

After a new filling or dental crown has been done, you are usually still numb from the local anesthetic when leaving the office. This can make it difficult to tell whether your bite feels normal when the dentist asks to make adjustments! Sometimes, patients notice that once the numbing wears off, their bite feels different after the filling or crown has been placed. This can be a relatively common occurrence. If this is something that you are experiencing, here's what to do:

  1. Give yourself a day or two to settle in- sometimes you are just not yet accustomed to the new material
  2. If it persists, give us a call and ask to be scheduled for an adjustment- this is an easy and quick fix!
  3. At your appointment, we will check your bite again and adjust any areas on the filling/crown that is hitting high
  4. Some fillings/crowns are perfect from the get-go, some take a small and quick adjustment, and some may take a few! 

*Never ignore if you feel like your bite may be off- this can cause the ligaments around the roots to become inflamed, causing soreness and pain if left too long*

Ways to tell if your bite may be off:

  • One side of your teeth feels higher than the other
  • You touch down on one tooth before the others
  • It is tender to chew on that tooth/side of the mouth
  • Something just feels different than it did before
  • It mainly bothers you when chewing/eating

If your new fillings or crowns feel sensitive following completion, this can be normal up to 6+ months. Many times, this is just caused by the manipulation of the drill and work done to the tooth. Start out trying a sensitivity toothpaste. Sensodyne is a well-trusted brand that our patients love! If the sensitivity becomes worse or more frequent after two weeks, you can always give us a call to get it looked at!

new filling & crown | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry


Dental Insurance | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family DentistryPayment for treatment is due at the time of service. We use two third-party agencies that offer no interest credit to help with larger treatment plans.  If you'd like to know more about our financial options, please contact our office or refer to our Financial Page.




my first visit to the dentist | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family DentistryYour first visit usually consists of a full series of x-rays, assessing gum/bone health, a dental exam including treatment planning and a cleaning as needed. Treatment will then be scheduled accordingly. For more thorough information, see FAQ "What will my first visit be like?" 


New Fillings Can Take Time to Settle

If you are feeling sensitivity with a tooth after having a filling placed, do not be alarmed. Newly placed fillings can be sensitive up to two weeks and sometimes longer. To help with this sensitivity, avoid extreme food or drink temperatures and brush your teeth with warm water. Using an over the counter sensitivity toothpaste can aid the sensitivity as well when used day and night; give this type of toothpaste up to two weeks to see results.


If you notice that your teeth do not seem to fit together or the filling feels high, a quick adjustment is all you may need! Sometimes it is hard to tell if the finished product feels right when your numbing has not completely worn off yet. If you notice this in time after your appointment, call us to set up a simple adjustment.

If your filling does not feel high, but you notice the sensitivity is only getting worse, please return to the office at your earliest convenience and have the filling further evaluated.

If you're currently experiencing dental pain and have a waiting period until your next appointment, try this over the counter combination for relief- this cocktail has taken the place of opiods with great success and we're confident it will for you, too!

Alternate Every 3 Hours:

500-1,000mg Acetaminophen (extra strength Tylenol)

400mg Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin)      

***Do not exceed limit of 6 Acetaminophen in 24 hours (3,000mg max)***


Researchers say this combination cocktail works better than prescribed opioids and are less likely to cause side effects. At Thomas Family Dentistry, we believe prescribed pain killers should be a last resort, and now with this OTC combination, we can reduce the frequency of opioid prescriptions without leaving our patients in pain!

Give this OTC cocktail combo a try, and we are confident that it will relieve your dental pain. 

Daily Max limit for ibuprofen- 3,200 mg per day

Daily max limit for acetaminophen- 3,000 mg per day


silver vs white fillings | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry



A question we get all the time- what is the difference between silver (amalgam) fillings and white (composite resin) fillings?

Amalgam restorations are a mixture of a powdered alloy (tin-silver and copper) and liquid mercury. 

  • Pros- cheap and effective way to restore a decayed tooth
  • Cons- less conservative to tooth structure, unideal for esthetics, current research on health effects to the rest of the body

Amalgam fillings are retained in the tooth by mechanical bonding. The dentist must cut small "boxes" into the tooth where the amalgam will plug into to be retained.

Composite restorations are a mixture of a tooth-colored resin and glass fixture.

  • Pros- More conservative to tooth structure, blend in with the teeth
  • Cons- Some insurances do not cover and may be slightly more in cost than amalgam fillings

Composite fillings are chemically bonded directly to the tooth. The dentist does not have to drill out the small "boxes" in the tooth as they do for amalgams. Ultimately, the composite fillings are more conservative with your tooth structure which is our goal in dentistry!

cavity fillings | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry




Tips and Tricks for a Successful First Visit for Your Child

  • Try to schedule your child early in the morning- at this time, your child is rested and can focus best. This makes sitting through a dental appointment easy and painless!
  • Afternoon appointments are typically more difficult as your child is already burnt out from the first half of the day and will not like to sit in the dental chair
  • Though it can be tough, your child does best in the chair when they are not accompanied by mom or dad!
    • Most kids tend to misbehave or act up if they are brought back with their parents
    • Cooperation is typically at its best when the child can focus on the doctor 
  • Avoid using certain terms that may scare your child from coming to the dentist. Here are some positive alternatives:
    • Shots- sleepy medicine
    • Drill- water wand
  • Reward positive behavior with positive actions, let them know about our prize box!
  • Always speak in a positive manner about coming to the dentist- if you love it, they will want to love it too!

Bring your child to the dentist | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry

 child at dentist | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry

Veneers are indicated for several different reasons:

  • Teeth that have diastemas (gaps) in between them
  • Teeth that are broken
  • Chipped teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Decayed teeth 
  • Discolored teeth
  • Teeth that are worn down

 Veneers are custom-made and designed to cover the front of teeth. They are commonly used to fix esthetic problems.

Veneers | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry Veneers | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry

If you are looking for a new dentist, you probably wonder if we will offer what you need. We take pride in providing our patients with a wide range of services so that the families in our community can receive consistent, quality care in our office.

The services we provide at our Hermitage, PA dental office:

If your service is not listed here, give us a call!

You probably notice that we offer numerous services you might not find in other general dentistry practices. We want to make getting the care you need comfortable and convenient. That being said, it is important to remember that we always wish the best for you and if you need a referral, we will give you the information about one of our trusted specialists.

We believe in providing excellent value for our patients by maintaining consistently high-quality dental care that gives you a great outcome.

Give us a call and learn more about how we can help you achieve the healthy, beautiful smile of your dreams. Our entire team is dedicated to making your dental experience a positive one!

Your first visit to the dentist | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family DentistryYou will notice the difference from your very first visit to our office!

Welcome to the Office

When you first walk into our office, you will be greeted by Shanequa, Sam or Megan at the front desk where you can check in and sign any outstanding forms needing to be completed.

Meet the Team and Get X-Rays

From then, you will be taken back with your registered dental hygienist, Leia, Jen or Shelby, where you will discuss any questions or concerns that you would initially like addressed. 

Next, you will have radiographs (x-rays) taken which will allow us to get a full, comprehensive image of each tooth in your dentition. Not only do these radiographs give us great baseline information that we can reference for changes in time, but they allow us to see any issues in their early stages that are not visible to the naked eye.

Building Your Dental Chart

From then, we will examine your teeth clinically and create your very own dental chart with any existing work you may have done or additional work needing to be done. 

We will create a periodontal probing chart for you by taking small measurements at the gum line of each tooth to evaluate attachment levels. Periodontal attachment levels are vital to your overall oral health. At our office, we want to ensure that your teeth's surrounding structures are sound before investing any time and money into restorative work. Our periodontal (gum) exam allows us to determine the type of dental cleaning you will need. We know that most people want a dental cleaning, and we don’t blame you! Beating that clean, fresh feeling is hard! Don’t worry if you have some catching up to do! Our hygiene team is thorough, yet gentle, and they work toward helping our patients enjoy a comfortable, healthy smile.

A Comprehensive Exam By Our Doctors

Dr. Thomas or Dr. Peters will perform a comprehensive dental exam and identify any dental conditions that require your attention. We will discuss this with you and never leave you in the dark. At Thomas Family Dentistry, our main goal is to ensure that you, yourself, are involved in treatment needs, decisions and priorities in conjunction with our dental recommendations. 

You will have time to ask questions at your exam. We believe in open communication so you can achieve your health and cosmetic goals for your smile. If there is something you would like to learn more about, we are here to answer your questions!

Many patients suffer from Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder. This can be defined as inflammation of the TMJ. 

Common symptoms of TMJ Disorder:

  • Waking up with headaches
  • Waking up with an achey jaw
  • Tooth wear
  • Jaw tightness
  • Swelling in the jaw

These symptoms are most commonly caused from clenching or grinding of the teeth, which many patients do subconsciously at night time or some throughout the day!

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, ask about an occlusal guard (night guard). This is an appliance that looks very similar to a retainer that you wear over night to give the TMJ relief. The guard separates the top teeth from the bottom so that the appliance takes the stress of clenching/grinding rather than the joint, reducing the inflammation.

Making a night guard is quick and simple. Come in for quick impressions, and we will make the night guard right here in our own office! At Thomas Family Dentistry, we can make your very own custom made occlusal night guard for $150.


oral cancer screening | hermitage pa dentist Preventative Care Could Save Your Life

Over 28,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed annually according to the American Cancer Society. 

Many people assume that your dental visits are solely for your teeth and gums, but dental professionals are explicitly trained from the head and neck, up! The most common location for oral cancer to appear is the lateral border of the tongue. With that being said who, better than your dentist, to check for oral cancer? Not to mention, this is a location that is commonly overlooked in other medical settings. For these reasons, we make it a point to perform an oral cancer screening at each checkup. 

Contact Us

An oral cancer screening only requires a few moments to complete. We will palpate your glands and lymph nodes, check all oral tissues for any lesions, check both sides of the tongue and the floor of the mouth. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and oral cancer screening. 

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