Checkups to Nitrous Oxide – FAQ for Your Dentist in Saint John

Everyone has questions for the dentist, and Dr. R.P. Quinlan is happy to answer some of those our patients have most frequently. Read through the topics of interest. Call our dental office in Saint Johnif you would like more information and to schedule an appointment.

Why should I have a cleaning and check-up on a regular basis?

Only going to the dentist when you have a broken tooth or have a toothache will lead to disaster. The problems will have advanced so much that you may face a major expense, or lose your tooth. Many teeth do not cause pain until they are in very serious condition. Gum disease is also very deceptive since it progresses slowly without much pain until great damage has been done.


Regularly scheduled checkups and cleanings have many benefits. Your teeth and gums are monitored and kept in great condition, problems are fixed when they are small, and you are educated on your particular problems. Major expense and loss of teeth can be prevented. Our dental staff will remind you of the importance of your dental health and keep you “on the wagon.” It is best for anxious patients to attend regularly since frequent minor visits decrease dental anxiety.


Having your teeth cleaned combats gum disease which is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. The hygienist will point out any critical areas and motivate you to “do your homework.” A patient with good oral health should have a cleaning every 6 months but a person with active gum disease may need intervention three or four times per year as well as being very religious about daily dental home care.

Can I change or cancel my appointment?

A short notice cancellation of a scheduled appointment really “upsets the apple cart” in a dental office. A lot of work and consideration is necessary to finalize the daily schedule and reconfiguration is a stressful issue. Another patient may have liked to have your appointment time but cannot attend on short notice. A patient who “no shows” – simply does not come at all or give any notice – shows lack of consideration for everyone involved. Please give 2 working days’ notice to cancel or change your appointment, which gives the staff ample time to adjust the daily schedule.

Do you have a payment plan system?

Our accounts manager has long ago insisted that a payment plan scheme is a poor idea for our practice. Many very trustworthy patients can and do encounter unexpected financial difficulties and then miss payments or can no longer pay at all. Therefore, financing arrangements should be made through your financial institution. We do sometimes offer a discount on large projects for payment at the time of treatment.

What is covered by my dental insurance?

The dentist and staff recommend the proper and best treatments for your dental health. Your insurance plan is a negotiated contract to cover some dental services at a stated percent of the cost, and up to a certain dollar limit per year. The contract may also be based on the latest (preferred) fee guide or an old fee guide which means percentage payments on outdated prices.


Best Advice: Investigate your coverage, ask us for estimates and be aware of your yearly limit. Our reception staff is knowledgeable in general on dental insurance and can give you a fair idea but without guarantee. The patient is responsible for any part of the fee for dental services that the insurance doesn’t pay.


The insurance companies are making things difficult lately by refusing to share patient coverage information with the dentist because of “patient privacy.” Many will only discuss details with the patient who may have a difficult time interpreting the information.

At what age should a child first visit a dentist?

The suggested age is 4 years so that the child is mature and independent enough to have a good first visit experience. However, home supervision is very important before this. Parents should help the child clean their teeth from the appearance of the first tooth onward and control the sugar intake. Use a flashlight once a month to look at the teeth for any darkening areas or broken surfaces. If anything looks suspicious, it’s time for a check-up.

Why fill baby teeth?

Baby teeth are important for the ability to eat a balanced diet and to hold the spaces required for the permanent teeth to erupt in good alignment. The baby teeth do start to “fall out” at about age 6, but they are lost in a long sequence, and all of the teeth are not lost until age 12 or even later. Neglect of baby teeth can lead to large cavities and toothaches, and this can promote dental anxiety. Many adults avoid going to the dentist because of an unpleasant childhood experience.

What is nitrous oxide or laughing gas?

N2O sedation is used for anxious patients, to make them more care free about dental treatments. It is good for someone with moderate anxiety. It makes you feel a bit intoxicated but you will not go to sleep or be laughing uncontrollably-it’s a nice feeling and ideal for dentistry. It is breathed through a nosepiece during the appointment and when it is removed, the effect is completely gone, although we advise you to have someone else drive you home.

Nitrous oxide is also very good for those with an extreme gag reflex.

What is “bonding”?

The real term would be “cosmetic bonding,” which means improvement of the appearance of one or many teeth by shaping and addition of white filling material (composite) or porcelain.


With these techniques, teeth can be straightened, whitened, lengthened, or shortened, gaps closed, and ideal shapes made IMMEDIATELY!


This is not routine dental treatment…it is a rapid and beautiful change in a person’s appearance and the way they feel about their smile. People who have a smile improvement often did not know it could be done, and always say they wish they had done it sooner.


I have been doing smile makeovers for over 25 years and feel very confident that I could improve your smile.

1 Market Square, Suite 2, Saint John, NB E2L 4Z6 • 506-634-2099

Hospital Visits Available in Saint John & Surrounding Areas, Including Sussex

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