Patterson Family Dentistry


1202 Cleo Way · Dalton, Georgia

dalton ga dentist


Common Dental Questions

Why do I need dental xrays?
Remember in the cartoons when super-heroes used their xray vision to see what was really going on to catch the villain? Like the super-heroes, dentists rely on dental xrays to help them see underneath the gums and between the teeth where the naked eye cannot view.

This invaluable diagnostic tool allows dentists to detect problem areas early, helping the patient avoid painful tooth infections and costly dental procedures.

How xrays work: Xrays are designed to detect density. In a dental xray, thicker areas, like teeth, dental fillings and bone, appear white, or "radiopaque". Less dense areas, such as gum tissue, nerves, ligaments and blood vessels, appear darker, or more "translucent". Areas with very low density are nearly black.

how dental xrays workWhat your dental team is looking for: Dr. Patterson and our hygienists use dental xrays to look for "shadows" that appear in the wrong places, such as

    • Tiny, dark areas between teeth on tooth or root surfaces that may be an indication of tooth decay;
    • A decrease in jawbone levels surrounding teeth that may be a sign of periodontal (gum) disease that can eventually lead to tooth loss;
    • Dark circles at the tip of tooth roots or in the jawbone. These are suspicious areas that may be a sign of an abscess or cyst.

Our office uses digital xray equipment, which requires less radiation than traditional film. Digital xrays allow us to view your xrays on a computer screen, giving us the ability to zoom and enlarge the images and share our findings with you.

What do I do in case of a dental emergency?
If possible, for any dental problem, the first step is to call our office. If you call after business hours, we will provide information to reach Dr. Patterson or the dentist on call. If you are unable to reach us or are out of the area, the hospital emergency room can offer first-response assistance in dental emergency situations.

Download and print our Dental Emergency Tipspdf for your first aid kit.

what kind of toothpaste should I useWhat kind of toothpaste should I use?
As long as your toothpaste contains fluoride, the brand does not really matter. The American Dental Association® recommends that you purchase a product with the ADA® seal of approval, which ensures that it has been tested and determined to be safe and effective for use.

For children under 6 years old, parents should do the brushing with just a small, pea-sized dab of toothpaste. Children in this age group have a tendency to swallow the toothpaste and ingest the fluoride, which can put them at risk for fluorosis (tooth discoloration).

Read more about this and other dental topics at the Academy of General Dentistry web site,

FRANK W. PATTERSON, JR., DDS   ·  1202 CLEO WAY, SUITE 1   ·   DALTON, GEORGIA 30722 · PH. 706.278.2553


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