Frequently Asked Questions

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You have questions. We have answers.

Below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we get from patients concerning their dental health. If you'd rather speak with our staff, feel free to contact Noblesville Family Dentistry by calling 317-773-1302 or by clicking here. We'll be happy to assist you.

How often should I visit the dentist?

Visiting Dr. Derrick A. Johnston twice yearly for both exams and cleanings is recommended. By having an exam, you can reveal and identify early signs of decay or other issues and take care of them before they advance. By having a cleaning done, you can eliminate the hard to reach or hidden plaque and bacteria you may not be able to get yourself, that if left untreated, can also develop into greater issues.

How often should I brush and floss my teeth?

Every patient should brush twice, once in the morning and once before bed, and floss once- daily.

What is the proper way to brush my teeth?

The following guidelines are important to brushing correctly.

  • First, make sure to use a soft bristled brush. Hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth.

  • Place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gumline. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline.

  • Use short back and forth strokes or tiny circular movements to brush your teeth. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth.

  • Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth.

  • Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.

  • Finally, don't cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes.

What is the proper way to floss?

The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly:

  • Take 18" of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand .You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1-2 inches in between for cleaning.

  • Gently move the floss up and down the spaces of your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage.

  • As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it up and down against the surface of one tooth. Gently clean at the gumline as well.

  • Repeat this process for all of your teeth.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.

What is periodontal (gum) disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing, as well as tooth loss.

What are the signs of periodontal disease?

The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact Dr. Derrick A. Johnston if you experience any of these:

  • Gums that bleed while brushing

  • Red, swollen or tender gums

  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth

  • Bad breath that doesn't go away

  • Pus between your teeth and gums

  • Loose teeth

  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

How can I prevent periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing daily, alongside keeping regular appointments with Noblesville Family Dentistry is highly recommended. Having a healthy diet that includes the right balance of vitamins and minerals for your teeth is also necessary.

Why do our teeth turn yellow?

While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow color substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This combination of natural wear from age as well as eating and using certain items can lead to our teeth changing colors.

What are the different types of teeth whitening options?

Below are the three most popular teeth whitening options available today:

In-office teeth whitening

In-office teeth whitening works by producing a significant color change in your teeth in short amount of time, usually within an hour. The procedure is done in our Noblesville office by applying a high-concentration peroxide gel on the teeth after they have been protected with a special shield.

Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits

Kits are purchased from Dr. Derrick A. Johnston for home use. The strength of the gel used in these kits is lower than that used for in-office bleaching, and thus the gel can be applied for longer periods of time. Usually the trays are worn a couple hours a day or overnight for a few days or weeks depending on the product.

Over the counter whitening

Over the counter teeth whitening kits are store-bought and use a lower concentration gel than both in-office bleaching and take-home kits purchased from your doctor. While they are less expensive, they typically are less effective than methods that can be performed by your dentist because of the low concentration gel. Additionally, over the counter trays are not custom fit for your teeth, which can result in irritation to your gums while wearing the trays.

How long does teeth whitening last?

Teeth whitening usually lasts from one to three years before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only "touch ups" are required to maintain the whiteness.

What can I do about bad breath?

Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, such as periodontal (gum) disease, dry mouth, the foods you eat and more. Keeping regular appointments with Dr. Derrick A. Johnston will help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so that you can take steps to eliminate it.

Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene alongside these regular appointments with Noblesville Family Dentistry will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth which emit odors. It will also help prevent or treat periodontal disease (gum disease), caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist). Finally, make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any residue.

Why would I need dental implants?

There are a number of reasons that a patient may want to receive dental implants. Some reasons are cosmetic and some are medical, but Dr. Johnston may recommend this to patients who are missing a number of teeth to receive this treatment.

If a patient is missing several teeth, here are some cosmetic issues:

  • Feeling too embarrassed to fully smile, or to smile at all

  • Having difficulty speaking clearly

  • Having trouble eating certain foods

  • An appearance of sunken or sagging face without the support of your teeth

How long do dental implants last?

Unlike natural teeth, your dental implants are not succeptible to any sort of dental diseases like cavities or decay. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be taken care of like your natural teeth! Without proper care (like brushing and flossing), your dental implants won't last as long as they're intended to.

Every patient is different, so only your dentist can be the one to tell you how long your dental implants are going to last.

How would I know if I'm a candidate for dental implants?

Almost anyone who is missing one tooth, multiple teeth, or all of their teeth are candidates for dental implants! Every patient is different and your dentist will let you know about your teeth, your treatment plan, and how it will benefit your smile.

Call our office at (317) 773-1302 to schedule an appointment or consultation with Dr Johnston.

Helpful Links

Knowledge is power. At Noblesville Family Dentistry, we believe that informed patients are empowered patients. We've gathered up some credible sites and resources for any patients who are looking to learn more about dentistry. The information is grouped by category for your convenience.

We hope you find this information helpful. Feel free to check out the FAQ section as well or give us a call if you have additional questions.


American Dental Association

The ADA is the nation's largest dental association. Its website contains a vast library of information on a variety of oral health care topics, as well as in-depth explanations of almost all dental procedures.

Academy of General Dentistry

Academy of General Dentistry is the second largest dental association in the U.S. Its website was created for the general public, Know Your Teeth, contains a wide variety of dental information, including a comprehensive glossary of key terms.

American Dental Hygienists' Association

The ADHA represents over 120,000 dental hygienists across the country. Its website also contains valuable oral health care information including proper brushing and flossing instructions.

Consumer Guide to Dentistry

This website was designed to help patients better understand the treatments and procedures available in dentistry.



Sonicare is the #1 recommended power toothbrush brand by dental professionals.


SureSmile® is an orthodontic treatment that uses modern technology to gradually and effectively straighten your teeth through the use of transparent aligners.


Boost's state-of-the-art Whitening System is quick and effective gently delivering a naturally brilliant smile


Colgate Kids' World

Games and activities for kids to learn about the importance of oral health care.

Mouth Power

Kids can explore this online laboratory to learn how to brush their teeth, learn about how tobacco can impact a person's mouth, and understand how to make healthy food choices.

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455 Sheridan Rd Noblesville IN 46060317-773-1302

Office Hours

Mon 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Tues & Wed 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Thur 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

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