Family Dentistry in Chattanooga TN

Serving the Chattanooga, TN community

We want families in Chattanooga and surrounding areas to know that Bridge Dental Care is a place they can go for all their oral health needs. Having a dental home to turn to, whether it’s for preventive care or to have fillings placed, can be a real comfort to busy families; there’s a never a question as to when or where to get help because we are always here for you!

Another benefit of choosing a family practice is that you have a team of trusted professionals who will be a part of your family’s dental care for many years to come. Our team is always delighted to welcome new patients to our friendly dental family, so please call us to arrange your next dental exam and cleaning!


What services are part of family dentistry?

a family smiles on a playground | chattanooga family dentistFamily dentistry encompasses preventive, restorative, and aesthetic treatments including, but not limited to:

  • Preventive exams and cleanings
  • Digital x-rays
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Tooth-colored fillings
  • Crowns and bridges
  • Dentures and partials
  • Periodontal (gum) care
  • Root canals
  • Tooth extractions

As you can see, Dr. Modi can handle a wide range of oral health needs right here in our Chattanooga practice. However, he works with some of the top specialists in the area, so if he does need to refer you for treatment, you can be confident that you will be in the best of hands.

How often do I need to see the dentist?

The American Dental Association generally recommends that patients see their family dentist every six months for preventive exams and professional dental cleanings. Twice a year is a good rule of thumb, but only you and your dentist can decide the optimal frequency of your dental visits.

For example, the six-month rule works for patients who aren’t prone to cavities or gum disease. However, patients who have a history of oral health problems or have ongoing gum disease, and in these cases, visits three or four times a year are not uncommon.

The truth is that by seeing your Chatanooga, TN family dentist at the recommended intervals will ultimately result in fewer visits for problems that might go untreated.

What happens during a dental exam?

Preventive dental exams, in combination with professional cleanings, form the foundation for a problem-free smile. You should schedule these appointments every six months, or at the frequency Dr. Modi recommends.

During your exam, he performs a visual exam to check the condition of each of your teeth for signs of decay and gum disease. If he identifies a problem area, he shows it to you using a handheld intraoral camera that illuminates the inside of your mouth and gives both of you a clear view of what’s happening and why you need treatment. Your safety and well-being are of the utmost importance to us, so every exam includes an oral cancer screening.

a dentist works on a patient | chattanooga family dentistIf he finds issues that he needs to address, Dr. Modi works with you to develop a treatment plan as necessary to restore your oral health.

Does an oral cancer screening hurt?

No, an oral cancer screening does not hurt. Dr. Modi uses his fingers to gently probe (palpate) your face and neck to check for any lumps or abnormalities. He looks inside your mouth for red or white patches, sores that won’t go away, pain or tenderness in your mouth and lips, and signs of trouble swallowing. If he finds something suspicious, he will refer you to your primary care doctor or an oral surgeon for further evaluation.

Oral cancer is deadly, and approximately 40,000 new cases are reported each year, with only half of those affected living beyond five years. But in its earliest stages, oral cancer is treatable, which is why these routine screenings are vital to your overall health and well-being. 

Why do I need dental x-rays?

At Bridge Dental Care, your safety is our highest priority, so we only recommend x-rays as needed to monitor your oral health and identify and treat problems as they occur. Some ways that x-rays help us keep your smile healthy are:

  • Show us areas of decay that we can't see during a visual exam, such as between teeth.
  • See decay that’s developing inside a tooth or underneath an existing filling
  • Help us identify bone loss that indicates the presence of gum disease
  • Reveal a dental abscess at the tip of a tooth root or between gums and teeth

As you can see, dental x-rays are a valuable diagnostic tool that allows us to find conditions in their earliest stages when they are easy to treat. But we understand our patients' concerns about their exposure to radiation, so at our Chattanooga dental office, we only use state-of-the-art digital x-rays that reduce your exposure by as much as 70 percent compared to older film-based x-rays.

I brush and floss well at home. Do I still need professional dental cleanings?

Regardless of how committed you are to keeping your teeth clean and healthy, there are places between teeth and around your gums that your brush and floss cannot reach. These are the spots that are most prone to decay and gum disease which can build up quickly without routine hygiene appointments at our Chattanooga dental office.

During these appointments, our hygienist thoroughly cleans away all the plaque and tartar that has built up on and between your teeth since your last cleaning. She will check for signs of gum disease and provide recommendations for improving your oral hygiene routine as necessary. If treatment is indicated, she will explain why and develop a plan for getting your oral health back on track.

How can you tell if I have gum disease?

Checking for signs of gum disease is a crucial element of your preventive exams and cleanings. Nearly half of all US adults over the age of 30 have some degree of gum disease that can take its toll on your oral health long before you even know it exists.

Healthy gums fit snugly around your teeth, so we check for gum disease by measuring the distance between the tooth and where it attaches to the gums. These are called periodontal pockets, and a depth of 1 to 3 millimeters is considered healthy. A depth greater than 3 millimeters, however, indicates the presence of gum disease that requires treatment, which usually involves a thorough dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene going forward.

What are some symptoms of gum disease I can look for?

a diagram of unhealthy gums | family dentist chattanooga tnWhen you pair your at-home oral hygiene efforts with preventive dental exams and cleanings, there’s a good chance you’ll never have to worry about gum disease. But it’s good to know what to look for when you’re performing your daily routine so that you can alert us as soon as possible and we can get you in for an exam.

Symptoms of gum disease can include:

  • Bleeding gums when you brush and floss
  • Red, puffy, inflamed, or tender gums
  • Teeth that feel loose when you touch them
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Chronic bad breath that won’t go away with mouthwash
  • A change in the way your teeth feel when you bite down

You should also be aware that gum disease can damage your oral health and not show any symptoms at all. This is why twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings with your Chatanooga dentist are so crucial for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

When should I bring my child for their first visit?

Our recommendation at Bridge Dental Care is to bring your child to the dentist within six months of the appearance of their first baby tooth, but no later than age one. Many parents are surprised that they need to start this early; the reason is that we like to start monitoring their oral health because a lot is taking place with their dental development at this age.

Equally important—and maybe more so—is the fact that children need to be introduced gradually to dentistry and at their own pace. It’s a lot for a little one to take in, and the new environment, unfamiliar faces, and strange-looking equipment can easily overwhelm a child if we try to treat them before they feel safe and secure with us. 

How do you help my child adjust to seeing the dentist?

Our goal is to help build your child’s confidence in the process and let them see that the dental office is not a scary place. If you wait to bring them in until they’re having a problem, your child will likely associate the dentist with pain. Unfortunately, it can take a lifetime to overcome this kind of experience, and some people never overcome dental fear that started in childhood with an unhappy visit.

We keep the first visit low-key; we let them handle some of the instruments, look in the little mirror, and take a ride in the dental chair. We will count their teeth and take a look in their mouth if they let us. If not, we’ll give them a toothbrush to hold. During subsequent visits, we’ll build on their confidence until the time comes when they’re happy to let us perform a quick exam and cleaning.

If you have questions about your child's oral health and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Modi, please call our Chatanooga dental office to get started!