Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, we welcome children three years and above to our family dental practice. As we have many children in our practice, we feel it makes it easier on families for everyone to go to the same family dentist. We have special procedures to help the kids, including a gentle manner, pain-free dentistry, nitrous oxide, music earphones, oral and IV sedation. However, when we have a child with special needs, Dr. Bridger makes sure that he or she is seen by a family dentist specialist.

Unsure about previous dental recommendations? Get a 2nd opinion with Dr. Bridger. All new patient 2nd opinions are complimentary (we can request previous x-rays).

Many people of all ages have had their missing teeth replaced very successfully with strong and safe root-shaped titanium tooth Implants. You most likely are a good candidate for tooth implants, which can replace one single missing tooth, a few teeth, or all the teeth in an entire jaw. Dr. Bridger will work closely with a periodontal or oral surgeon, who with no discomfort will place implants in the bone of your jaw where teeth are missing.

After a few weeks’ of healing, Dr. Bridger will take impressions to make your teeth replacements. Crowns and bridges are fixed (“permanent”) and cannot be removed by you. You just eat with and clean them like natural teeth. Overdentures, which snap on to the implants or to a bar connecting the implants must be removed by you for cleaning.

All the restorations are comfortable and natural looking and restore the stability, tightness, feeling and confidence of your natural teeth. Just think how good it would be to not have those flopping dentures another day!

Dr. Bridger can even attach your existing denture to your new tooth implants the very day they are placed by the surgeon so you can’t remove it. How fine would it be to walk into our office with a loose, ill-fitting denture that is hard to eat with and walk out a few hours later with non-removable teeth connected to your jaw, ready to eat?

If the tooth turns dark, the nerve inside is probably dying. Usually a root canal and a crown can save the tooth. If the tooth gets very loose or hurts, the nerve inside may be dying. The jaw bone around teeth in a 17 year old is strong, but pretty pliable. So the tooth is  probably not dying. It takes a few months usually before you can tell for sure. Get a dentist to x-ray it now and every 4 months for a year. Usually a dying nerve will cause a dark hole in the bone at the end of the tooth, which can be seen on x-ray.

One telltale sign that it is time to whiten your teeth is if you are embarrassed to smile because of the color of your teeth. There is no reason to suffer any more as there are two easy, efficient, SAFE ways to whiten your teeth – up to nine shades lighter. For fastest results we offer ZOOM! 1-Hour Whitening. We place whitening gel on the teeth, which is enhanced by a strong laser light. ZOOM! 1-Hour Whitening will lighten the teeth to about 85-90% of their maximum brightness, but in only one hour. For Home Whitening, we make custom trays that fit over your upper and lower teeth, which hold a whitening gel that is not enhanced by light. You must wear the trays several hours per day or nights for 8-12 consecutive days. Home Whitening will lighten the teeth to 100% of their maximum brightness, but over several days. This technique is less expensive than ZOOM! 1-Hour Whitening. Many opt for Combo Whitening, which includes ZOOM! 1-Hour Whitening followed by only 2-3 consecutive days of Home Whitening. Then you have the trays with which to touch up your whitening with the Home technique each 6 months.

  1. You are probably getting the gel on your gums because the over-the-counter trays are not nearly as close-fitting to the necks of the teeth as those made in a dental office.
  2. You may be using too much gel. Only a very small amount is needed, plus overuse is wasteful.
  3. The gel solution may be too strong. Research shows using tooth whitening gel containing over 11% carbamide peroxide doesn’t really stay white longer, but can burn the gums more. ZOOM! Whitening and other similar systems are much safer in that they are tested for less potential to burn the gums, the trays fit better, and during the in-the-office application with the bright light a special plastic “dam” is tightly placed over the gums to protect them. And lastly, a highly trained dental professional is performing the service.

We can sum up the difference in one word—commitment. Our entire staff is committed to giving you the most beautiful, longest lasting, highest quality dentistry with the most gentle, caring experience possible, exceeding your expectations. We listen to our patients and give them what they want. Through much continuing education, our office is committed to excelling in the latest procedures and technology to provide you with the very best care available today. We use master lab technicians to provide the strongest, most cosmetic restorations.

Dr. Bridger would love to meet you and offer a $29 Exam and X-ray to discuss your dental concerns or just to get to meet Dr. Bridger and the staff. To set up this appointment, give us a call today!

After we greet you and give you a tour of the office, we will review your medical and dental histories, and then answer any preliminary questions about your dental needs, your cosmetic dentistry desires, and your insurance.

Dr. Bridger will then meet you and answer any other questions that you may have. We will then take any necessary digital intraoral photographs and digital of your teeth and mouth. We will test each tooth for beginning decay with a laser-powered Diagnodent. We will measure the pocket depth of each gum to check for gum disease. If you need and want a cleaning, it will be done next. Dr. Bridger will perform a soft tissue “lump and bump” exam. Then along with the photos and x-rays, he will do a thorough examination of your bite, gums, teeth, and cosmetic dentistry issues. Dental models may be necessary.

Dr. Bridger will explain all findings and treatment recommendations. You will have an opportunity to ask questions or inquire about alternatives. Fees, insurance, and financial arrangements will be discussed by a treatment coordinator. The Initial New Patient Examination requires between 1 and 2 hours. A few well-planned appointments will be booked. And, before you know it, your work will be complete. To save time at your initial appointment, please bring your completed New Patient Form and Smile Evaluation.

At your exam and consultation, we will show you close-up intraoral digital photos of your teeth and the inside of your mouth. We will describe in detail as we show you photos, models, and x-rays of other cases like yours. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure that you might need. Many dental topics and procedures are dealt with on this FAQ’s page. For other questions just ask us at

We watch that our fees are consistent with the level of care, skill, and judgement your case requires and in are line with fees in our area. We accept most insurance plans, except DMO’s. We accept assignment from approved insurance plans. We want our patients to get their dentistry without worrying about the financial part. We accept Visa, Discover, MasterCard, debit cards, cash, and personal checks. Very popular are low to no-interest dental credit cards with smaller monthly payments over time: Care Credit, and Dental Fee Plan by Capital One, We would be happy to answer any financial or insurance questions.

Yes, we are available most Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 A.M. through 5 P.M. So that you can come during your lunch hour, we see patients from 12-1 P.M.

First, since we are committed to painless, pain-free dentistry, we do everything possible to make each visit here a truly wonderful experience. We have a gentle, caring staff that listens and then explains each step carefully. We use relaxing nitrous oxide gas, which really takes the edge off without causing you to fall asleep. Many of our patients love our music earphones. If your case is more complex or if you are more nervous, we offer oral and IV sedation for deeper levels of comfort. You can go to sleep, wake up, and have all your dentistry done.

For gentle local anesthesia Dr. Bridger will place a numbing gel on your gums first so you won’t feel a thing. In fact, Dr. Bridger is well known for his no-sting local anesthesia and uses a new anesthetic solution that is very fast and effective.

Dr. Bridger is a Fellow of the prestigious Academy of General Dentistry, having taken over 900 hours of continuing dental education. He has consistently taken many more hours than required to keep up with current trends and techniques. He also subscribes to several dental publications and participates in a cosmetic-restorative dentistry study club and an implant-restorative dentistry study club made up of restorative dentists and specialists.

We employ the most comprehensive digital sterilization program know today. In addition, all staff have completed training with an extensive monitoring program to provide a sterile and safe environment for patients. All procedures comply with guidelines established by the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control to protect you. You can be confident we will never compromise when it comes to your health and safety.

Dr. Bridger is available to answer your questions that cannot be answered by a staff member by e-mail at, by fax at 713.266.8956, or by phone at (713) 487-5907. Depending on office traffic and the complexity of your questions, he strives to respond within 24 hours.

Dr. Bridger will load digital images of your face into our computer for Digital Imaging, where he will digitally enhance your smile to show you how great you can look before any treatment is started.

Try it. You will be surprised how much you will smile. For more information contact us today!

There are actually several options to consider. The simplest is re-contouring your front teeth followed by whitening. Gaps, rotated, crooked, and misaligned teeth can be improved by simple one-appointment bonding of the problem teeth with tooth-colored resin cured by laser light.

A more natural, longer lasting look can be accomplished by covering your misshaped, spaced, or rotated teeth with porcelain veneers. They are thin facings of porcelain bonded to the teeth with laser light in a two-appointment procedure. For more extensive cases, all-porcelain crowns can be bonded to your teeth to change the color, correct the alignment and give a natural smile. It takes from one to three dental appointments for any of these restorative procedures versus two or more years for braces.

All these procedures can improve your smile and require two or three appointments. Crowns are made of gold or tooth-colored porcelain fused over metal for strength. Crowns look just like teeth and are cemented over prepared teeth. Porcelain crowns are the same, except they have no metal support below the porcelain for strength, but are more cosmetic, as they reflect light more naturally and don’t have metal to make them appear a little gray, especially at the gum line. They are for teeth that need quite a bit of correction of shape or color. They should generally not be used where the bite is heavy, as in back molars or for people who clench. Veneers are just like porcelain crowns, but just cover the front of the teeth and are for teeth that do not need as much correction.

Onlays and inlays are porcelain fillings for back teeth. A fixed bridge, which can not be removed by you, is a group of crowns made together that fit over support teeth and have one or more replacement teeth. They look just like your original natural teeth. A partial is a bridge, which can be removed by you, that replaces several missing teeth and is connected to support teeth by metal clasps.

Between one half of all adults over the age of 16 clench or grind their teeth, mostly at night, which can severely wear down or crack teeth and fillings, loosen teeth in the gums, and make the bone and gum support of the teeth shrink. Clenching and grinding is the number one cause of headaches, jaw joint soreness and popping, and painful jaws. By wearing a 1/8 inch thick custom-made strong plastic tooth appliance, a Night Guard, over the upper or lower teeth cuts these symptoms tremendously.

A root canal is a painless procedure where Dr. Bridger makes a small window in the top of your tooth, uses rotating instruments in the tooth root to remove the nerve and clean the inside of the root. The empty nerve space in the root is then filled with an inert material, a strengthening build-up filling is placed in the tooth, and then a crown is usually needed over the tooth to prevent shattering. Root canals are needed to alleviate the pain, infection, and swelling of a sick tooth. But a root canal may be needed to strengthen a weak tooth for a crown or bridge. Dr. Bridger has advanced training in root canals and performs many each week. With the newest techniques, root canals are very gentle totally without pain!

Yes, he performs extractions, ridge-preservation bone grafts, and other surgeries. He extracts most wisdom teeth, referring more difficult surgeries to specialists.

Bleeding gums are not normal and indicate that active gum infection is present. Gum disease is the most common disease in the world, yet often goes undetected because it produces very little pain. Gum disease, however, is the leading cause of tooth loss.

Gingivitis is gum disease where the infection is in and under the gums around the necks of teeth in areas where plaque and calculus have accumulated. Periodontitis is more serious gum disease where the infection has spread into the supporting tissues and bone around the teeth. Clenching, smoking, diabetes, improper diet, and poor health can advance gum disease. All gum disease is helped by proper diet, good oral hygiene, brushing, and flossing. Regular check-ups and cleanings are fundamental. Stopping smoking and wearing a night guard if you clench are important. There is a well documented connection between gum disease and heart disease.

Gingivitis is treated by having the teeth professionally cleaned more often, and often scaling and root planing is required. Periodontitis is treated by more extensive scaling and root planing, and if serious enough it requires referral to a periodontist for gum surgery.

As a minimum you should brush twice every day, once after breakfast and once before bed for a minimum of three minutes each time. Brushing after each meal and snack is even better. Concentrate on cleaning the neck of each tooth where it meets the gum. Use any soft bristle brush and replace it every three months. For good breath, be sure to brush your tongue, roof of your mouth, and your cheeks.

The use of dental floss is essential in preventing gum disease. Most oral health problems are related to dental plaque—the soft, sticky layer of bacteria and food film on the surface of your gums and teeth, particularly along the gum line. When dental plaque grows, it infects the gums and releases toxins that irritate the gums causing gingivitis and periodontitis. The toothbrush can’t reach difficult areas in the tooth, like between teeth and along the gums. Using dental floss at least once a day provides effective removal of dental plaque. Lightly waxed dental floss is effective and the easiest to use.

At the completion of dental treatment, you will be invited to be in our prevention follow-up program (Recall).

The best way to maintain your teeth for a lifetime in good health is to have your teeth and gums cleaned regularly by our hygienist. At the completion of your dental treatment, we will invite you to be in our prevention follow-up program. The interval between Recall appointments varies from person to person.

Most children and young adults should come in every six month for an examination and cleaning. Since children are more cavity prone, they usually need back teeth cavity x-rays each six months and jaw x-rays every three to four years. Most adults only need back teeth cavity x-rays once per year and jaw and front teeth x-rays every three or four years.

Middle-aged and older adults, who form more calculus, and all patients with gum problems need periodontal cleanings every three or four months and often scaling and root planing every couple of years.

Yes we do. We not only accept referrals, but we actually ask you to refer your friends, family, and those with whom you work. We love showing new patients a wonderful experience at our office. We believe a referral is the highest compliment you can give us. Remember, as a token of our thanks, we do credit your account $65 for each referral that you send to us, and they get $65 credit on their first visit. Thank you in advance and we look forward to serving you here at West Houston Dental Center.