Topeka Dentistry
Carrie Peterson, DDS & Ben Rutherford, DDS

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

We Are Here to Help You

There are many aspects of dentistry that Drs. Carrie Peterson and Ben Rutherford enjoy—starting with providing guidance and support. Your dental journey doesn't have to be a chore because we make it fun and easy. Preventive dentistry is a great way to be proactive about your dental health.

We invite our patients to come to us with any questions, doubts, fears, or even just curiosity. We love to share information and valuable resources.

We have provided some questions we frequently hear from patients, but if there's something that hasn't been addressed or answered fully, please don't hesitate to call us at (785) 266-9100. We are always happy to hear from you and keep you informed.

Children's Dentistry

Early appointments help your child trust the dental setting, and we work to make their time with us fun. To be honest, we’re not happy unless our dental office is a place your child looks forward to visiting!

At Topeka Dentistry, we like to see your child within six months of the first tooth. Of course, if you have concerns before that time, we’re happy to take a look. Your child’s first exams will be about counting teeth and making sure everything is coming in correctly. We’ll be checking jaw development and more.

As your child grows, we’ll add age-appropriate services to help ensure a healthy smile from the very beginning. Before you know it, counting teeth will graduate to teeth cleanings.

We will also show you the best ways to care for your child’s teeth between dental visits. We’ll provide tips, answer your questions, and address your concerns. If we’re caring for your child’s teeth during routine dental visits, we understand that you’re doing it in the interim. Your child’s oral health is a team effort between you and your child’s dentist.

For Children’s Dentistry in Topeka, Contact Us

We can’t wait to meet you and your child. Reach out today to schedule the first exam.

We care for little smiles everywhere, including Topeka, Tecumseh, and Berryton.

Dental Implants

Wearing a denture can be a challenge for many patients. Dentures move around, cause sore spots, and get looser over time. After teeth are removed, the jaw bones continue to disintegrate, which causes the dentures to become looser over time. If you are missing all your teeth and struggling to function with dentures, implants can offer a secure alternative to the removeable dentures. With this option, you can avoid adhesives and “snap” your denture in place. Typically, it takes two to six dental implants to support and help stabilize your dentures.  

With implant-supported dentures, you will be able to chew better, enjoy meals, and smile confidently.

Please let us know if you are interested in this option to help support your dentures.  

We can arrange a consultation to learn whether implant-supported dentures are right for you. When properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime. Dental implants can improve your quality of life.

Most healthy adults are eligible for dental implants. However, some health conditions can change the effectiveness of implants. When you visit our office to discuss dental implants, we will need to ask you a number of questions concerning your health. Even if you do have a health concern, we are likely to still be able to work with you. Once a patient’s health has been evaluated, we will also need to evaluate the amount of bone available for dental implant placement, as well as the amount of space available. Our doctors have the ability to do a 3D scan (CBCT Scan) in our office which allows us to take precise measurements of your bone. If you are interested in learning about dental implants and if they are right for you, please call our office at 785-266-9100. 

Missing teeth present both a cosmetic and a functional concern. Cosmetically, missing teeth carry a stigma and people with missing teeth find themselves unfairly judged in many social settings. However, the problem of missing teeth goes far beyond a cosmetic concern. When a tooth or multiple teeth are missing, additional stress is placed on the remaining teeth. This additional stress can cause the remaining teeth to fracture and damage to the bone to take place. This additional strain can lead to pain, the need for more expensive treatment, and additional tooth loss. What is more concerning is that the jawbone begins to shrink after a tooth is removed. Over time, this diminishing bone may lead to changes in your face and cause patients to look prematurely aged. Dental implants allow patients to prevent further damage to their other teeth and to overcome the cosmetic concerns that missing teeth cause. To find out if dental implants can help you prevent further damage to the teeth, call our office and schedule an appointment. We are always happy to discuss this exciting treatment option with our patients.

Dental implants can be placed either after an extraction in a toothless site, or at the time of extraction. Prior to beginning the actual process, we will perform a full exam including X-rays and a 3D scan of your jaw. This exam tells us a great deal about your bone health. If needed, you may be a candidate for grafts and other procedures to improve your bone or gum tissue. The titanium implant (which replaces the root of the natural tooth) is placed into the bone. This is done while the patient is numb and should not be uncomfortable. The dental implant will integrate with your jaw bone over months and become stable. Once you have healed sufficiently, you may receive a temporary crown over the implant. After we are confident the implant has healed, an impression is taken or a scan is done and the crown is made. Once the permanent crown is made by our highly trained dental laboratory technicians, you will return to the office to have the crown placed. The fit and appearance of your dental implant crown will be checked, and your implant complete. Our patients at Topeka Dentistry find that having a dental implant placed is a low stress procedure. 

If you are currently dealing with missing teeth, you might be considering a tooth replacement. At Topeka Dentistry, we offer different options for many dental procedures. Your Topeka dentist can help determine which option is the best for you. 

Dental Implants

Dental implants are the most popular, permanent tooth replacement we offer our Topeka patients. They mimic the behavior of your natural tooth, down to the root, stimulating healthy bone growth and gum health. Dental implants use a thin, titanium post that is secured to your jawbone. Once it has healed and fused, it serves as a foundation for long-term tooth restoration. 


Dentures are a popular and most cost-effective option to restore missing teeth. They can be used to restore a few missing teeth or all of them. Dentures can be cost-efficient, but some patients may not like the use of adhesives.

Over time, without a root in place, your jaw bone will shrink. For this reason, dentures will have to be adjusted so that it will fit perfectly. Your dentist may recommend implant-supported dentures to overcome this. 

Dental Bridge

Patients with a missing tooth (or teeth) may be interested in enhancing their smile with a dental bridge.

A dental bridge "bridges" the space between one or more missing teeth. Using dental crowns that fit over neighboring healthy teeth, an artificial tooth can be bonded to the crowns to fill the gap.

Are You Missing One or More Teeth?

Give us a call today to go over your options. Each patient has unique smile goals, needs, lifestyle, and budget. Together, we will find the perfect fit for you. We can't wait to hear from you!

Restoring missing teeth is a benefit to your oral health and general well-being for a variety of reasons. Dental implants are a modern tooth replacement procedure that can create a long-lasting look while preserving your smile. 

We use implants to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all of the teeth. Our goal is to restore your teeth and allow you to smile, eat your favorite foods, and speak clearly. 

Dental Implants Restore Your Tooth Root

Dental implants are thin titanium posts that we secure into your jawbone. Since they replace your entire tooth down to the root, patients won't have to worry about their dental implant slipping out of place or falling out. 

Additionally, being able to bite down and chew stimulates healthy bone growth and prevents your bone from receding. 

Will Dental Implants Hurt?

The procedure is typically comfortable and stress-free. Before the procedure, your Topeka dentist will apply a local anesthetic so that patients do not feel any discomfort. If you feel any stress or anxiety, we invite you to discuss sedation options with us. 

Dental implants are a popular tooth restoration procedure that improves your appearance and quality of life. 

Benefits of Dental Implants

For some patients, dental bridges and dentures are uncomfortable due to sore spots, a poor fit, or gagging. Dental bridges are held in place by teeth on neighboring sides of the space left by the missing tooth. Dental implants do not require any adjacent teeth to be prepared or adjusted to hold them in place. 

During your consultation with Dr. Carrie Peterson or Dr. Ben Rutherford, we will observe your gum health and determine if you have adequate bone structure to support the implant. Patients must commit to keeping up with their oral health and visiting us regularly to keep track of your progress after the procedure. 

Many patients love the freedom and security dental implants provide. 

When patients lose a tooth there are generally three options to replace that tooth. These options include dental implants, cemented bridges, and removable appliances known as partial dentures. Dental implants are a great option which allow patients to replace missing teeth with ones that look, feel, and perform like their own, natural teeth. Not only do dental implants most closely resemble natural teeth, they help prevent bone loss after tooth loss, and do not require the use of adjacent teeth. Implant dentistry involves the surgical placement of one or more artificial tooth roots known as dental implants. The dental implant replaces the root of the missing tooth. The implant fuses to the bone (a process known as osteointegration) over a 4-6 month period and then a crown is placed to replace the tooth. We are happy to look at your specific situation and see if dental implants are the right choice for you. Simply call our office and we will be happy to schedule an implant consultation. 


Wearing a denture can be a challenge for many patients. Dentures move around, cause sore spots, and get looser over time. After teeth are removed, the jaw bones continue to disintegrate, which causes the dentures to become looser over time. If you are missing all your teeth and struggling to function with dentures, implants can offer a secure alternative to the removeable dentures. With this option, you can avoid adhesives and “snap” your denture in place. Typically, it takes two to six dental implants to support and help stabilize your dentures.  

With implant-supported dentures, you will be able to chew better, enjoy meals, and smile confidently.

Please let us know if you are interested in this option to help support your dentures.  

We can arrange a consultation to learn whether implant-supported dentures are right for you. When properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime. Dental implants can improve your quality of life.

There are several types of implants and implant systems which can be used to secure dentures. Several of these systems provide “snap-in” denture stabilization so that your dentures stay in place while eating and speaking. However, the dentures can still be removed for cleaning and care. These tend to be more affordable than non-removable options and are ideal for many denture patients.


General Dentistry

At Topeka Dentistry, x-rays are a useful diagnostic tool that is extremely safe. Digital x-rays emit low doses of radiation and are considered reliable and safe when used correctly with safety precautions in place. 

If you're worried that digital x-rays are not safe, or if you should avoid them, let us know. Patient education is part of our philosophy, and we're more than happy to explain how they work and why you can relax.

Who Should Get an X-Ray

There is little cause for concern regarding digital x-rays, provided that safety precautions are followed. A regular dental examination with x-rays can emit the same level of radiation you would experience during two hours on a flight. 

Your Topeka dentists use x-rays as diagnostic tools to observe dental issues that are invisible to the naked eye. By using x-rays, we can observe the following:

  • Tooth decay, especially between teeth or under a filling
  • Abscesses
  • Bone loss
  • Tumors
  • Root canal infection

An x-ray allows us to diagnose many oral health problems that could go undiagnosed. At Topeka Dentistry, we can also use digital x-rays in dental procedures like dental implants, braces, dentures, and more. 

Is Your Child Safe Using X-Rays?

It's normal for parents to feel concerned about their children's safety; however, the amount of radiation is considered low and safe for a child. We use digital x-rays to observe your child's teeth and gums as they continually change so that we can keep track of their development.  

X-rays can help us make sure that your child's mouth can accommodate emerging teeth, observe the development of gum disease or tooth decay, and more.

Are you experiencing dental pain or need emergency dentistry services? If so, give us a call immediately so we can find the next available appointment with your emergency dentist in Topeka. 

At the dental office of Dr. Carrie Peterson and Dr. Ben Rutherford, we know how stressful an emergency can be. We make time to see our patients as soon as we can, whether you're a new patient or a current one. 

We work hard to see you the same day.

If you need immediate professional help, give us a call at (785) 266-9100. We can go through your dental emergency and assess if you need to come to see us right away. If you are a new patient, we may need to complete a comprehensive dental exam. 

What Is a Dental Emergency?

  • Swollen jaw
  • Bleeding gums
  • Tooth pain
  • Loose or lost dental crown
  • Loose or lost fillings
  • Cracked or chipped tooth
  • Knocked-out tooth
  • Broken dentures
  • Abscess
  • Infected tooth

Find a Family Dentist in Topeka, KS

Emergency dental situations never happen when you expect them, and most of them need immediate professional treatment. If you have knocked your tooth out, the sooner we can see you, the better our chances are of saving your tooth. Time is an essential issue. 

The last thing you want to do during an emergency is to determine which dentist you can trust. We recommend finding a local dentist you can trust and who sees you regularly. Seeing a familiar face during a stressful moment can help alleviate a lot of anxiety. 

Call Us If You Have a Dental Emergency

Call your emergency dentist in Topeka, KS at the first sign of dental pain. 

Topeka dentists Drs. Carrie Peterson and Ben Rutherford may recommend dental bonding as a quick and reliable treatment to repair chipped or cracked teeth or to enhance a smile flaw.

Dental bonding refers to a composite resin that your cosmetic dentist applies to your tooth's surface. It is shaded to match your existing teeth and to blend in with your smile seamlessly.

Generally, this popular cosmetic dental treatment can be done in just one dental visit, and often without the need for anesthetic. 

Dental Bonding Can Last Up to 10 Years

Topeka patients can greatly improve the lifespan of their tooth bonding with proper care and maintenance. 

Variables that can impact your treatment's longevity include harmful habits like biting your nails, chewing on ice, grinding your teeth, chewing pens, or eating too many hard foods or candies. 

While dental bonding can be a durable method for treating damaged or stained teeth, it is not a permanent solution and may need a touch-up.

Coffee and wine drinkers should note that dental bonding material isn't as stain-resistant as other restorations, and you may develop stains by smoking or drinking dark-colored beverages.

Keeping your cosmetic treatment maintained also involves daily brushing and flossing, along with routine visits to your dentist. 

Are You Interested in Fixing a Chipped Tooth?

Tooth bonding remains a standard non-invasive cosmetic procedure that can completely transform and enhance your smile. 

Call Topeka Dentistry today to go over your cosmetic options.

While more than half of Americans have dental insurance, many may not fully realize what dental insurance is and what it does or doesn't cover. At Topeka Dentistry, we are more than happy to help go over your type of coverage, benefits, and more. 

Don't Skip Dental Visits or Exams

Some people are put off from visiting the dentist due to fear of rising dental costs, but skipping the dentist can put your overall health at risk. When cavities continue to grow, for example, they are linked to severe health issues, like heart problems. 

Visiting your dentist is just as crucial for your general health as it is for your oral well-being. 

Dental insurance helps patients offset the cost of dental care so they can maintain good oral health. That's why your Topeka dentists focus on preventive care so we can catch dental issues early on (saving patients the cost of complex dental treatment).

We Work With Your Insurance Provider

Not all medical plans include dental work, which is why dental insurance is often separate. What your dental insurance covers can depend on the type of plan you have. 

At Topeka Dentistry, our friendly front desk staff is here to help go over your insurance benefits. We will help file claims to maximize your coverage. 

We Work With Financing Options

We also allow patients access to dental procedures if it isn't covered by their insurance. We accept Greensky and Care Credit, two financing options that give our patients the freedom to get the oral healthcare they need.

Invisalign Clear Braces

Your goal should be to wear your Invisalign aligners for at least 22 hours a day. The aligners cannot move your teeth if they are not in your mouth. Traditional metal braces, brackets, and wires cannot be removed for any reason. One advantage of Invisalign is that the aligners can be removed for meals and for better brushing and flossing. However, this benefit can become a drawback if you are not completely committed to wearing the aligners for at least 22 hours a day. Every hour you leave you aligners out, your teeth have the option to relapse and move back to their original, non-desired position. 

You chose Invisalign because it is a convenient, comfortable, more attractive way to straighten your teeth. It will give you the freedom to enjoy your favorite foods and the ability to more easily clean your teeth, but the rest of the time, your clear aligners should be in your mouth.

If you are considering Invisalign or clear aligner orthodontic therapy, call the office at 785-266-9100 today so that we can schedule a consultation with you

Everyday we see adults at our office with crooked teeth who had previous orthodontics/braces when they were teenagers. They are disappointed that their teeth have moved and are no longer straight. Teeth have a “memory”, and eventually they will want to shift back into their original position even after they have been straightened. Once orthodontic treatment is complete, it is important to wear retainers to keep them in place. Retainers can typically be worn at night while you sleep, however the key is that they have to be worn every night for the rest of your life. With consistent retainer wear every night, your orthodontic treatment can potentially last a lifetime!

Everyone deserves a healthy and beautiful smile, regardless of age. Investing in orthodontic treatment is an investment in your health at any age. Invisalign is an orthodontic option which is used to straighten mild to moderate misalignments in older teenagers and adults of any age. When teeth are straighter, not only does it lend to greater confidence and a more beautiful smile, but it also leads to healthier teeth long-term. Straighter teeth are easier to keep clean and proper cleaning of teeth decreases the risk for dental decay and periodontal disease in most patients.  

Call our office today to schedule a consultation with our team to discuss if Invisalign will meet your dental needs.

Invisalign is an alternative to traditional, metal bracket orthodontic treatment. It uses clear aligners which are worn over natural teeth to move teeth into an improved position. Because the aligners are clean, when they are worn they are virtually invisible. Patient love Invisalign because there are no limitation to their diet, they don’t have to worry about wires breaking or poking their cheeks or gums, and it is much easier to clean the teeth while in treatment with Invisalign.

If you would like to learn more about Invisalign and see if you are a good candidate for treatment, call our office today for a consultation with our team to find out if this is the right treatment of your needs.

Invisalign is a teeth straightening process that utilizes a series of clear, plastic aligners that slowly and gently align your teeth. This process does not use brackets or wires and is entirely removable.

How Does the Process Work?

Your Topeka dentist will customize your unique smile treatment plan that maps out the gradual movements of your teeth. Your custom-fabricated clear aligners are crafted to gradually move your teeth without painful force. Patients wear each set of the series for an allotted amount of time before moving on to the next set. 

Your Topeka Dentistry doctor will monitor your progress and make sure your aligners are a good fit.

Benefits of Invisalign

The number one benefit for many patients is their discreet appearance. The clear plastic aligners blend seamlessly with your smile, and most people won't even know you're wearing an orthodontic treatment. 

Many patients also appreciate being able to remove their aligners, so they can enjoy their favorite foods and drinks and also brush and floss their teeth before reinserting the aligners. Invisalign aligners allow for better oral hygiene, nutrition, appearance, and quality of life. 

Are You Interested in Straightening Your Teeth?

Crooked or overcrowded teeth can be challenging to keep clean, and some patients may not be excited by their appearance. Using Invisalign to straighten your teeth is a simple, comfortable, and reliable process that does not require brackets or wires. 

You may love how easy it is to keep your teeth clean, as well as track your progress week by week. If you've been waiting to make a change in your life, now is the time! Your Invisalign dentists in Topeka are available at any time to schedule an evaluation. 

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is essential if your tooth’s pulp (nerve center) is infected, inflamed, decayed, or exposed. If left untreated, bacteria can spread from the tooth’s nerves into the bloodstream and cause severe, potentially life-threatening illnesses (though this is rare). Root canal treatment in Topeka, KS can save your natural tooth and help you regain your tooth's natural function and appearance.

Signs You Need a Root Canal

There are several signs pointing to the possibility of pulp damage. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may need a root canal in Topeka, KS:

  • Severe tooth sensitivity 
  • Sharp tooth pain
  • Inability to chew or apply pressure on the tooth
  • Burning, throbbing oral pain 
  • Tender, swollen gums 
  • Blisters or pimples on gums 
  • Darkening or discoloration of the tooth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages 

Modern Root Canal Therapy in Topeka, KS

Root canal therapy allows your dentist to gently and thoroughly remove, clean, and seal the tooth to protect it from further damage. At the start of your treatment, your dentist will administer a soothing anesthetic so you don’t feel any discomfort or pain during the procedure. Your dentist will then carefully clear away the infected pulp and meticulously clean the tooth’s interior. 

Once the tooth is free of debris and decay, your dentist will fill the tooth with a temporary filling. After healing, we provide a durable, composite material (tooth-colored filling) to retain the tooth’s structure or a dental crown, depending on the stability of the tooth. The latter happens during a follow-up visit. 

We recommend you schedule regular check-ups even after your procedure to ensure your teeth and gums stay in tip-top shape. 

Need a Root Canal? Call Us Today! 

Root canal therapy is a last resort for saving your natural tooth. If you have severe tooth pain, don’t wait to get treatment! The longer you wait, the worse the infection can become. Our team at Topeka Dentistry wants to help you save your smile and restore your oral health.

To schedule an appointment, please call us at (785) 266-9100.

Teeth Whitening

Nobody wants to be known for yellow teeth. Recent studies have suggested that store-bought brands of teeth whitening strips and products can do just that to your smile.

It's easy to see why patients wonder if teeth whitening is a safe and effective method to brighten their smile. 

At Topeka Dentistry, Dr. Carrie B Peterson and Dr. Benjamin Rutherford are always available to go over cosmetic dental treatments and help you enhance your smile.

The Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening

Beautifying your smile is a lucrative industry. It's easy to see when walking through your supermarket: rows of whitening strips or bleach trays that focus on bleaching your teeth with hydrogen peroxide. 

While these products are readily available over-the-counter, are they actually effective at removing stains and brightening your teeth?

Hydrogen peroxide can certainly damage your enamel and gum tissue, especially if improperly applied. The only foolproof method is through dental professionals. 

Store brands have a lower percentage of bleach than you would find with your cosmetic dentist. This is for safer application and to minimize damage. This could mean that more applications are necessary to see any change.

Through professional use, bleaching trays can be safe and reliable, while some store brands may not have the effect you want.

Dental Checkups for a Uniform Application

At Topeka Dentistry, we always recommend dental cleanings before a cosmetic dental treatment. This allows us to remove any plaque or tartar that could get in the way of a polished look. We look for signs of gum disease or tooth decay during your dental exam that needs to be addressed before any cosmetic treatment.

Our Topeka dentists work hard to keep your smile naturally strong and vibrant.

If you’re looking to lift stubborn tooth stains or lighten yellowed teeth, professional teeth whitening is your best option.

Yes, there are gels and kits in your local drugstore, but these are not professional or prescription-strength. You may be disappointed with the lackluster result and uneven outcome. In some cases, you may even experience ongoing tooth sensitivity or worse.

When you whiten your smile with a dental professional, you can count on predictable results and a system that has been deemed safe for your teeth and gums. Before whitening, in fact, your Topeka, KS dentist carefully examines your mouth to make sure our teeth whitening systems are safe for you—and that they will give you the results you’ve been looking for.

Do you have a job interview in the near future? Is there a special event on the horizon? Are you simply tired of dull, stained teeth? There is no “wrong time” to brighten your smile! And patients are often surprised by the before and after—seeing just how discolored their teeth really were before treatment.

Contact Our Dental Office for Professional Teeth Whitening in Topeka, KS

Do you deserve a bright smile? We think so! Reach out today to get started.

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