Does your office take my dental insurance?
As a courtesy, our office will file your dental insurance. Please understand that there are 2 different types of dental insurance. If your insurance is a PPO plan – you are allowed to choose your dentist while still having benefits for your dental care. Although we are not contracted with these companies, we are able to file claims and receive some reimbursement if your insurance is a PPO plan. If you have a DMO or discounted plan, we are not part of these networks – you will not receive coverage if you are seen in our office.
How do I know what my insurance will cover toward my dental treatment?
We always encourage you to check your benefits with your insurance company. If you need dental treatment beyond routine preventative care, we can file a pre-determination of benefits. This will give you the opportunity to know what your insurance company allows toward our services.
Does your office offer payment plans?
We do not offer in-house financing. However, we do participate in the Care Credit network. This is a 3rd party company that extends credit that can only be used for dental/medical/veterinary expenses. We offer the 6-month, no interest plan along with some of the extended payment plans through this company. This allows you to finance your dental treatment if your needs are extensive. You can find out more information at www.carecredit.com.
It’s been a while since my last dental visit. Can I come into your office for a routine dental cleaning?
While we try to make things efficient and convenient for our patients, it may take a few appointments to get you back to “a routine cleaning”. If it has been a few years since your last visit, we will schedule a comprehensive exam appointment so that we can look at your overall dental health and then prioritize treatment. It may be that you have more important issues to address before a cleaning is done. Also, over time you can have tartar/calculus buildup accumulate on your teeth and under your gum tissues. You may end up needing more than a routine cleaning at this point.
I’m concerned about a white spot on my tongue. What should I do about it?
If you have an odd area, sore or growth in your mouth, it is definitely worth having us take a look at it. There can be many different causes for these – from chewing trauma to cinnamon gum to fungal infections to oral cancer. We want to make sure that we are not overlooking a serious condition. If you are concerned about an area – please give our office a call and schedule an appointment. When we look at the area – if we are concerned about something serious, we will refer you to an oral surgeon for a biopsy of the area.
What do I do if my temporary crown comes off?
It is important to give our office a call if your temporary is loose or comes off. There are temporary cements that you can purchase at a drugstore to place it in your mouth again, but it is better if we can assess the situation. If the temporary stays out for an extended period of time, it can affect the fit of the final crown.
I have a missing tooth. What is the best way to replace it?
There are many different options to replace a missing tooth. These can include an implant, a bridge or a removable partial. Every patient is different, and each situation is different – so it will take a full-mouth evaluation to determine which option is best.
What should I do if I injure or my child injures a front tooth?
Hopefully this will never happen! Call our office or our emergency number immediately. If the tooth has been knocked completely out of the mouth, and it is a permanent tooth – either try to replace it or place it in a container of milk. Then get to our office or a dental office as soon as possible. If the tooth is replaced within 30 minutes, it has a good chance of surviving. (If a baby tooth is knocked out – there is not much that can be done. It usually means an unexpected visit from the Tooth Fairy! It is wise to let us look at the area though, just to make sure there are no other associated problems.) If the tooth is knocked into a different position, again – try to reposition it into the correct alignment. Then, come in to be seen so that we can stabilize it and assess if there was further damage. If the tooth has been broken or chipped, save the broken piece and call our office. Sometimes, we can bond the broken piece back onto the tooth. Other times, we will need to place composite bonding material to replace the missing tooth structure. In all of these situations, there is potential for the tooth to need further dental treatment in the future – these potential needs will be discussed based on your individual situation.
How old should my child be at their first dental visit?
We usually recommend that your child be 2 – 2 ½ at their first dental visit. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, and can help parents learn how to clean their child’s teeth and identify his or her fluoride needs. After all, decay can occur as soon as teeth appear. Bringing your child to the dentist early often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits and acclimates your child to the dental office, thereby reducing anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future. Many times, the first visit is just an introductory visit – we introduce your child to the office, the treatment room and the tools we use to take care of their teeth. We try to keep things light and fun so that they continue to have good experiences in the future.
Can I go back to the treatment room with my child?
Yes, you can. We want you to know that your kids are in a safe environment, be able to ask questions and see the treatment we are providing. That being said, there are some children that behave better during treatment when mom or dad is not with them – we will advise you if we see that this is the case. We always want to make dental visits a good experience for your child, and sometimes that means that we examine them on your lap!
Nothing is bothering me. Why do I need routine checkups?
Many dental problems can exist without you being aware of them. Periodontal disease/gum disease is “silent” disease – meaning it can be going on for years without you knowing about it. Cavities can occur in teeth without causing sensitivity, and oral cancer can be present without a patient feeling anything odd. These are all examples of why routine checkups are important. We will do a thorough exam each appointment to make sure that your mouth is healthy.
Why do I need x-rays and how often do you take them?
X-rays provide us with an important tool that shows the condition of your teeth, tooth roots and supporting structures. X-rays can help us determine the presence or degree of periodontal (gum) disease, abscesses and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors. X-rays also can show the exact location of impacted and unerupted teeth. They can pinpoint the location of cavities and other signs of disease that may not be possible to detect through a visual examination. We schedule x-rays based on an assessment of your individual needs, including whether you’re a new patient or a follow-up patient, adult or child. In most cases, new patients require a full set of mouth X-rays to evaluate oral health status, including any underlying signs of gum disease, and for future comparison. Follow-up patients may require X-rays to monitor their gum condition or their chance of tooth decay – this is usually done yearly.
I have anxiety over dental work. Do you offer any type of sedation for dental treatment?
Unfortunately, there are many patients who don’t like coming to the dental office, and who put off treatment due to fear and recollection of bad past experiences. We are happy to work with anxious patients, help them overcome their fears and make treatment an option for them. We have laughing gas (nitrous oxide) in our office and use it routinely to calm both adults and children during their appointments. Many times, we will meet with new patients to discuss their anxiety and find ways to make them have a pleasant experience.
What is worse for your teeth – juice, soda or sports drinks?
None of these drink options are wonderful for your teeth! They all have a high sugar content, and promote an acidic environment in your mouth. This environment causes excessive tooth wear (erosion) and high rates of decay. We would suggest that juice be limited to 6-8 ounces per day (It can even be watered down!), and that soft drinks and sports drinks be used only occasionally. The best drinks for you or your child would be water, water and low-fat milk.
What are my options for whitening my teeth?
In our office, we offer many different ways that you can whiten your teeth. If you want to have whiter teeth in a day – we have the Zoom! system. It is done in our office and is completed in a little over 2 hours. A gel is painted on the teeth and activated by a special light. After 3-4 applications, most patients are satisfied with the results. If you prefer – we have take-home options as well. For this procedure, custom trays are made to fit your mouth. You wear the trays with whitening gel inside at night while you sleep or during the day for 30 min. This process takes anywhere from 10 days to 2 weeks to complete. Some teeth may take longer to whiten – depending on their starting shade. We are happy to discuss your individual needs if you are interested in whitening – please give our office a call to schedule an appointment.
Can you polish my teeth with the air-polishing system?
Yes. We have two different ways to polish your teeth during your cleaning appointments. We can use the traditional method – polishing pastes applied with a rotating cup – to remove traces of plaque and remove stain. If you prefer, we also have an air-polisher. This system squirts air, water, and sodium bicarbonate powder onto tooth enamel surfaces, removing stains, plaque, and trapped food particles. This is a great way to remove stubborn stains and to clean around braces.
I have dentures – do I still need dental checkups?
Yes – it is still important to have your mouth looked at on a regular basis. We will look at your dentures to make sure that they are fitting properly. With age, your mouth will continue to change as the bone under your denture shrinks or recedes. To maintain a proper fit over time, it may be necessary to adjust your denture or possibly remake your denture. Never attempt to adjust a denture yourself! We will also look at the soft tissues of your mouth to check for signs of infection, disease or cancer. It is recommended that you have a yearly checkup even if you have dentures.
When would you refer me to a specialist for treatment?
As a general dentist, there are many treatment procedures that we can perform. However, there are some situations when we may decide that you would receive more skilled care in a specialist’s office. These situations include removal of wisdom teeth, root canals, adult and child patients that require sedation for treatment, extensive periodontal therapy, implant placement, biopsies of suspicious areas in your mouth and braces. We are very fortunate to have many wonderful specialists in our area – many that we ourselves have been to their offices for treatment!