Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about certain oral health topics are repeatedly asked in our office. The following are commonly asked questions. If you have a question that is not adequately addressed here, please call or e-mail and we will do our best to answer your inquiries.
Do you accept Insurance?
Yes. We accept all "freedom of Choice" insurance policies. A freedom of choice policy lets you choose your dentist as opposed to an HMO or PPO type of policy where you are given a list of dentists who are under contract. With the latter two programs, the insurance company sets the quality of care, not the patient. We will be happy to help you determine what type of insurance you have.
Do you accept Referrals?
Yes. Many of our new patients are sent to us by satisfied patients.
How often should I receive a routine dental checkup?
The American Dental Association's protocol for a healthy adult calls for routine cleaning and checkup every 6 months. We find it best to set a patient's routine checkup based on his/her personal needs. The majority of our patients get a cleaning and checkup every 6 months. Those with a periodontal condition will often have their teeth cleaned more frequently while others that have never had decay of calculus buildup might
be on a one year recall.
Are X-rays dangerous?
We've come a long way with x-rays. Although it is always wise to keep radiation exposure to a minimum, x-rays are a wonderful tool in dentistry. Modern x-ray machines are highly filtered, low output machines. You should not be concerned about dental radiation. The benefits provided by routine x-ray screening far outweigh any perceived hazard.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic Dentistry is that field of dentistry that enhances your smile. We can change the length, width, contour, position and shade of your teeth. We can alter your gum line so that you don't have a gummy smile. We can balance your teeth so that your smile is in harmony with your facial characteristics. We can replace missing teeth and we can place restorations with tooth colored materials. All this is possible because of the modern materials utilized in dentistry today. Cosmetic Dentistry creates a beautiful smile which is an integral part of a beautiful face.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the habit of grinding your teeth while you sleep. Little is known about why we grind our teeth but we do know that it is quite common and very destructive. Bruxism can cause tooth mobility, periodontal disease, abfractions (a groove on the neck of the tooth next to the gum tissue), fractured teeth, Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) dysfunction and muscle spasm of the muscles of mastication.
Can Bruxism be treated?
Yes. As with most therapy, a thorough diagnosis is the starting point. Treatment varies greatly from patient to patient. Bruxism is often corrected by nothing more than minor adjustment to the occlusion (how the teeth fit together) and fabrication of a comfortable appliance for you to wear at night.
Should all wisdom teeth be removed?
Not necessarily. The majority of us don't have enough room in our mouth for wisdom teeth. If you have room for your wisdom teeth and you can keep them clean, great! If you don't have room for your wisdom teeth, the result can be pain, infection and, even worse, mal-positioning of the other teeth. A simple x-ray can determine if you should have your wisdom teeth removed.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a procedure to treat the diseased nerve within a tooth. In earlier years, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve you'd probably lose that tooth. Today, with root canal therapy you may save your tooth. Inside each tooth is the pulp which provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth, it runs like a thread down through the root. When the pulp is diseased or injured, the pulp tissue dies. Root canal therapy removes that infected or inflamed tissue, sterilizes the inside of the tooth then seals the canal chambers. A crown is subsequently placed to support the tooth. Most of the time a root canal is a relatively simple procedure, with little or no discomfort, involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile!
What type of anesthesia is available to me?
The type of anesthesia that is best for you is usually dependant on your mental state and the procedure that is required. For those patients that are not nervous and require relatively non-traumatic procedures, local anesthesia is usually the anesthesia of choice. If the patient has slight apprehension, we can use local anesthesia as well as nitrous oxide. For patients that are emotionally unable or unwilling to cope with the thought of being alert during a dental procedure, we have other alternatives. Popularly known as sleep dentistry, enteral conscious sedation is the answer for many. This therapy consists of giving the patient an oral medication starting one hour before treatment followed by additional oral medication at the time of treatment. The patient will be given nitrous oxide as well as local anesthesia. The reason that it is called sleep dentistry is because most people sleep through most of the procedure. There also is the option of I.V. Sedation where we have an anesthesiologist come to the office to administer the anesthesia.
What is tooth bleaching?
Bleaching is a process to whiten your teeth. As we go through life, the enamel that covers the crown of our teeth gets more and more micro-fractures. Debris gets into these micro-fractures and results in the general darkening or yellowing of our teeth. Bleaching oxidizes the debris in the micro-fractures and results in whiter, brighter teeth. Bleaching does not damage the teeth but it might make the teeth sensitive to hot and cold for a short period of time. Bleaching may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellowish hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-colored teeth may bleach less well, and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all.
What are Veneers?
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front side of teeth. They're made by a dental technician, usually in a dental lab, working from a model provided by the dentist. You should know that this is usually an irreversible process, because it's necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from your teeth to accommodate the shell.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions, concerns or feedback you may have.