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Dental F.A.Q.

 

Do you accept insurance?
We do accept insurance and are glad to help our patients as we file their claims. We do not, however, accept the assignment of benefits. This means that you pay us at the time services are rendered (unless other arrangements have been made); then we file your claim, and then the insurance check comes directly to you. Our staff works hard to help you maximize your benefits.

What are veneers?
There are actually two types of veneers…..direct (composite) veneers and indirect (porcelain) veneers. A veneer is a very thin (less than 1 mm) layer of material that covers the outer front surface and the edge of a front tooth. A veneer is conservative because only a minimal amount of tooth structure is prepared. A veneer is an awesome cosmetic procedure that can be utilized to either whiten teeth, change the shape or contour, repair chipped edges, and/or make mildly crooked teeth appear straight.

A composite veneer can be done in 1 visit, costs about 40% of a porcelain veneer, but has to be redone about every 10-12 years. A porcelain veneer takes 2 visits to complete, is a little more of an investment initially, but last 2 to 3 times longer than a composite veneer. In either case, veneers can help most anyone achieve the awesome smile they’ve always desired.

Learn more about veneers by seeing our LUMINEERS ® page.

Can my teeth be bleached?
Bleaching is the most conservative, simplest, and least costly way to whiten teeth. Many folks are candidates, but some are not. The research indicates that the average case gets 1.7 shades whiter on our shade guide. In simple terms, some folks teeth bleach more effectively than others. For instance, patients with yellow, yellow-brown tints tend to have a more dramatic end result from bleaching. For patients with a grayish tint, the teeth will whiten, but often the end result is more subtle.

Bleaching will not change the color of tooth-colored fillings or porcelain. Patients with several tooth colored fillings often have their fillings replaced to match their whitened teeth. Sometimes, alternative procedures (veneers) are preferred when patients have multiple fillings in their front teeth.

Ask about the ZOOM! Teeth Whitening System

Are any of the over-the-counter whitening products effective?
To my knowledge, only one is research proven at this time. Crest white strips are safe and effective when one follows the manufacturer’s instructions. They are most effective when used on straight teeth as the strips don’t bleach in-between the teeth as effectively. Also, the white strips only cover the front 6 teeth as compared with a custom fabricated tray made in the dental office which includes all the teeth in the arch. Other over-the-counter whitening products are not very effective and are primarily sold due to marketing, not results, in my opinion.

What are the advantages of tooth-colored fillings (composites) over silver fillings (amalgam)?
First, there is the obvious esthetic advantage as composites look like natural tooth structure. Second, composites are bonded in, thus adhering the filling to the tooth. This creates a stronger tooth that is less susceptible to fracture as opposed to the “wedge” effect that amalgam creates. They are similar in their longevity, but in certain situations, amalgam may last longer.

Do I need a root canal before I need a crown?
The primary reason a root canal is needed is when the pulp (nerve) of the tooth is infected (from decay or if the pulp dies and becomes necrotic). Many times the tooth is weak and needs a crown, but the pulp is fine and healthy. The majority of teeth we recommend for a crown do not need a root canal. On the other hand, the vast majority of teeth that have had a root canal will subsequently need a crown to protect the tooth from deteriorating and cracking.

Why do I need a crown?.......Can’t you just fill it?
Anytime there is more filling in a tooth than there is tooth remaining to support the filling, the tooth is weak and susceptible to cracking or breaking. Odds are a large filling is a glorified patch that is only a temporary solution. A crown completely encases the tooth, strengthens it, and protects it from deteriorating and breaking. For any tooth that is cracked, heavily filled, or weak, a crown is the most stable, predictable, and cost efficient long term solution.

Why do I need x-rays every year?
Prevention and early detection in the key in dentistry. Radiographs allow the dentist to see decay in-between the teeth and under fillings before the tooth becomes symptomatic. Also, radiographs allow the dentist to screen for any pathology and to evaluate the bone level as it relates to periodontal (gum) disease. We strive to only recommend radiographs that are necessary for your health.

Do you see children?
We are an adult oriented restorative practice. We do begin to see a limited number of patients at age 13. We recommend a pedodontist (children’s specialist) for our pre-teenagers and younger children.

What procedures do you refer to a specialist?
As a general practice, we perform a variety of procedures with our focus being on restorative and esthetic procedures. There are, however, several procedures that we refer to a specialist. If our patients can be best served by a specialist for their situation, that is what we recommend. We refer to endodontists for all root canals, to oral surgeons for most oral surgery, to pedodontists for children under age 13, and to periodontists for moderate to advanced periodontal (gum) disease. We also refer to specialists for implant placement while we restore the implants with teeth after placement.

My jaws and ears sometimes hurt…do I have TMJ?
It is very possible. TMJ is loosely applied term that actually refers to TMD (tempromandibular dysfunction). This umbrella term covers any one or more of the following symptoms: muscle spasms (dysfunction) of the facial or jaw muscles, TMJ jaw joint problems, or excessive wear and tear on the teeth themselves. The jaw joints, the jaw muscles, and the teeth are all interrelated and must function in a balanced and harmonious fashion to prevent problems. Ear pain and/or disc clicking and popping are typical joint problems. Headaches in the temple area, sore jaws, or some difficulty in wide opening are typical muscle problems. Worn teeth or several broken or cracked teeth are typical tooth problems associated with TMD. Prevention, a well balanced bite, and decreased stress levels all help manage TMD problems.

Why do I need my teeth cleaned?
Regular cleaning and a check-up are critical to early disease detection and prevention. Regular cleanings remove tartar and deposits that left untreated lead to continued progression of gum disease. Early detection also prevents small problems from turning into larger problems which saves expense. Without question, regular maintenance visits keep your mouth in the best possible health and will save time and money in the long run.

Do any of the procedures hurt?
Dentistry today should be basically painless. It is extremely important to us that our patients are comfortable and feel no pain during any procedure. Individual attention and excellent anesthesia are the keys. We strive very hard for our anesthesia to be painless as well.

Do you take any new patients?
Yes, on a limited basis. Being a low volume, high quality practice means that we want to spend adequate time for each patient on every procedure. Therefore, we take about 4-6 new patients every month. We always appreciate our current patient’s referrals and confidence in us.

What procedures do you perform?
Being a general practice, we perform a variety of procedures. With our focus on restorative and cosmetic dentistry, we do crowns (PFM, all-porcelain, and gold), fixed bridges, porcelain inlays and onlays, veneers (porcelain and direct), tooth-colored fillings, cosmetic bonding, and bleaching (whitening). We treat TMJ problems conservatively with splint therapy and equilibration (bite balancing) when indicated. We also fabricate removable teeth (full and partial dentures). While we do not surgically place implants, we do build the teeth that are attached to them. Also, besides regular maintenance visits, our practice treats beginning to moderate periodontal (gum) disease.

 

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