Frequently Asked Questions

Treatment Questions

Q: Why do I need to come in every 3 to 4 months for my teeth cleaning when my insurance only pays for every 6 months?

A: Dental hygiene recalls are decided by the dentist and the hygienist based on the condition of the patients oral health. Your hygienist will evaluate your gum inflammation, tartar and plaque build-up, periodontal pocket measurement and home oral care. The frequency of your dental hygiene visits should be determined by your oral needs and not by what your dental insurance plan covers.

Q: What is Periodontal Maintenance? and What is Prophylaxis?

A: Prophylaxis is teeth cleaning for patients with periodontal pocket depth measuring between 2 to 4 mm pockets with little to no bone loss. These patients can me maintained with two to three cleanings per year. Perio Maintenance is teeth cleaning for patients who have undergone scaling and root planing. These patients have periodontal pocket depth measuring 5 mm pockets or greater. Gum recession is usually present with the loss of bone. This is referred to as periodontal disease. These patients have more challenging surface areas along the teeth and need to be maintained three to four times a year.

Q: Why do I need to take antibiotics before my dental appointment?

A: Your mouth contains bacteria that can get into your bloodstream. This can happen during some dental treatments, like teeth cleanings. For most people, this doesn’t cause a problem. But if you have certain heart condition or joint replacement, bacteria in the bloodstream might put you at risk for infection. We recommend that you take an antibiotic before certain dental procedures to stop bacteria in your mouth from causing infection in your heart or join replacement.

Q: Why do I need a crown?

A: There are numerous reasons why a crown was recommended to treat your tooth. Here are the most common reasons: • Your tooth may have extensive decay and placing a filling is not sufficient to restore your tooth. • Your tooth is fractured or may have multiple cracks that may cause sensitivity or pain upon chewing and/or consuming hot or cold food. • Your tooth had root canal treatment therefore will need a crown to protect it from fracturing. • You may not like the “look” of your tooth and would prefer a more esthetic look. • You had dental implant placed and the implant will need to be restored with a crown.

Q: What is tooth resorption?

A. You may have heard your dentist tell you that your tooth is resorbing. Tooth resorption for adults is a troublesome condition in which the body’s own cells eat away and dissolve tooth structure. Typically, it occurs in the root of the tooth called root resorption and can begin on the inside called internal resorption or from the outside and works inward, this is referred to as external or cervical resorption. The exact cause and nature of resorption is not fully understood. However, certain factors are related to it: 1. History of orthodontic treatment. 2. Trauma to the tooth. 3. Teeth grinding 4. Infection It is important to try to treat tooth resorption as soon as it is detected, often by performing intentional root can treatment in order to try and preserve as much tooth structure as possible and stop the destructive process which can be rapid. Many times, extraction is the only option.

Q: Which type of toothbrush should I use? 

A: The brand of the toothbrush is not as critical as the type of bristle and the size of the head. A soft toothbrush with a small head is recommended because medium and hard brushes tend to cause irritation and contribute to recession of the gums, and a small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. It's unnecessary to "scrub" the teeth as long as you are brushing at least twice a day and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings.

Q: Is one toothpaste better than others?

A: Generally, no. However, it's advisable to use a fluoride containing toothpaste to decrease the incidence of dental decay. We recommend our patients use what tastes good to them as long as it contains fluoride.

Q: How often should I floss?

A: Flossing of the teeth once per day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can't reach. Flossing also helps to keep your gums healthy.

Q: What's the difference between a "crown" and a "cap"?

A: These are restorations to repair a severely broken tooth by covering all or most of the tooth after removing old fillings, fractured tooth structure, and all decay. The restoration material is made of gold, porcelain, composites, or even stainless steel. Dentists refer to all of these restorations as "crowns". However, patients often refer to the tooth-colored ones as "caps" and the gold or stainless steel ones as "crowns".

Q: What's the difference between a "bridge" and a "partial denture"?  A: Both bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth. A bridge is permanently attached to abutment teeth or, in some cases, implants. A partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and is easily removed by the patient. Patients are usually more satisfied with bridges than with partial dentures.

Q: What about "silver" fillings versus "white" fillings?  A: Although the U.S. Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver fillings), more patients today are requesting "white" or tooth-colored composite fillings. We also prefer tooth-colored fillings because they "bond" to the tooth structure and therefore help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay. While fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature, and they also look better. However, "white" fillings cannot be used in every situation, and if a tooth is very badly broken-down, a crown will usually be necessary and provide better overall satisfaction for the patient.

Q: Do I need to have a root canal just because I have to have a crown?  A: No. While most teeth which have had root canal treatments do need crowns to strengthen the teeth and to return the teeth to normal form and function, not every tooth needing a crown also needs to have a root canal.


Insurance/Financial Questions

Q: Do you accept my dental insurance?

A: We accept any dental insurance that would allow you to go to an out of network dental provider. We accept PPO dental insurance plan as an out-of-network provider. We DO NOT accept HMO dental plans

Q: How do I know what type of dental insurance plan I am signed up with?

A: You may refer to your dental insurance card or call your human resources/insurance broker if you are unsure what type of dental plan you are enrolled with.

Q: Will my dental insurance cover this treatment?

A: There are many different plans with different types of coverage. We can request a Pre-treatment estimate from your dental insurance to find out what your estimated patient portion will be for the treatment diagnosed.

Q: Can I make payments on my account?

AFull payment is due at the time of service. We also offer a membership dental plan exclusive to our office.