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Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Care

Read answers to some of the frequent questions patients ask. These are general treatment inquiries which can apply to anyone, however each individual patient's heath and dental condition must first be determined by the dentist with a full examination. Please contact our office for complete, personalized dental care.

>> Will my treatment be painful?

You won't have to feel any pain during dental treatment. We always tell you about the procedures involved in detail and give you the options we offer for pain control. We give you time to understand and make your own decisions.

For most patients, a numbing gel (topical anesthetic) is given before local anesthetic is injected into the area to be treated. After the local anesthetic takes effect, your mouth becomes numb as the anesthetic will block nerves that ordinarily transmit pain signals.

Our dentist tests the area gently to make sure it's fully numb before beginning. At this point if you feel some irritation, tell the dentist and he will apply additional local anesthetic.

If the patient requests something for nervousness, we can prescribe a mild tranquilizer to ease anxiety. We also offer radio with stereo headphones to help the patient relax -- or you can bring your own music player.

>> Can you save a badly decayed tooth?

If the tooth is badly broken down, we may be able to restore it with a white crown (also called a cap). If the decay has worked its way into the nerve, the tooth may require some root canal treatment.

Once a cavity (decay) has destroyed most of a tooth's outer enamel and the tooth becomes infectious or the decay harms the interior pulp, a root canal may be recommended to save it. Root canal procedures painlessly remove nerve tissue from inside the tooth and fill the canals with a dental material; then afterwards it's covered with a crown.

Should a tooth have to be extracted, we can offer the patient other options that can replace a missing tooth with a dental implant, a bridge, or dentures.

>> How often should I make an appointment?

For most people after they have taken care of all their dental needs, a visit twice a year for a cleaning and a check up is sufficient. Patients with severe gum or mouth problems may require more frequent visits.

At the very least you'll want to come in for an annual checkup so the dentist can evaluate your teeth's condition and make sure you're free of cavities and your gums are healthy. Regular dental appointments help you maintain an attractive smile and optimum dental health.

You should always discuss your teeth's health with your dentist and the hygienist in order to decide the best schedule for you personally.

>> What is gum disease?

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a bacteria infection of the gums. As it advances it can lead to dissolving of bone that supports the teeth.

Here are some warning signs of gum disease:

* bleeding gums after brushing and/or flossing your teeth
* tender, swollen, or reddened gums
* gum recession around the teeth
* roots of teeth are exposed
* sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
* loose teeth or teeth that are drifting apart
* unpleasant taste in mouth or bad breath odor
* dry or burning sensation in mouth
* deep pockets developing around the teeth

Be sure to let the dentist know if you experience any of these symptoms.

>> Can you give me whiter looking teeth?

We provide several procedures for whitening your teeth. A safe, dental bleaching solution (peroxide gel) is one of the most effective methods to whiten dull, darkened, or stained teeth. We first make a molded impression of your teeth. This produces a thin, custom tray. This personalized tray holds the whitening gel, that's then positioned over your teeth.

The tray can be worn for a couple of hours per day, or at night while you sleep. You can expect to see results right away. The biggest difference will be seen after you've worn the trays for around 2 weeks.

>> How can a dental implant benefit me?

When one loses a tooth, they have to replace it with either a bridge, a partial denture, or an implant. Often an implant is the best alternative. An implant is a metal cylinder that is surgically placed in the area of the missing tooth.

The implant may take a few months to fuse to the jawbone before a restoration can be placed. Once the implant is stable, a post and crown (cap) are attached. One advantage of an implant is the dentist doesn't have to grind on the teeth on either side of the space -- as with a bridge.

Also, dental implants do not feel bulky like a partial denture.

>> Are veneers a good choice?

If your teeth are misshapen, crooked, or you have really off-color problems with your teeth, porcelain or composite veneers will help restore them to a natural, attractive appearance. Veneers are perfect for full smile makeovers and they'll correct chipped surfaces, uneven teeth and poorly formed teeth.

>> What are the costs of your dental procedures?

Every patient has different dental care needs. In order to provide a proper diagnosis of your condition, we would need to do a thorough examination with all the necessary x-rays.

Your treatment costs will depend on the condition of your teeth and gums, the treatment recommended and the options you choose.

Before any treatment begins, we will give you an estimate of what the insurance company will pay and an estimate of your portion of the fee.

>> Will my dental insurance cover everything?

Unlike medical insurances, dental insurances have several limitations. They usually have a maximum they will pay per year such as $1500-$2000.

They will pay a percentage of each dental procedure ranging from 50% to 100% of the listed fee. This means that for many procedures there is a portion of the treatment fee for which the patient is responsible.

There are some procedures, such as cosmetic work, that the insurance companies do not cover. Before treatment begins, we will provide you with an estimate of the total cost of each procedure and the amount of your estimated payment. And you can be sure we will file your insurance claim promptly and at no charge to you.

>> Do you take dental emergencies?

Yes we do. Broken teeth and toothaches are not fun for anyone to deal with. Give us a call so we can get you in as soon as possible; usually we can see you the same day.

>> Can you put me to sleep for my dental treatment?

We understand that most people do not like going to the dentist. While we are not set up to put people to sleep in our office, we strive to make our patients feel comfortable, relaxed and well cared for. If patients want more than local anesthetics, we offer oral sedation medication, which is a relaxing tablet taken one hour before your appointment time.

>> Is there more than one way to treat my teeth?

Yes. Some dentists may say there is only one way to treat a patient and often that way is the most expensive treatment. But there are options and we are always happy to explain those to you.

>> Do you take my insurance plan? Do you have payment plans?

Yes. Visit our Finance & Dental Insurance section for more details.

>> Can I get all my work done in a couple of visits?

That is going to depend on how much dental work you have to do and how often you can come in. If a patient can comfortably sit for long appointments, we can reduce the number of visits.

>> Do you have any special offers for those with no dental insurance?

Yes. We know financing dental work can be a hardship for some families. Visit our Finances & Dental Insurance section for ways that can help you save some money.

>> How do I decide which dental office to go to?

Feel free to look through our website to see photos of the work we do , to read what patients say about us, and to find answers to your dental questions. If you are still undecided, come in for a Free Consultation to get some treatment ideas, see the office, and meet our staff.

Resources * Copyright (c) 2012 Alan L. Stott, DDS. All Rights Reserved. * Sitemap