I’m worried about x-rays. Should I be?

No. While x-rays will be necessary during your treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system, called digital radiography that produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to co therapists via e-mail or diskette.

What about infection?

Again, there’s no need for concern. We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association. We utilize autoclave sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection.

What is a Periodontist?

Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. They have had extensive training with two additional years of study after dental school. As specialists they devote their time, energy and skill to helping patients care for their gums. A periodontist is one of the eight dental specialists recognized by the American Dental Association.

Why is your dentist referring you to a Periodontist?

Your dentist has determined that your gums require special attention. The periodontist and dentist work together as a team to provide you with the highest level of care. They will combine their experience to recommend the best treatment available to you while keeping each other informed on your progress. By referring you to the specialist, your dentist is showing a strong commitment to your dental health.

What causes periodontal (Gum) disease?

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that clings to teeth and gums. Even if you brush and clean in between your teeth every day, you may not completely remove plaque, especially around the gum line. The bacteria in plaque create toxins that injure the gums and underlying bone. Over time, these toxins can destroy gum and bone tissue.Plaque that is not removed completely every 24 to 48 hours hardens into a rough, porous deposit called tartar, or calculus. Once tartar develops, the only way to remove it is by having your teeth cleaned at the dental office.Tartar that builds up below (under) the gum line makes it more difficult to remove the film of plaque. This can lead to chronic inflammation and infection.

What is an Endodontist?

The Endodontist examines, diagnoses and treats diseases and destructive processes, including injuries and abnormalities of dental pulps and periapical tissues of the teeth.Endodontists examine patients and interpret radiographs and pulp tests to determine pulp vitality and periapical tissue condition. They evaluate their findings and prescribe a method of treatment to prevent loss of teeth

What happens after Root Canal treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact his office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond.

What are crowns and why are they used?

A Crown is a restoration that covers, or caps, a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size. Its purpose is to strengthen or improve the appearance of a tooth. Crowns are placed for a variety of reasons. Crowns can:

  • restore teeth when isn’t enough tooth remaining to provide support for large fillings
  • attach bridges
  • protect weak teeth from fracturing
  • restore fractured teeth
  • cover badly shaped or discolored teeth
  • cover dental implants

How do I take care of my crowns?

When you have crowns, it is especially important to brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss or other interdental cleaners. Brushing and flossing remove a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Be sure to remove plaque from the area where the gums meet the tooth (the sulcus). When plaque accumulates in the sulcus, it can cause dental decay or gum disease. To prevent damaging or fracturing the crowns, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects. It also is important to visit your dentist regularly.

Why does my filling need to be replaced?

Dental fillings (restorations) may last many years before they need replacing. However, constant pressure from chewing, grinding and clenching may cause a filling to wear away, chip, crack or even fall out.Fillings that are worn around the edges or have pulled away from tooth enamel are invitations to decay-causing bacteria.

How come I have a cavity under my filling?

The bacteria, which are present in saliva, combine with sugar or starch from food products to produce acids. The bacteria can, in some cases, enter the tiny spaces between the filling and the tooth. Once there, they cannot usually be removed with a toothbrush. Decay may start to develop along the margins of the filling.Improper hygiene, improper diet, gum recession or decreased saliva flow might cause recurring decay. If the current decay is not removed early, eventually progresses into the soft dentin and then the dental pulp, the tooth’s living core. If the damages or diseased pulp is not removed, the tooth and the surrounding tissues can become infected.

Why couldn’t you just remove the tooth?

There are many disadvantages to losing natural tooth. When a tooth is removed and not replaced, the adjacent teeth may begin to shift from their normal position. This may cause the teeth to become crooked or crowded, which decreases biting and chewing efficiency. Crowded or crooked teeth may be more prone to gum disease because they are harder to keep clean than properly aligned teeth. A replacement tooth (an implant or bridge) is usually more expensive than endodontic treatment and can involve more extensive dental procedures on adjacent teeth. A natural tooth is normally better than an artificial tooth.

What is CEREC?

CEREC means we can quickly and economically restore damaged teeth using a durable ceramic material that matches the natural color of other teeth in your mouth.CEREC is an acronym for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic.

What advantages does CEREC offer me?

First, the restoration can be performed in a single session, usually in about one hour. With CEREC there’s no need for us to make an impression and send it to a lab. We won’t inconvenience you by asking you to return for a second visit.Secondly, the restoration is natural looking, because it is made of tooth-colored ceramic material. It is metal-free – no silver fillings to discolor you smile! The ceramic material is compatible with tissue in your mouth and is high-grade, anti-abrasive and plaque resistant. It allows us to be extremely precise and save more part of your tooth.

What are implants?

Implants are metal posts or frames that are surgically placed beneath your gums. After placement, the implants fuse to the bone of your jaw and act as artificial tooth roots. Replacement teeth – singularly or grouped on a bridge or denture – are then mounted to the implant.

What are the benefits of implants?

One key advantage of implants is that they fuse to the jawbone, offering stable support to artificial teeth. Dentures, bridges or individual teeth mounted to the implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth – and especially important benefit when eating and speaking.This secure fit also helps replacement teeth feel more natural than conventional bridges or dentures.

Can anyone have implants?

Candidates need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant – and they must commit to keeping these structures healthy.Meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.

What is a sealant?

A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth – premolars and molars. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

How long do sealants last?

As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years before reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them if necessary.

Are sealants just for kids?

The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins as soon as the back teeth erupts, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates. But adults can also be at risk for this type of decay and can benefit from sealants as well. Ask your dentist about whether sealants can put extra power behind your prevention program.

How are sealants applied?

It usually takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. The teeth that will be sealed are cleaned. Then the chewing surfaces are conditioned to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. The sealant is then ‘painted’ onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.

What is Invisalign® and how does it work?

Invisalign is the invisible way to straighten teeth using a series of custom-made, nearly undetectable aligners. And it’s been proven effective in both clinical research and practices nationwide.Using the latest advances in 3-D computer technology, Invisalign translates your doctor’s instructions into a series of aligners. You can wear each set of aligners for about two weeks, moving your teeth gradually week by week, millimeter by millimeter until you’ve achieved the desired result.

How often will I have to wear my aligners?

Invisalign only works while you’re wearing the aligners. It’s recommended that you wear your aligners full-time, day and night, except to eat, brush and floss you teeth – or as directed by your doctor.

How long does Invisalign® take?

The duration of treatment depends on the severity of your case, which determines the number of aligners you need. However, the average is about 12 months, but only your doctor can determine the length of your treatment.

How much does Invisalign® cost?

As with traditional braces, the cost will be based on the complexity of your case and the length of treatment. Many doctors charge the same for Invisalign as they do for traditional braces. Also, if your dental insurance plan covers traditional braces, it will typically cover Invisalign to the same extent.

What is dental insurance?

The type of dental insurance you have is decided upon by your employer. Most employers today place emphasis on the medical insurance they choose for their employees. Typically dental insurance is an inexpensive ryder to the medical plan. Due to the low monthly premiums, dental insurance benefits are far less than those of medical insurance, usually requiring far more out of pocket cost to you.

Will insurance cover my treatment?

The primary goal of most dental insurance companies is to maximize profits by securing monthly premium payments, while at the same time avoiding payment on claims as much as possible. They accomplish this through several means:

  • Requiring pre-determinations – This allows the claims process to slow down considerably
  • Downgrade coverage on treatment to an “alternative treatment” – Most insurance companies contracts have a fine print stipulation that allows them to reduce their benefit at their discretion.
  • Deny benefits completely – According to their contract, claims reviewers can deny coverage on any treatment for any reason, without regard for dental needs of the patient.

What type of coverage can I expect?

Unlike medical insurance, most dental plans only pay out to a maximum of $1,000 in benefit per year, which was the average maximum in 1960! Adjusted to inflation, your yearly benefit should be at least $5,000. Therefore, most dental insurance today is only a basic, low level benefit which is not related to the quality of oral care you determine. Your benefit for any treatment is based strictly on what is stated in your contract and has nothing to do with your dental needs or the quality of care you receive.