Frequently Asked Questions
Q: HOW CAN VENEERS HELP MY SMILE?
A: Veneers improve your smile by correcting a multitude of cosmetic concerns including: gaps in teeth; chips and broken teeth; dull or yellowing teeth that cannot be whitened with traditional means; “gummy smiles” (showing too much gum when one smiles); and, crooked teeth. Porcelain veneers, as well as direct composite veneers, broaden, straighten, whiten, and beautify most any smile. This procedure can be done in as little as one or two clinical visits. Many of our patients feel like this was the best improvement that could have been done for their overall confidence. Ask us about how veneers can improve your smile at your next visit, or send us an email.
Q: HOW CAN I WHITEN MY TEETH?
A: There are multiple ways to whiten your teeth.
- At-home whitening trays: these products use peroxide-based gels to whiten your teeth. Generally, the process involves the daily application of the gel in a formed “mouthguard” for about two weeks. Side effects may include short-term tooth or gum sensitivity. We provide dentist-supervised, at-home whitening, assuring you of better results than over-the-counter whitening products.
- Porcelain veneers: Many people who have tetracycline-stained teeth and cannot whiten their teeth with traditional means, or people who want a more permanent solution will opt for porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers is a great way to whiten your teeth in a more permanent fashion. The veneers do not stain with time and also correct many other concerns that you may have, including crooked teeth, gaps in teeth, and “gummy smiles.” Most of the smile makeovers you see on television are accomplished with porcelain veneers.
Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SILVER AND WHITE FILLINGS?
A: Both fillings do essentially the same job – they restore the shape and function of your tooth, while protecting it from further decay. Silver fillings are more common and have been in use for over 150 years. They are durable, but can become loose, so you should avoid very sticky foods. Silver fillings can also leak if they aren’t cared for and monitored properly, so be sure you keep your bi-yearly appointments. Tooth-colored fillings are made from a composite resin. They are shaded to match your natural tooth color and may actually form a slightly better “seal” with your tooth than silver fillings. They have shown to be as durable as their silver counterparts, especially for smaller-to-average sized fillings. Tooth-colored fillings should also be properly monitored, so again, it is important to keep your bi-yearly check-ups.
Q: WHY DO I HAVE PERIODONTAL DISEASE NOW?
A: Periodontal disease is very, very common – as many as 80% of adults have some form of the disease. Also, the disease has been called the “silent disease,” since symptoms don’t tend to show up until it has reached an advanced state. It is not uncommon for us to suggest treatment for gum disease to a patient that has never been told their gums need attention. The good news is, when caught early enough, gum disease is reversible. And, even if your gum disease is advanced, we can give you the treatment and therapy you need to halt the disease and can help you get back to the best dental health possible.
Q: WHY IS YOUR DENTAL OFFICE AND TEAM BETTER?
A: You deserve the most advanced comfortable care. At Dental Designs, not only do you have access to the most modern, gentle dental technology and techniques, but also you have the service of a personal dental team that goes the extra mile. Whether it is by offering you a warm blanket or something to drink, or simply by remembering your name and the names of your family members who visit us, you will know that you are a special, unique individual – a friend!
Q: WHY IS FLUORIDE IMPORTANT?
A: Fluoride aids in the “re-mineralization” of your teeth. This mineralization keeps your teeth strong and resistant to decay. It is true that we have several sources of fluoride in our lives. We can help determine if these sources are providing you enough fluoride for optimal health. In most cases, dentist-supervised fluoride treatments are needed for both children and adults.
Q: I BRUSH EVERY DAY, SO WHY ISN'T MY BREATH FRESH?
A: Millions of people struggle with halitosis, or bad breath, despite daily teeth brushing. Here is a checklist of procedures that can eliminate the problem: twice daily brushing; daily flossing and tongue cleaning; regular professional cleanings; and, careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances. However, if your hygiene is meticulous and the problem persists, we can offer several solutions.
First, we can provide a plastic tool called a tongue scraper that cleans away bacterial build-up on your tongue, significantly alleviating odor. Or, we can recommend a specially-prepared rinse or toothpaste designed to actually break the odor-causing sulfur bonds that cause bad breath. Finally, if we suspect a systemic or internal problem, such as an infection or underlying condition, we may recommend a visit with your family physician or specialist to identify the cause.
Q: WHAT IS A CROWN, AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?
A: If your doctor has recommended a crown to you, it is likely either to correct a cracked or broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). The decay in your tooth eats away healthy tooth structure much like rust eats away at metal. If not removed, decay will deteriorate the tooth to the point where extraction is the only viable treatment option. Sometimes, decay is removed, leaving healthy tooth structure, but not much of it. A crown can then be placed, restoring the look and function of your tooth, while allowing you to keep your natural, underlying tooth structure. Most crowns are precision-milled porcelain, full metal (gold or silver) or a combination of both materials, and are individually customized for each application in each patient, giving you a natural, long lasting smile.
Q: DO YOU OFFER DIGITAL X-RAYS?
A: X-rays allow the doctor to see the interior condition of your teeth and other structures that are below the gum line. We utilize digital X-rays (radiographs). Radiographs use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film X-rays (of course, we will still protect you with a lead apron). They also provide instant images for our dental team. You will find that in our dental practice, we research the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that promote your overall health, safety, and comfort.
Q: HOW DOES FLUORIDE HELP MY TEETH?
A: Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults by halting tooth decay. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation. Fluoride is a safe chemical component when used correctly. When your dentist applies fluoride to your teeth in the form of a fluoride varnish, that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use professional strength fluoride varnishes, gels, or foam products that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Q: HOW CAN I JUST GET MY SMILE TO LOOK GOOD?
A: You are not alone. Most people want to have a nice smile since it is the first thing others notice about you. You may be interested in a few minor adjustments or you may have concerns that need more attention. Some smiles can be enhanced with simple enamel reshaping, whitening, or bonding treatments. Other smiles need porcelain veneers, crowns, or bridges; gum contouring; periodontal therapy; or, a combination of all these techniques. Your doctor will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals and areas of concern and on the overall condition of your oral health. Contact us today for a complimentary smile evaluation to determine what course of action will produce the best solution for you.
Q: HOW CAN MY TEETH LOOK STRAIGHT WITHOUT TRADITIONAL BRACES?
A: We have a number of ways to improve the look of your front teeth without the use of unsightly braces. For slightly crooked or unevenly worn teeth, a bit of reshaping and the addition of porcelain veneers may be sufficient to give them a bright, uniform look. We also offer Invisalign®, a technologically advanced orthodontic system that doesn’t use metal braces. People won’t even know you are undergoing treatment! We would be happy to talk with you further about the option that best suits your individual situation.
Attention to detail, respect for the individual, and a true concern for each patient are the hallmarks of our personal care and our quality product. We are committed to helping you fulfill your ultimate self-image.
Q: HOW CAN LOSING A BACK TOOTH AFFECT MY SMILE?
A: Losing a back tooth will darken your overall smile, making it look smaller and narrower. Your smile will appear to stop short, and the look will be exaggerated if your missing tooth has teeth on both sides of it. Function during chewing will be reduced, and function of many teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth. When you are missing a tooth, you compensate by chewing differently, putting pressure on different parts of your mouth. This can cause your other teeth to shift, creating gaps and spaces and may even cause fractures that result in additional tooth loss or the need for restorations. It can also lead to jaw pain.
Q: WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS TO REPLACE A MISSING TOOTH?
A: By replacing missing teeth either with a bridge or implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and will give your smile back its beautiful, full appearance. A bridge is one solution for replacing a tooth. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, your dentist at Dental Designs places a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile. A dental implant is also an excellent solution. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Once the post has bonded to the bone, it can act as a new, solid support for a natural looking, porcelain restoration. Implants can replace a single tooth, or an entire set of teeth, offering more function and permanence than traditional dentures.
Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM MY FIRST APPOINTMENT?
A: During your first appointment, your overall dental and oral health will be assessed with a comprehensive oral evaluation. Upon completion of your medical/dental health form, we will ask you to tell us your goals regarding your smile, teeth, and gums. Digital photos and radiographs (X-rays) will be taken of your teeth to identify areas of decay, cracked teeth, and malfunctioning restorations. DIAGNOdent™, a specialized laser, will also be used on your teeth, notifying us of early areas of decay that are not visible on the radiographs or digital photographs. Our goal is to preserve as much of your teeth as possible by catching decay in its earliest stages. We will also assess your gums and will recommend the appropriate hygiene treatment for you.
Q: CAN'T I GET A CLEANING WITHOUT AN EXAM & X-RAYS?
A: As a new patient, you deserve a beautiful smile, not just today, but for life! At Dental Designs, we focus on the long-term health of our patients. We believe that an ongoing relationship between a patient and his or her dentist is the key to building and maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile. We also focus on preventive care; that is, we want to stop dental problems before they start. Your new patient appointment is designed to allow us to get to know one another, and to let us get an accurate picture of your present dental health. Then, we can create your unique treatment plan. We also include a complimentary consultation in situations when treatment will be complex or extensive.
Q: IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP ME RELAX?
A: Many people are uncomfortable with visiting the dentist. Your comfort is our highest priority, and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. We receive compliments every day concerning our services that make your experience great. For entertainment and distraction, stereo headphones with music, video glasses for watching movies, and heated blankets are available so you can keep your mind on more pleasant things. Nitrous oxide is also offered to keep you comfortable and relaxed.
Q: I DO NOT LIKE DRILLS. ARE THERE ANY OTHER OPTIONS?
A: Fortunately, for patients like you, there is a relatively new filling preparation technique known as air abrasion, which removes decay and prepares teeth for fillings. Your doctor simply cleans out and prepares the site to be filled by sending a blast of tiny, high-speed aluminum oxide particles into the cavity itself. The particles hit the tooth under high pressure, bounce off at high speeds, and consequently blast away any decay. Air abrasion is quiet, quick, and relatively painless and avoids sacrificing tooth structure.
Q: WHY DO I NEED MY WISDOM TEETH EXTRACTED?
A: Most adult mouths simply aren’t big enough to accommodate the wisdom teeth in addition to the rest of your teeth. Centuries ago, when tooth loss was common, a wisdom tooth might have had more room to come in, and might have even had a role in pushing the other teeth forward to eliminate gaps. Now that modern dentistry has helped people keep their teeth, wisdom teeth tend to cause problems such as crowding, bite issues, crooked teeth, and more. It is simply better for most peoples’ overall health to remove the wisdom teeth before they can cause any problems down the road. Plus, any treatment is easier when it is performed earlier rather than later.
Q: WHAT IS TMJ DISORDER?
A: Your TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is more commonly called your “jaw.” Many people suffer from jaw pain, as well as headaches, facial, and neck muscle aches and even ear aches, all due to problems with their TMJ. Some even clench or grind their teeth in their sleep. At Dental Designs, we can help determine the cause of your TMJ pain and provide you with the treatment you need. This may involve the application of a special dental appliance or other therapy designed to alleviate your discomfort.
Q: DO YOU ACCEPT NEW PATIENT REFERRALS?
A: Over the years, patients have given us the compliment of referring family and friends to our practice. Our reputation for excellent dental care depends on two things: our good work and your beautiful smile! Your confidence in our care motivates us to continue to strive for excellence. Thank you for your referrals; your trust and support are greatly appreciated.
Q: WHY DO MY TEETH KEEP CHIPPING AND CRACKING?
A: Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth, but don’t remember when the injury occurred, damaged their teeth while they were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip, crack, and even break. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth, we recommend a dental appliance called a nightguard. A custom-fitted nightguard protects your teeth from grinding and clenching in your sleep. Your Dental Designs doctors take great care in making sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Do you suffer from headaches? You may find that a side benefit of your nightguard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask us about having a nightguard custom created especially for you.
Q: DO YOU OFFER MONTHLY PAYMENT PLANS?
A: Yes, we do offer monthly credit card payments and payment plans with our financial partner, CareCredit®. We provide a variety of ways for you to pay for your treatment so that it fits comfortably into your personal or family financial goals. Our office works with you to create the solution that best accommodates you so you can have the beautiful, healthy smile you have always desired. We even cover the service charges with CareCredit®!
Q: WILL MY INSURANCE PAY FOR COSMETIC DENTISTRY?
A: Dental insurance is designed to assist you in paying for your dentistry. Most procedures are not fully covered by your insurance. Cosmetic dentistry, in particular, is not covered by most dental insurance plans. To help you afford your smile, we do offer a variety of payment options in addition to a monthly payment plan provided by our financial partner, CareCredit™. We also pay special attention to maximizing the benefits that your insurance does provide. Ask how you can comfortably afford your dentistry while maximizing your dental insurance benefits.
Q: WHAT DIFFERENT PAYMENT OPTIONS DO YOU PROVIDE?
A: Helping to make your dental care financially comfortable and affordable is important, and we proudly offer a variety of options:
- Cash or personal checks
- 5% cash courtesy discount for advance payment of entire treatment plan
- 3-, 6-, 12-, or 18-month, no-interest monthly payment plans, as well as low-interest and extended payment plans through CareCredit®.
We are happy to estimate fees and insurance reimbursements before starting recommended treatments and will gladly file insurance forms for you. Optimal, comprehensive dentistry is what we practice, and we do not base our treatments on what insurance will or will not pay. We base our treatment on what is best for you, and any treatment not paid by insurance is your financial responsibility.
Q: WHY DO MY GUMS BLEED AFTER I BRUSH?
A: It is certainly not desirable to have bleeding gums following brushings. However, the condition may or may not require attention, depending on the source of the problem. Bleeding gums can be caused by any of the following: improper, rough “‘scrubbing” instead of gentle, circular brushing motions; using a hard-bristled toothbrush instead of a soft one; plaque and/or tartar build-up below the gum line; or, gum sensitivity due to gingivitis or periodontal disease. If this problem persists despite correct brushing and flossing methods or if it occurs every time you brush, contact our office to set-up an evaluation appointment.
Q: WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
A: Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed, often times bleeding during brushing or flossing. If treated in a timely manner, these conditions can be reversed, preventing periodontal disease from developing. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat.
Periodontitis affects your gums, bone, and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment from your general dentist or even from a periodontist. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss – teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t catch periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
Periodontal disease has been associated with respiratory disease, pneumonia, strokes, ulcers, diabetes, and heart disease. It is important to recognize the connection between dental health and overall health!
Q: HOW DO SEALANTS PROTECT TEETH?
A: 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 and guarding against disease-causing bacteria.
Thorough brushing and flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. However, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to efficiently extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Q: WHY DO I FEEL A SHARP PAIN WHILE I'M CHEWING?
A: Most dental pain brought on by chewing is caused by a fracture, or crack, in the tooth. The pain can be corrected by placing a crown or with more advanced treatment. You want to correct the pain as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth and to the internal structure of the tooth, including the nerve. Contact us today to schedule a visit.
Q: WILL MY INSURANCE COVER TWO+ "CLEANINGS" PER YEAR?
A: Optimal, comprehensive dentistry is what we practice at Dental Designs, and your personalized treatment plan will not be based on what insurance will or will not pay. The doctor will base your treatment on what is truly best for you. We are happy to estimate fees and insurance reimbursement before beginning any treatment.
Q: WHAT IF I HAVE AN AFTER-HOURS EMERGENCY?
A: After-hours emergency service is provided to our patients of record. A call to our office will prompt you to call the emergency phone number so that you may personally notify the doctor on call of your situation. Some dental emergencies can be handled during a phone call, while others may necessitate an after-hours visit. The doctor on call will determine what is necessary and appropriate for handling your personal situation.
Q: WHY DOES DENTAL TREATMENT COST SO MUCH?
A: Your dental insurance plan is designed to share in your dental care costs. It may not cover the total cost of your bill. Most plans cover between 50 and 80 percent of dental services. This is why we are happy to estimate your dental coverage before treatment is initiated.