Frequently Asked Questions
Do you take my dental insurance?
We accept most dental insurances. Please call us or check with your insurance provider to check if your plan is accepted.
Do you accept Medicaid?
We do accept children covered by Medicaid and also accept adults on a limited basis. Please give us a call to see if we are actively accepting new medicaid adult patients.
Do you accept special needs patients?
Yes! We treat a wide variety of special needs patients of all ages to the best of our ability. We are always open to seeing new special needs patients for an exam, and we can refer them to the proper specialists depending on their specific dental conditions. Many special needs patients we are able to treat in-office!
Which toothpaste should I use?
Whitening and tartar control toothpastes carry some serious side effects with prolonged use that everyone should be aware of. All toothpastes are given a relative dentin abrasivity number by the American Dental Association. The higher the RDA number, the more abrasive it is to the tooth surface. Whitening and tartar control toothpastes have high RDA numbers. With whitening toothpaste, abrasive particles are added to scrub surface stains harder. They don’t chemically whiten the teeth the way that Crest Whitestrips would, for example. These pastes can initially make teeth appear whiter because your wine, pasta sauce, coffee and tea gets scrubbed away more effectively. However, this has pretty serious long-term negative effects. The paste is so abrasive that it wears away tooth enamel, and eventually the second layer of tooth called dentin. Enamel is the outer white layer of tooth, dentin is the inner yellow layer. If you wear away the enamel, your teeth will become less shiny, more yellow, and you may notice notches along the gumline. Your gums can be affected as well, and recession can occur.Tartar control toothpastes work in the same way. Those added abrasive particles will help to remove more tartar from your teeth...but again, you’ll remove some of the tooth structure as well. To protect your teeth over time, we recommend toothpastes with an RDA value of 70 or less. If you tend to build up tartar quickly, more frequent cleanings are much healthier than tartar control toothpaste. And if you’re interested in whiter teeth, there are ways to achieve that - but your toothpaste is not one of them.
What's the correct way to brush my teeth?
With either a manual or an electric, start by placing a pea-sized amount of paste on the brush. Angle the bristles 45 degrees to the gumline. If you angle the brush directly onto the teeth, you’ll still remove some of the plaque, but not as effectively, and you won’t stimulate the gums.
If you have a Sonicare or an electric brush, gently and lightly pull the brush forward along each tooth. The electric brush does the “brushing” for you, so you don’t need to be moving the brush as you would with a manual. Keep a light grip on your brush, you shouldn’t have sweaty palms when you finish. A light hold on your brush maintains light pressure on the teeth and gums, avoiding future enamel wear and gum recession.
If you’re using a manual toothbrush, you’ll still position the bristles at a 45 degree angle, but you have to do the brushing motion instead of the brush. The proper way to use a manual is to make light circles along the gumline.
Remember to always use light pressure - brushing too hard will do more harm than good to the teeth and gums. If you find yourself “scrubbing” your teeth rather than brushing lightly, the Sonicare Flexcare is a great option because it vibrates when too much pressure is applied. If your bristles look frayed after a few months, that’s a less-than-subtle hint that you fall into this category!
How Safe are Dental X-Rays?
Dental X-rays are an important part of detecting and correcting dental problems. X-rays were first used in dentistry more than 100 years ago, so they have a long history of safety. Over the years, we’ve learned more about radiation and that has caused some concern about the safety of dental x-rays. Fortunately, dental x-rays are safer now than they ever have been before. In fact, dental x-rays make up less than 1% of all radiation that you are exposed to in your daily life. For individual, bitewing and full mouth x-rays, a standard dental x-ray machine is normally used. This machine includes a long spout called a collimator. The collimator helps focus the x-rays so they are in a narrow beam and they hit only the appropriate area. Just in case the beam is not as narrow as we would like, we continue to use lead vests that protect most of your body from any x-ray exposure. In addition, x-ray equipment is regularly checked to make sure it is operating properly.
Do we use Digital X-Rays?
Yes! Digital x-ray technology has improved the quality and safety of the images that we can use to look at your teeth and jaw. In the process, they’ve reduced the amount of radiation needed for each x-ray by up to 90%. In addition, because digital x-rays can be adjusted and even enlarged on the screen, they are less likely to have to be retaken.
When should you see the dentist for tooth pain?
You’ve just taken a bite of your favorite food and felt a sudden sharp pain. Is this pain something you can ignore, or is it time to make a dentist appointment? The answer isn’t always simple, but there are some clues you can use to determine whether to pick up the phone right away or wait to see if it corrects itself.
There are two types of tooth pain you might feel. The first type is what is commonly called a “tooth ache.” It almost always indicates that there is a problem only your dentist will be able to help solve. The second sensation is usually considered “sensitivity,” rather than tooth pain.
If your tooth hurts all the time, not just when you are chewing, then you have the classic “tooth ache.” But just because your tooth pain isn’t a constant throbbing sensation, doesn’t mean you don’t have a dental problem. Some people will have a shooting pain every time they bite down with a specific tooth. The most common causes of this type of tooth pain are:
· Tooth decay
· Cracked teeth
· Worn fillings
· Gum disease
The number one cause of tooth pain is tooth decay. Tooth decay begins a long time before you feel pain. Bacteria slowly destroy the outside surface of the tooth. Eventually, the infection breaks through the outside of the tooth and causes sudden pain. If you have a cracked tooth or a worn filling, the bacteria may be able to get into the inside of the tooth without working through the hard enamel. The result is the same though, an infection that needs to be treated.
Gum disease can also cause tooth pain, even though the actual structure of the tooth may be fine. Gum disease causes the gums to recede or shrink and this can expose the tooth root. When the tooth root is exposed, it will become irritated and you’ll feel pain.
If you are experiencing this type of tooth pain, please call us for an appointment right away.
It is not unusual to experience sensitivity to hot or cold liquids, or sugary foods occasionally. One common cause of tooth sensitivity is the use of whitening products. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, you should stop using whitening toothpaste and other whitening products. Often, the sensitivity will go away within a few days.
Sometimes, your toothpaste can cause sensitivity, even if it doesn’t contain a whitener. This is even true of special toothpastes that are supposed to be for people with sensitive teeth. If you are having sensitivity problems and have stopped using whitening products for a while, then consider switching toothpastes. We’ll be happy to help you figure out which toothpastes might work best for you.
Another possible cause of tooth sensitivity and even tooth pain is clenching and grinding of your teeth. When your teeth are under pressure from clenching or pushed together forcefully when grinding, the root of the tooth can become irritated. Many people only grind or clench their teeth at night and don’t even realize they are doing it. An oral exam can help us determine if you are grinding or clenching your teeth.
If you’ve stopped using whitening products for several days and the sensitivity persists, then it is best to schedule an appointment. Just like stronger tooth pain, sensitivity can be a sign of a dental problem that needs treatment to be corrected.
Do you offer financing?
Yes! We understand that most people prefer financing options for their dental treatments. We do offer CareCredit patient financing, which several of our patients take advantage of!
I'm a medically complex patient. Will you treat me?
Our doctors have years of experience treating patients with complex medical histories. We will work with your primary physician, along with any other specialist who may be treating you, to make sure that every aspect of your health condition is taken into consideration when when providing dental treatment. Please fill out your new patient medical history form completely and be sure to bring a list of every medication that you are currently taking. If you have specific questions regarding a medical condition, please call our office.