Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I put off my dental appointment until after the COVID-19 pandemic is over?
A: Regular dental appointments are an important part of taking care of your overall health. While it can be tempting to put off your regular checkup until things feel more “normal” again, I advise against it. Routine appointments give me an opportunity to check for a number of health conditions and catch them early. Some conditions, like tooth decay, can be more difficult, painful and expensive to treat if they’re left undetected. Your health and safety is, and has always been, my top priority. My staff and I are taking every precaution to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission at your visit.
Q: What about teledentistry? Can I substitute a virtual visit for my regular appointment?
A: A phone or video appointment isn’t the same as your regular appointment. Teledentistry can be helpful in some situations, such as deciding if an oral health issue you’re experiencing is an emergency that requires immediate treatment or if it’s something that can wait a bit. If you think you may be experiencing a dental emergency, call my office and we’ll help you decide if you need to come in.
Q: Why Preventive Care?
A: Your teeth should last a lifetime! A healthy mouth can enable you to chew food, speak clearly, and smile confidently. By caring for your natural teeth with regular preventive maintenance, you can enjoy a lifetime of good dental health—free of toothaches or other dental discomforts.
Q: What is included in periodic “recall” visits?
A: What is included at this visit will depend on your needs. Usually, this visit includes a complete examination, including an oral cancer screening, cleaning, and X-rays as needed.
Q: Why is a professional “cleaning” necessary?
A: If plaque is not removed regularly, it becomes hardened and forms tartar. This tartar is a major cause of gum disease and encourages tooth decay. Once the tartar forms, it is impossible for you to remove it properly. Our office will perform a professional “cleaning” to remove the tartar and polish your teeth.
Q: Why doesn’t my insurance cover pay for some of my treatment?
A: Your dental insurance plan is designed to SHARE in your dental care costs. Most insurances will not cover the total cost of your bill. As a courtesy to our patients, we attempt to verify basic plan information and estimated co-pays. Verification is not a guarantee of payment by the insurance company or a release of the patient’s legal obligation for any part of the bill. Plan benefits are complex and unique for each subscriber. You are responsible for knowing your unique benefits, coverages and limitations. Please contact your insurer for more comprehensive information.
Q: What causes tooth discoloration?
A: Discoloration may result from poor oral hygiene, medications such as tetracycline, aging, smoking, certain foods/drinks, or a combination of these factors.
Q: Is tooth whitening safe?
A: There are many options available—some are available over-the-counter like strips, toothpastes, and paint-on whiteners. Professional whitening can be performed in the office using a special light and strong bleaching gel, or it can be done at home via a tray you wear on your teeth during the daytime or overnight.
Q: What causes bad breath?
A: Bad breath can be caused by many conditions. Some causes include inadequate brushing and flossing, gum disease/periodontitis, certain foods that we eat, smoking, dry mouth, certain medications, and medical problems such as diabetes and respiratory infections. If you have bad breath, we can help you determine an underlying cause.
Q: What causes gingivitis?
A: When plaque and bacteria accumulate on your teeth, the acids produced can cause your gums to swell and bleed when you brush or floss. This condition is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is a reversible condition that usually clears up with better oral care.
Q: What is gum disease?
A: In some individuals, gingivitis can worsen to more serious stages of gum disease, also known as periodontitis. In the early stages of periodontitis, your gums may recede from your teeth and there may be mild loss of bone tissue. In the advanced stages, your teeth may loosen and you may develop bad breath and bad taste in your mouth. Your teeth may become very sensitive to hot and cold, and your gums may bleed and become swollen. Approximately 70% of all tooth loss in adults over 40 years old is caused by gum disease. A comprehensive examination and X-rays are critical to detecting early gum disease since conditions such as bone loss can become serious problems before they are visible in the mouth.
Q: What causes tooth sensitivity?
A: A very common condition, tooth sensitivity is discomfort while eating very hot, cold, sweet or sour foods or drinks. This may be due to receding gums, exposed roots, gum disease, tooth whitening, crown placements, deep fillings, grinding/gritting your teeth at nights, or even brushing too hard which can wear away gum tissue or tooth surfaces.
Q: Is smokeless tobacco safe?
A: Smokeless tobacco (also known as chewing tobacco, snuff, spit, or chew) contains nicotine and other cancer-causing addictive substances. While smokeless tobacco may sound safe, it isn’t.