Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Are dental x-rays really needed?
- Why do I need to floss every day?
- How often should I get my teeth cleaned?
- Why is fluoride so important?
- Why would I need a root canal?
- Why are sealants recommended for my child’s teeth?
- Why is it necessary to extract wisdom teeth, especially in teens?
- The last time I was at the dental office, I waited ten minutes while other people were taken back. Why did others get to go before me?
- What is the “Usual and Customary” fee paid by my insurance company? And if my insurance company pays 100%, why do I still receive a charge?
- Why do some services cost different amounts under the same insurance company?
- How can I contact the doctor in an after-hours emergency?
Are dental x-rays really needed?
Yes. X-rays are extremely valuable to evaluate the condition of the teeth, bones, roots and the areas in between the teeth where the teeth touch, and to help detect oral diseases. An x-ray can reveal small cavities, impacted teeth and infections that can’t be seen by the visual exam.
The digital radiography system used in our dental practice allows us to obtain instant x-rays while reducing the patient’s exposure to radiation by as much as ninety percent. We provide this level of care to our valued patients because digital x-rays are quicker, safe and more convenient than traditional x-rays. We have the ability to enhance and magnify digital x-rays, which greatly aids our ability to diagnose and assess any problems. Also, because these films are digital, they can be easily sent electronically to a specialist if necessary.
Why do I need to floss every day?
The bacteria that cause tooth decay produces a glue type substance that sticks to teeth. After you brush and floss, it takes about 24 hours for bacteria to reattach to the teeth. Therefore, if you floss every 24 hours, the bacteria doesn’t have time to do any damage.
Floss is the only tool that gets to the area where teeth touch. Floss is also the only tool that is able to reach the gums between the teeth. Floss disturbs the bacteria in the gum pockets around your teeth. This prevents gum disease.
How often should I get my teeth cleaned?
Different periodontal conditions require different intervals between cleanings. Healthy teeth or teeth with mild gingivitis usually require cleanings every six months. The more gum pockets you have, the more places you have for bacteria to hide under your gums and the harder it is for you to maintain healthy gums. In these instances, three or four month interval cleanings may be in order to prevent further periodontal damage.
Why is fluoride so important?
Fluoride is one of the most effective elements for preventing tooth decay. The primary benefits of fluoride are remineralization – a process that can reverse the beginnings of decay, and strengthening the tooth’s surface, making it more resistant to decay.
The easiest way to get fluoride protection is by drinking water containing the right amount of the mineral. Fluoride toothpastes and over-the-counter mouth rinses that carry the American Dental Association (ADA) seal are safe and effective.
Why would I need a root canal?
Root canal procedures save teeth when the pulp is diseased or injured and unable to repair itself. This can happen from a pattern of tooth grinding, injury or trauma or even from a well-made, large filling. Bacteria within the deep cavity or fracture lead to infection of a tooth’s pulp. An abscess forms at the root tip causing discomfort, swelling and even bond damage. Root canal treatment can safely and comfortable save the tooth that otherwise would have to be removed.
Why are sealants recommended for my child’s teeth?
Decay is caused by plaque, a thin sticky colorless film that constantly forms on everyone’s teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack enamel. Sealant is a clear-shaded plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth – premolars and molars where decay occurs most often. This area is often missed by children when brushing teeth, and thus sealants reduce the occurrence of cavities.
Why is it necessary to extract wisdom teeth, especially in teens?
Wisdom teeth should not be removed in all circumstances. Each case should be evaluated by a dentist. However, wisdom teeth are often removed because they are in many cases nonfunctional. This third molar may begin to erupts and cause crowding of teeth and are susceptible to decay and gum infection.
When extractions are recommended, it is far easier to remove them at age 18-19 rather than later on in life since the roots continue to form and may “lock-in” the teeth. Often the removal of wisdom teeth is referred to a specialist, due to the location and possible complications.
The last time I was at the dental office, I waited ten minutes while other people were taken back. Why did others get to go before me?
At times the hygiene rooms are running on time and the Doctor’s rooms are a little behind. If your appointment is with the dentist, you may see other patients going ahead of you. However, these patients are scheduled to see someone else and are not being given a higher priority than you.
We know that your time is valuable, and we strive to be on time for your appointments. We schedule restorative and hygiene patients in advance so that our time is used efficiently. At times we may need to respond to patients with emergencies unexpectedly.
Our policy is to keep you informed of our schedule changes. We appreciate too, our patients keeping us informed if your schedule changes. Twenty-four hours advance notice gives us time to make any necessary adjustments.
What is the “Usual and Customary” fee paid by my insurance company? And if my insurance company pays 100%, why do I still receive a charge?
Insurance companies determine the usual and customary fee. Each insurance company allows a different fee amount for any given procedure. In general, insurance companies do not survey dentists to calculate the allowable fee. Additionally, allowable fees do not keep up with the rate of inflation on a consistent basis. We calculate our fees to be reasonable and fair.
The fees that your insurance company pays are the contract established between you and the insurance company. If your insurance plan has a “copay” (that is a fee that the patient must pay in order to receive a service), it is insurance fraud if the dentist does not charge this. Thus, resulting in the potential loss of the dentist’s license to practice. Should you have any questions regarding your billing, please contact our office.
Why do some services cost different amounts under the same insurance company?
Each insurance company offers many different plans with many different levels of benefits. It is important to study the booklet you receive from your company regarding your insurance. We can assist you by checking on your insurance benefits via a computer program. However, we cannot guarantee the information we receive is completely accurate.
It is important to note the maximum amount your insurance will pay each year. This is known as your annual maximum. We keep track of all dental charges made in our office. And we will work with you to help you get the most out of your insurance benefits.