What does my dental plan cover?

This is perhaps one of the most complex questions we are asked on a daily basis and unfortunately there is no simple answer. There are over 50 dental insuring companies that we work with on a regular basis and each one offers a multitude of plans. All of those plans have varying levels of coverage and usually many limitations to the types and frequency of treatment they will pay for. We act as a third party for you when dealing with your dental plan. The insurance offered you is, actually a contract between the insuring company, your employer and yourself. As a courtesy we will try to obtain as much information as possible prior to your appointment and then bill your dental plan directly for any portion they will cover. We always strive to give you a full estimate before proceeding with any treatment so that you are aware of[…..]

Why do my old silver fillings look black?

The silver (amalgam) fillings that were used for many years contained a mixture of metal alloy containing, silver, tin, copper and mercury. As with many metals that are exposed to a wet environment they will begin to break down and oxidize, often times turning black. When this happens the filling itself is weakened and shrinks, which allows bacteria to enter the gaps and create new decay. Your regular exam and hygiene visits allow us to check any fillings you have and look for new leakage and decay. Our office has elected to no longer use silver (amalgam) fillings for our patients, following many studies and concerns related to the mercury they contain. In 2007 when our new office was built we followed protocol requiring the installment of a mercury trap to contain and collect any waste from old fillings. This is then removed from our office on a routine basis[…..]

Are x-rays really necessary?

X-rays allow your doctor to see any underlying issues, between the teeth and under the gums, that are not visible with the naked eye. With-out them we cannot really diagnose the state of your oral health. Your doctor will usually wish to have regular Bitewing x-rays once per year to monitor any changes that might be taking place and a larger Panorex x-ray one time every 5 years. The Bitewing x-rays allow us to diagnose decay and check bone levels and the Panorex can point to much larger issues. With more complex treatments such as orthodontics or implants your doctor may request more comprehensive diagnostic tools such as a Cephlometric or ConeBeam CT Scan. We understand patients concern about radiation exposure. That is why we have moved to a digital x-ray system in 2007 that only uses about 1/10th of the amount of radiation that any of the older systems[…..]

Why do I need to come every 6 months for exam and cleaning?

Dentists recommend regular exam and hygiene (cleaning) appointments so we can help you maintain a healthy mouth through a preventive program. Your regular 6 month exam and hygiene visits allow the doctor and hygienist to note any changes in both your teeth and gums. In this way we can catch problems when they are small and before they become for difficult, uncomfortable and often times more expensive. It sometimes can indicate greater problems with your overall health. We compare it to having regular maintenance on your vehicle, sort of like a tune-up for your mouth. In fact, we usually tailor and schedule the appointments based on each person’s individual needs. This may mean some people come more frequently and others can wait a little longer between visits, although never more than one year. Patients are often concerned about what their plan will cover, and although plans may have a limit[…..]