Frequently Ask Questions
Q: I really don’t like visiting the dentist; is there anything you can do to help me relax?
A: Many people are uncomfortable visiting the dentist. Your comfort is our highest priority, and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. We offer blankets, pillows, scented towels, heated neck rolls, and cable TV…or you are welcome to bring in a music device with headphones to enjoy during your appointment. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is also offered to keep you comfortable and relaxed.
Q: What is a crown, and why might I need one?
A: A crown is likely recommended to correct a broken tooth, to preventatively protect a tooth with cracks, or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). The decay in your tooth eats away at 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 to restore the look and function of your tooth, while allowing you to keep your natural, underlying tooth structure. Most crowns are precision-milled porcelain or full metal (gold or silver) and are individually customized for each tooth, giving you a natural, long lasting smile.
Digital X-rays (Radiographs)
Q: I know I need X-rays, but I’d prefer not to be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-rays?
A: Yes, we do offer digital X-rays. Digital X-rays use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film-based X-rays. You will find that in our dental practice, we research the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that best 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 in 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 we apply fluoride to your teeth (usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam) that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use any of the professional strength fluoride varnish, gel, or foam products carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Q: I just want my smile to look good. What are some options to help the appearance of my smile?
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 whitening or bonding treatments. Other smiles need porcelain veneers, crowns or bridges, gum contouring, periodontal therapy, or a combination of all these techniques. Dr. Kingsley or Dr. Peters will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals, your areas of concern, and the overall condition of your oral health. Contact us for a complimentary smile evaluation to determine what course of action will produce the best solution for you.
Q: What are my options to replace a missing tooth?
A: By replacing missing teeth either with a bridge or with an implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and will restore your smile to its beautiful, full appearance. A dental implant is an excellent solution! Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Once the post has integrated with 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 which can offer more function and permanence than traditional dentures.
A bridge is also a solution for replacing a tooth. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, the dentist places a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile.
New Patients/First Appointments
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 X-rays will be taken of your teeth to identify areas of decay, cracked teeth, and malfunctioning restorations. Our goal is to preserve as many 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―if possible, starting it that day.
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
- Credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, or Discover)
- CareCredit® – 6- or 12- month, no-interest payment plans, as well as extended payment plans with low interest rates
We are happy to estimate fees and insurance reimbursement 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 treatment 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.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Q: My gums bleed. Why is this?
A: Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed and often bleed during brushing or flossing. Timely treatment can reverse these conditions. However, if these conditions are ignored, your periodontal disease can worsen, becoming a condition called periodontitis. 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 diagnose and treat 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.
Q: My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?
A: It is certainly not desirable to have bleeding gums following brushing. 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 tarter 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: 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 help 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 all food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Emergency Visits (tooth pain)
Q: What can I expect when I call to make an appointment for a toothache?
A: At an emergency visit, you can expect our doctors to provide a limited exam, putting our focus on the tooth giving you pain. At this visit, they will usually require a diagnostic X-ray or two and will ask that you list all symptoms, as well as a time frame of the toothache. After the diagnosis is given, we will get you on your way to being pain-free―whether by referring you to an endodontist (root canal) or an oral surgeon, by providing you with antibiotic or pain medication (depending on situation), or by scheduling an appointment with us.
Q: I want my teeth to be whiter. What do you recommend?
A: Dentist-directed, at-home whitening is an effective way of brightening your smile. In either case, we customize the treatment to ensure your happiness with the results.
Your custom home-whitening kit involves a special tray that is customized to fit over your teeth. To do this, we first schedule an appointment to take impression models. After they are poured and ready, we schedule you to return to check their fit. You will also receive prescription whitening gel, which is inserted into the tray before you wear it. Dr. Kingsley or Dr. Peters will give you detailed instructions about how long you should wear the tray each day, and you should expect the entire home-whitening process to take between two and four weeks, leaving you with a dazzling white smile!
Besides customized trays, we also offer a 10-pack of Opalescence® Go trays. You do not need an appointment to purchase the trays. They are not customized, so anyone can use them. Feel free to call us or to ask us about tooth whitening at your next appointment if you would like additional information!
Q: As an older adult, do I really need to worry about my dental care?
A: Yes. No matter what your age, you deserve to look and feel healthy. A strong, beautiful, and functioning smile plays a major role in the quality of your life as you age. You will appreciate a better diet, a younger appearance, and greater confidence. We tend to find that our older adult population is usually taking a lot of medications which can lead to dry mouth causing dental decay (cavities). This is why timely check-ups and cleanings are so very important even in your later years.
It is always best to act sooner rather than later. You may enjoy your new, healthy smile 10, 20, or 30 years or more, and you can save yourself from having to undergo more complicated, intrusive care down the road by scheduling regular check-ups.
Q: Why did my dentist refer me to an Endodontist for my root canal?
A: Most patients are referred to a specialty endodontic (root canal) office for diagnosis, management, and treatment of both routine and complex endodontic problems and for providing endodontic treatment for patients with special needs, including: children, patients requiring sedation for management of fear and anxiety, or patients with severe gag reflex or TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). Dr. Kingsley and Dr. Peters have referred you because they want to ensure that you are provided with the optimal care you deserve. Endodontists are dentists with at least two additional years of advanced training in endodontics. They specialize in saving teeth through endodontic procedures, including root canal treatment and endodontic microsurgery. Endodontists are skilled in identifying the cause of oral and facial pain. They are also experts at managing and relieving tooth pain and infections.
At the specialty offices we refer you to, advanced technology such as microscopes, digital imaging, and cone beam CT imaging are used to perform these special services. We understand you are financially putting a lot of money into your teeth, and we strive for predictable and successful outcomes.