Dental Care Questions:

How often should I go to the dentist?

Everyone should see a dentist twice yearly or every six months, as the American Dental Association recommends. Prevention is key, and regular visits with your dentist will meet your oral health needs and identify any dental problems early enough to provide effective treatment. You’ll receive scheduled cleanings, exams, and the opportunity to ask questions about your oral hygiene. Regular visits to your dentist will help prevent potential problems and keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

Are X-rays really necessary?

The quick answer is yes, they are! X-rays are crucial in identifying decay and other dental abnormalities that the naked eye cannot see easily. X-rays help us detect structural issues with your teeth and determine if some orthodontic treatments are necessary. Not everyone will need an X-ray; their frequency will depend on your dental condition.

Why do I need a crown instead of a filling?

When your tooth suffers from decay, trauma, or an infection, Dr. Chang may recommend a dental crown.

You may wonder why a filling is not sufficient for your tooth. This is because more tooth structure has been affected than a filling can repair. A filling replaces an older restoration that has broken down or repairs decay that has been allowed to progress into your tooth's pulp or nerve.

Whatever the case, a crown restores your entire tooth structure, protecting your natural root. A crown will mimic your tooth in shape and shade, so it naturally complements your smile and isn't noticeable. It will also function like your natural tooth, meaning brushing, flossing, eating, and chewing remain the same as you are used to.

If you need a crown, don’t delay your treatment to avoid further damage. Contact our office today to schedule your next appointment.

What are porcelain veneers, and how can they improve my smile?

Porcelain veneers are paper-thin porcelain shells shaped like teeth that are personalized to cover the fronts of teeth. They are hardwearing and stain-resistant, making them a top-rated solution for those seeking a beautiful, healthy smile.

Veneers may restore or correct the following dental conditions:

  1. Severely discolored or stained teeth
  2. Unwanted or uneven spaces
  3. Worn or chipped teeth
  4. Slight tooth crowding
  5. Misshapen teeth
  6. Teeth that are too small or large

Getting veneers takes two visits. The dentist will make an impression (mold) of your teeth that goes to a professional dental laboratory. Each veneer matches the shape and color of your adjacent teeth.

With little or no anesthesia, the dentist prepares the teeth by lightly buffing and shaping the front surface of the teeth to give space for the small thickness of veneers. Special bonding cement helps the veneer fit and bond to the tooth’s surface. Occasionally a specialized light may harden and set the bond.

If you want the bright smile of your dreams, veneers can dramtically improve your teeth.

How to tell if I have gingivitis or periodontal disease (gum disease)?

Most people are unaware of having periodontal disease because you usually won't feel pain in the early stages. Tooth decay often causes discomfort, but you can have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations help detect problems.

Periodontal disease happens when residue, such as plaque, a sticky, colorless film of bacteria, food, and saliva, stays behind on the teeth and gums. This bacteria creates toxins (acids) that aggrvate the gums and destroy the bone slowly. Brush and floss regularly and properly to ensure that plaque is not left behind.

  1. Other than poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease may result from several other factors, including:
  2. Smoking or chewing tobacco – Tobacco users are likelier than non-users to have unhealthy plaque and tartar on their teeth.
  3. Certain tooth or appliance conditions such as bridges that no longer fit, crowded teeth, or defective fillings may trap plaque and bacteria.
  4. Many medications such as steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure meds, oral contraceptives have side effects that reduce saliva production, making the mouth dry and plaque produce easier.
  5. Changes in hormone levels, resulting from pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty can cause gum tissue to become more sensitive to bacteria.
  6. Systemic diseases – Like diabetes, blood cell disorders, and HIV / AIDS, among others.
  7. Genetics may contribute – Some patients may experience a more aggressive type of periodontitis if they have a family history of tooth loss.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

  1. Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
  2. Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
  3. Persistent bad breath – Results from bad bacteria in the mouth
  4. New spacing between teeth – Results from bone loss
  5. Loose teeth – Results from bone loss or weak tooth fibers
  6. Pus around the teeth and gums – Signify an infection
  7. Receding gums – Gum loss surrounding a tooth
  8. Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria can irritate the gums and teeth.

Safeguard yourself against developing periodontal disease by maintaining proper oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and consistent dental visits.

Someone in my family plays sports. How should we protect our teeth?

A mouth guard should be a top priority on your list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth protectors, or mouth guards, contain soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth. They protect your teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouth guard works better than no mouth guard, but a custom-fitted mouth guard fitted by our doctor is your best protection against sports-related injuries.

Insurance Questions:

My insurance plan does not go into effect until next month. Why won’t my dentist do my treatment today and then send in the claim next month so my insurance will cover the treatment?

It would be insurance fraud to charge for services not provided on the date listed on an insurance claim. Both the patient and dentist can be prosecuted for this. While we will do everything possible to obtain dental benefits for you, we will not falsify documents or the need for treatment.

I received an explanation of benefits that says my treatment exceeds the “usual, reasonable, and customary.” Does this mean I’m getting charged too much?

No. Insurance companies have a fee schedule that is not based on complete and comprehensive dental needs. Rather, the fee schedule is based on arbitrary fees on a zip code basis. Your dental insurance company’s bottom line is profit margin, while we are concerned about helping your dental and oral health.

My insurance plan says that my exams and certain other procedures are covered 100 percent. Is that true?

That 100 percent usually refers to what the insurance industry allows under a “usual, reasonable, and customary” clause, not what your dentist or a dentist in your area charge. A “usual, reasonable, and customary” fee schedule is based on your geographic location in the country, not the type of care to help you keep your teeth.

Will you file my insurance claims for me?

Yes, we file all insurance except Medicaid and discount plans. We will file all other insurance if you provide our staff with the current insurance information (policy number, mailing address, phone number, and a copy of your dental insurance card). Our financial coordinator will prepare, and mail claims for a treatment provided, and our treatment coordinator will prepare and mail pre-determinations as you request, with the necessary documentation provided.

Does your office offer financing for services provided?

Please contact us to discuss our options to make your perfect smile today!