Clearwater Dentistry

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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That is okay! We offer an in-house discount for self pay patients without dental insurance and patients who carry out of network insurance plans with no out of network benefit coverage. Our Dental Savings Plan (DSP) will save you 25% off exams, x-rays, and treatment.

We are in-network with most traditional insurance plans and PPOs. We are out of network with most HMO plans and all Medicaid plans. Please contact our office to verify acceptance of your plan. We gather your dental insurance plan information when you schedule an appointment and will call your insurance to verify coverage prior to your appointment as a courtesy. HMO patients and Medicaid patients are eligible for our Dental Savings Plan!

Your appointment time is reserved specifically for you and for you only. Because of this, missed appointments or late cancellations are extremely limiting for care that could be provided to other patients. As a result, we require at least 24 hours notice in advance if you will not be able to make your appointment. Repeated missed appointments or late cancellations may result in fees or dismissal as a patient. 

 

FAILURE TO CANCEL AN APPOINTMENT WITHIN 24 HOURS OR MISSING AN APPOINTMENT WILL RESULT IN A $50 CHARGE PER 45 MINUTE APPOINTMENT.

We accept all major credit cards, cash, Apple Pay, check and CareCredit* (apply online at www.carecredit.com or in our office). *Some restrictions apply.

YES! We are glad to file services provided to your insurance company as a courtesy and accept assignment of benefits. However, if the insurance company does not pay after 60 days, it may be your responsibility to pay for the services and resubmit for the insurance on your own. You are responsible for payment of any services applied to your deductible and for payment of any amount over your annual maximum allowance which includes dental services performed in this office, as well as any other offices.

Cleanings & Checkups

New Patients 

 

Yes. A dentist must conduct a comprehensive oral exam and a full mouth series of X-rays (commonly called an FMX) to determine what type of cleaning is needed. Cleanings are typically not completed on the same day as the exam as cleaning appointments can vary from 30 min - 90 min depending on your needs.  We do not know how much time to schedule with the hygienist until you are evaluated by the doctor and a periodontal diagnosis has been made. If you have had a recent FMX within the last year from another provider, you may have them emailed over to our office prior to your appointment. 

 

Established Patients

 

Yes. A dentist shall conduct a dental examination on a patient within 13 months after a dental hygienist removes the patient’s calculus deposits, accretions, and stains from exposed surfaces of the teeth or from tooth surfaces within the gingival sulcus. X-rays are taken yearly during your exam as part of our team’s commitment to your thorough oral health care.

We recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice daily using good technique. Our skilled dental hygienists will be happy to review your technique with you and give you pointers to help you improve to get the most out of your home-care routine.

Even with excellent hygiene habits, it's easy to miss small areas of your teeth. Over time, the missed plaque will harden into tartar, which can only be removed with a dental hygienist's tools. When tartar accumulates beneath the gumline, the end result is red, puffy, inflamed gums — the beginnings of periodontal disease. 

X-rays are a dentist's most important diagnostic tool. Often, problems start inside your teeth or beneath the gumline. By the time the problem is visible to the naked eye, it can be painful and more difficult to treat. Using x-rays taken on a regular basis, we can catch problems early and treat them quickly and comfortably.

There are three types of dental cleanings: 1. A regular cleaning (prophy), 2. A more robust cleaning (debridement), or 3. Deep cleaning (scaling root planing). Insurance policies typically cover regular cleaning (prophy) is sufficient if you have healthy or mildly inflamed gums. The more robust cleaning (debridement) would be needed if you have severely inflamed gums with tarter/plaque build-up on the teeth that cannot be removed with a regular cleaning. Lastly, a deep cleaning (scaling root planing) would be warranted if there is severe inflammation and bone loss, which can be seen on x-rays. Your dentist will determine which of these cleaning is most appropriate for ensuring cleanliness and health of your teeth. 

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings bond directly to your tooth, which results in less healthy tooth removal. Amalgam fillings require additional drilling to provide anchors for the solid amalgam. Composite fillings are not as hard and inflexible as amalgam fillings, which means stresses caused from biting and chewing can be distributed more naturally and reduce the risk of your tooth cracking.

Yes. Unlike amalgam fillings, tooth-colored fillings are a custom-mixed resin composite. The composite mixture is matched to your tooth color and bonded directly to the tooth. This usually results in a filling that is nearly indistinguishable from your natural tooth.

Most insurance companies will cover composite fillings up to the cost of a silver amalgam filling. You may be responsible for the difference in cost between the more expensive composite filling and the amalgam filling. Our office will happily review your insurance coverage and discuss your financial options with you.

If the chip in your tooth is small and located in the right place, we may be able to repair it using dental bonding. Our doctor will perform an exam to determine if dental bonding can benefit you.

Small dental flaws, such as gaps between your teeth, can sometimes be fixed with cosmetic dental bonding. Bonding is a cost-effective treatment that is non-invasive and effective. To determine if your particular problem can be solved with dental bonding, call our office to schedule an exam.

Dental bonding is one of the most affordable cosmetic treatments available. Because it is non-invasive, requires less prep work on your tooth, and eliminates the need for a dental lab, it is very affordable for many of our patients.

Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is a very effective solution for filling the space left by a missing tooth. It is basically a single dental restoration that usually includes two dental crowns and a replacement tooth (pontic) that fills the empty space. The dental crowns are secured to adjacent teeth on either side of the empty space and provide support for the artificial tooth.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are designed to be very durable and to function much like your own teeth. You need to use common sense, however, and avoid biting down directly on foods like hard candy or nuts. A broken crown is not just costly to replace, but you may also damage underlying healthy tooth structure.

Modern dental materials and technology have dramatically improved the appearance of dental crowns and bridges. The porcelain used in today’s crowns and bridges can be color-matched to blend perfectly with the shade of your natural teeth. With proper placement, your dental restoration should be virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth.

Dentures

At first, your dentist may recommend that you wear your dentures to sleep. This will speed up your mouth’s adjustment to the dentures and allow you to quickly detect and correct any spots where the fit is uncomfortable. After your mouth has adjusted to the dentures, they may be worn throughout the day and removed while you sleep.

Yes. When you first get your dentures, you will need to start with soft foods and slowly introduce harder foods as you get used to biting and chewing with the dentures in. Chew gently and take smaller bites to avoid loosening the dentures as you eat.

It will take your mouth some time to get used to the feel of dentures. After a few months, however, you will feel comfortable eating and talking with your dentures in and experience little to no soreness or discomfort. If you ever do experience soreness or if your dentures aren’t fitting right, please let us know.

Emergency Dentistry

If you are in pain, then you are having a dental emergency. Call us right away so that we can examine you, diagnose the problem, and create a treatment plan. Other signs that indicate the need for an emergency appointment include:

  • A pimple-like lesion on your gum
  • A broken or cracked tooth
  • A foreign object lodged between your teeth
  • Swelling in the gum
  • A broken or lost dental restoration such as a filling or a crown

Yes, we always try to make accommodations for you while you are in the office.

Yes, we always try to see you as soon as we can! 

We will do our very best to get you in the same day for dental emergencies. If this is not possible, we will see you the next business day at the latest.

The goal of an emergency dental appointment is to address the immediate need, resolve your problem, and relieve your pain. If we believe further care is needed, we will schedule you a regular appointment to follow up and set up an appropriate treatment plan to prevent future problems.

General Dentistry

While teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is very common among adults, it can cause serious damage to your teeth and jaw joints. If you wake up with sore muscles or you have noticed that you clench or grind your teeth, we can make a night guard to help protect your teeth.

No. Most forms of dental sedation will leave you drowsy but conscious and able to voluntarily move and speak. 

Depending on the type of local anesthetic used and how your body digests the anesthetic it could take 4-6 hours. During this time, refrain from eating on the side that is numb as this could lead to accidentally biting your lips and causing trauma. 

Gum Disease

In its earliest stages, we can reverse gum disease by improving your hygiene routine and adding in an antimicrobial treatment. Once gum disease has progressed past a certain point, however, the disease is not reversible. We can still provide treatment that will stop the disease in its tracks and prevent further deterioration of your gum and bone tissue.

Coming in for regular cleanings with one of our excellent dental hygienists will help keep your gums in great shape, but what you do at home matters as well. Brush twice daily and floss every evening. Our hygienists will be happy to show you good brushing and flossing technique.

Other steps you can take to prevent gum disease include:

  • Don't smoke or chew tobacco
  • Eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash. We'll be happy to recommend one.
  • If you have a health condition that can affect your dental health such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, please let us know so that we can take extra steps to help keep your gums healthy.

The appropriate treatment for your gum disease will vary depending on how far your disease has progressed and any contributing factors such as hygiene and other health conditions. Some of the treatments recommended for gum disease include:

  • An increased dedication to excellent oral hygiene
  • Antimicrobial rinses and other products
  • An antibiotic medication that is placed in the gum pockets
  • Deep cleaning (scaling and root planing)
  • Laser therapy
  • Gum surgery

We will discuss your situation with you and recommend the treatment that we believe will be the most appropriate for your unique needs.

Implant Restorations

Dental implants are intended to blend in seamlessly with your natural teeth.

One of the advantages of this is that you can brush them and floss them the same as you would with your regular teeth. While implants never get cavities (and never need root canals!), you still want to continue brushing and flossing to keep your natural teeth and your gums healthy.

While dental implants do tend to cost more than bridges or dentures, they are also the most life-like, stable, and functional replacement, closely mimicking the appearance and function of your natural teeth. They also last longer, which can save you money in the long run. Call our office today to schedule your consultation.

We place implants using guided surgery and also perform minor bone grafting as needed to build bone support for an implant.

Root Canals

Understanding the process can often remove a great deal of the fear surrounding dental procedures. During a root canal, the goals of treatment are to stop the infection, prevent further damage, and relieve your pain.

We begin by making sure that you are numb and comfortable. The next step is to open your tooth. We then use special instruments to carefully and thoroughly clean out the infection from your tooth and remove the infected or damaged nerve. If necessary, we may place an antibiotic treatment to prevent re-infection.

The cavity in your tooth will be filled and sealed, and a crown may be placed. You may experience some soreness following the procedure as part of your body’s natural reaction to any type of perceived injury, but this will quickly fade and you will feel much better.

When the interior of your tooth is infected, it can cause a lot of pain and is likely to damage the nerve. If left untreated, the infection could spread to other teeth. Root canal therapy removes the infection and relieves the pain, restoring the tooth and allowing us to save

To the general public, root canal treatments get a bad reputation and are synonymous with pain. Reason being, if you need a root canal treatment it is because your tooth's nerve has been compromised which results in pain and infection. The root canal procedure itself is pain-free with the use of local anesthetics. Afterward, you can expect some discomfort during the healing process. 

Teeth Whitening

While the whitening kits you can find at your local drugstore cost less than professional kits, the truth is that this is a case where you get what you pay for. Drugstore whitening kits are designed to be "one size fits all," which often translates to "one size fits none." The strengths are much lower than what you can get in a professional kit, meaning that you must use the product for a longer period of time and are still unlikely to get the results you can find in a professional product. Additionally, your results are not being monitored by the dentist you know and

It shouldn't. 

Most professional whitening products contain an added desensitizing ingredient that protects even sensitive teeth and keeps you comfortable during the process. Additionally, the customizable nature of professional whitening treatments prevents the product from coming into contact with soft tissues like your gums, lips, and tongue. 

If your teeth are very sensitive, please talk to us so that we can help you determine whether whitening is appropriate for you.

Tooth Extraction/Wisdom Tooth Removal

We are in the business of protecting teeth. When we recommend a dental extraction, it is only because no other option exists and we need to remove your tooth to relieve symptoms or to protect your oral health. A dental extraction is not the end of the world, though it does create some concerns for our patients. We are here to help. While you may have some anxiety about you dental extraction, we always strive to provide gentle, comfortable treatment by using appropriate levels of anesthetic to make sure you don’t feel any pain. Losing a tooth can cause concern about your smile and being able to eat the food you need to stay healthy and that you enjoy. We offer many tooth-replacement options to complete your smile. We will go over all of your options at your appointment and start an appropriate plan to have you feeling yourself again as quickly as possible. Dental extractions are sometimes avoidable with preventive and restorative dentistry. If you notice something is wrong or if you feel any symptoms, including pain or swelling, contact us right away. Acting fast will often give us the opportunity to save your tooth. Give us a call to schedule a dental appointment.

One of the priorities in our dental office is to provide comfortable, gentle dentistry for our patients. Dental extraction treatment is no different. Before we begin, we will discuss your history with dental care. If you have difficulty getting numb, let us know. We can take some extra time anesthetizing your tooth to make sure you have a comfortable experience. Gentle care is important to us and since each patient is different, we will discuss any concerns you may have before we even begin.

It is normal to have some discomfort and swelling following a dental extraction. Typically, this can be addressed with over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen. We will talk to you about dosing recommendations and what to expect as you recover. Fortunately, the human mouth heals fairly quickly, as long as you avoid certain behaviors such as smoking and drinking through a straw following treatment.

You will likely feel a dramatic improvement in a couple of days and will feel completely healed within a week or two. We will schedule a follow-up exam to monitor your healing and make sure that everything is on track. We will be here with you every step of the way.

We also offer a number of options for replacing missing teeth, if necessary. Contact us for an appointment and we will go over everything with you, so you feel comfortable with your dental treatment.

You can expect discomfort for the next two weeks as the extraction site is clotting but it takes up to 4-6 months for the bone to fill the extraction site and to fully stabilize and heal. At that time, you have the option to begin teeth replacement treatment (for example, permanent denture treatment or implant placement). 

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