Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What insurance plans does your office accept?
A: We are providers for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and Delta Dental Premiere. We are considered out-of-network for all others, but are happy to file for you as a courtesy. We have many patients who have other insurance plans and choose to come to our office because of the exceptional quality of care we provide. However, we are not accepting patients with TennCare. We ask that you realize that we do not work for an insurance company. Rather we work 100% for our patients. We feel that insurance can be a great benefit for many patients and want you to know we will do everything in our power to ensure you get every benefit allotted in your insurance contract. However, the treatment we recommend and the fees we charge will always be based on your individual needs, not your insurance coverage.
Q: Which type of toothbrush should I use?
A: The brand of the toothbrush is not as critical as the type of bristle and the size of the head. A soft toothbrush with a small head is recommended because medium and hard brushes tend to cause irritation and contribute to recession of the gums, and a small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. It's unnecessary to "scrub" the teeth as long as you are brushing at least twice a day and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings.
Q: Is one toothpaste better than others?
A: Generally, no. However, it's advisable to use a fluoride containing toothpaste to decrease the incidence of dental decay. We recommend our patients use what tastes good to them as long as it contains fluoride.
Q: How often should I floss?
A: Flossing of the teeth once per day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can't reach. Flossing also helps to keep your gums healthy.
Q: How can I make my smile look its absolute best?
A: If your teeth already look balanced and symmetrical, but are too yellow, brown, gray, or stained, then the best solution is tooth whitening. In two to four weeks, teeth whitening can completely change your look. On the other hand, if your front teeth are a little too short, spaced unevenly, chipped, cracked, stained, filled with all kinds of fillings, or your teeth genetic make-up was just not as good as the rest of your genetic make-up, then using dental veneers will definately give you the best end result. If there are just isolated problems, but the rest of your teeth look great, then direct resin composite can easily correct this. Sometimes, we will bleach all the teeth, and then use dental veneers or composite resin to improve localized areas, and match the new, whiter shade. There are an unlimited number of combinations of services to help attain a spectacular look, and dental veneers and tooth whitening can give our patients' smile a complete makeover.
Q: Why can't I just wait until my teeth break or hurt, and then I have them fixed?
A: Yes, you could. And many people do this. But, once teeth begin to fail, or have fractured, many times the subsequent dental work is more extensive and expensive than if these same teeth were restored and reinforced earlier. In restoring these teeth earlier, we can avoid future root canal therapy, extraction, surgery, and bridges. The savings in money, time, and aggravation can be enormous.
Q: What's the difference between a "crown" and a "cap"?
A: These are restorations to repair a severely broken tooth by covering all or most of the tooth after removing old fillings, fractured tooth structure, and all decay. The restoration material is made of gold, porcelain, composites, or even stainless steel. Dentists refer to all of these restorations as "crowns". However, patients often refer to the tooth-colored ones as "caps" and the gold or stainless steel ones as "crowns".
Q: What's the difference between a "bridge" and a "partial denture"?
A: Both bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth. A bridge is permanently attached to abutment teeth or, in some cases, implants. A partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and is easily removed by the patient. Patients are usually more satisfied with bridges than with partial dentures.
Q: What about "silver" fillings versus "white" fillings?
A: Although the U.S. Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver fillings), more patients today are requesting "white" or tooth-colored composite fillings. We also prefer tooth-colored fillings because they "bond" to the tooth structure and therefore help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay. While fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature, and they also look better. However, "white" fillings cannot be used in every situation, and if a tooth is very badly broken-down, a crown will usually be necessary and provide better overall satisfaction for the patient.
Q: Do I need to have a root canal just because I have to have a crown?
A: No. While most teeth which have had root canal treatments do need crowns to strengthen the teeth and to return the teeth to normal form and function, not every tooth needing a crown also needs to have a root canal.