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Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a detailed list of the most common questions people have about our practice, becoming a patient, and dental health in general. If you don’t see your question listed below, feel free to contact our office and a staff member will be happy to speak with you!

What can I expect at my first visit?

If you haven’t filled out new patient paperwork, we ask that you arrive 15 minutes early to do so before your appointment, or to save time, download, print, and complete the documents here. We will provide a comprehensive exam that may include dental X-rays, a periodontal evaluation, oral cancer screening, and assess for decay or defective restorations. Usually, an appropriate cleaning is selected and completed as well. Dr. Fast will review the findings of the exam, and explain any recommended treatment as well as answer any questions

Do you accept my insurance?

While we are only “in network” with Delta Dental Premiere, we will be happy to file MOST dental insurance claims. We can estimate what your insurance will pay, and ask you to pay any remaining balance. Please call or visit our office, and we’d be happy to discuss financial arrangements and your insurance with you.

Do you accept Medicaid?

Not at this time.

What forms of payment do you take?

We accept cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. We also offer financing through Care Credit.

How safe are dental X-rays?

We all receive some level of radiation every day, from the sun, soil, technology, appliances, and many other sources. New digital X-rays make it possible to capture images with very low radiation for a very short period of time. Also, we take every precaution to protect the rest of the body with lead aprons. Digital Dental X-rays are safe, and are an important part of maintaining dental wellness by providing early detection and treatment of needs while issues are smaller.

What is a cavity?

Plaque contains lots of bacteria. Those bacteria feed on the sugars in food, and produce acid as a by-product. When plaque isn’t brushed and flossed away from the tooth surface, the acid softens and erodes enamel, eventually creating a cavity or hole. Untreated cavities continue to grow and harbor bacteria until restored by a dentist.

What can I expect at a filling appointment?

At your filling appointment, the affected area is numbed, the decay removed from the affected tooth, and the missing tooth structure restored with a bonded cosmetic tooth-colored resin that is placed, shaped, and polished by the dentist.

What is a crown and why might I need one?

Sometimes crowns are indicated for teeth that are cracked, broken, or have such large fillings that the tooth is compromised and at risk of breaking. A crown acts like a cap or hat that completely surrounds the tooth and holds it all together. In most cases, we place metal-free crowns.

What are my options to replace missing teeth?

There are several ways to replace missing teeth. They may include dental implants, bridges, partial dentures or complete dentures. A complete dental exam, in addition to a consultation about your desires and concerns will help us offer you the best custom treatment plan to restore your smile and bite.

What happens if I have a toothache?

Toothaches can be caused for many reasons including cracked teeth, cavities getting close to the nerve, infections, broken fillings, poor bite, and night grinding. Call our office so that we can get you in as soon as possible to evaluate the cause of the pain and recommend treatment.

Can anything be done about bad breath and dry mouth?

Absolutely! We’d love to discuss diet, medications, and home care to evaluate the cause of these problems, in order to make effective recommendations for treatment.

How safe is whitening? Are there side effects?

Professional whitening works by lightening the teeth from the inside out, rather than using abrasive products to merely remove surface stains. Research has shown whitening to be totally safe for teeth. Occasionally, mild sensitivity may occur that is only temporary for the duration of the whitening treatment. Natural teeth can be lightened several shades, but old restorations will not lighten.

We make custom bleaching trays to fit your teeth, and provide products for you to use at home for the most comfortable and effective whitening. The trays are yours to keep if you ever want to “brighten things up” again at a later date.

What are sealants, and who needs them?

Sealants are thin resin coatings placed in pits and grooves of permanent teeth. The latest research recommends placing sealants on newly erupted posterior teeth (molars), especially in the most cavity-prone years as children and teenagers. These need to be checked regularly at cleaning appointments to be sure they aren’t chipped or broken.

I’ve been told before that I needed a deep cleaning. What’s that, and why would I need it?

Gum disease or gingivitis/periodontitis is a very common condition. Many factors contribute to it including age, hereditary factors, and health history, smoking, and oral hygiene habits (especially flossing). When tartar builds up and isn’t removed, it causes inflammation of the gum tissues and eventually bone loss around the teeth. Periodontal treatment is available that is effective in stabilizing and reversing this vicious cycle. That treatment may include a “deep cleaning” to gently remove tartar beneath the gum line.

When should kids see the dentist?

The American academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends all children see a dentist by age one, to establish a dental home. This initial visit is important for many reasons. An early foundation with a kid-friendly dental office can ward off dental anxiety later. Also, it’s important to monitor eruption of teeth, oral development and habits, and to counsel parents about appropriate oral hygiene and diet for children, even if they only have a few teeth. We love treating kids of all ages, and make every effort to provide a gentle, friendly, and fun experience.