Commonly Asked Questions
Q: What should I expect at my first appointment?
A: Your first visit is a very important one. We will be gathering a lot of data about you and your health. Please fill out your health history and personal information forms and bring them with you or arrive ten minutes before your appointment to fill them out. After a review of your general health and any dental concerns that you may have, your hygienist will obtain necessary x-rays and charting. This will provide us with baseline data to monitor your dental health in the upcoming years. It also allows for detection of underlying problems with your oral health such as decay, periodontal disease, etc. The hygienist will then proceed with the removal of plaque and calculus (tartar) and polishing of your teeth. Dr. Harkins will complete your visit with a detailed exam using all the information collected during your visit. He will address any dental concerns that you may have and discuss treatment options. Your comfort and health is our top priority and we encourage any questions you may have about your health.
Q: Why do you have to know so much about me? Can’t you just fix my tooth?
A: When administering dental care it is important to see the whole person. What is going on in a person’s mouth to cause them discomfort may be caused by another condition that the person may think is completely unrelated. For example, some medications cause a very dry mouth; lack of saliva in the mouth can cause a burning sensation and discomfort. Gastric reflux can cause tooth decay. Stress can lead to clenching and jaw pain. There are many conditions that can cause unique issues in the mouth.
Q: Why would I need a filling?
A: If you have decay in a tooth or if a tooth that already has a filling gets new decay or breaks, there is a need to remove the decay and place a filling. It is very important to remove the decay before it becomes advanced and penetrates the nerve supply of your tooth. Our fillings are tooth colored and very natural looking. If you are very prone to dental decay, we will discuss possible causes and discuss treatment options.
Q: What is a crown, and why can’t I just get a filling done instead?
A: A crown is a very stable restoration. When a tooth has been restored with a large filling or multiple fillings, its strength to normal mouth stresses is weakened. To make the tooth stronger, the doctor will recommend a crown. A crown is typically completed in two appointments. The first appointment will be preparing the tooth for the crown. This requires the tooth being shaped in a specific way to achieve a great fit and strength for your new crown. Impressions of the area will be sent to the lab. You will leave the office that day with a temporary crown covering the area. The dental lab will use your impressions to fabricate your crown out of extremely durable material. At your second visit, the temporary is removed and the new crown is placed. The crown is covering the root of the tooth and protecting it the way the enamel once did before it was decayed or broken.
Q: Do you make dentures?
A: Yes, we do make dentures (including implant retained dentures) and partials. There is a lot of artistry in our prosthetics. If you remember the smile you had when you were younger and you would like to have a smile that resembles it, we strongly encourage you to bring in old pictures. There will be a try in before the final denture is made and Dr. Harkins will fine tune your perfect smile before completing the denture making process.
Q: What can cause tooth sensitivity?
A: There are many causes for sensitive teeth. A thorough exam can help to pinpoint your individual cause or causes. Some examples are as follows: vigorous brushing technique using the wrong toothbrush or toothpaste, your diet (especially a diet high in acidic foods), large fillings or decay, gingival (gum) recession, etc.
Q: Do you accept my insurance?
A: We process almost all insurance claims. If you have any questions regarding your individual plan, we will be happy to answer them for you.
Q: Do you accept payment plans?
A: We accept Mastercard, Visa, Discover and American Express. We also have information and applications available for a service called Care Credit which is a credit card for health purposes.
Q: I’m afraid of going to the dentist!
A: At our practice, we are sensitive to the fact that many people are nervous about dental treatment. We take the utmost care to ensure that each patient’s experience is pleasant, safe and positive. We will talk with you about your concerns and address your needs accordingly. We want you to relax and actually enjoy your experience with us. We love being able to help our patients get the smile they have always wanted!