Q: I really do not like visiting the dentist, is there anything you can do to help me relax?
A: Many people are uncomfortable with visiting the dentist. Your comfort is our highest priority and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. For entertainment and distraction, you are more than welcome to listen to music on your handheld device. Nitrous oxide and oral sedation are also offered to keep you comfortable and relaxed.
Q: What is a crown and why do I need one?
A: If your doctor has recommended a crown to you, it is likely either to correct a broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). The decay in your tooth eats away healthy tooth structure much like rust eats away at metal. If not removed, decay will deteriorate the tooth to the point where extraction is the only viable treatment option. Sometimes, decay is removed leaving healthy tooth structure, but not much of it. A crown can then be placed, restoring the look and function of your tooth while allowing you to keep your natural, underlying tooth structure. Most crowns are porcelain or full metal (gold or silver) and are individually customized for each application in each patient, giving you a natural, long lasting smile.
Q: I know I need X-Rays, but I’d prefer to not be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-Rays?
A: Yes, we do offer digital X-Rays. Digital X-Rays use far less radiation than traditional film X-Rays. You will find that at Bruggeman Dentistry, we research the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that promote your overall health, safety and comfort.
Q: How does fluoride help my teeth?
A: Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults by halting tooth decay. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation. Fluoride is a safe chemical component when used correctly. When your dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam, that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use any of the professional strength, fluoride varnishes, gels or foam products carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Q: I just want my smile to look good. What are some options to help the appearance of my smile?
A: You are not alone. Most people want to have a nice smile since it is the first thing others notice about you. You may be interested in a few minor adjustments or may have concerns that need more attention. Some smiles can be enhanced with simple whitening or bonding treatments. Other smiles need porcelain veneers, crowns or bridges; gum contouring; minor tooth movement or a combination of all these techniques. Your dentist will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals, areas of concern and the overall condition of your oral health.
Q: I want my front teeth to look better but I don’t want to wear braces. What would you recommend?
A: Dr. Bruggeman has a number of ways to improve the look of your front teeth without the use of braces. For slight crooked teeth or unevenly worn teeth, a bit of reshaping and the addition of porcelain veneers may be sufficient to give them a bright, uniform look. We would be happy to talk with you further about the option that best suits your individual needs.
Q: How can losing a back tooth affect my smile?
A: Losing a back tooth will darken your overall smile making it look smaller and narrower. Your smile will appear to stop short, and the look will be exaggerated if your missing tooth has teeth on both sides of it. Function during chewing will be reduced and function of many teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth. When you are missing a tooth, you compensate by chewing differently, putting pressure on different parts of your mouth. This can cause your other teeth to shift, creating gaps and spaces and may even cause fractures that result in additional tooth loss or the need for restorations.
Q: What are my options to replace a missing tooth?
A: By replacing missing teeth either with a bridge or implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and give your smile back its beautiful, full appearance. A bridge is one solution for replacing a tooth. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, your dentist at Graham Family Dentistry places a tooth-colored restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile. A dental implant is also an excellent solution. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Once the post has integrated to the bone, it can act as a new, solid support for a natural looking, porcelain restoration. Implants can replace a single tooth, or an entire set of teeth, offering more function and permanence than traditional dentures.
Q: What can I expect from my first appointment?
A: During your first appointment, your overall dental and oral health will be assessed with a comprehensive oral evaluation. Upon completion of your medical / dental health form, we will ask you to tell us your goals regarding your smile, teeth, and gums. Digital photos and X-Rays will be taken of your teeth to identify areas of decay, cracked teeth and malfunctioning restorations. Our goal is to preserve as much of your teeth as possible by catching decay in its earliest stages. We’ll also assess your gums and recommend the appropriate hygiene treatment for you.
Q: Do you accept new patient referrals?
A: Over the years patients have given us the compliment of referring family and friends to our practice. Our reputation for excellent dental care depends on two things: our good work and your beautiful smile. Your confidence in our care motivates us to continue to strive for excellence. Thank you for your referrals. Your trust and support are greatly appreciated.
Q: My teeth keep chipping and cracking. What causes this? What can I do about it?
A: Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth, but don’t remember when the injury occurred, damaged their teeth while they were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip, crack and even break. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth, we recommend a dental appliance called a night-guard. A custom fitted night guard protects your teeth from grinding & clenching in your sleep. Dr. Bruggeman take great care in making sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Do you suffer from headaches? You may find that a side benefit of your night-guard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask us about having a night-guard custom created for you.
Q: My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?
A: It is certainly not desirable to have bleeding gums following brushing. However, the condition may or may not require attention, depending on the source of the problem. Bleeding gums can be caused by any of the following: improper, rough ‘scrubbing’ instead of gentle, circular brushing motions; using a hard-bristled tooth brush instead of a soft one; plaque and/or tartar build-up below the gum line; or gum sensitivity due to gingivitis or periodontal disease. If this problem persists despite correct brushing and flossing methods or occurs every time you brush, contact our office to set up an evaluation appointment.
Q: What is periodontal disease?
A: Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed, often times bleeding during brushing or flossing. If treated in a timely manner, these conditions can be reversed, preventing periodontal disease from developing. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat. Periodontitis affects your gums, bone and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment from your general dentist or even a periodontist. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss – teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t catch periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
According to Caesy Dental Education, “Ailments associated with periodontal disease include respiratory disease, pneumonia, strokes, ulcers, difficult-to-control diabetes, low birth weight babies, and infective endocarditis, a dangerous infection of the heart valves. Researchers recently discovered that this chronic infection in your mouth creates an open doorway for plaque bacteria to enter the blood stream. These bacteria – Streptococcus sangguis – may cause blood clots that can block your arteries and even trigger a heart attack.”
Q: How do sealants protect teeth?
A: A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth—premolars and molars. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids and guarding against disease-causing bacteria. Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. However, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to efficiently extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Q: How can I whiten my teeth?
A: There are multiple ways to whiten your teeth.
- At home whitening trays. These products use peroxide-based gels to bleach your teeth. Generally, the process involves the daily application of the gel in a custom fitted tray for about two weeks.
- Porcelain veneers. Many people who have tetracycline stained teeth and cannot whiten their teeth with traditional means, or people who want a more permanent solution will opt for porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers is a great way to whiten your teeth in a more permanent fashion. The veneers do not stain with time and also correct many other concerns that you may have including crooked teeth, gaps in teeth and a gummy smile. Most of the smile makeovers you see on television are accomplished with porcelain veneers.
Q: Are you a cosmetic dentist?
A: The term ‘cosmetic dentist’ is a marketing tool. There is no dental field specialty considered cosmetic dentistry. So, any dentist can call themselves a cosmetic dentist without any advanced education, which is the implied reason to advertise as such.
Cosmetic is a term to convey that it looks good. As a dentist, our work has to function well and look good. If our end results do not look good, then we would not have happy, returning patients. In that sense we are a cosmetic dental office, but again, that is not a recognized Dental specialization.
Q: Do you accept my insurance?
A: We accept all PPO insurances. We are not in anyone’s network, so we will be covered at an out of network rate. The rate may or may not vary depending on your specific insurance plan. HMO, DMO or EMO plans will not cover services by us.
Q: If you accept my insurance, why are you not in my network?
A: We are not ‘in network’ for any insurance company. We feel strongly that staying out of network allows us to provide the highest care for our patients and protects the treatment of our patients from outside influences.
When a dental office is ‘in network’ that means the insurance company guarantees a set number of patients to that office. In exchange for those guaranteed patients that office has to agree on a fee schedule. Basically, the insurance company says; ‘will bring you patients, but you must reduce your fees so we do not pay as much.’ This is a detriment to patients. Dental office all have the same expenses so when a third party (insurance company) comes in and dictates lower prices the dentist has to compensate somehow to keep the business going. Which can mean finding cheaper materials, or even ‘finding’ more things to do on a patient. In turn making a dentist a salesman instead of being a doctor for his patients. Our first priority is to you, the patient, and we will not compromise our level of care to you in order to be in an insurance network.
Q: Why did my insurance not cover my procedure entirely? My insurance plan says cleanings are covered 100% yet I still had to pay a portion. Why is that?
A: Dental insurance’s define coverage in percentages. Generally speaking, maintenance and preventive is covered 80-100% (cleaning, exams, x-rays) and what the insurance companies deem major is 50% (crowns, bridges, dentures).
The percentages covered are almost all the same, but we all know there are good insurance plans and bad plans. And there are hundreds of dental plans out there. So, how is there a discrepancy in payment? Insurance plans have something called a ‘fee schedule’. A fee schedule is how much the insurance company decides a procedure should cost. Fee schedules can vastly vary by plan. The better the plan the higher the fee schedule, and vice versa.
For example, if a procedure is $100 and covered at 100% by the insurance company, but the insurance fee schedule only allows for $96, this will leave a $4 balance. It means they will not pay more than $96 for the procedure. If the fee schedule is $120 for the same procedure, they will cover the entire procedure.
Q: How do I know what my insurance plan’s fee schedule is?
A: Call your insurance company and ask about the specific procedure. They may give you information on a specific procedure. However, we have found that insurance companies are not very forthcoming with this information.
Q: What is your office’s fee schedule?
A: Insurance companies base their fee schedule on zip codes. We try to keep our fees in the 85th percentile. This means that out of all the insurance plans, 85% of them should cover our fees as stated in your policy.