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Dental FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Can stem cells or other new medications grow back teeth? Teeth can not be usefully grown in humans at this time.  There is research being done with dental stem cells to re-grow a root instead of placing a dental implant.  A porcelain or zirconia crown would still be needed since that space and shape has to be custom for each situation.  There does also seam to be some promise with a new drug (Tideglusib) that can stimulate dentin formation in a tooth.  This could prevent the need for many root canals.  The hole in the enamel will still need to be repaired since the tooth formation will be internal and not externally directed.


  • Why can’t my crown just be re-cemented? The situation that a crown can be re-cemented is when the cement bond fails either to the crown or to the tooth and there has not been any decay or damage to the dental crown.  Shaping the tooth for the crown in a way to increase retention can prevent so much reliance on the bond of the cement.  Six degrees of taper and a minimum of 3mm wall height is recommended.  Some back teeth are very short and that can be difficult to achieve.  Often times old crowns over time the cement can wash out leaving space for bacteria to get under it and cause decay. 


  • Why do I need a build up with my crown? Sometimes there is not enough tooth to support a crown so some filling material is used to “build up” the tooth so that crown will be supported for chewing and shaped properly for retention.


  • Why do I keep getting cavities?  Cavities are caused by acid in contact with teeth.  Acids in the mouth can come from 1)bacteria in your mouth (metabolizing food (sugar) to release acid), 2)dietary acid (a big problem for some who drink soda or other acidic liquids often through outt the day), and finally 3) stomach acid for those with reflux or eating disorders.  Where acid is in contact with teeth the longest is where teeth get cavities.  The deep grooves in biting surfaces of back teeth that are harder to clean and in between teeth where flossing is the only way to clean are common area.  If you keep getting cavities then there are few things to evaluate.  Are you are getting all the bacteria cleaned from the hard to get areas?  Is your diet part of the problem by sipping acidic drinks during the day?  Is it possible you have dry mouth from medications or un-diagnosed acid reflux from you stomach?  There are products that can help.  See question #9.


  • Why was my insurance estimate wrong? Over the last several years it has gotten more and more difficult to predict what dental insurance companies will out right deny or downgrade benefits for even obvious procedures that seam to be clearly covered in the plan.  The fine print changing from year to year that no one reads is cause for many denials.  Dental insurance companies do not seam to be patient advocates but try instead to find a way not to pay.  All we can say is that we will fight for your coverage as best we can by documenting with x-rays, photographing, writing letters of explanation and refilling as needed.


  • Why are root canals sometimes needed after having a crown done or major filling work? Any time there is extensive damage to a tooth from decay or fracture that requires drilling close the pulp of the tooth there is a chance the tooth will respond negatively by developing pulpitis (inflammation inside the tooth).  Sometime the pulpitis won’t go away by itself and a root canal is needed to stop the pain and remove the damaged tissue inside the tooth.


  • Explain implant parts? What is an abutment?  Most people understand that part of a dental implant screws into the bone.  That is one of three main parts called the body of the implant.  It is the most expensive part and is surgically placed.  The body of the implant is threaded on the outside to adhere to the bone and it also threaded on the inside so that other parts can be attached to the body once it is stable. The part that screws directly into the implant is called an abutment.  Abutments can be made custom out of titanium, zirconia or a combination of the two.  Prefabricated abutments can sometimes be used for certain situations. The final part is what most people want in the end and that is a crown (or the part that makes it look and act like a tooth). Implant crowns can be cemented to the abutment or they can be screw retained along with the abutment.


  • Can I drive home after getting sedation in the dental office? That depends of the level of sedation.  Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is the first lever and it wears of quickly enough for the patient to drive them selves home.  The next level is oral sedation with triazolam sublingual and it last all day so definitely no driving and you will need someone to stay with you afterwards at home for most of the day. We more rarely do IV sedation in our office and it also requires you to have driver take you home. 


  • I’m cavity prone… what products can I use to minimize this process? There are several good products out now that can help fight against getting cavities in couple of different ways.  The first strategy is to evaluate your diet and be sure you are not lowering the pH in your mouth by sipping sodas or other acid drinks during the day.  Even many bottled waters are acid so check it out on Google.  A second strategy is to harden the teeth with fluoride products.  I recommend getting a fluoride varnish (deep penetrating small safe volume)  applied in our dental office every 6 months and then re-charging that daily with either a prescription fluoride (tooth paste or rinses available) or by using an over the counter fluoride rinse like ACT in addition to an anti-microbial rinse like Listerine.  The third strategy is to use Xylitol products during the day.  Saliva is supposed to buffer acidity and some people have poor saliva quantity (dry mouth) or poor saliva quality (acidic mouth) and using Xylitol (a natural sugar product that the bacteria that cause tooth decay can not metabolize to make acid) after meals or acidic drinks will help stimulate natural saliva and help neutralize acid. Xylitol comes in sprays, gum or mints.  Check out for more info and products.


  • How is a deep cleaning different than a regular cleaning? A deep cleaning is also known as scaling and root planning. Scaling involves removing tarter and bacteria from the root of the tooth. This procedure is required as a treatment for periodontal disease or some times called gum disease. A regular teeth cleaning is only recommended for patients who have generally good oral health and do not suffer from bone loss or gum issues.  Regular cleanings are above the gum line and deep cleanings remove hard calculus/tarter below the gum line.


  • Can clear aligners like Invisalign or ClearCorrect do major ortho cases? Dr. Booth has been doing all kinds orthodontics with clear aligners for over 15 years. He  has treated most kinds of cases.  The key is simply compliance.  If patients wear the trays as directed it works amazingly.


  • Can my teenager get clear aligners? Yes teenagers can get clear aligners rather than wire braces. The treatment works great if the patient is compliant and wears the trays as directed.


  • Do clear aligners hurt? Some report mild soreness after putting in a new tray. Rarely patients report being uncomfortable enough to need to take any Advil or Tylenol.


  • Are clear aligners faster or slower than wire braces? Often times clear aligners are faster than traditional wire braces. The reason is that the planning is done in the computer so that the end position of each tooth is determined prior to moving any teeth so the teeth have a direct line to their final position.  With wire braced teeth are all pulled to the wire then slid along the wire to the proper position.


  • Do you do cash or senior discounts? We offer 5% discount to seniors.


  • Is fluoride bad for you? The long and short of it is that too much fluoride is bad but also not enough is bad. Small amounts of fluoride are very helpful in hardening tooth structure to reduce tooth decay.  Now we have a very safe and effective way to deliver that fluoride to teeth while in our office.  It is called a fluoride varnish and it is a very small amount that is painted on and stays in place for few hours to get a deep penetration into the teeth but not ingest an excessive amount.  For general risk patients we recommend getting the varnish placed every 6 months and then recharging that with fluoride tooth paste.  For more cavity prone patients, we also recommend a prescription fluoride rinse or tooth paste.  An additional alternative is to use an OTC fluoride rinse like ACT.  Drinking filtered tap water is another small source of fluoride.


  • Is bottled water better than filtered tap water? City water is regulated to greater degree than bottled water so the fluoride is usually kept at .1ppm which is just enough. The other problem with bottled water is that many of them are acidic which is bad for your teeth.  Check out this link for information on bottled water vs tap water.  In general, Dr. Booth recommends drinking filtered tap water when ever possible and just bottled water just for convenience.  Fiji and Evian are two brands of bottled water with neutral or better pH.


  • My teeth don’t hurt so why go to the dentist? We hear this question a fair amount and I can say that pain is often a poor indicator of dental problems until the problems get very advanced. Once decay or gum disease is at an advanced stage the cost to fix is multiple times more or impossible and can lead to tooth loss.  So if you are looking to be able to chew in comfort for lifetime, we recommend an ounce of prevention with cleanings, check-ups and x-rays twice a year.


  • Why do I need an oral cancer screening once a year? Dr. Booth and Nora are always looking for lesions that could be cancer as part of every exam. The problem is if they are readily visible they are already in an advanced stage.  There are several early detection oral cancer screening tests that use fluoroscopy to detect lesions sub-dermally at much earlier and treatable stages.  Vizilight is one that we use.


  • Do you accept my insurance?Generally speaking, if you are able to choose any provider and are not restricted to a list of clinics then we are most likely able to accept your insurance.  We will call and verify what benefits you have at our specific office.  We are not in network with any insurance companies currently.


  • What will my out-of-pocket cost be after insurance?Insurance companies are a lot harder to predict now.  We will verify your coverage and put together an estimate, but the final out of pocket total depends on decisions made by your insurance company.  Anything not covered by insurance is the patient’s responsibility.


  • What if I don’t have insurance?We see a lot of patients without insurance coverage.  The Silver Screen Dental Membership Plan is a great alternative, covers cleanings twice a year and a discount on all other services.  It’s easy, straightforward, and less expensive than most individual plans. Click here for more information


  • What if I’m going to be late?Please call the office as soon as you know you are running late.  That way we can see what accommodations can be made to our schedule.  In some instances, the appointment will need to be re-scheduled so that our entire day does not run behind.


  • What if I need to cancel?Our cancellation policy states that we need two business days notice to reschedule or cancel an appointment.  We understand that things happen and this can not always be avoided so we allow one free cancellation/no show.  But since we can not get lost time back there is $75 cancellation fee less than 2 days notice.


  • Why an Electric Toothbrush and which ones are recommended? We would recommend the Oral B Pro 1000 or a Philips SoniCare toothbrush. However any electric tooth brush has added benefit in comparison to manual toothbrushes.
    • Some of the benefits electric toothbrushes provide are:
      • Numerous brushing modes.
      • Pressure sensors
      • Times to help you keep track of how long you are brushing.
      • Digital reminders to replace your brushing head.
      • All these benefits can help you maintain good oral health in between your regular dental visits.


Are you accepting new patients? Yes! We are always accepting new patients.
We love to have the opportunity to meet you and help you with all your dental needs.