What will happen at my first visit?

Dr. Johnson has spent many years developing a unique protocol that aids him in determining an individualized treatment plan for each person. An initial examination will take approximately 1 hour at which time Dr. Johnson will review your medical and dental history with you, take your blood pressure, and perform a comprehensive dental and oral cancer screening exam. A determination of any necessary dental x-rays will be made and those x-rays will be taken. If you think you have had recent x-rays taken in another office we would encourage you to request a copy of those x-rays be forwarded to our office prior to your first appointment. Please be aware that additional x-rays may be required for proper diagnostic consideration. Additional time may be scheduled with one of our hygienists to complete a prophylaxis cleaning of your teeth or begin needed periodontal “gum” therapy. A subsequent appointment may be scheduled to discuss treatment options and the fees associated with those options. Bring a copy of your dental insurance card to this visit.

What will my insurance cover?

Dental insurance is different from medical insurance in that it pays for a percentage of most procedures. Typically, your insurance will pay as much as 100% of your exam, x-rays and cleaning. Most insurance plans will pay as much as 80% of the fee for fillings and 50% of major restorative work, such as crowns. Another difference between medical and dental insurance is that dental plans have a maximum benefit that they will cover in a year, often $1000 to $2000. We will be more than happy to answer any of your insurance questions. Please remember that most insurance plans will allow you to go “out of network” with only a small reduction in allowable percentages.

How will I be reminded of my appointments?

During your first visit we will inquire as to your preferred method of contact, be it via phone, text, e-mail or voice messaging. We will attempt to contact you one to two days prior to your appointment to reconfirm your appointment time. Please remember that this time has been specifically set aside for your personal care. If you must change or cancel your appointment we ask that you give 48 hours notice so that we may offer this time to another individual in need.

How long do fillings last?

On average a conservative filling will last 10 to 15 years. The size and type of material used will greatly impact the life of the restoration.

Is a tooth colored “bonded” filling better than a silver filling?

Because a tooth colored “bonded” composite filling actually bonds to the tooth structure and is generally considered to be much more aesthetic than a silver filling it is often the filling material of choice for most individuals. However, some situations do occur where a composite restoration cannot be placed and a silver filling is the best material of choice. Both restorative materials will have approximately the same lifespan.

When do I need a crown?

A crown is needed when a tooth is not strong enough to withstand the forces of chewing on its own. Teeth with large restorations, cracks, or extensive decay are often in need of a crown or “cap” to protect the tooth. A tooth that has had root canal treatment often will need a crown because the nerve and blood supply have been removed and the tooth will become brittle and may break.

Does a tooth that needs a crown also need a root canal?

No. In fact most teeth that are crowned do not require a root canal as the nerve is healthy and viable. On occasion though, a tooth which has been crowned may require a root canal if through repeated trauma the nerve dies or otherwise becomes symptomatic.

Is surgery required if I have periodontal “gum” disease?

In many cases, a conservative course of periodontal treatment may eliminate the need for “gum” surgery. This care typically includes a series of non-surgical gum treatments such as scaling and root planing, use of antibiotics, ultrasonic cleaning or shortened cleaning intervals. Even if surgery is required, it often is needed only in localized areas of the mouth thereby greatly decreasing the amount of discomfort associated with surgery.

If periodontal disease is such a problem, why dosen’t it hurt?

This is a very good question. Periodontal “gum” problems can become extremely advanced without experiencing any pain. That is why it is so important to be attentive to the warning signs of periodontal disease, such as gums that bleed when brushing or flossing, receding gums, teeth changing position or becoming loose, puss or swelling around the gum tissues.