Frequently Asked Questions
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 by one of our doctors. Upon completion of your medical / dental health form, we will ask you to tell us your goals regarding your smile, teeth, and gums. We want to ensure that all questions and concerns pertaining to your dental health are discussed. Intraoral photos and X-rays will be taken of your teeth to identify areas of decay, cracked teeth, and malfunctioning restorations. An Oral Cancer screening, TMJ and muscle evaluation, as well as a thorough examination of your teeth and gums will all be completed at this time. A customized treatment plan is established and presented during this time. However, if treatment recommendations are complex, a second consult appointment may be indicated to allow time for further discussion and explanation.
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: When should I start bringing my child to the dentist?
A: Like any parent, you worry about your child’s health. Don’t forget about their oral health as well. Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you take your child to the dentist by his or her first birthday? While that may seem a bit early for your child to receive dental treatment, it’s important to remember that baby teeth are essentially place-holders for the adult teeth that are soon to come.
A lifetime of happy smiles starts at year one, so schedule your baby’s one-year dental appointment today, and give your child a healthy start.
Q: I really don't like visiting the dentist, is there anything you can do to help me relax?
A: Many people are uncomfortable when visiting the dentist. However, your comfort is our highest priority, and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. For your comfort nitrous oxide is offered to keep you comfortable and relaxed.
Q: What is a crown and why might I need one?
A: If your doctor has recommended a crown to you, it is likely to either correct a broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). The decay in your tooth eats away at 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 precision-milled porcelain 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 prefer not to be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-rays?
A: Yes, we do offer digital X-rays. Digital X-rays use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film based X-rays. You will find that in our dental practice, we research the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that best 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 varnish, gel 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 you 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; periodontal therapy or a combination of all these techniques. Drs. Wright, Luckenbaugh, and Townsend will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals, your areas of concern, and the overall condition of your oral health.
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 you’re missing tooth has teeth on both sides of it. Also, if 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 in the need for restorations.
Q: What are my options for replacing a missing tooth?
A: By replacing missing teeth-either with an implant or bridge-you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and will restore your smile back its beautiful, full appearance. A dental implant is an excellent solution. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post inserted directly into the jawbone. Once the post has bonded 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. A bridge is another solution for replacing a tooth. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, your dentist places a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile.
Q: Do you offer appliances to help with snoring?
A: If you or a loved one snores, you are most likely aware that snoring often accompanies fitful sleep. Severe snoring may also be a sign of a more serious problem like sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when an individual stops breathing for an extended period of time during sleep. Snoring happens when the soft palate relaxes to the point of cutting off the airway. Sleep appliances are designed to comfortably hold the airway open during sleep. There are a wide variety of sleep appliances available to you. Let our dental team select the right one that fits your needs.
Q: I want cosmetic dentistry. Will my insurance pay for it?
A: Dental insurance is designed to assist you in paying for your dentistry. Most procedures are not fully covered by your insurance. Cosmetic dentistry, in particular, is not covered by most dental insurance plans. To help you afford your smile, we offer a variety of payment options in addition to a monthly payment plan provided through our financial partners, Care Credit®and Lending Club®. We also pay special attention to maximizing the benefits that your insurance does provide. Ask our treatment coordinator for more details and ask us how you can comfortably afford your dentistry while maximizing your dental insurance benefits.
Q: What different payment options do you accept?
A: Helping to make your dental care financially comfortable and affordable is important to us and we proudly offer a variety of payment options:
- Cash or personal checks
- No-interest, monthly payment plans, as well as low-interest and extended payment plans through CareCredit® and Lending Club® (for qualifying patients)
We are happy to estimate fees and insurance reimbursement before beginning your recommended treatments and will gladly file insurance forms for you.
Optimal, comprehensive dentistry is what we practice but we do not base our treatment on what insurance will or will not pay. We base our treatment on what is best for you, and any treatment not paid by insurance is your financial responsibility.
Q: I want and need a lot of dental work, but I'm afraid I can't afford it. Do you offer monthly payment plans?
A: Yes, we do offer monthly payment plans through our financial partners, Care Credit®and Lending Club®. We also provide a variety of other ways for you to pay for your treatment so that it fits comfortably into your personal or family financial goals. Our team works with you to create the solution that best accommodates you so you can have the beautiful, healthy smile you have always desired.
Q: Does your office offer periodontal services?
A: Yes. Our office will fully assess your periodontal health during your Initial Comprehensive Examination. Based upon your individual evaluation, our doctor’s will recommend treatment based upon the severity of the gum disease that is present. A large percentage of our patients are managed in conjunction with our excellent hygiene team in treatment of mild to moderate gum disease. If the gum disease is severe, a consultation with our periodontist may be indicated. Dr. Jeffrey Felzer maintains a private practice in Wilmington, DE as well as maintaining office hours in our facility on a monthly basis. We are fortunate to have a Board Certified Periodontist located within our office to assess both non-surgical and surgical treatment modalities. In addition to advanced periodontal therapy, Dr. Felzer performs advanced regenerative and implant procedures.
Q: My gums bleed; why is this?
A: Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed, often bleeding during brushing or flossing. Timely treatment can reverse these conditions. However, if these conditions are ignored, your periodontal disease can worsen, becoming a condition called periodontitis. 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 from 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 diagnose and treat 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.
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 if 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 from 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 periodontal surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
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 the 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: Sometimes when I chew I get a sharp pain. What can I do to correct this?
A: Most dental pain brought on by chewing is caused by a fracture, or crack, in the tooth. The pain can be corrected by placing an inlay/onlay, with a porcelain crown, or with more advanced treatment. You want to correct the pain as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage to the tooth. Contact us today to schedule a visit.
Q: How can porcelain veneers help my smile?
A: Porcelain veneers improve your smile by correcting a multitude of cosmetic concerns, including: gaps in teeth; chipped and broken teeth; dull or yellowing teeth that cannot be whitened with traditional means; and crooked teeth. Porcelain veneers broaden, straighten, whiten, and beautify most any smile. This procedure can be done in as little as two clinical visits. Many of our patients feel like veneers were the best improvement they could have made for their overall confidence. Ask us about how porcelain veneers can improve your smile at your next visit, or send us an email today.
Q: I want my teeth to be whiter. Do you recommend at-home or in-office whitening?
A: Dentist-directed at-home whitening and in-office whitening procedures are both effective ways of brightening your smile. In either case, your dentist customizes the treatment to ensure your happiness with the results.
Your custom, home-whitening kit involves a special tray that is customized to fit over your teeth. You also receive prescription whitening gel, which is inserted into the tray before you wear it. Drs. Wright, Luckenbaugh, and Townsend give you detailed instructions about how long you should wear the tray each day and you should expect the entire home whitening process to take between two and four weeks, leaving you with a dazzling, bright smile.
If you desire immediate results, an in-office whitening procedure may be right for you. Again, the treatment utilizes a special tray that fits around your teeth. However, with your dentist’s supervision, a much more powerful whitening gel is used, giving you amazing results in just a few hours!
Q: How can I safely whiten my teeth?
A: There are a number of procedures available to help whiten your smile, from at-home whitening products to in-office supervised treatments. Drs. Wright, Luckenbaugh, and Townsend evaluate the potential for whitening your teeth based on their current color and on the causes of any discoloration. Once you decide on the most appropriate method, you will spend anywhere from two-four weeks undergoing a series of simple whitening treatments.
Q: How can I whiten my teeth?
A: There are multiple ways to whiten your teeth.
- KoR® Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System – This system is a powerful, at-home/in-office procedure that produces fast, dramatic results. The take-home system can be completed in two weeks while you sleep, so wearing the tray won’t interfere with your everyday life. Plus, unlike other whitening trays, the KOR system’s trays are comfortable and keep the bleach gel sealed against your teeth, instead of leaking into your mouth. If additional whitening is desired, an in-office visit can further enhance the at-home results. A trained team member will apply a specialized gel to your teeth, using a customized tray similar to a mouthpiece. The thin mouth tray is comfortable because it is custom-molded to your teeth. By the end of your appointments, you will have a smile that looks like it did years ago!
- 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 and gaps in teeth.