Frequently Asked Questions
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. Your comfort is our highest priority and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. For entertainment and distraction, stereo headphones with music, shaded glasses, and blankets are available. Nitrous oxide is also an option to keep you comfortable and relaxed.
Q: I brush every day, but my breath is just not fresh. Is there anything else I can do?
A: Millions of people struggle with halitosis, or bad breath, despite daily teeth brushing. Here is a checklist of procedures that can eliminate the problem: twice daily brushing, daily flossing, and tongue cleaning; regular professional cleanings and careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances. However, if your hygiene is meticulous and the problem still persists, we can offer several alternate solutions.
First, we can provide a plastic tool called a tongue scraper that cleans away bacterial build-up on your tongue, significantly alleviating odor. Or, we can recommend a specially prepared rinse or toothpaste designed to actually break down the odor-causing sulfur bonds that cause bad breath. Finally, if we suspect a systemic or internal problem such as an infection or other underlying condition, in which case we may recommend you visit your family physician or specialist to identify the cause.
Q: What is a crown and why might 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 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 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 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 than 60% 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 in 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. Dr. Hamman will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals, on your areas of concern and on the overall condition of your oral health. Contact us for a complimentary smile evaluation to determine what course of action will produce the best solution for you.
Q: I want my front teeth to look better, but I don't want to wear braces. What would you recommend?
A: Dr. Hamman has a number of ways to improve the look of your front teeth without the use of unsightly braces. For slightly crooked or unevenly worn teeth, a bit of reshaping and the addition of composite or porcelain veneers may be sufficient to give them a bright, uniform look. Whitening is a conservative option to make your teeth whiter. Some patients choose Invisalign® which allows you to straighten your teeth without brace appliances. We would be happy to talk with you further about the option that best suits your individual situation.
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. The function of many teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth, including the reduction of function during chewing. 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 in need for restorations.
Q: What are my options for replacing a missing tooth?
A: By replacing missing teeth either with a bridge or with an implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and will restore your smile back to its beautiful, full appearance. A bridge is one solution for replacing a tooth. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, Dr. Hamman places a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile. A dental implant is usually the better solution. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Once the post has bonded to the bone, it acts 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. DIAGNOdent (a specialized laser) may also be used on your teeth, notifying us of early areas of decay that are not visible on the X-ray or through digital photographs. Our goal is to preserve as many of your teeth as possible by catching decay in its earliest stages. We will also assess your gums and will 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 caused this and what can I do about it?
A: Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth, but who 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 nightguard. A custom fitted nightguard protects your teeth from grinding and clenching in your sleep. Dr. Hamman takes great care in making sure you have a proper fit in order to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Ask us about having a nightguard custom created especially for you.
Q: I want cosmetic dentistry. Does my insurance pay for it?
A: Dental insurance is designed to assist you in paying for your dentistry. Most procedures, however, 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 by our financial partner, Care Credit®. Ask us how you can comfortably afford your dentistry and maximize 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 and we proudly offer you a variety of options:
- Cash or personal checks
- 3% cash courtesy discount at time of service
- VISA/MasterCard/Discover/American Express
- Low interest and extended payment plans through CareCredit®
We are happy to estimate fees and insurance reimbursement before starting 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 partner, Care Credit®. We provide a variety of 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: 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.
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; use of 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 it occurs every time you brush, contact our office to set up an evaluation appointment.
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. 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 helps 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 porcelain veneers help my smile?
A: Porcelain veneers improve your smile by correcting a multitude of cosmetic concerns including: gaps in teeth; chipped or broken teeth; dull or yellowing teeth that cannot be whitened with traditional means; “gummy smiles” (showing too much gum when one smiles); 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 and many of our patients feel like this was the best improvement they could have been made for their overall confidence. Ask us at your next visit about how porcelain veneers can improve your smile, or send us an email.
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 at-home whitening kit involves a special tray that is customized to fit over your teeth. You will also receive prescription whitening gel, which is inserted into the tray before you wear it. Dr. Hamman gives 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 smile.
If you desire immediate results, you can choose the in- office whitening procedure.With your dentist’s supervision, a much more powerful whitening gel is used, giving you results in just a little over an hour.
Q: How can I safely whiten my teeth?
A: There are a number of ways available to safely whiten your teeth, from over-the-counter products to dentist supervised at-home systems and in-treatments. Any of these can be safe and effective but vary on ease of use and speed. Our office utilizes all of these methods and, after Dr. Hamman evaluates the potential for success based on your current color and causes of discoloration, helps you decide on the most appropriate method.
Q: As an older adult, do I really need to worry about my dental care?
A: Yes. No matter what your age, you deserve to look and feel healthy. A strong, beautiful, and functioning smile plays a major role in the quality of your life as you age. You’ll appreciate a better diet, a younger appearance, and greater confidence. Perhaps you have put dental care off for so long that you believe it no longer matters. We can treat and improve virtually any dental condition. Some conditions are even reversible, even in mature adults! Even though there are few limitations on how old you can be to receive restorative dental care, it is always best to act sooner rather than later. You may enjoy your new, healthy smile ten, 20, or 30 years or more, and you can save yourself from having to undergo more complicated, intrusive care down the road.