Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen at my first visit?

At your first visit, Dr. Gaw will review your dental and medical history. We will also take any x-rays that are necessary. If you think you have recent x-rays taken by another dentist, you may request that your x-rays and files be forwarded to our office prior to your first appointment. Dr. Gaw will evaluate each tooth, your gums and the supporting bone. In most cases we will be able to clean your teeth at the first visit. Please bring your dental insurance card if you have one. 

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 100% of the cleaning, exam, and x-ray fees. Most insurance plans will pay 80% of the fees for a filling and 50% of the fees for a crown after your deductible is met. Another difference between medical and dental insurance is that dental plans have a maximum coverage per year between $1000 and $2000. If you have questions regarding your insurance plan, we will be happy to help you find what your insurance will cover.

Will I be reminded of my appointments?

Yes. We will send you a postcard in the mail approximately 2 weeks before your cleaning appointment. In addition, you will receive a call a day or two before an appointment. If your appointment is for dental work, you will also receive a call a day or two before your appointment. Please give us at least 2 days notice if you will not be able to come at the appointed time. We reserve this time exclusively for you.

Should I have tooth colored fillings or silver fillings?

Dr. Gaw has been placing tooth colored fillings for over 30 years. Tooth colored (composite) fillings are bonded to the tooth by placing a series of bonding agents on the tooth before placing the composite. This material eliminates the risk for bacteria to grow between the silver filling and the tooth which can cause additional decay. Silver colored fillings do typically last longer and are stronger. Dr. Gaw will be happy to discuss which filling material is best for you.

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

This is a very good question. Periodontal 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: bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, swollen or receded gums, teeth changing position, or pus or swelling around the gum tissue.

What are dental sealants and can everyone benefit from them?

Sealants are a thin plastic coating applied to the biting surface of back teeth to help prevent tooth decay. Without sealants, plaque remains in the pits and grooves of “hard to reach” teeth and eventually cause a cavity. Sealants cannot be seen when you talk or smile. They help prevent cavities but only good home care and limiting sweets,colas and snacks can prevent all decay. They are beneficial for both adults and children

I have a temporary crown that has broken or come off. What should I do?

If your temporary crown breaks or comes off preserve it as best as you can and contact our office. If you are unable to make an appointment to have us re-cement this temporary crown, you may use a small amount of a denture adhesive to hold it on until you can make it in.

Why are my teeth worth saving?

When faced with a diseased tooth, most patients automatically think it has to be removed. With the modern procedures available now, this is no longer the only option. Even though extractions may seem like a quick, inexpensive option, actually, it is more expensive and time consuming in the long run. A missing tooth may cause drifting of other teeth, misaligned teeth and other future dental problems.

When do I need a crown?

A crown is needed when a tooth is not strong enough to be viable on its own. A cracked tooth may need a crown to hold the sides together and prevent the crack from going into the nerve. A tooth that has had a root canal needs a crown because after a root canal, the tooth becomes brittle and is more likely to break

What is a root canal and why do I need one?

During a root canal, we remove all of the decay and the nerve of the tooth. It is replaced with filler in the root of the tooth, and then is supported with a permanent filling material. Patients need root canals when they let a cavity get so deep that it infects the nerve of the tooth or if a tooth is broken and the pulp, or nerve, of the tooth is exposed. Once the nerve tissue is exposed to bacteria, it must be removed because it causes an abscess. Abcesses are usually painful with varying amounts of swelling and antibiotics need to be taken to get the infection under control before having a root canal.

What kind of toothbrush should I use?

Always use a soft bristled toothbrush with toothpaste that contains fluoride. Make sure that the tooth brush is able to easily reach all areas in your mouth.

How do I know if I have gingivitis?

The only sure way to know if you have gingivitis is to consult your dentist and have regular checkups. If your gums bleed when you brush, you very possibly have gingivitis. Most people who have gingivitis are unaware due to the absence of symptoms.

What causes tooth decay?

Frequently exposing your teeth to foods containing carbohydrates such as sugars and starches (soda, candy, baked goods) can cause tooth decay. Combined with not brushing and flossing properly, the probability of tooth decay highly increases.

How can I prevent cavities?

Good oral hygiene is the sure fire way of preventing cavities. Brushing your teeth properly helps remove bacteria that causes cavities. Flossing should also be done to reach those areas not able to be reached by your toothbrush. You should brush and floss at least twice a day, and visit your dentist every six months.

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