FAQS

Got Questions? We've Got Answers!

Welcome to our FAQ’s page where you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions.

  • What is Zoom! tooth whitening?

    Zoom! is a bleaching process that lightens discoloration of enamel and dentin. You may have seen the Zoom! process used by me on ABC’s Extreme Makeover.

  • How long does Zoom! Chairside Whitening take?

    The complete procedure takes less than an hour. The procedure begins with a preparation period followed as little as by 45 minutes of bleaching. (A cleaning is recommended prior to the actual Zoom! whitening session.)

  • How does the Zoom! In-off ice system work?

    The Zoom! light activated whitening gel’s active ingredient is Hydrogen Peroxide. As the Hydrogen Peroxide is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentin, bleaching colored substances while the structure of the tooth is unchanged. The Zoom! light aids in activating the hydrogen peroxide and helps it penetrate the surface of the tooth. A study has shown that use of the Zoom! lamp increases the effectiveness of the Zoom! gel by 26% or more, giving an average improvement of up to eight shades.

  • What will I experience during the Zoom! In-Office Procedure?

    During the procedure, patients may comfortably watch television or listen to music. Individuals with a strong gag reflex or anxiety may have difficulty undergoing the entire procedure.

  • How long do the Zoom! results last?

    By following some simple post whitening care instructions, your teeth will always be lighter than they were before. To keep your teeth looking their best, we recommend flossing, brushing twice daily, and occasional touch-ups with Zoom! Weekender or Nite White gel. These are professional formula products designed specifically to keep your teeth their brightest. They are available only through your dental professional.

  • Are there any side effects from using Zoom?

    Sensitivity during the treatment may occur with some patients. The Zoom! light generates minimal heat which is the usual source of discomfort. On rare occasions, minor tingling sensations are experienced immediately after the procedure, but always dissipate. You can also ask your dentist to supply you with anti-sensitivity toothpaste for use prior to treatment.

  • What causes tooth discoloration?

    There are many causes. The most common include aging and consumption of staining substances such as coffee, tea, colas, tobacco, red wine, etc. During tooth formation, consumption of tetracycline, certain antibiotics or excessive fluoride may also cause tooth discoloration.

  • Do many people whiten their teeth?

    More people than you might imagine. A bright sparkling smile can make a big difference for everyone. The Zoom! Chairside Whitening System makes it easier and faster than ever before.

  • Who may benefit from tooth whitening?

    Almost anyone. However, treatment may not be as effective for some as it is for others. Your dental professional can determine if you are a viable candidate for this procedure through a thorough oral exam, including a shade assessment.

  • Is whitening safe?

    Yes. Extensive research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth under the supervision of a dentist is safe. In fact, many dentists consider whitening the safest cosmetic dental procedure available. As with any tooth whitening product, Zoom! is not recommended for children under 13 years of age and pregnant or lactating women.

  • What is CEREC?

    CEREC® is an acronym for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. Translated, it means that a dentist can economically restore damaged teeth in a single appointment using a high-quality ceramic material that matches the natural color of other teeth.

    CEREC® Dentists can create Crowns and Tooth Colored Dental Fillings which provides our patients with quality, dental care usually in one visit.

    Our CEREC® 3D Machine uses advanced technology to allow us to mill crowns, inlays, onlays, into porcelain, tooth colored restorations in a single dental visit providing our patients with high quality dental care. Our dentists complete extensive CEREC® training and review literature on CEREC® dentistry to stay up to date on the latest technology. CEREC® by Sirona Dental Systems helps our office to create tooth colored all ceramic dental restorations in a single visit. Our CEREC machine can create a porcelain crown, inlay or onlay or restoration within minutes, in one appointment, thereby preventing the need for a temporary restoration.

    The best single tooth restoration available today!

    CEREC® is the world’s only system for the fabrication of all ceramic dental restorations in one office visit. With CEREC®, Dr. Patricia Primero can complete your permanent, all ceramic crown, onlay, or veneer in just one quick visit!

    This means fewer shots, less drilling, and less time out of your hectic schedule for dental care.

    • Only one appointment necessary
    • No gooey impressions to take
    • No temporaries
    • Tooth colored ceramic
    • Metal-free
    • Conservative restorations retain more healthy tooth structure

    Turns Out You Have Better Things to do with Your Time

    Technology today is changing our everyday lives. Many people, however, are not aware that technology also is impacting dentistry in new and exciting ways. Cutting-edge innovations in dental instruments are requiring less time in the dental chair, causing less discomfort and creating satisfying results. One breakthrough instrument, called CEREC®, allows dentists to quickly restore damaged teeth with natural-colored ceramic fillings, saving patients time and inconvenience.

  • How does the CEREC instrument work?

    CEREC® uses CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing) technology, incorporating a camera, computer and milling machine in one instrument. The dentist uses a special camera to take an accurate picture of the damaged tooth. This optical impression is transferred and displayed on a color computer screen, where the dentist uses CAD technology to design the restoration. Then CAM takes over and automatically creates the restoration while the patient waits. Finally, the dentist bonds the new restoration to the surface of the old tooth. The whole process takes about one hour.

  • What does CEREC mean for a patient?

    A tooth-colored restoration means no more silver fillings discoloring smiles. The filling is natural-looking, compatible with tissue in the mouth, anti-abrasive and plaque-resistant. Dentists no longer need to create temporaries or take impressions and send them to a lab. Because of this, the traditional second visit has been eliminated. The CEREC® has over a decade of clinical research and documentation to support the technology. The restorations have been proven precise, safe and effective.

  • What is Invisalign?

    Invisalign is the best way to straighten your teeth without having to live with the “metal mouth” look of traditional braces. That’s because Invisalign is a series of clear, removable, plastic aligners that are custom-made for your teeth.

    And it’s easy to get started. First, your doctor talks to you about your goals and examines your teeth to ensure they will benefit from the Invisalign system. He then writes a detailed treatment plan and orders a full set of customized aligners.

    You wear each pair of aligners for a two-week period, allowing your teeth to gradually evolve into a smile that shows off the real you. Treatment length varies, depending on your dental condition and the severity of your case. But often, a full program of treatment takes less than one year.

    Invisalign is kind of like invisible braces. It’s also virtually clear, so most people around you probably won’t even notice you’re wearing it. Even better, it’s comfortable—without wires and brackets that could irritate your mouth.

    Invisalign is also more convenient than traditional braces. Much more.

    The aligners are easily removable, so you choose when you wear them. You’re free to take them out whenever you need to. Eating, drinking… you name it. Even if you just need a break from wearing your aligners during a high school reunion or special work event, that’s OK. But remember, you need to wear your aligners are prescribed by your doctor in order to achieve your treatment goals.

    Invisalign aligners are made just for you with advanced 3-D computerized technology. Yourclear aligners are custom-made for your teeth. And only your teeth. Little by little, and over a time determined between you and your dentist, your teeth will gently move to create the smile you’ve always wanted.

    For a dazzling smile, the clear choice is Invisalign. Insist on it. See your Invisalign-trained provider to see if it’s right for you. And before you know it, you’ll be smiling the way you want to.

  • What are the Playsafe Mouthguards?

    Pressure-formed, multi-laminated Playsafe Mouthguards are prescribed for both professional and amateur athletes because they offer the highest level of protection. They have a competitive advantage over store bought boil-and-bite types because they are custom made to provide superior fit and retention to the patients unique oral structure. Playsafe is available in five levels of protection and many different color options for individuals or teams.
    Playsafe Patient Brochure

    DAMAGED TEETH

    It is often said that ‘Prevention is better than cure’ and this is especially true in the case of human teeth. Human teeth are the least capable part of the human body to repair themselves after an injury.

    CONTACT SPORTS

    Anyone that participates in a Contact Sport is vulnerable to a Dental Injury. Contact Sports include such sports as Football, Field Hockey, Kick Boxing, Ice Hockey, etc. In fact any sport where a player is likely to make contact with a hard object. The solution is to wear a Playsafe Custom Made Mouthguard.

    ORTHODONTIC APPLIANCES

    Many young sports players will be undergoing Orthodontic Treatment and wearing fixed or removable braces. They should wear a Playsafe Mouthguard if they participate in Contact Sports as a sudden impact to their face could otherwise result in the wire work of their braces lacerating the soft tissues of the inside of their lips and cheeks.

    HISTORY OF MOUTHGUARDS

    Boxing is thought to have been the first sport to use Gumshields or Tooth Guards asthey were then called. The original Gumshield or Toothguard was no more than a preformed rubber rim that fitted over the top teeth. Technology has improved since those early days of tooth protection and we are now able to make Playsafe Custom Made Sports Mouthguards that fit like a glove, are not bulky and allow easy speech.

    PLAYSAFE MOUTHGUARDS AND CURRENT LEGISLATION

    Mouthguards, (Gumshields or Toothguards) come under the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) legislation. Manufacturers of Mouthguards/Gumshields and Toothguards must comply with this piece of legislation and demonstrate this by permanently sealing the CE mark in its recognizable form of black print on a white background within the Mouthguard, (Gumshield or Toothguard).

    There are two types of Mouthguards (Gumshields or Toothguards) available:

    BOIL AND BITE MOUTHGUARDS/GUMSHIELDS/TOOTHGUARDS

    These are available in sports and chemist shops and may be placed in boiling water and then moulded to the tooth arch. However they tend to thin out in the very areas where protection is required and also be of a loose fit which during exertion may cause them to become dislodged and trapped in the sports players airway causing suffocation. Toothguard and Gumshield are very much the old fashioned name for Mouthguards. The word Gumshield was mainly used by Boxers and the word Toothguard was mainly used by dentists. Both these words Toothguard and Gumshield have been replaced by the word Mouthguard.

    CUSTOM MADE SPORTS MOUTHGUARDS

    These are the preferred type as they are Custom Made to moulds taken of the players upper and lower tooth arches by a dentist.

    The Playsafe Mouthguard is a Hi-Tech Custom Made Sports Mouthguard which is made by using several layers of different plastics which are pressure laminated together like laminated glass so as to make a very impact absorbing mouthguard. For instance the Heavy Type Playsafe Mouthguard contains Resilient Energy Transmission Lines which are placed over the delicate areas of the biting surfaces of the teeth and will rebound and accelerate the transmission of the destructive energy away from the site of impact thus enhancing the mouthguards protection of the teeth.

    So whatever Contact Sport you play always wear a Playsafe Mouthguard.

  • Exactly what is dental benefits (insurance) for Individuals?

    Dental plan coverage for individuals is not commonly offered because dental needs are highly predictable. For example, you would not pay premiums for your dental coverage if the premiums were more expensive than the cost of the dental treatment you need. Since this is the case, insurance companies would stand to lose money (spend more on benefits than they receive in premiums) on every individual dental plan they write.

    There are, however, a few companies that offer a form of dental benefits for individuals. Most of these plans are “referral plans” or “buyers’ clubs.” Under these types of plans, an individual pays a monthly fee to a third party in return for access to a list of dentists who have agreed to a reduced fee schedule. Payment for treatment is made from the patient directly to the dentist. The third party acts only in the capacity of matching the individual to the dentist. The dentist receives no payment from the third party other than in the form of referral of patients.

  • My dentist recommends a treatment that my plan will not pay for. Does this mean the treatment really isn’t necessary?

    It is common for dental plans to exclude treatment that is covered under the company’s medical plan. Some plans, however, go on to exclude or discourage necessary dental treatment such as sealants, pre-existing conditions, adult orthodontics, specialist referrals and other dental needs. Some also exclude treatment by family members. Patients need to be aware of the exclusions and limitations in their dental plan but should not let those factors determine their treatment decisions.

     

  • My dentist recommends that I get a crown on a tooth, but my dental benefit will only pay for a large filling for that tooth. Which treatment should I have?

    Some plans will only provide the level of benefit allowed for the least expensive way to treat a dental need, not the treatment that will give you the best long term value. regardless of the decision made by you and your dentist as to the best treatment. Sometimes, special circumstances may be explained to the third-party payer to request an adjustment to this lower benefit allowance, but there is no guarantee that the third-party payer will alter its coverage. As in the case of exclusions, patients should base treatment decisions on their dental needs, not on their dental benefit plan.

  • My dental plan says that it will pay for two dental checkups and cleanings each year. However, I just had my first checkup and cleaning, and the insurance company says I owe for part of the dentist’s charges. How can this be?

    Plans that describe benefits in terms of percentages, for example, 100 percent for preventive care or 80 percent for restorative care, are generally Usual, Customary and Reasonable (UCR) plans. The administrators of UCR plans set what the plan considers to be a “customary fee” for each dental procedure. If your dentist’s fee exceeds this customary fee, your benefit will be based on a percentage of the customary fee instead of your dentist’s fee.

    Exceeding the plan’s customary fee, however, does not mean your dentist has overcharged for the procedure. These plans pay a set percentage of the dentist’s fee or the plan administrator’s “reasonable” or “customary” fee limit, whichever is less. These limits are the result of a contract between the plan purchaser and the third-party payer. Although these limits are called “customary,” they may or may not accurately reflect the fees that area dentists charge. There is wide fluctuation and lack of government regulation on how a plan determines the “customary” fee level.

  • Will the plan cover the care my family will need?

    This should be a prime consideration and a major motivation in choosing one plan over another. If your employer offers more than one plan, look at the exclusions and limitations of the coverage as well as the general categories of benefits. You should discuss your family’s current and future dental needs with your family dentist before making a final decision on your dental plan.

  • Who is covered by my dental benefit plan? What does my dental plan cover?

    This information should be provided by the plan purchaser, often your employer or union, and by the third-party payers. In order that you and the dentist may be aware of the benefits provided by a dental benefit plan, the extent of any benefits available under the plan should be clearly defined, limitations or exclusions described, and the application of deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance factors explained to you. This should be communicated in advance of treatment.

    The plan document should describe the benefit levels of the plan and list any exclusions or limitations to that coverage. This document should also specify who is eligible for coverage under the plan and when that coverage is in effect.

    Your dentist cannot answer specific questions about your dental benefit or predict what your level of coverage for a particular procedure will be. This is because plans written by the same third-party payer or offered by the same employer may vary according to the contracts involved. Therefore, you should ask the plan purchaser or the third-party payer to answer your specific questions about coverage

  • My dentist is not on the list of dentists provided by my employer. Can I still go to him/her for treatment?

    You can always go to the dentist of your choice. The question is whether you will have benefit coverage for the treatment you receive if it is provided by a dentist who is not on the plan’s list. This depends on contractual agreements between the plan purchaser (often your employer), the dentists on the list and the plan administrator. Under certain contracts, such as a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) program, patients are given a financial incentive to go to certain dentists but do receive some level of dental benefit, regardless of the treating dentist. Other plans, such as capitation programs, do not provide any benefit coverage for treatment given by “non-participating” dentists. In all instances where this type of plan is offered, patients should have the annual option to choose a plan that affords unrestricted choice of a dentist, with comparable benefits and equal premium dollars.

  • My spouse and I each have a dental benefit plan. Who in our family is covered by these plans?

    Your program covers you. Your spouse’s program covers him/her. You may have additional coverage from each other’s programs if they cover spouses and dependents. In no case should the benefit derived from the two coordinated programs exceed 100 percent of the dentist’s charges for treatment.

    The primary plan for covering your children depends on the regulations in your state. Most plans use the “birthday rule” (spouse with birthday occurring earlier in the calendar year is primary). Others consider the father’s plan primary. The American Dental Association has recognized the “birthday rule” as the preferred method for coordinating benefits, but which rule applies to your family depends on the language in your dental plan documents.

    If you have two or more potential sources of coverage, check the coordination of benefits language for each plan to determine the benefits available.

  • Does my dentist have to send a description of my treatment plan to the third-party payer before I have any dental work done?

    Third-party payers often request a “predetermination of benefits” on certain treatment plans. Usually this means a dental consultant will review your dentist’s treatment plan and determine what benefits your plan will provide. But this predetermination is not a guarantee of payment. You may want to review your benefit prior to receiving treatment, but the final treatment decision should be a matter between you and your dentist, regardless of your benefit.

    There may be a provision in your plan that will deny your normal dental benefit, or reduce the level of coverage if you do not submit the treatment plan for prior authorization. This is a contractual matter between the plan purchaser (often your employer) and the plan administrator and is contrary to the policy of the American Dental Association. The American Dental Association is opposed to any dental clause that would deny or reduce payment to the beneficiary, to which he/she is normally entitled, solely on the basis or lack of preauthorization.

  • How are benefits determined?

    You should know how your plan is designed, since this can affect significantly the plan’s coverage and your out-of-pocket expense.

    Some employers now offer more than one dental plan to their employees. In fact, the right to choose between two plans could be the law in your state. To understand and make decisions about your dental benefits, it is important to remember that plans are often very different. To make the best decision for you and your family, you should understand exactly how the different kinds of dental benefit plans work and how they derive their cost savings.

    There are many ways to design a dental benefits plan. Although the individual features of plans may differ somewhat, the most common designs can be grouped into the following categories:

    Direct Reimbursement programs reimburse patients a percentage of the dollar amount spent on dental care, regardless of treatment category. This method typically does not exclude coverage based on the type of treatment needed and allows the patients to go to the dentist of their choice.

    “Usual, Customary and Reasonable” (UCR) programs usually allow patients to go to the dentist of their choice. These plans pay a set percentage of the dentist’s fee or the plan administrator’s “reasonable” or “customary” fee limit—whichever is less. These limits are the result of a contract between the plan purchaser and the third-party payer. Although these limits are called “customary,” they may or may not accurately reflect the fees that area dentists charge. There is wide fluctuation and lack of government regulation on how a plan determines the “customary” fee level.

    Table or Schedule of Allowance programs determine a list of covered services with an assigned dollar amount. That dollar amount represents just how much the plan will pay for those services that are covered. Most often, it does not represent the dentist’s full charge for those services. The patient pays the difference.

    Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) programs are plans under which contracting dentists agree to discount their fees as a financial incentive for patients to select their practices. If the patient’s dentist of choice does not participate in the plan, the patient will have a reduction or complete loss of benefits.

    Capitation programs pay contracted dentists a fixed amount (usually on a monthly basis) per enrolled family or patient. In return, the dentists agree to provide specific types of treatment to the patients at no charge (for some treatments there may be a patient co-payment). The capitation premium that is paid may differ greatly from the amount the plan provides for the patient’s actual dental care.

  • What is direct reimbursement?

    Direct Reimbursement programs reimburse patients a percentage of the dollar amount spent on dental care, regardless of treatment category. This method typically does not exclude coverage based on the type of treatment needed and allows the patients to go to the dentist of their choice.

    Lasty, a dental benefit plan is not “insurance” as much as it is a benefit. The easiest way to understand it is to think of it like a scholarship. Once the cap has been met, there is no further benefit available for that year. If it were truly insurance there would be no yearly limit on the amount that is covered.

    We hope you find this information helpful and we look forward to helping you to better understand what is available to you with your dental benefits.