Patient FAQs

Tell me about the “one appointment crown” ?

We make most of our crowns now using CAD/CAM technology with a new material call Lithium Disilicate. It is one of the strongest natural looking materials available today; much stronger than a metal crown. We can make the crowns in one appointment by using a special computerized camera to capture an image of the prepared tooth, design the crown with on the computer, mill it on a special machine, condition the material in an oven, and then bond the crown in the mouth. This process gives us a better fitting crown than the impression method.

Why do you take xrays?

Xrays show us the areas of the teeth and bone that are not visible to the eye. There can be conditions that require attention that many times give no symptoms to let us know that a problem exists.

What is bite wing xray?

These show the areas between the back teeth and the bone contour around the teeth under the gum tissue. For many people, these should be taken every 12 months. On adult patients, a typical bitewing series is four images.

What is a periapical xray?

It shows the entire tooth with one or two adjacent teeth and all the surrounding bone to the end of the root. We can see portions of the maxillary sinuses, the mandibular nerve canal, and other important structures related to the teeth. These are recommended every 3 to 5 years depending on each patient’s individual status of oral health.

What is a panorex xray?

This is a single film that shows all the anatomy from above the eye down to below the chin and includes the jaw joints or TMJs. It is very good screening device for areas that cannot be reached by bitewings and periapicals. We also take these films on edentulous patients and any patient we plan implants for.

What other xrays do you use?

We now have 3D cone beam capability in our office. This is amazing technology gives us a three dimensional image of the teeth and all supporting structures in exact measurement. It is invaluable in planning for dental implants, evaluating bone health around the teeth, viewing the joints, finding hidden infections, and so many other diagnostic uses. It is now used routinely as our comprehensive x-ray exam, along with bitewing radiographs. While it gives us so much more information, it also does it with less radiation exposure than a full mouth set of periapical films, which is the standard in most dental offices.

Why do you take diagnostic study models?

Models of your teeth are necessary to study wear patterns that may be present, to do an aesthetic analysis if there are cosmetic concerns, to evaluate spaces left by missing teeth so that the best plan for replacement can be made, and for any patient that is need of one or more crowns.

What is that instrument you poke around in my gums?

It’s called a periodontal probe. It has measurement lines that allow us to determine the state of health of the gum attachment to the tooth and the contour of the supporting bone around the teeth. 2 to 3mm measurements without bleeding are considered healthy. Any measurements with bleeding, or ones greater than 3mm, are signs of periodontal disease. Periodontal tissue (gums and bone next to the teeth) disease can range from mild gingivitis (bleeding) to advanced periodontitis (extreme bone loss, tooth mobility, infection). Periodontal diseases can advance without noticeable symptoms to the patient.

How often should my teeth be cleaned?

At home you should brush and floss at least twice a day and preferably after every meal. Use a fluoridated toothpaste, floss, and if you like mouth rinses, use one that is alcohol free. Most people benefit from having professional cleanings twice a year. Some patients will need more frequent hygiene appointments and a few can get by with one annual checkup and cleaning.

What kind or toothbrush should I use?

Dr. Box prefers the electric or sonic toothbrushes due to their high cleaning efficiency and the built in timers that some of them have. If you use a manual brush, it should have soft bristles, be used for a minimum of two minutes with proper technique, and replaced frequently (monthly).

When should my child’s first check up be?

As a dental practitioner with 32 years experience treating adults and teens, I am very aware of the apprehension many people have about coming to the dentist. I feel much of this fear was instilled by first experiences to the dental office. Either they were seen as a child by someone not tactful with caring for children, or their first visit was for emergency type treatment for an already painful condition.

A child’s first visit to the dental office needs to be a positive experience so that he or she is not frightened and that the lessons learned are that routine dental care is important for a lifetime of oral health. It is most beneficial that children be seen by age one so that a dental home can be established and early preventative measures can begin. We have found that diet and hygiene counseling and fluoride varnish applications beginning with the eruption of the first teeth are very beneficial. Studies show that these measures significantly reduce the child’s life long tooth decay experience. A child should absolutely see a dentist for a routine exam no later than when all the primary teeth are erupted- usually by age three. Preparation for this visit actually starts with the parents’ daily care of the infant’s teeth when they first start to erupt. Through daily cleaning of the infant’s teeth first with a soft cloth and then small soft infant tooth brushes, your child will already be used to having his teeth inspected.

I have always recommended that very young children start out with being treated by a pediatric dentist (Children’s Dentist). One essential reason is that the pediatric dental office environment is geared directly to children, making them feel comfortable. The office is populated with their peers so it is normally a less threatening environment than they might encounter in an office where only adults may be present. The primary reason is that by focusing on the treatment of children and early teens, the pediatric dentist is most adept at monitoring your child’s development and growth patterns in case early intervention is needed to help develop a sound, healthy bite for life. Also, in case a child needs extensive restorative dentistry, the pediatric dentist is highly trained in sedation techniques so that treatment can be accomplished safely and quickly with minimum emotional stress to the child.

If your child is very apprehensive about the first visit to the dentist, most pediatric dentists will allow a complimentary walk-through type of first visit where the child can come to the office and just observe what goes on there. Subsequent visits will usually be scheduled so that the child is gradually introduced to necessary treatment and, if needed, appropriate sedation used to make treatment comfortable and pass seemingly quickly.

Again, early introduction to professional dental care is the key to someone having a life time of oral health. Prevention of dental disease, early intervention of problems and development of trust in the dental professionals starts with the first visit. Feel free to call our office for recommendations for a children’s dentist most convenient to you, or if you have questions about your adult dental needs.

What is a root canal?

A root canal, or endodontic treatment, is done when the pulp of the tooth (nerve and blood supply) becomes infected, dies due to trauma or decay, or is exposed due to fracture of the crown of the tooth. Dr. Box has taken special interest in endodontic treatment throughout his career and treats most of the root canal cases for his patients. We do refer to the endodontist in a few cases that may require special equipment to locate extremely small canal spaces.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant replaces a missing natural root. They can be used alone for single tooth replacement, in combination to replace multiple teeth with a fixed bridge, or in combination to supply support and retention for many different types of removable appliances.

Does Dr. Box place implants?

Yes. Some cases may require certain types of bone augmentation and are referred to either one of the oral surgeons or periodontists within the IDT team. Coordination through preplanning is essential that the most predictable result is obtained.

How much is a filling, a crown, a root canal, an implant, etc?

People are like snow flakes-there are no two alike. Every patient has unique needs and thus must be evaluated before any treatment (or no treatment) can be recommended. We can only give you a fair estimate of the cost of treatment after doing our examination.

Will my insurance pay for everything?

All insurance companies have annual maximums and their own fee schedules that they go by to determine how much they pay. They pay portions of what they say are the “usual customary fees.” These UCRs are merely an average of the previous five years claim submissions which results in most Doctors’ fees being above the UCR. We can help you determine an estimate of what your portion will be after we have done a complete exam. We process claims for almost all dental plans that allow patients their choice of dentist.

Your office is not on my preferred provider list. Can you still treat my dental needs?

Don’t be misled by the insurance companies on this issue. Preferred provider designation has nothing to do with training or skills. It merely means that the doctor has agreed to take a lesser fee in exchange for being on the list. There may actually be some providers for an insurance company who have elected to not be on the list because they just can’t treat more than a certain percentage of patients at the discounted fees. The differences in the fees for the patient are not so significant that that should be the ultimate deciding factor in choosing a dentist.

How should I choose a new dentist?

The relationship between a dentist and patient needs to be based on mutual trust and understanding. For this reason, one of the best ways is to talk to your friends to see whom they use as their dentist. If you have good friends that are pleased with a dental practice, then all likelihood you will also be pleased. There is really no way that a patient can adequately evaluate the technical skills of a dentist, but you can tell from observation and questions if the doctor keeps up with dental progress. Never be afraid to ask just to meet the dentist. We are happy to schedule a no charge introductory meeting and after that if, you wish, we will schedule the necessary type of exam appointment.