Collinsville Family Dentistry 1310 W. Main St., COLLINSVILLE, OKLAHOMA
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are dental x-rays harmful?
Answer: The amount of ionizing radiation in a full series of dental x-rays (18-20 films or panorex) is equivalent to approximately 1-2 hours sun exposure in Denver, Colorado, on a sunny day. The advent of faster speed film, protective equipment (lead apron), and digital radiography have further reduced the amount of radiation exposure. The benefit of routine dental x-rays far outweighs the risk of minute radiation exposure. The American Dental Association endorses the benefits of dental x-rays and recommends their use.
Q: What is periodontal or gum disease?
Answer: In short, periodontal disease is an infection of the hard (bone) and soft (gingival and connective tissue) tissues that support the teeth. Periodontal disease is the most common disease in man affecting approximately 80% of adults. Likewise, periodontal disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss. Smokers and uncontrolled diabetics are at increased risk for developing periodontal disease. Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease can include; swollen, sore or bleeding gums, bad breath, a persistent foul taste, pus around teeth, and loose or mobile teeth. The disease process can be localized to only a few teeth or exist throughout the entire mouth. Similar to some systemic diseases (i.e. Type II diabetes mellitus), periodontal disease can remain asymptomatic or silent until significant damage has occurred. Patients diagnosed with periodontal disease often require periodontal scaling and root planning to remove tarter and biofilm from below the gum line. Depending upon the severity of the disease process, periodontal surgery may be required to correct disease destruction. In addition, these patients require more frequent maintenance (cleanings) appointments to help minimize or arrest the potential for disease progression. Typically, a patient with periodontal disease will be seen 3-4 times a year. In our office, a complete periodontal evaluation is done annually to detect the initiation or progression of periodontal disease. Patients with a history of periodontal disease will have their gums evaluated more frequently.
Q: Will my dental insurance pay for treatment of my periodontal disease?
Answer: Yes, most dental insurances will pay a percentage of initial treatment costs (approximately 70-80%). However, even with the increased number of visits to your hygienist, some dental insurance companies will only pay for a maximum of two maintenances (cleanings) per year. These policies leave the patient financially responsible for the remaining maintenance appointments. It is important to be familiar with your particular policy and realize the importance of seeing the hygienist 3-4 times a year. There is good news in that several major insurance carriers are beginning to offer additional coverage for periodontal patients based upon studies linking the gum disease process to systemic diseases.
Q: My insurance company is not going to pay for any/some of my recommended treatment. Do I still need to have the procedure completed?
Answer: Yes, any time the doctor and/or hygienist recommends a procedure it is because something indicated that a problem is occurring with a tooth, previous dental treatment or your gum tissue. Keep in mind, that the benefits you have with your dental plan are an agreement between your employer and the insurance company. The dental plan is not an agreement between our office and the insurance company. Your insurance company is not necessarily concerned with what is deemed to be in “your best interest”. The insurance company is usually going to do the very minimum possible to keep their profits up. If you are concerned about the coverage on your dental plan, please talk to your employer to see if benefits could be increased and/or changed.
Q: What does it mean when you say you are a provider for an insurance company?
Answer: Being a provider for an insurance company means that our office has contracted a particular fee for our services rendered. Basically this means that we may not be able to charge our normal fees thus, making our services discounted for you.
Q: My gums don’t hurt but they bleed when I brush or floss. Is this a problem?
Answer: Yes! The presence of blood indicates that your gums are not healthy. Make an appointment to see your dentist to determine if periodontal disease (gum disease) is present. Gum disease does not hurt so your dentist will perform an evaluation to see what is going on.
Q: There are many types of toothpaste on the market, how do you choose which one is best?
Answer: Contrary to what you may think, the toothpaste you use is not as important as the toothbrush. The removal of plaque happens by mechanical action meaning that your toothbrush bristles do more cleaning than the toothpaste. Most people prefer a certain type of toothpaste. We recommend that whatever type your prefer, that it contain fluoride. Although, we do recommend you avoid whitening toothpaste due to the tendency to cause sensitivity. The different types of toothpaste cater to different needs so ask your dentist about which kind is best for you.
Q: Doesn’t a Hard bristle toothbrush clean better?
Answer: Surprisingly, the answer is no! Always choose a toothbrush with SOFT bristles when purchasing a new toothbrush. A toothbrush with HARD bristles not only is less effective with cleaning your teeth but can also harm your gums. Remember that it is not how hard you brush but how often and thorough you brush.
Q: How does my mouth effect my overall health?
Answer: Recent studies suggest gum disease increases the risk of heart disease and stroke because of the high levels of bacteria as well as the chronic inflamation response. Also women with gum disease who are pregnant are 3-5 times more likely to give birth to a preterm / low weight baby than woman without gum disease.
Dr. Melissa Bowler, DDS -- (918) 371-3774