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FAQs

Modern Technology

Family Care and Cosmetic Dentistry

Implant Dentistry

 

 

 

 

Q) How does oral health influence my overall health?

Oral health is essential for complete overall health. Dental problems such as gum disease or tooth infection can lead to systemic health problems. For example, research has suggested a link between gum disease and heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, while tooth infections can lead to infections in other areas, sometimes even becoming life threatening. We offer services such as periodontal therapy and root canal therapy to keep you healthy and support total wellness.

Q) How often should I get a dental checkup?

Ideally, we recommend that patients visit us every six months for dental exams and professional dental cleanings. Heavy tartar and plaque can build up in just six months! We can clean impossible to reach spots and remove hardened tartar with our specialized dental instruments. We can also look for signs of problems like gum disease, which can be overlooked by sufferers who experience no symptoms. If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental checkup, call our dental office for an appointment!

Q) Can you accept my insurance? Do you have different payment options?

We encourage you to contact our office to discuss your dental insurance with one of our highly trained and very experienced administrative staff members. We can give you in-depth information about your dental insurance plan and how it works with our office and your dental care treatments. Regardless of the insurance you have, we will help you file for benefits, and offer input on how your benefits may work. Although plans vary, we work with all of them to maximize your benefits. We accept all major credit cards, cash or check. We also have financial partners such as CareCredit who can tailor plans to your dental needs. Low monthly payments can make your dental dreams come true. We’re pleased to offer our patients the CareCredit® card, North America’s leading patient payment program. CareCredit is the credit card exclusively for healthcare services interest rates or other costly penalties. You’ll get low monthly payments for healthcare procedures not commonly covered by insurance, including dental procedures. Plus, you can use your card over and over for follow-up appointments.

Q) Does Dr. Perez keep current on all available current techniques and materials?

Yes, Dr. Perez has amassed over 2500 hours in post-graduate continuing education lectures and classes, and devotes at least one to two hours per day to keeping up with the latest research and communications in dentistry.

Q) Can we use a blueprint of my mouth to discuss how my teeth can be improved before any treatment is done?

Of course. Our treatments are thoroughly planned in advance. What makes our office special is the detailed planning process used in designing each unique improvement for each patient. Our planning process uses digital imaging with sculptured before-and-after models of your teeth. We use these models to ensure that your preferences are used to design your ideal smile.

Q) Can I refer my family, friends, and co-workers to your office?

The greatest compliment we can receive is the courtesy of your referral. Our practice grows continually from the many compliments we receive.

Q) How do I change an appointment?

Please let us know of any change in your plans at least 48 hours before the appointment. Since your appointment is a reservation of the doctors time, if you change your plans, time which has been reserved for you may not be available to other patients who are in pain and may need the appointment as soon as possible. If you feel nervous about coming to the dentist, please be aware that we make every effort to make you as comfortable as possible and answer all your questions.

Q) What’s important about quality materials for my smile?

There are a wide variety of materials available for whitening, building up, and restoring teeth. And each of these materials has specific properties when used in specific applications. There are highly-precise color matching systems available today that can make shade-difference problems almost a thing of the past. The use of porcelain makes an artist out of a dentist. However, there are times when porcelain isn’t the right choice, and a moldable, bondable, composite resin can work well. There’s no magic formula to follow when choosing materials for cosmetic or restorative dentistry. Instead, you have to rely on the time tested skills of the dentist.

Q) Why should I trust Dr. Perez with something as important as my smile?

With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Perez has accumulated special training in esthetic and lifetime dentistry. Every year he attends hundreds of hours of continuing education courses. Dr. Perez has learned to assess and re-engineer the shape, size, color, and balance of teeth in ways that only an artist can understand.

Q) At what age do my children need to be examined by a dentist?

Most children should be examined starting at the age of one year old, depending on their emotional and physical development. In the meantime, their parents should maintain the daily responsibilities of keeping their mouths clean, and ensuring that their nutrition is balanced with as little sugar as possible.

Q) How can I have whiter teeth?

We have a long-standing familiarity and success with tooth whitening. In fact, we’ve been doing this for patients longer than anyone in this area, with great results. However, it’s not an automatic process: it’s critical to know the various properties of all the available materials, and discern which is most appropriate for a particular individual’s case. That decided, under our careful supervision, you’ll find that tooth whitening is simple, safe, and produces sensational results!

Q) I don’t want braces but I would like straighter teeth, what should I do?

Depending on your exact situation, we can do many different things. Reshaping teeth, whitening and veneering teeth can help the smile that needs a smile lift. This can be done in as little as one or two visits. When teeth should be moved to improve your bite, Invisalign® are clear removable plastic trays that work like regular braces, but do not show or can be removed when you want. The best way for you to obtain an accurate, personalized answer to this question would be to call our office, at 305-220-9393, and schedule a no-obligation educational visit. We’ll listen to what you’d like to accomplish, and help you understand exactly what cosmetic dentistry may or may not be able to offer you. We love to help people update and improve their smiles, so don’t hesitate to call us. After all, so many good things in life begin with a smile!

Q) What precautions do you take to ensure patient safety?

We follow all precautions necessary to ensure that disease will not be transmitted in our office. We not only sterilize all of our instruments, but autoclave all of our handpieces, use disposable materials where appropriate, and disinfect each patient room before and after each patient visitor.

Q) How do you handle emergency needs after hours?

We have a 24 hour answering service that can put you in touch with Dr. Perez. we also have arranged with several oral surgeons to continue care should Dr. Perez be attending a continuing education course. Since pre planning your care will prevent emergency problems, the chances are that as a patient of ours, your emergency needs will be few and far between.

Q) I don’t like drills. Do you have other options?

Yes, depending on the problem that we’re solving. We can restore small to medium areas of decay using air-abrasion.Larger areas may require a high speed air rotor handpiece or an electric handpiece. In any case, we’re experts at making our patients comfortable and relaxed, so you’ll probably find that you barely notice what we’re using at all.

Q) Is it bad for my gums to bleed after I brush my teeth?

Bleeding during or after brushing indicates periodontal infection”in other words, your gums are inflamed and ‘leaky’ to some degree. The reason this is ‘bad’ is that if blood can leak out, it means bacteria can sneak in, get into your bloodstream, and cause all kinds of health problems. If your gums are bleeding, and you’re sure it’s not from some direct, unusual trauma, you need to let us take a look at the situation.

Q) What is special about your practice?

Like other fields where planning is important, planning your dental care will help make you healthier happier and live longer and look better. Planning your dentistry for life will also help you save time and money in the long run. Sedation dentistry can help people with anxiety or time concerns to be treated comfortably and quickly. We pride ourselves on our promptness and attention to your time concerns.

Q) I’m really afraid of visiting a dentist. I get shaky just thinking about it! Can you help me?

We understand that many people are anxious about dental visits and procedures, so we’ve developed some pretty amazing and effective ways to help you relax. You need to know that we will NOT hurt you while you’re here, nor will you be hurting at home afterwards. Technology has really helped us make dentistry much easier on patients.

Q) How can I tell if I am healthy enough to have dental implants?

Generally speaking, if a person is well enough to undergo the treatment necessary for fixed bridgework or routine tooth extractions, the same person can undergo dental implant procedures. Also, patients may have general health conditions that would contraindicate implant procedures, although this is unusual. The best form of implant for you is determined after a thorough examination and discussion with your dentist and periodontist or oral surgeon. The amount and location of available bone is usually the major determinant as to which implant system is to be used, or whether you are a good implant candidate.

Q) Where dental implants are concerned, are there risks of the body rejecting them?

When people hear the word “rejection” in connection with implants, they are usually describing conditions that can occur where there has been surgery that involves transplanting a vital organ such as a heart. However, dental implants fall into an entirely different category due to the fact that tissue matching, blood typing, etc., is not a factor as in the other procedures mentioned. The body completely accepts placement of dental implant material (like orthopedic materials which are similar) within bone; therefore, today’s dental implants meet with great success. Obviously, there are some dental implants that have not been successful. However, success has more to do with proper patient selection, proficiency of the practitioner, and the patient’s commitment to proper hygiene and preventive maintenance. Another factor in success involves regular follow-up care, just like other dental treatment. Both soft tissue health and the way the replacement teeth function and bite together must be evaluated periodically to ensure long term success of the dental implant.

Q) How long will implants last?

How long do teeth last? They should last a lifetime. However, we all can sight examples where teeth have not served for a person’s lifetime. We know that dental problems mostly stem from improper home care or lack of treatment when needed. The same holds true for implants. With proper care and routine dental check-ups they should last a lifetime. No one can give guarantees because the health of a person is dependent upon many factors which are out of the control of one’s dentist, e.g., proper nutritional needs being met, proper hygiene, genetics, disease processes which might occur. So, the answer to this question really is that no one knows how long each individual implant will last… one’s success can be influenced by the way you live and the quality of practitioner that you have chosen to do your implants… these things can tip the scales in your favor.

Q) Do implants require special care?

Presume that dental implants are natural teeth and treat them that way. Return for regular check-ups. Brush and floss. Realize also, that caring for the gums is the best way to care for one’s teeth. More teeth are lost as a result of gum disease than any other single cause.

Q) Is the placement of implants painful? How long does it take?

Implant placement usually does not result in much post-operative discomfort -usually the patient takes Tylenol or Advil for about 2-5 days. If more extensive treatment is needed, for example bone grafts or many implants, then the post-operative course may require more time and medication. Anesthesia during the surgery should make the placement procedure pain-free. We are conservative with anesthetic agents and our philosophy is to utilize the least amount of medication for the patient to comfortably tolerate the procedures. Depending on the complexity and number of implants being placed, the procedure can take between 30 minutes to 3-4 hours.

Q) How long does the whole dental implant process take? Will I be without teeth or unable to eat for a long time?

The first phase of treatment, after a detailed evaluation and treatment plan, usually is the actual placement of the implants. This procedure is generally done in the doctor’s office during one visit. Most implants will remain covered, underneath the gums, for 3 to 6 months. During this time, osseointegration –the biological bonding of the jawbone to the implant–occurs. Through this healing period, you will probably wear your modified denture or a temporary denture or bridge and maintain normal activities without restriction. You will need to follow a modified, soft diet for the first couple of weeks. There are occasions, one stage implant placements or when extensive bone grafting is to be performed, when patients may be asked not to wear their removable dentures for a period of time. When this is necessary we’ll do all we can to help our patient through this transition.

The second phase of the procedure is usually 3-6 months after implant placement. At this time, the top of the implants will be uncovered from under the gums and a small metal post or extension will be attached to the implant(s). Your periodontist or restorative dentist will make any necessary modifications to your temporary teeth to allow you to continue wearing them after post attachment.

In the third phase, which usually starts 2-6 weeks after the second phase, your new replacement teeth are created and fitted. This phase involves a series of appointments to make impressions of your mouth and to “try-in” your replacement teeth at key steps in their fabrication. The try-in sessions are necessary to ensure that the size, shape, color and fit of your new teeth will completely blend with and match your individual facial characteristics and remaining natural teeth (if any). The third phase is usually completed within 4 to 8 weeks. Total treatment time for most implant cases will usually be 5-8 months. It could be longer if bone or gum procedures are needed.

Q) I’ve heard that dental implants are experimental – is that true?

Absolutely not! Dental implants have a long history of use and success. Implants are the most thoroughly researched procedure in the history of dentistry and, while no procedure is 100% successful, the current technology has resulted in very high success rates in the hands of well-trained and experienced clinicians. Dental implants are carefully regulated by the FDA and a number of implant systems have been approved by the American Dental Association.

Q) I’ve heard that dental implants are expensive. How much do they cost?

The procedure can involve a significant investment, with surgical fees ranging from $1,800 and up for a single tooth replacement (when the implant crown is added the cost is about the same as a conventional “3-tooth bridge”) to $5,000 and up for replacement of multiple missing teeth. However, the cost of non-treatment can be considerably more expensive. Continual bone loss occurs from the wearing of full dentures (plates) and partials. This progressive loss of bone can eventually cause nerve exposure, jaw fracture and a complete inability to function with regular dentures. Correction at this point may be very expensive and can involve extensive bone grafts, which may require hospitalization and an extended recovery period. Placing implants before the bone loss becomes severe not only saves money in the long run, but also slows the bone loss process, increasing the likelihood of long term success.

Q) Does insurance pay for dental implants?

Yes and no –sorry to be so vague, but some carriers pay for them, some don’t, and some pay a portion of the costs. Most dental plans do not provide for the surgical placement of implants. However, many do provide some restorative benefits. Surprisingly, the best coverage often times can be through your medical insurance if you are missing all or most of your teeth. In this case the implant procedure may be considered jaw reconstruction with restoration of normal chewing function and sometimes medical insurance will cover all or part of the treatment. In many instances we have been able to help get significant coverage for patients, but unfortunately it is not very predictable. Our staff will work hard to see that you get the best possible benefit from your insurance.

Q) I must have some teeth extracted and I intend to have implants placed to restore my ability to chew. Can a dental implant be placed at the same visit as the teeth are extracted?

Whether or not the dental implant can be placed immediately after extraction depends on the amount of available bone in the area and presence or absence of active infection. Placing the implant at the same visit helps preserve both width and height of bone and may prevent the need for placing bone grafts when bone naturally shrinks back after teeth are extracted. During the first year after teeth have been removed, as much as 40% of jawbone width can be lost. Sometimes, infection from a tooth or periodontal disease has destroyed the bone to such an extent that it becomes necessary to do a bone grafting procedure prior to implant placement. If it is possible to place the implant at the same visit as the teeth are extracted, this can save at least three months in healing time compared to waiting for an extraction site to heal before the implants can be placed.