FAQ

What insurance’s do you accept?

Lehigh Dental accepts most dental insurance’s, but we participate with these. (We don’t accept HMO’s and Access)

  • Aetna
  • Assurant
  • Blue Cross Dental
  • Cigna
  • Delta Dental
  • Dentemax
  • Dominion
  • GEHA (Connection Dental)
  • Guardian
  • Metlife
  • Stonebridge
  • Sunlife Financial
  • United Concordia
  • United Healthcare

Do you make payment arrangements?

Lehigh Dental requests payment in full at the time of service. We do accept MasterCard, Visa and Discover. Special arrangements can be made for lengthy or complicated procedures.

Do you sterilize your instruments?

Lehigh Dental Sterilizes all instruments including hand pieces in state of the art steam autoclaves. All rooms are also disinfected between every patient by ADA standard procedures.

Is tooth bleaching safe and effective?

For years dentists and patients have wanted a simple and effective way to whiten teeth. Home bleaching of teeth with carbamide peroxide has now been available for over ten years. Carbamide peroxide has been used as an antiseptic in the mouth for approximately forty years and has proven to be safe.

The home bleaching system consists of a set of “retainer-like” trays that the patient fills with bleaching solution. The trays are worn for a certain period of time each day for two to three weeks. The results are amazing!

Home bleaching sometimes causes transient gum irritation or tooth sensitivity. No permanent damage is done to the teeth. If these conditions do occur, I advise the patient to discontinue the bleaching for a day or two and then go back to it.

Unsupervised bleaching of teeth can be dangerous because than are different formulations of bleaching solutions available. Long term unsupervised use can lead to changes in the biological make-up of the mouth fluids. This can cause chronic imitations or infections.

I didn’t start prescribing home bleaching until just a few years ago. Sometimes dental products are released to dentists and the public before their success is proven. Home bleaching techniques have changed significantly over the years. Now it is a predictable process for most patients. There has now been a lot of research proving the long term safety of bleaching.

Home bleaching does not work for everyone but, in most cases, it is a very effective, predictable and safe process.

Are electric toothbrushes effective?

Years ago electric toothbrushes were considered virtually worthless by the dental profession. Technology has changed so much that research now shows that some electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual brushing. This is a tremendous advance since the success of all dental treatment is influenced by the patient’s homecare.

Currently, the Interplak, the Braun and the Sonicare brushes are considered good. I have used them all and I now like the Sonicare, best. The bristles of the Sonicare vibrate at a high or sonic rate. This not only dislodges plaque, but also can actually destroy bacteria cells. The vibrating action actually extends beyond the tip of the bristle so it can clean below the gumline. Use of a good electric brush can be a significant inexpensive way to avoid periodontal problems. I recommend them for everyone.

What are the pluses and minuses of dental implants?

Implants are regarded as the ultimate method of replacing missing teeth. The chief advantage: Implants function more like a natural tooth than other replacement methods.

Although the number of people getting implants has increased substantially in recent years, they are still greatly outnumbered by those who opt for traditional bridges or removable dentures. Some reasons: Implants are not feasible for everyone –much depends on the status of the jawbone. The procedure is more complex that other methods. The artificial tooth roots surgically implanted and it takes weeks, sometimes months, for the jawbone to fuse with the new roots. Then substitute teeth are attached to the roots through the gum. That’s why the process costs more than other methods.

What does the dentist look for during a regular checkup?

A dentist is trained to recognize warning signs of a variety of ills, both minor and major. Among the latter is oral cancer, of which there are several types. If detected early enough, the great majority of oral cancer cases can be treated successfully.

Bleeding sores that won’t heal and patches that turn red or white become thickened may be symptoms of oral cancer. Some cancers develop in the mouth unnoticed because they are painless and difficult for the patient to see. In such cases, the dentist is usually first to discover their presence. Nearly all cases of oral cancer develop in people ages 40 and over—a very compelling reason, for people in that age group to maintain a schedule of regular dental checkups.

At what age is a child ready for braces?

It’s not a child’s age that determines when it’s time to apply braces. In most cases, braces are fitted when all permanent teeth, other than the third molars, have come in. This usually occurs by age 14, which explains why braces are most common in the early teen years.

Regular dental checkups at younger ages can alert the dentist whether teeth are coming in crooked or crowded, providing plenty of advance notice that braces lie ahead for improved bite and better appearance.

However, braces are sometimes applied to younger children who still have some primary teeth. Not only can certain problems be corrected readily at this earlier stage, but early braces can sometimes help shorten the overall process and improve results when braces are applied to permanent teeth.

What causes tooth stains and how can they be removed?

The most common causes of tooth stains are tobacco, coffee, and tea. Less frequent are stains produced by bacteria or by certain medications. Tetracycline is a prime example. If this antibiotic is prescribed in the last half of pregnancy or early childhood, stains appear when the child’s permanent teeth come in

The dentist uses several different methods to treat stains, depending on their type and severity. For example, smoke stains can range from moderate and removable to permanent. Some stains are removed by professional polishing of tooth surfaces. For other stains, bleaching treatments may be the answer. The dentist can create a new look for permanently stained teeth by applying tooth-color porcelain veneers to the front surfaces of teeth or by coating the surfaces with a composite resin.

Besides toothpaste’s & mouthwashes containing fluoride, what other means are available for preventing cavities?

Sealants offer an effective way to block tooth decay in certain areas. They are designed especially to treat the chewing surfaces of the molars, which contain very tiny pits and fine grooves which invite decay-causing bacteria. These depressions are so minuscule, the bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach them.

Sealants cover the pits and grooves and create a barrier to the bacteria that cause decay. Sealants are painted onto tooth surfaces by the dentist after the teeth have been cleaned and treated to enhance the adherence of the sealants. There is no drilling or discomfort. Most often sealants are applied to the children’s new permanent molars. But adults with high risk of decay in pits and fissures also are candidates for treatment with sealants.

What should I do when I get a toothache late at night?

A midnight toothache is perhaps the most common dental emergency. If you live beyond the range of all-night pharmacies and emergency rooms with a dentist on call, there are still things you can do to help yourself before you see your dentist.

First, sit up. A throbbing pain when you fall asleep can often be relieved by sitting up. Elevating the head lowers the blood pressure in the head and neck area, which reduces pain.

The American Dental Association recommends that you rinse your mouth vigorously with warm water to clean out any debris. The ADA also suggests taking a minor painkiller such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, but cautions against the once-common remedy of crushing an aspirin directly on the tooth. Aspirin is an acid that can burn the gums and damage teeth.

And when the emergency is over, resume a regular schedule of checkups and treatments. Your dentist knows how to make the Midnight Caller go away.

If someone brushes & flosses regularly & the teeth are not discolored, how necessary is a cleaning in the dental office?

Don’t confuse “cleaning” with “polishing.” The purpose of professional cleaning is to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, by removing stubborn plaque and hardened tartar. Polishing is a minor part of a professional cleaning, and only the last minutes are devoted to it.

Plaque must be removed from all tooth surfaces, including the edges that brushing doesn’t reach. It’s at the gumline and below where neglected plaque hardens into tartar. Removing tartar at or near the gumline is called scaling. When plaque and tartar create damaging pockets between tooth roots and gums, the removal process is called root planing. Some people need a professional cleaning every three months, others need once a year.

How long since you had a cleaning and checkup?

Is fluoride beneficial only for children, or is it something that concerns adults?

Fluoride helps to prevent decay both in children and in adults. You never outgrow your need for it. It’s especially important for children because it is incorporated into enamel as the tooth is formed. But adults also benefit from fluoridated water and the use of toothpaste’s and rinses containing fluoride.

For adults, there is another plus for fluoride—to help protect tooth roots when they are exposed because of receding gums. The dentin of the tooth root is softer than enamel and is more vulnerable to decay from plaque. Fluoride applied by the dentist in the form of a solution or gel can be very effective in helping to prevent root decay.

I’m sometimes confused when my dentist talks about plaque, tartar, calculus and other such terms. Can you help clarify the differences?

Knowing the language of periodontal disease can help you fight this tooth-threatening condition. Plaque is the colorless coating heavily laden with bacteria, that sticks to your teeth. You can fight it at home when you floss and brush properly.

Tartar and calculus are interchangeable terms for the unsightly cement-like substance that builds up along the gumline. Tartar traps plaque, creating serious interference with good dental hygiene. Tartar/calculus can be removed only by a dentist or dental hygienist, a very strong reason for adults to have a dental checkup at least twice each year.

Gum disease is an ongoing battle fought together by patient and dental health professional.

What are dental “composites” and how are they used?

Composites are a combination of resins that have become the most versatile materials in the history of dentistry. Tooth-colored, they are soft and shapeable when applied to a tooth, and they quickly harden in place. For people, in contrast to silver-colored amalgams, composite resins make it possible to fill cavities of visible teeth in a way that blends in.

More than that, composite resins have come into broad use as a versatile means of upgrading the appearance of unsightly teeth. The natural-looking material is used, for example, to fill in chipped tooth edges, coat discolored front surfaces, reshape imperfect teeth and close gaps between teeth.

Are you unhappy with the appearance of your teeth? Tell the dentist. Composite resins are among several types of solutions now available that are painless and within your means.