How can we help you?
Many of our patients have questions about their oral health as well as the dental procedures we offer. We want to ensure you have a good understanding of our office and the services we provide. Please take a moment to look through some of the questions we hear most frequently; perhaps your questions is already answered here!
If you don’t see your question here, however, don’t hesitate to contact our office to ask. We look forward to serving you!
Crowns and Bridges
It might depend on who you ask!
Dentists refer to these restorations as "crowns." But some patients call the tooth-colored ones "caps" and the gold or stainless steel ones "crowns." Essentially, though, there is no difference. Both terms refer to restorations that are used to repair a tooth that has suffered damage. The restoration works by covering the remaining tooth structure after removing old fillings, the fractured part of the tooth, and any decay. The restoration material comes in a variety of types, including gold, porcelain, composite, or even stainless steel.
When a patient comes in with a tooth that is damaged enough that a simple filling won’t do the trick, crowns are a great way to strengthen a tooth so it will be fully functional. A crown can be used to repair a tooth that is worn, misshapen, or discolored.
If a dental crown is necessary for you, Dr. Pilgrim will talk to you about what type of crown will be best, depending on your needs and the condition of your tooth.
We don’t want financial concerns to stand in the way of receiving needed treatments, so we are pleased to partner with an outside financial company to offer payment plans for our patients. These plans are designed to fit almost any budget.
CareCredit enables patients to schedule treatment immediately after receiving approval. Interest rates are lower than most credit cards—and some patients will qualify for zero percent financing. You can choose a payment plan that fits into your budget, from no-interest, short-term plans to extended options as long as 60 months. There are no up-front costs, annual fees, or prepayment penalties!
CareCredit can be used for any dental procedure, even cosmetic.
You can learn more about CareCredit by going to their website: https://www.carecredit.com/.
If you have questions or concerns about the cost of treatment, please talk to us. We will work with you to figure out the best plan for you.
You can also rest assured that we will take a conservative approach to treatment, and we will do our best to ensure you fully understand why we make a certain recommendation. We also will not proceed with any treatment until you feel comfortable about it and have fully agreed to it.
Be sure to arrive a few minutes early so you can fill out any needed paperwork. This paperwork is also available here on our website, so feel free to fill it out ahead of time and bring it to your appointment. It will be a time-saver. This is also a good time for you to ask any questions you might have about your appointment. If you are feeling anxious about your appointment, please be sure to let us know.
We'll begin by taking x-rays for Dr. Pilgrim to review as part of your exam. Once you are brought back into the exam rooms, you’ll talk with Dr. Pilgrim about any oral health concerns you might have. We’ll go over your medical history at that time as well.
Dr. Pilgrim will begin with a comprehensive examination of your teeth and gums. He will pay particular attention to any areas you might be concerned about. He will perform an oral cancer screening and check your blood pressure as well.
After the exam is complete, Dr. Pilgrim will discuss a personalized treatment plan with you and recommend treatment options, if necessary.
There are all different brands of toothbrushes, and much of it comes down to personal preference. But what you want to do is use a toothbrush that has a soft-bristled head. You might also wish to consider using a smaller head because it makes it easier to reach all the nooks and crannies in your mouth.
Avoid brushes that have medium or hard bristles; these can be irritating to the soft tissues of the mouth and can cause gum recession.
The way you brush your teeth is also important. Don’t “scrub” your teeth and gums. This can cause irritation to the gums. Brush gently—and brush for a full two minutes, focusing 30 seconds on each portion of your mouth.
Regardless of how diligent your home care, it’s important to remember that nothing takes the place of visiting your dentist twice each year for examinations and cleanings. Plaque buildup on teeth is inevitable, even with good brushing and flossing habits.
Once the plaque has hardened into a substance called tartar, or calculus, it can only be removed by special dental tools. Getting your teeth cleaned professionally twice every year will keep the tartar at bay and will prevent it from developing below the gum surface and causing infection.
Regular trips to the dentist will also ensure that decay or other issues are spotted early on, when treatment is easier and often less invasive.
Root Canal Treatment
No. Although most teeth that have had root canal treatments do need crowns to strengthen the tooth because removing the nerve can leave it brittle, there are plenty of other reasons why you might need a crown.
Dental crowns are often used to strengthen a tooth that has a very large filling that has weakened over time. Crowns can also be used cosmetically to fix a tooth that is misshapen or badly stained and resistant to whitening.
Root canal therapy, which is also referred to as endodontics, is generally needed after an infection develops in the pulp of your tooth. You will usually become aware of this because you will have a toothache that gets progressively worse. Infection often starts because decay in a tooth goes unchecked or because the tooth surface becomes fractured, allowing bacteria into the soft center of the tooth.
Although a root canal sounds scary, it is a simple procedure that not only alleviates your pain but saves your infected tooth from extraction. It is just as easy as getting a run-of-the-mill dental filling.
In many cases, covering a cracked or damaged tooth with a crown prior to an infection developing is sufficient treatment and a root canal is not necessary.
For most people, the difference between the two comes down to two things: esthetics and safety.
Metal fillings, also known as “amalgam” fillings, have been around for a long time. A while back, some people began to question their safety, although the American Dental Association stands behind their continued use
Regardless of that, more and more patients today are requesting "white," or tooth-colored, composite fillings. We are happy to offer these at our practice.
White fillings look better because they match the tooth structure, unlike the gray amalgam fillings that are quite visible. With tooth-colored fillings, no one will even be able to tell you have a filling because they blend in so well with the tooth structure. They are particularly useful for filling cavities in teeth that are toward the front of the mouth because they will not be visible.
We also like them because of the way they bond to the tooth structure. The result is a tooth that is strong, despite having had decay.
You can expect your composite, white fillings to last a good long time. Regular check-ups will ensure that they remain strong and intact.