Frequently Asked Questions

Our dental patients ask a lot of really good questions. We’ve got your answers right here! Read though these FAQs and contact our office if you have additional questions.

Is Dr. Harris accepting new patients?

We leave time in our day for emergencies, for existing patients, and for new patients. We should be able to accommodate your appointment request in a reasonable amount of time.

Will Dr. Harris hurt me?

Dr. Harris is very skilled at minimizing discomfort. Some procedures are more involved than others, but one of our skills is our ability to be gentle.

Am I going to be sore?

Different procedures can cause different amounts of discomfort. Most discomfort is minimal, and doesn’t last long. We will talk you through your options.

What should I expect during my appointment?

After our friendly staff gathers your medical and dental history, Dr. Harris will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums and screen you for oral cancer. If necessary, we will take X-rays of your teeth and also complete a TMJ exam. As always, we are happy to answer any questions.

How long does an appointment take?

Different procedures require different amounts of time. We are very precise in our scheduling and place a very high priority in getting patients in and out on time. A typical cleaning appointment is one hour, but whatever we tell you about your particular appointment is usually pretty close.

How much will this cost?

We will always provide you a detailed estimate, including your portion after insurance, before a procedure. We also have a number of ways of making payments, so your individual financial situation doesn’t get in the way of care you need.

What does "in and out of network" benefits mean? How does that work?

The term “in-network” refers to a physician within the service provider’s or group scope of coverage. Out-of-network refers to a physician not covered under the provider’s plan. Patients choose in-network care or out-of-network care when they make their dental appointment and usually incur higher out-of-pocket fees for out-of-network care.

How often should I see a dentist?

Along with the American Dental Association’s guidelines, we recommend visiting our office twice a year for cleanings and checkups.

Are payment plans available for my dental treatment?

Yes! We have CareCredit traditional financing and 12 months, same as cash. We gladly file insurance claims and are a preferred provider with many providers. We extend discounts to senior citizens and accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

What are my financial options?

Because dental problems typically get more expensive the longer they are left untreated, we want to make you care affordable now. To do this we offer payment in cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover, and we also offer short-term interest free financing (up to 12 months), and long term financing with interest.

How often can I whiten my smile?

There are several methods of whitening. The two most common methods are in office whitening such as Boost, which we do in our office, or taking home whitening trays that we will make for you. Some patients opt for a permanent solution such as porcelain veneers, while others prefer to try an over the counter product such as Crest White Strips.

What causes gum recession?

Many things can cause recession, including genetics, aging, or just brushing too hard and a myriad of other issues. Ask us about it next time you are in.

Why do I build up tarter behind my lower front teeth so fast?

Too much significance is placed on brushing the upper teeth, which are easier to reach. Thus, this area is often neglected. Plaque is more likely to hide in this region of the mouth. When plaque is not removed, it can harden, turning into tartar.

Which toothpaste do you recommend?

Any ADA approved toothpaste is fine.

What is the difference between antiseptic and flouride rinse?

Both play an important role in your oral health. Antiseptic is more for killing a variety of germs in the mouth, while a fluoride rinse is used more for actually strengthening and protecting the teeth. We might recommend either or both depending on your circumstances.

How important is flouride?

In our opinion, it is very important. It should be used in very small doses in children, which we can show you next time you are in, but the responsible use of fluoride will help you have healthier teeth.

How often should I be brushing and flossing?

Twice a day. At night should be floss, brush and antiseptic rinse (depending on your age). Morning should be brush, and antiseptic rinse. Brush after meals during the day if convenient.

Should I brush or floss first?

Floss first, then brush.

Why do I need x-rays every year?

There are things that can be seen on x-rays that cannot be seen with the naked eye. We follow the ADA guidelines and get regular x-rays to diagnose any required treatment in its early stages.

Are x-rays necessary?

Absolutely. We get asked this a lot, and there are things that we cannot see with the naked eye, including between teeth, where a lot of decay begins to form. Regular x-rays are critical to get the care you deserve.

Why do you prefer white fillings?

There are some clinical things about tooth colored fillings that we prefer over silver, but we mostly like the way they look. While they have proven to be very durable, we like our patients to be happy with their smile. These tooth colored fillings cannot be seen when you smile or laugh.
They are a little more expensive for us, a little more expensive for you, and require much more training and skill to do. But considering you’re going to have them in your mouth for a long time, we think it’s worth it.

Do I need to have my silver fillings replaced?

Consistent pressure from chewing, grinding or clenching can cause silver fillings to wear away, chip or crack. Dr. Harris can conduct a thorough examination of the filling to see if it needs to be replaced.

How long can I let a filling go before something happens?

That depends. We’ve never seen one get better. So the longer you go, the worse it’s going to be. And how long that is, depends on how it looks when we see it. The larger a filling is, the more it costs. And, if it goes long enough, it can get into the nerve and need a root canal, which can be very expensive. Generally speaking, the sooner a cavity is treated, the better.

How long does the anesthetic last?

It depends on a number of factors, but usually no longer than two hours or so.

Do you do extractions?

Dr. Harris will do most extractions, but some are referred to an oral surgeon.

What exactly is anxiety control?

Some patients, for a variety of reasons, are apprehensive about coming to the dentist. For these patients we offer nitrous oxide (commonly known as laughing gas). For more severe cases of nerves, we have some other treatment options.

What can I do for sensitive teeth?

Several products are available and diagnosis is required before recommending treatment. But some things we typically recommend are Sensodyne toothpaste, discontinue all whitening products, and sometimes a fluoride rinse will help.

Is it normal to have sensitivity when you have your teeth whitened?

Yes. Most people do. If sensitivity persists for a week after you stop treatment, please call the office.

Does bleaching affect your teeth?

When you are using bleaching solution, teeth can become sensitive. However, it is temporary and should lessen once the treatment is finished. If you have any concerns about side effects, you should discuss them with Dr. Harris.

When should I use flouride on children's teeth?

Every child is different, but we typically suggest fluoride toothpaste be used starting at about age 2, or whenever your child can spit. It’s important not to use much, and not to let the child swallow.

How old should a child be for their first cleaning?

Brushing should start when they get their first tooth, and their first cleaning should be around 2 ½ years old. This does two things; first it gets their teeth cleaned and second, it gets them used to coming to the dentist.

Can anyone get an implant?

No. There are a variety of things that can prevent you from being a candidate for implants. Ask us next time you are in.

What are my options if I'd like to fill the space in my teeth?

Again, an exam and diagnosis is required. But some options we may consider include direct bonding (which is tooth colored material that we apply to the tooth), porcelain veneers (a thin layer of porcelain applied to the front of the tooth), or orthodontics (braces). If you are missing a tooth or teeth, we may consider a bridge, a partial, or implants.

When can I eat or drink (after a restorative proceeture)?

Post-operative instructions will vary depending on the restorative procedure performed. It is important to follow our guidelines to ensure successful treatment.