Here are some common questions and some information to assist you:

What is done on my first visit?

If you are having a routine check-up, we will determine if you have had recent x-rays, an examination or if you had a teeth cleaning within the last year. Complete x-rays of the teeth and jaw are normally done every three to five years. Routine check-up x-rays are done annually. Teeth cleaning is normally recommended about every six months, but some people require this every three to four months to keep their gum tissues healthy. The most important service during an initial visit is a complete examination which include the teeth, the gum tissues and the other soft tissues of the entire mouth (cancer screening exam).

For emergency visits involving pain, swelling or bleeding from traumatic injury or infection, we will take x-rays of the affected area and do a limited examination to diagnose and treat the patient’s presenting problem. The most important objective during this visit is to reduce or eliminate the patient’s discomfort and prevent the problem from worsening. The diagnosis, treatment options and potential complications or outcomes without treatment will also be discussed with the patient. Our staff can provide a cost estimate for the treatment options discussed. To protect all consumers, California law requires that an examination be performed before other treatment is rendered.

Is it safe to have x-rays taken? And what if the patient is pregnant?

The use of x-ray procedures for diagnosis is very important.  However, x-rays should not be used in excess.  Today we are fortunate to use very fast digital sensors that requires very little radiation to achieve and record an excellent image of the teeth and bony structures of the jaws.  Lead aprons are used in all cases to reduce exposure to the neck and lower portions of the body.

If you might be pregnant, we limit the use of x-rays during the first trimester. Limited X-rays are only used to diagnose emergency situations to prevent pain and infection which can also be a potential problem for the mother and fetus during pregnancy.  We normally avoid full mouth x-rays during pregnancy and we use lead aprons to protect the woman and fetus during these limited x-ray procedures.  It is safe to use x-ray procedures using these safety guidelines.

Will the doctor explain my condition and the treatment recommended?

The diagnosis, treatment options and potential complications or outcomes without dental treatment will be discussed by the doctor with the patient.  Our staff can provide a cost estimate for the treatment options discussed.  To protect all consumers, California law requires that an examination be performed before other treatment is rendered.  This is a good provision for dental health care because the overall conditions of the entire mouth may influence the doctor and patient’s decision about which treatment options to consider for the patient’s circumstances or desires.  We have excellent DVD and video presentations to help describe the diagnosis as well as the treatment options being discussed. We believe that patient education and confidence are important components of good dental health care.

How will I know which materials to select for my dental treatment?

Drs. Harder, Pham and associates will make recommendations which might involve more than one option or involve a choice dental materials.  This will be explained by the doctor along with written and DVD/video presentations.  We will also provide a copy of the Dental Materials Fact Sheet (DMFS), a comaparison of materials and their characteristics prepared by the California Board of Dental Examiners.  For a copy of this DMFS, click herefor the link to the folder for Documents for Dental Patients.

Will I be given a treatment plan and estimate of fees for the services recommended?

It is our office policy to provide you the Usual, Customary and Reasonable (UCR) fees that we charge for all procedures before treatment is provided. If you have insurance, we will estimate your portion based on the expected insurance coverage for the procedure planned. In some cases, there may be limitations in coverage based upon your insurance contract.  It is your responsibility to ask any questions you have about treatment or associated costs before treatment is rendered.  In the case of treating problems in emergency situations, we will give you a cost estimate based on our knowledge of the cause and appropriate treatment to address the problem.  We will inform you of any changes in planned treatment if the diagnosis or prognosis changes during evaluation or treatment.

How will I feel after my dental treatment? Any special care after my treatment?

The most common post-operative problem after treatment is a jaw that is sore from being opened for an extended period of time for treatment.  Some teeth that receive new metal fillings and crowns can be somewhat cold sensitive for a period of time.  However, this side effect can be minimized with proper procedures and material selection consistent with your preferences and degree of normal sensitivity.  This should be a consideration in material selection by the patient and doctor.  Drs. Harder, Pham and associates will discuss any need for a simple analgesic after treatment, if needed.  An anti-inflammatory medication is commonly recommended.  The use of warm salt water for simple rinsing and brushing for a couple days is also very helpful for the gum tissues.  Any specific post-operative instructions for your home care will be discussed by the doctor and staff.  A DVD/video presentation may be shown for you to assure that you thoroughly understand the procedure that was performed and what complications might arise after treatment, as well as the best steps to take to keep you comfortable and facilitate good healing.

What if I am very anxious about my dental treatment?

It is always better to tell the doctor or hygienist if you have any concerns or anxieties about your dental care.  This is a very common feeling for people who are going to have dental treatment.  Drs. Harder and Pham and our staff are trained and focused on providing you the most comfortable and least stressful treatment available.  It is our intention for you to have a favorable experience, and be able to build your confidence on that success for your future care.  In cases that involve extreme anxiety, we can provide a pre-operative prescription to reduce your anxiety or Dr. Pham calls them “happy pills”.  Our office does not use general anesthesia, I.V. sedation or nitrous oxide.  However, if I.V. sedation is truly needed to help you with your extreme dentophobic condition and to provide extra comfort for your extensive dental procedures such as wisdom teeth extraction or full mouth reconstruction, we can arrange that for you in advance.  It has been our experience that proper communication and patient education have helped our patients receive care in a caring and comfortable setting.  This is the reason that our practice growth is based mostly on patient referrals.

Who is a candidate for dental implants?

Anyone who is missing one or more of their teeth due to injury, disease or decay may be a candidate for dental implants.  If one, a few or all teeth are missing, dental implants in conjunction with a crown or bridge can replace those teeth. Occasionally, older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits that dental implants offer.  However, health is more of a determining factor than age.  If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you’re probably healthy enough to receive dental implants.  Drs. Harder and Pham will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants after a careful evaluation of your dental and medical health history.  At this time all your questions can be answered.

Is there any pain or discomfort involved?

Most patients report that there is very little discomfort and that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they anticipated.  Astra, Implant Direct and MIS system implants just to name a few, are placed in a very gentle fashion and care is taken to the various tissues involved.  Local anesthesia and conscious sedation if needed are used to eliminate any discomfort during the procedure.  Dr. Harder and Pham may recommend that you speak with another patient of our record who has already had tooth replacement with implant therapy to assess their personal experience.

How will I benefit from dental implants?

The benefits of implant treatment include appearance, the enhanced ability to chew and enjoy your food, and often protection of your remaining teeth and jawbone. Dental implants offer many benefits never before available for the treatment of missing teeth.  In short, dental implants will look, feel and function just like your natural teeth.

How long will the treatment take?

Treatment time will vary depending on your particular situation.  Nowadays, it is often possible to get well-functioning and esthetic looking teeth within a few days. In some cases it may be necessary to wait for several months before finishing the restoration in order to obtain an optimal result.

Will I ever be without my teeth?

This depends on your situation.  Most patients can leave the office wearing some type of temporary prosthesis.

How much will it cost?

The fee for tooth replacement with dental implants will depend on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced and the number of implants required to support your replacement teeth. Do you need bone graft or not to rebuild your jaw bone foundation prior to implants can be placed?  It is important for you to know that you do not necessarily need an implant for each missing tooth.  Some additional procedures may be required prior to the placement of your dental implants to ensure the long-term health of your dental implants.  To obtain a specific fee estimate, it is necessary to have Drs. Harder or Pham examine your mouth.  After a diagnostic examination, Dr. Harder or Dr. Pham will recommend the treatment that is best for you and what your investment would be for the procedure.

How long do implants last?

Nobel Biocare has experience from over 32 years of replacing missing teeth with dental implants.  Dental bridges supported by implants from Nobel Biocare have been shown to last over 15 years in many cases.  We have every indication to believe that they will last for much longer.  Most patients can expect them to last from 10 to 20 years or even life time if properly taken care of.  Nobel Biocare implant system happens to be mentioned in this question since it has the longest record of implant treatment and research and development over the years.  However, there are also other well known implant systems made in the United States or F.D.A. approved, have good research and development record over decades such as MIS, Implant Direct and Astra that Drs. Harder and Pham use in our office.  The longevity of your implants and crowns is also based on your routine care at our office.  It is highly recommended to have good and routine oral care and examination of your mouth regardless you have invested in time and money on your dental implants and crowns or not.

Is it important to take care of the implants after the treatment is completed?

Yes! Maintaining care of the implants will help to assure the long-term success of your treatment.  You will be responsible for daily plaque removal, which can be accomplished through brushing and flossing around your restorations.  Drs. Harder and Pham or our hygienists, Pia, Amanda or Deborah will show you how to properly care for your implants.  You should come to your recommended routine dental recall to have proper dental care of your dental implants and restorations rendered by our doctors and professionally trained staff as well as your oral health overall.

Please feel free to contact us by e-mail at contact@harderdental.com with any other questions that might arise. We will respond to you by e-mail or telephone as soon as possible.

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