If you have a question for Dr. Cothern, please call our office. We will be happy to help.
Q: What can I expect from my first appointment?
A: During your first appointment, your overall dental and oral health will be assessed with a comprehensive oral evaluation. Upon completion of your medical/dental health form, we will ask you to tell us your goals regarding your smile, teeth, and gums. Digital photos and X-Rays will be taken of your teeth to identify areas of decay, cracked teeth and malfunctioning restorations. DIAGNOdent™, a specialized laser, may also be used on your teeth, notifying us of early areas of decay that are not visible on the X-Ray or through digital photography. Our goal is to preserve as much of your teeth as possible by catching decay in its earliest stages. We will also assess your gums and recommend the appropriate hygiene treatment for you.
Q: Does Dr. Cothern's office accept insurance or make special payment arrangements
A: Yes. As a courtesy, we will be happy to file your insurance, and we offer alternate payment arrangements as well.
Q: I want and need a lot of dental work, but I'm afraid I can't afford it. Do you offer monthly payment plans?
A: Yes, we do offer monthly payment plans with our financial partner, CareCredit®. We provide a variety of ways for you to pay for your treatment so that it fits comfortably into your personal or family financial goals. Patsy works with you to create the solution that best accommodates you so that you can have the beautiful, healthy smile you have always desired.
Q: I want cosmetic dentistry. Does my insurance pay for it?
A: Dental insurance is designed to assist you in paying for your dentistry. Most procedures are not fully covered by your insurance. Cosmetic dentistry, in particular, is not covered by most dental insurance plans. To help you afford your smile, we do offer a variety of payment options in addition to a monthly payment plan provided by our financial partner, CareCredit®. We also pay special attention to maximizing the benefits that your insurance does provide. Ask Patsy how you can comfortably afford your dentistry and maximize your dental insurance benefits.
Q: What different payment options do you provide?
A: Helping to make your dental care financially comfortable and affordable is important, and we proudly offer you a variety of options:
- Cash or personal checks
- 5% cash courtesy (discount) for advance payment of entire treatment plan more that $1,000.
- VISA/MasterCard/American Express/Discover
- No-interest, monthly payment plans, as well as low-interest and extended payment plans through CareCredit®. We are happy to estimate fees and insurance reimbursement before starting recommended treatments, and we will gladly file insurance forms for you as well.
Optimal, comprehensive dentistry is what we practice, and we do not base our treatment on what insurance will or will not pay. We base our treatment on what is best for you and any treatment not paid by insurance is your financial responsibility.
Q: Does Dr. Cothern practice children’s dentistry?
A: As a family dentist, Dr. Cothern will see children who are at least 12 years old. Pediatric dentistry is a specialty and is not part of our practice. We will be happy to refer you to a pediatric specialist from Dr. Cothern’s team of trusted professionals.
Q: What’s Dr. Cothern’s cancellation policy?
A: We require a 48-hour notice for cancellation to avoid a fee. As a courtesy, you may choose to receive e-mail and text reminders prior to your appointment. This way, you will receive a reminder message 30 days before and another reminder message a few days prior to your appointment.
Q: Do you accept new patient referrals?
A: Over the years, patients have given us the compliment of referring family and friends to our practice. Our reputation for excellent dental care depends on two things: our good work and your beautiful smile. Your confidence in our care motivates us to continue to strive for excellence. Thank you for your referrals. Your trust and support are greatly appreciated.
Q: I really do not like visiting the dentist; is there anything you can do to help me relax?
A: Many people are uncomfortable with visiting the dentist. Your comfort is our highest priority, and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. For entertainment and distraction, we offer stereo headphones with music, or you may watch a wide variety of television series or movies from Netflix on flat screen monitors. Knee and neck pillows are available so you can keep your mind on more pleasant things. Nitrous oxide is also offered to keep you comfortable and relaxed.
For patients with more anxiety, we offer conscious sedation. Conscious sedation is a safe and effective way for patients with higher anxiety to be deeply relaxed and sedated, while still able to respond to verbal directions. You will feel no pain and will remember very little afterward.
Q: Does Dr. Cothern practice cosmetic dentistry?
A: Yes. Dr. Cothern is a member of the Association of Cosmetic Dentistry and will gladly help you with any Cosmetic dentistry you may want. Cosmetic dentistry includes all dental procedures that improve a patient’s appearance.
Q: What is a crown, and why do I need one?
A: If a crown is recommended to you, it is likely either to correct a broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). The decay in your tooth eats away healthy tooth structure much like rust eats away at metal. If not removed, decay will deteriorate the tooth to the point where extraction is the only viable treatment option. Sometimes, decay is removed, leaving healthy tooth structure, but not much of it. A crown can then be placed, restoring the look and function of your tooth, while allowing you to keep your natural, underlying tooth structure. Most crowns are precision-milled porcelain or full metal (gold) and are individually customized for each application in each patient, giving you a natural, long lasting smile.
Q: I just want my smile to look good. What are some options to help the appearance of my smile?
A: You are not alone. Most people want to have a nice smile since it is the first thing others notice about you. You may be interested in a few minor adjustments or may have concerns that need more attention. Some smiles can be enhanced with simple reshaping, whitening or bonding treatments. Other smiles need porcelain veneers, crowns, or bridges; gum contouring; implants, periodontal therapy; or, a combination of all these techniques. Dr. Cothern will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals, areas of concern, and the overall condition of your oral health. Contact us for a complimentary smile evaluation to determine what course of action will produce the best solution for you.
Q: I want my front teeth to look better, but I do not want to wear metal braces. What would you recommend?
A: Dr. Cothern has a number of ways to improve the look of your front teeth without the use of unsightly braces. For slightly crooked or unevenly worn teeth, a bit of reshaping and the addition of porcelain veneers may be sufficient to give them a bright, uniform look. She may also offer Invisalign®. Invisalign® has revolutionized braces. Metallic braces can straighten teeth, but the process is blatantly obvious. For patients who want to achieve straight teeth without the bulky, metal braces of the past, Invisalign® offers a practically invisible solution. From 3-D images of a patient’s teeth, a series of clear Invisalign® trays are made to align teeth just as traditional braces would.
Mouth sores, cleaning requirements, tightening regimens, and discomforts associated with traditional braces are history. Patients can remove Invisalign® trays while eating or brushing their teeth. Every two weeks, a new tray will be issued, and movement of the patient’s teeth will be monitored. Patients who want to correct the alignment of their teeth without compromising their appearance will love the inconspicuousness, convenience, and results Invisalign® offers.
We would be happy to talk with you further about the option that best suits your individual situation. Attention to detail, respect for the individual, and a true concern for each patient are the hallmarks of our personal care and our quality product. We are committed to helping you fulfill your ultimate self-image.
Q: I know I need X-rays, but I’d prefer not to be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-rays?
A: Yes, we do offer digital X-rays. Digital X-rays use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film X-rays. You will find that in our dental practice, we research the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that promote your overall health, safety, and comfort.
Q: How does fluoride help my teeth?
A: Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults by halting tooth decay. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation. Fluoride is a safe chemical component when used correctly. When your dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam, that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use any of the professional strength, fluoride varnishes, gels, or foam products carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Q: I brush every day, but my breath is just not fresh. Is there anything I can do?
A: Millions of people struggle with halitosis, or bad breath, despite daily teeth brushing. Here is a checklist of procedures that can eliminate the problem: twice daily brushing with an electric toothbrush, daily flossing and tongue cleaning; regular professional cleanings and careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances. However, if your hygiene is meticulous and the problem persists, we can offer several solutions.
First, we can provide a plastic tool called a tongue scraper that cleans away bacterial build-up on your tongue, while significantly alleviating odor. Or, we can recommend a specially prepared rinse or toothpaste designed to actually break the odor-causing sulfur bonds that cause bad breath. Finally, we may suspect a systemic or internal problem such as an infection or underlying condition, in which case we may recommend a visit with your family physician or specialist to identify the cause.
Q: How can losing a back tooth affect my smile?
A: Losing a back tooth will darken your overall smile making it look smaller and narrower. Your smile will appear to stop short, and the look will be exaggerated if your missing tooth has teeth on both sides of it. Function during chewing will be reduced, and function of many teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth. When you are missing a tooth, you compensate by chewing differently, putting pressure on different parts of your mouth. This can cause your other teeth to shift, creating gaps and spaces and may even cause fractures that result in additional tooth loss or the need for restorations.
Q: What are my options to replace a missing tooth?
A: Dental implants are the preferred treatment for a missing tooth. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Once the post has bonded to the bone, it can act as a new, solid support for a natural looking, porcelain restoration. Implants can replace a single tooth, or an entire set of teeth, offering more function and permanence than traditional dentures. A bridge is another solution for replacing a tooth. By replacing missing teeth either with a bridge or implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and will give your smile back its beautiful, full appearance. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, your dentist places a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile.
Q: My teeth keep chipping and cracking. What causes this, and what can I do about it?
A: Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth, but don’t remember when the injury occurred, damaged their teeth while they were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip, crack, and even break. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth, we recommend a dental appliance called a nightguard. A custom-fitted nightguard protects your teeth from grinding and clenching in your sleep. Dr. Cothern will take great care in making sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Do you suffer from headaches? You may find that a side benefit of your nightguard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask us about having a nightguard custom created just for you.
Q: My gums bleed. Why is this?
A: It is certainly not desirable to have bleeding gums following brushing. However, the condition may or may not require attention, depending on the source of the problem. Bleeding gums can be caused by any of the following: improper, rough “scrubbing” instead of gentle, circular brushing motions; using a hard-bristled toothbrush instead of a soft one; plaque and/or tartar build-up below the gum line; or, gum sensitivity due to gingivitis or periodontal disease. If this problem persists despite correct brushing and flossing methods, or if it occurs every time you brush, contact our office to set-up an evaluation appointment. Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed, often bleeding during brushing or flossing. Timely treatment can reverse these conditions. However, if these conditions are ignored, your periodontal disease can worsen, becoming a condition called periodontitis. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat.
Periodontitis affects your gums, bone, and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment from your general dentist or even a periodontist. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss – teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t diagnose and treat periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
Q: What is periodontal disease?
A: Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed, often times bleeding during brushing or flossing. If treated in a timely manner, these conditions can be reversed, preventing periodontal disease from developing. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat.
Periodontitis affects your gums, bone, and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment from your general dentist or even a periodontist. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss – teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t catch periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
According to Caesy Dental Education, “Ailments associated with periodontal disease include respiratory disease, pneumonia, strokes, ulcers, difficult-to-control diabetes, low birth weight babies, and infective endocarditis – a dangerous infection of the heart valves. Researchers recently discovered that this chronic infection in your mouth creates an open doorway for plaque bacteria to enter the blood stream. These bacteria may cause blood clots that can block your arteries and even trigger a heart attack.”
Q: Sometimes when I chew I get a sharp pain. What can I do to correct this?
A: Most dental pain brought on by chewing is caused by a fracture, or crack, in the tooth. The pain can be corrected by placing a porcelain crown or with more advanced treatment. You want to correct the pain as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth. Contact us today to schedule a visit.
Q: How can porcelain veneers / crowns help my smile?
A: Porcelain veneers/crowns improve your smile by correcting a multitude of cosmetic concerns including: gaps in teeth; chips and broken teeth; dull or yellowing teeth that cannot be whitened with traditional means; “gummy smiles” (showing too much gum when one smiles); and crooked teeth. Porcelain veneers/crowns broaden, straighten, whiten and beautify most any smile. This procedure can be done in as little as two clinical visits. Many of our patients feel like this was the best improvement that could have been done for their overall confidence. Ask us about how porcelain veneers/ crowns can improve your smile at your next visit, or send us an email.
Q: I want my teeth to be whiter. Do you recommend at-home or in-office whitening?
A: There are a number of procedures available to help whiten your smile, from at-home whitening products to in-office supervised treatments. Dr. Cothern evaluates the potential for whitening your teeth based on their current color and on the causes of any discoloration.
Dentist directed at-home whitening and in-office whitening procedures are both effective ways of brightening your smile. In either case, your dentist customizes the treatment to ensure your happiness with the results.
There are multiple ways to whiten your teeth:
- Opalescence Go
For patients who prefer a teeth-whitening system they can use at home, Opalescence is a convenient, effective, and safe solution. Patients will simply need to line their customized whitening trays with one of Opalescence’s five different gel formulations and then wear them for the prescribed amount of time each day. You will begin to notice results almost immediately, with the most dramatic results occurring within about 14 days. What’s more, periodic follow-up treatment can help you keep your smile continually bright.
- Boost™ Whitening by Ultradent
If you want to boost your self-assurance, a whiter, brighter smile will help you feel better about yourself and will take years off your appearance. We can help you achieve the dazzling smile you desire in just over an hour with the Boost™ teeth whitening system. Ultradent, a trusted name in dental healthcare, created the trademarked Boost formula to produce stunning results, yet to still protect and care for your teeth. You can expect stronger enamel and decreased sensitivity with Boost. Studies also show that it helps prevent cavities, as well. The professional grade hydrogen peroxide gel, proven safe and effective, whitens teeth much more dramatically and rapidly than over-the-counter products. Compare the 38% hydrogen peroxide concentration in Boost™ to the typical three-to-ten percent found in drugstore whitening kits.
If you choose to whiten with Boost™, first, we will cover your gums and lips and expose only the teeth. Then, a dental assistant will apply the special gel, taking care to reapply where necessary. We may use a light, the same one we employ to harden fillings, to intensify the bleaching action. We will illuminate one or two teeth at a time for about two minutes each to achieve the best results. An Opalescence® Xtra® Boost™ take-home whitener will help you maintain dazzling results. Age, red wine, cigarettes, soda, tea, and coffee wreak havoc on your teeth, but Boost™ penetrates the enamel and dissolves stains, so you can face the world with a gorgeous, bright-white smile.
Q: Does Dr. Cothern administer laughing gas (nitrous oxide)?
A: Yes. We offer oral sedation (using halcion), as well as nitrous oxide for your comfort.
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