Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect during my first appointment?

Dr. Rich will assess your oral health and thoroughly examine your teeth, gums, and the bone around them. This includes observing the way your teeth fit together and the way your jaw works. We will perform an oral cancer exam, record all your existing dental work, and take any necessary x-rays. We will listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. Once we have gathered this information, we will create your treatment plan based on your concerns, values, and budget. Our patients pay for their care at the time of service and receive insurance reimbursements directly. We are diligent about following up to make sure you received your reimbursement. Please ask us a many questions as you like, Dr. Rich loves to share his knowledge!

What is a comprehensive exam?

We talk about any problems you may have experienced and if you have any specific concerns. We review the full mouth x-rays with you. This makes it easy for all of us to see what is going on in your mouth. We note the existing conditions of your teeth, record areas of concern, record the condition of your gums and evaluate for gum disease, screen for oral cancer, evaluate your smile, assess TMJ (your jaw joint) health, and chart occlusion (the way your teeth meet up with one another).

Why do I need at least two cleanings per year?

We will clean your teeth – also known as a prophylaxis at least twice a year. Some patients who have gum disease or advanced dental work need to come in more frequently. Your own toothbrush cannot remove the hardened build-up of plaque and calculus, especially inbetween your teeth. This thorough cleaning takes care of that. We remove plaque, stain, and calculus from the teeth and flush it away from below the gumline.

If we find any cavities or other matters that cannot be taken care of during this allotted time, we will discuss what we have found, and make appropriate appointments with you for further treatment.

I have a toothache, what do I do?

When you see Dr. Rich with a toothache, the more you can tell him about it the better. Pay attention to the following things:

Is it a sharp or dull pain?
Does it throb?
Is it sensitive to hot or cold?
Does it hurt when you chew?
When did the pain start?
When the tooth hurts, how long does it hurt for? A few seconds, a few minutes, or is it constant?
Does anything make the tooth feel better? A hot drink, a cold drink, or ibuprofen?

The more information you give him, the more quickly and accurately he can diagnosis and treat the problem.

The solution could be as simple as recommending a sensitive tooth toothpaste or as complex as needing a root canal or having the tooth pulled.

The important thing is to not wait too long to get treatment.A toothache could be deadly. People have died from abscessed teeth.

What are my financial options for dental treatment?

We strive to be clear and comprehensive in all aspects of care. This way, we can discuss the big picture for your dental health and you will be able to plan well for the long term. We approach your investment to quality dental care in an empathetic manner. We are dedicated to increasing the predictability of your dental health and financial stability truly benefits all.

What payment options do you offer?

We offer a pre-payment discount as well as 12 month interest free financing. All credit cards accepted. Have dental insurance? We’ll gladly file the paperwork for you.

Do you accept dental insurance?

Our patients use a variety of insurance options to cover their care. They pay their fees at the time of service and submit claims directly to their insurance providers.

We offer many services to help our patients with their dental benefits. These include verifying your coverage by calling your employer’s dental benefit provider, receiving estimates from that company, learning and disclosing specific parameters of coverage, tracking estimates of yearly benefit allowance, and protecting our patient’s best interest by promoting better treatment options.

What if I don't have dental insurance?

Almost half of our patients do not participate in an employer-sponsored dental benefit plan. We are accustomed to working with our patients to find something that works for them to achieve optimal dental health for the long term.

If you are my dentist will I be working with you, or will you be referring me out for any advanced treatments?

Unlike many general dentists, Dr. Rich offers a full service menu of dental health care. We do our own root canals, most surgeries, dentures and more. Many patients are pleasantly surprised that they can get all their treatment – even cosmetic orthodontics at one office.

Can I get rid of these ugly dark fillings?

Yes. “Silver fillings,” also know as Mercury Amalgam, are being done less often these days. There are many ways to restore teeth with materials that blend beautifully with the natural color of your teeth.

For more information, see our section on tooth-colored fillings!

How to whiten yellow, stained teeth?

Dental bleaching (also known as dental whitening) is one of the most popular cosmetic services available today. It is a simple and affordable treatment that can give you a bright, white smile.

I have a single dark tooth, can it be whitened?

This is a common problem usually caused by a dead tooth pulp. Often this is the result of past trauma to the tooth. It is common for this to happen without pain. The pulp is made of nerve and blood vessels, and when they die the cells break down and stain the tooth from the inside. Usually treatment begins with root canal therapy, after which a bleaching procedure may be used or a tooth-colored porcelain restoration may be placed over the tooth.

My old crown shows a dark line at the gum, what can I do about it?

Many patients have this complaint because, until recently, crowns were done with porcelain fused over a dark metal framework which provided strength. Unfortunately, it is difficult to mask the dark color of the metal which is what causes the dark line around your gums. Today we have the benefit of being able to use ceramic (porcelain) strong enough to replace the metal that used to be under crowns. This means no darkness at the gumline!

My teeth are broken down and worn, I really need a dental miracle! Is there any hope for me?

If you have teeth that are worn, shifted, missing, broken, or a combination of these, then a full-mouth reconstruction may be the answer. This has the potential to reconstruct and restore your smile and ability to function. It is also important to address the cause of the problem in order to protect your investment and give you long-term oral health.