OK so after taking requests, general dentist Tuan Pham DDS of South Austin Dentist has answered a lot of questions and here they are:
Do you take our insurance?
We are happy to process your insurance claims to maximize your benefits. Since insurance can be confusing, we ask that you call or contact us with specific questions. When you come in for your initial visit we get a very detailed breakdown of benefits so that we have an estimate for crowns, fillings, routine cleanings, and other treatment. Because insurance policies vary, we can only estimate your coverage in good faith but cannot guarantee coverage due to the complexities of insurance contracts. If you have any questions, our courteous staff is always available to answer them.
Please click here for more information regarding financial policies.
Do I get time to talk to the doctor or my hygienist?
At Circle C Dental, located in South Austin near Slaughter Lane and Mopac, our priority is you. We are not high volume and you are not treated like a number here. When you visit us, our appointments are planned so that you will have plenty of time to have all your questions answered. If something does not make sense to you and you do not understand why something was recommended, there will be no value to you. And if that occurs, your issue will worsen so please if you ever have any questions, let us know!
Dr. Pham and our hygienists do not like rushing our work. We are specific and enjoy doing high quality dentistry. One thing that we do not do at Circle C Dental is double-book which means Dr. Pham has two patients at one time. Dr. Pham likes to focus on one thing from start to finish and not feel rushed to ultimately ensure that you get the high quality dental work that you deserve.
Why do I need x-rays?
First of all, you should never do anything that you don’t feel comfortable doing. At Circle C Dental (dentist in 78739 and 78749), we will always spend time to explain to you why you are recommended something so that you see the value and benefit from it. X-rays are needed because a lot of cavities form between teeth (where you would floss) and we cannot see them without an x-ray. Certainly you are always welcome to refuse x-rays, but we won’t be able to detect certain cavities until they are very big and create holes in your teeth and will be potentially very painful to you. Keep in mind we use digital x-rays which offer a reduction of ~90% x-rays compared to traditional film analog x-rays.
Why do I have so many cavities and didn’t know it?
This is a quite common question that we get. First of all, we have digital cameras that can show you what your cavities look like in your mouth and we have TVs to show you x-rays of your teeth and what cavities look like also.
Now, I want you to smile and look at your teeth when you smile. What you see in your smile, and if you don’t like it ask us about adult braces, is called enamel. That’s the outer lying tooth structure. That is harder than your bones. In the middle of each tooth is a nerve. The reason a lot of people can have cavities and not feel pain is that until a cavity eats all the way through your enamel and is into your nerve, the average person won’t have pain! When the cavity does reach your nerve, that’s when the pain is severe. Remember, we are trained for pain because pain is typically a warning sign when something is wrong. When it comes to teeth, when pain does arise, it means you have a very large cavity and you will typically need major procedures like root canals (which we do). This is also a main reason why we take x-rays: so that we can see cavities before they are obviously big and painful and take care of them much more easily!
What Is Gum Disease? Something I heard called Periodontitis?
Here is a good explanation about periodontitis that Dr. Pham wrote.
I am scared of the dentist!! What are my options?
First of all, you are NOT alone. There are many people afraid of visiting the dentist. Keep in mind that our office is more comfortable and relaxed with TVs above your chairs to distract you. Dr. Pham & the hygienists spend a lot of time with you so that you will never feel rushed and should you need a break because you feel anxious, all you need to do is raise your hand and we will stop. You are always in control.
In addition we offer nitrous oxide AKA laughing gas to make you feel more relaxed at the dentist. If you’ve never had nitrous (n20), for adults it is akin to having a glass or two of wine. For kids, they also can get laughing gas and it is quite common to hear them laughing as they get dental work done and watch a cartoon on the TV above.
If you need more sedation, we offer pills such as Halcion. Think of it as a stronger version of Xanax or Valium. For certain procedures, we also offer conscious IV sedation which means you will completely forget the appointment and that you were here, yet we can still talk to you and you talk to us. Email us at email@example.com or call us at 512-301-2483 for more information.
Why do I have to floss my teeth?
Great question. Most people floss. But, they only floss when it feels uncomfortable like you ate some BBQ or got some lettuce stuck between your teeth. If something feels uncomfortable, we’re going to resolve the discomfort. Click on this link about gum disease and read it. Now floss your teeth and smell it. Gross right? Smells bad right?
That’s because you are smelling plaque on your floss which is basically bacteria and food debris — think gunk on your teeth. The plaque that you smell can build up and harden and form calculus/tarter which contributes to gum disease. Since plaque has both bacteria and food debris, the bacteria eats food debris and causes acid which breaks down your tooth and causes cavities in your teeth! That’s why flossing is important and an awesome habit to have!
Check out Heather our dental hygienist’s video about flossing here!
I don’t believe that I grind my teeth. How can you prove it to me?
Many people grind their teeth without knowing. Sometimes people say that their husband or wife hears them grinding, but if they don’t, they assume that they aren’t. Well there doesn’t need to be a grinding noise for you to be grinding. A lot of grinding (technical term is bruxism) occurs when we are sleeping and dreaming. Many people have proof of grinding that is quite easily seen in their mouth. If you smile and stare at your teeth for 15-20 seconds and let your teeth dry a little and turn the lights off in your bathroom and shine a flashlight (or iPhone light onto your teeth), you will start to see vertical tooth colored lines on your front teeth. These are called craze lines and they are technically micro cracks in your teeth. You have micro cracks and craze lines in your teeth from grinding. When you see them in your front teeth, Dr. Pham knows they are always in your back teeth also because back teeth have much more force and pressure from grinding. Now go check out your teeth and see if you grind aka have bruxism!
If you see that you are a grinder, you may also notice that your teeth and jaws may be sore especially in the morning. A lot of grinding is done when we sleep and that’s why it is more sore in the morning. Grinding can lead not only to sore jaws & teeth, but eventually cracked teeth that hurt. Also, if you care about looks, remember as teeth wear down, your face height shortens and as such, you will look older also!
If you recognize that you grind your teeth, what we recommend is a night guard to protect your teeth from grinding. Dr. Pham himself has worn a night guard every night for almost 15 years now! He definitely does not want a cracked tooth!
OK I think cracked a tooth and it hurts to chew now. Why is that the case?
We all have nerves in the middle of our teeth. That’s what feels pain. But pain doesn’t show itself on teeth until issues like cavities or cracks get close and into the nerve. Again, when you smile, what you see is enamel which is the hardest substance in your body and harder than your bones. When someone cracks a tooth severely (which is the result of all the small craze lines getting bigger and bigger and eventually joining to bigger cracks), the crack travels deeper inside your tooth until it is very close to the nerve or actually into it. When you bite or chew, the flexing of your tooth causes the crack to be flexed and since it is very close to your nerve, you will feel a very sharp pain. To fix cracked teeth depends on the situation, but usually requires at the minimum a crown or eventually possibly a root canal. Sometimes cracked teeth hurt so bad that dentists cannot fix them and you will need to have the tooth removed and implant placed.
What Is a Crown (or a Cap)? And why would I need one?
So you’ve seen people with gold teeth right? That’s a crown. A cap is just a synonym for a crown. But don’t worry! We won’t do gold crowns for you unless you specifically request it. If you need a crown, we routinely do all porcelain tooth colored crowns that are made and ready for you in the same visit! We use
CEREC technology, which comprises of a computer to image and design your tooth in 3D and then a machine mills it out of a solid piece of porcelain using e.max technology. There are many types of porcelain, but we use e.max which is the strongest porcelain available. Your crown is heated in an oven to about 1200 degrees F which makes the porcelain super tough and hard and ready for your mouth! If you would like to watch a video explaining it in more detail, click here to watch a video that Dr. Pham made.
Now people often ask me when do you need a crown and when can you do a filling. Certainly one reason for a crown is a cracked tooth that hurts! See the question above. Now if you run your tongue around your teeth, you will feel sharp points of your teeth. Those are called cusps and they are designed to chew and grind food. When you have a tooth issue because of a large crack, cavity, etc and you end up breaking or losing a cusp, that’s an indication for a crown because filling materials aren’t designed to replace those parts of your teeth. If your tooth issue causes you to lose a big chunk of your tooth or the entire top (chewing surface of your tooth), that’s another reason for a crown. Fillings are excellent when they replace smaller damaged parts of your teeth and are in spots where a lot of natural and healthy tooth structure will surround it.
What Is Gum Grafting?
What is gum grafting? Gum grafting is often done to replace missing gum tissue (think long looking teeth with roots showing) lost due to gum disease, aggressive brushing, and/or heavy grinding. Often times with recession and missing gum tissue, your teeth may be very sensitive to hot and cold and look quite ugly and unattractive. When you smile and see your gums, there’s two types of gum tisse: keratinized and non-keratinized. Think of them as tough beef jerky gums and weak Kleenex-like gum tissue. When someone has recession and the roots of your teeth are exposed and therefore sensitive to hot and cold, the tough beef jerky-like gums have been worn away and are gone. Untreated gum recession will ultimately lead to more discomfort and eventual loss of teeth. By having a board certified gum specialist at Circle C Dental, we can restore your gums to health.
Dr. Chad Orlich (our board certified periodontist aka a gum specialist) can perform varying types of gum grafting to restore the lost gum tissue and make your teeth feel and look better. With Dr. Chad Orich here, you will not need the hassle of visiting another office and setting up more appointments. In addition, Dr. Orlich can also perform additional procedures like dental implant placement.
What Is A Dental Implant? And how long does it take to get a Dental Implant?
Are you missing a tooth? Have a hole in your smile? Want to smile better and replace damaged and broken teeth? Have an old bridge that is broken or failing? Your answer may be a dental implant!
What is a dental implant? If you are missing or losing a tooth, traditional methods of replacing teeth include: a partial denture (a denture that goes in and out of your mouth) and a bridge (3 crowns or caps attached to each other to replace the missing tooth). These two methods are considered older styles of treatment and can be done if requested, but the gold standard of tooth replacement now are dental implants.
A dental implant is a medical-grade titanium “screw” that is precisely placed into your jaw bone (the placement of the implant by Dr. Orlich typically takes less than an hour and YES, you can go to work the next day or even the same day if you would like) and once healed (typically 3 months for routine cases), a crown is placed on top to restore the missing tooth. The benefits of an implant include: very high reliability and success, natural feeling (you brush and floss this like a natural tooth) and excellent looks.
Many dental offices require that you visit another office or specialist for placement of dental implants, but at Circle C Dental, we can have the entire sequence from start to finish done here. Our team, including Dr. David Burden and Dr. Chad Orlich – a board certified periodontist (aka gum specialist), both can place dental implants for you with IV sedation should you request it! Please call us at 512-301-2483 (BITE) or contact us for a free consult regarding wisdom teeth!
OK I have a broken tooth and now want a Dental Implant. What is a Bone Graft and why do I need one?
If you have to have a tooth (or teeth removed), your jaw bone that supports your teeth basically goes on retirement. It no longer has a job to do, which was to support your teeth. So if your teeth are gone, it shrinks away. Now if you have ever placed a fence post, you know that you have to dig a deep hole into the ground so that you can place a fence post deep down and have enough concrete to hold the fence post long term. Same scenario with your implant! If we remove a tooth and you want an implant placed there, we first* need healthy thick bone. To grow healthy thick bone, we place a bone graft into the socket (where your tooth was) at the time your tooth is removed. The bone is sterile and called freeze dried bone. Then we wait typically 3 months for your body to naturally grow the bone. Once we confirm the bone is thick and dense, we are ready for the implant!
*Now there are situations where we can remove the tooth and place the implant and graft at the same time. To find out if this is applicable to you, contact us.
OK I Snore a lot and I’m Tired? What is Sleep Apnea?
If you snore a lot, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is important because it is one of the most medically under diagnosed conditions. If you sleep a lot and are still tired, chances are very good you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is very important for Dr. Pham because he has it himself and once he was treated for it, his life was dramatically changed and life is a million times better because he has the energy and does not feel tired, run down and cranky all the time. Click here for a lot of great information about sleep apnea written by Dr. Pham.