Frequently Asked Questions

“Why do I need bitewings every year?”
Bitewings help us spot the cavities that develop between teeth and may not be obvious during visual examinations alone. The ADA recommends yearly bitewings so that these cavities can be diagnosed and treated in their earliest stages.
“At what age should my kids start visiting the dentist?”
We recommend bringing your children along to your routine visits starting as early as one year. When they are a part of your positive experiences at the office, it makes for an easy transition when it’s time for them to have their first visit—typically between age 2½ or 3½. At the earliest ages, children can also benefit a great deal from some basic dental education. Although we are not a pediatric practice, we do treat the majority of our pediatric patients without referrals. Dr. Howland is a father, and many of our hygienists are parents, so we understand not only the need to make kids comfortable in the chair, but the best ways to help them relax and even enjoy their visit.
“Are all public water supplies fluoridated?”
No, and the Lehighton public water supply is among those that do not include fluoride. Fluoride helps developing teeth to grow stronger enamel and helps prevent decay.
“Do you recommend fluoride supplements?”
Yes, and we often prescribe a multivitamin with an appropriate amount of fluoride based on a child’s age.
“Do I still need to visit the dentist if my teeth have been crowned/capped, or if I have full dentures?”
We recommend visits at least every six months, even for those patients who have dentures or a high number of caps or crowns. These enable us to monitor gum health, perform oral cancer screenings, look for thrush, and perform other preventive screenings and adjustments. In addition, restorations (crowned/capped teeth) can develop new decay over time; six-month visits can decrease the potential for damage to those restorations.
“What is the Cerec single-day crown, and why can’t all crowns be made that way?”
We have the ability to do some of our crown work in-house with the Cerec technology. However, we choose not to do all crown work this way for a number of reasons: tooth structure availability, margin locations, aesthetic considerations, and patient anatomy.

“Why do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?”
You may not have to. Some people never develop wisdom teeth, while in other cases the teeth do not become impacted and do not need to come out. That is a clinical decision we make on an individual basis, and we can discuss your particular case at the time of examination.
“Why did you choose to expand your practice and update your facility?”
Expanding our practice has allowed us to see emergency cases more immediately, shorten appointment leadtimes, and provide a high standard of leading-edge care to the patients of Carbon County and the surrounding area.
“Are amalgam fillings safe?”
Although amalgam (silver) fillings have taken a beating in the media over the last few years, we feel that they are a safe, time-proven restoration tactic on back teeth. Nevertheless, we are more than happy to provide white fillings if a patient prefers.
“How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?”
We recommend dental exams and cleanings twice each year. However, in certain cases, we may discuss more frequent examinations and cleanings on an individual basis.
“What’s the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?”
Gingivitis is inflammation limited only to the soft tissue surrounding the teeth. It is due to poor oral hygiene and can largely be managed with improved at-home care. Periodontitis is a disease of the gums and the bone. Left untreated, it often leads to premature tooth loss.
“What are porcelain veneers, and how can they improve my smile?”
Applying porcelain veneers is a conservative restoration technique that can correct problems associated with the color, position, or thinning of enamel on anterior (front) teeth.
“What can be done for stained or discolored teeth?”
Stained or discolored teeth can be bleached, bonded, veneered, or crowned.
“What are the advantages of digital radiography vs. old-fashioned x-rays?”
Traditional dental x-rays carry the same risks as any other x-ray; primarily, they expose the patient to a small amount radiation. Digital radiographs, on the other hand, dramatically limit radiation exposure. What’s more, they are environmentally friendly (no harsh chemicals are needed to develop the films), they offer instant results, and they give us the opportunity to enlarge the images to take a closer look at any potential problems. And because digital radiographs can be exported as .jpg files (just like any other digital photo), they are easily emailed to your dental specialist or insurance company.
“What are implants, and what are the advantages of implants vs. fixed bridge work or partial dentures?”
Implants are titanium fixtures used to permanently replace missing teeth. In these cases, the bone osteointegrates, or grows into and around the implant, effectively anchoring the replacement teeth. As an added benefit, implants don’t require the preparation of adjacent teeth for the replacement of the missing tooth. Fixed Bridge Work requires preparation (such as crown preparation on adjacent teeth) to replace one or more missing teeth. Following the preparation, the bridge is glued in place to provide maximum patient comfort. Partial Dentures replace missing teeth with a removable prosthesis. Each of these treatment options replaces teeth; our decision regarding which to pursue is made on an individual, clinical basis.
“What insurance companies do you participate with, and what does that mean?”
You can find a full list of the insurance companies we participate with on the Financing page. If we participate with your insurer that means that we accept their UCR (Usual Customary Rate) as a means of controlling treatment costs. In many cases, this also equates to lower copayments to the patient.
“What does it mean to have a deductible? An annual maximum?”
A deductible is your insurance company’s method of controlling their costs. Typically, the insurance company will not issue payment until you have paid your annual deductible amount. However, some insurance plans and procedures do not have deductibles, and in some cases an insurance plan may not require you to pay a deductible for regular cleanings, exams, or x-rays.

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