Frequently Asked Questions
Taking the fear out of dentistry
One out of four Canadians does not visit the dentist on a regular basis, and fear of pain or discomfort is the leading reason. Usually this fear is well founded, based on negative experiences in the past.
A combination of advances in dental technology, new treatment approaches, and a truly caring attitude among our staff, mean that many previously fearful patients often tell us “That really wasn’t so bad!”
It begins with communication
We believe that overcoming dental anxiety begins with making sure we understand your concerns and past experiences. We also work hard to make sure you clearly understand the work we are planning to do. All procedures are carefully explained before we begin, so you know what will happen. And we don’t begin the work until your questions and concerns have been answered.
Modern technology helps
The range of modern anaesthetics at our disposal means that we can usually get you completely frozen the first time. But we always check before we begin any work, and throughout the procedure. If at any point the freezing starts to wear off, or you are uncomfortable for any reason, we will stop the work we are doing until you are feeling more comfortable.
Remember the discomfort of the needle going in? Well, we now use a topical anaesthetic before we use the needle, which makes it considerably more comfortable. For all children, and adults who are more sensitive, we use an instrument people refer to as “the magic wand” instead of a needle. The Wand, an electronic anaesthetic delivery system, takes a bit longer, but most people hardly even feel a thing.
Other things we can do
We have a range of other things we can do for patients who are more anxious. Our staff are equipped and trained in the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), which can be very effective for nervous patients.
In some cases we will prescribe medication prior to an appointment. Music with headphones is also helpful for many patients. You’re welcome to bring your iPod/mp3 player or just bring in your favourite CD. We will supply the headphones.
So don’t let past bad experiences stand in the way of a healthy mouth. Make sure you let us know about your concerns and past experiences. Once we understand the problems you’ve had, we’re confident that we can work with you to help avoid pain, and deal with whatever anxiety you are feeling.
I haven't visited a dentist in a long time
We welcome your visit, don’t feel embarrassed
One of the reasons that some people don’t go to the dentist is that they’ve waited so long since their last dental visit that they are now embarrassed to go. After all, the people that work at a dental office are likely so careful with their teeth, they just won’t understand. Right?
Don’t worry! Almost every one of us at Humber Valley Dental has had at least one family member who has avoided the dentist…some for a very long time! We understand. We care about helping people get back into a regular dental routine and would be happy to see you.
It doesn’t matter why
People stay away from the dentist for many reasons. In some cases it is well-founded fear from past problems. In other cases it may have been financial concerns, other health issues, or simple procrastination.
We can help with any of these issues
Dentistry has come a long way in the past 10-20 years, and we have many new ways to help put nervous or fearful patients more at ease. (See I’m afraid of dental work for more information). We also have several options to help manage financial issues, and we’re really good at the friendly prodding of procrastinators.
So don’t let embarrassment stand in the way of your health. We’re an understanding group, who are eager to help you get into a regular dental routine.
I'll go to the dentist when I have a problem
I’ll go when I have a problem, Some people don’t go to the dentist until they have a specific problem. Please don’t make this mistake yourself!
If you are waiting until you have a problem before your next visit to the dentist, please read on. We could tell you that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, or that “Visiting us before you have a problem is the best way of never having to visit us with a problem”. However, most people who do not regularly see a dentist already know that.
It’s more than just your teeth!
Instead, we’ve found that many of our infrequent patients have appreciated us suggesting they read a recent article published in Reader’s Digest. Entitled, “The Check-up that Could Save Your Life”, it explains that regular trips to the dentist can do more than keep you smiling and your breath fresh - they can help with the early detection or prevention of a wide range of other serious health issues.
So why not call now and set up an appointment? At a minimum, it will save the discomfort and cost of more extensive treatment later, and as the article points out, it might be a whole lot more important than that.
We’d be happy to see you, even if it has been a while since your last visit to a dentist.
I have a problem now and don’t have a dentist.
Don’t worry. We do our very best to accommodate emergencies, even if you are not yet a regular patient. Call us and we’ll schedule some time to get your problem looked after.
Even if the problem you are experiencing is not yet too severe, it is time to get into a dental office…quickly! Very few dental problems resolve themselves on their own. The sooner you get your problem looked after, the easier it will be, and the greater our chance of restoring your mouth to a completely healthy condition.
Infection Prevention For Your Safety.
Sometimes patients are concerned about the potential for illnesses to be spread in medical or dental facilities. Given the large numbers of people, and the presence of saliva and blood, this is a very important concern. When it comes to infection prevention, we always err on the side of caution. For us, this means that all staff and patients are considered potential sources of infection. Consequently, we pursue thorough disinfection and sterilization procedures after every visit, assuming any patient could have been highly contagious. This protects all subsequent patients in our office.
To achieve our safety goals, all staff members wear surgical gloves and waterproof “SARS-rated” masks when working in a patient’s mouth. All soaps used in the office are therapeutic disinfectants. Additionally you will find waterless hand disinfectants throughout the office.
See for yourself, At Humber Valley Dental, we believe very strongly in the importance of infection prevention and have chosen to take numerous steps to protect you and our other patients. We’d like to show you just how thorough we are:
The most important concern in infection control is the instruments we use. All instruments that come into contact with your mouth have been thoroughly sterilized.
In addition to sterilizing hand explorers, mirrors, and drill bits, we also put all air and water syringes, suction handles and tips, and the hand pieces that power the drill in the autoclave for sterilization.
We follow a maintenance schedule to check our equipments and ensure they are in good working condition. To ensure our equipments autoclave is working properly at all times, we include a test strip in every load that we sterilize. We also have an automated instrument washer that offers a better, safer and more thorough way to wash and disinfect our instruments.
It is also important to minimize the risk of infections being passed by the surfaces that you, the dentist, the assistant or the hygienist touch. Because we can’t sterilize things like the dental chair, counter tops, computer keyboards or phone handles in an autoclave, surfaces that get touched are cleaned with a disinfectant after every patient.
Because disinfection solutions are not 100% effective, frequently touched surfaces also get an extra plastic wrap, which is changed after each patient.
Infection prevention in any medical setting is very important for your safety. We take it very seriously at Humber Valley Dental.
The Dental Checkup That Could Save Your Life
The Checkup That Can Save Your Life.
The dentist may be the most important doctor you see this year.
Lorne Jones could barely eat. The 63-year-old’s dentures were rubbing on the left side of his mouth, and the pain was getting steadily worse. Although the farmer from Utica, Ont., hated visiting the dentist—and hadn’t been in 15 years—he made a hasty trip to a nearby denturist he didn’t know and got his dentures relined. But the painful rubbing continued.
Finally, he made an appointment with a Port Perry dentist. Dr. Jack Cottrell did a quick exam and put down his latex gloves. “Lorne, I’m sending you to a specialist in Toronto. I don’t want to go any further.”
Three weeks later, he was sitting in Dr. Kevin Higgins’s office at Sunnybrook Health he said. Six weeks after visiting his dentist, Jones went into surgery. Over the course of an 11- hour operation, Higgins split Jones’s jawbone in order to have access to the cancerous tissue on the tonsil, soft palate, tongue and the jawbone itself. The surgeon also cut from his lip down to his throat, under his chin from ear to ear, and from his left ear to his shoulder.
“Without this surgery, Lorne would have been dead within a year,” Higgins told Jones’s wife, Doreen, and daughter, Sherrie.
Think your dentist only finds and fills cavities? Not at all. Dentists routinely spot signs of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, along with a variety of rare skin and autoimmune diseases. “We can spot disease processes at an early stage. We don’t just look for teeth and gum problems,” says Cottrell, who is also past president of the Canadian Dental Association. Visiting your dentist regularly can lead to early diagnosis and early treatment.
Your dentist can do much more than save your teeth and gums; he or she can save your life. And even if, on your next visit, your dentist doesn’t set in motion a serious diagnosis, you still need that regular professional cleaning. Keeping a healthy mouth plays a huge role in having a well body. Gum disease—which dentists help identify, prevent and treat—may heighten the risk for heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia and premature birth, according to recent clinical trials. With good old regular brushing and flossing, you may prevent all that.
By seeing your dentist every six months, you can nip a lot of problems in the bud.
To read more of this article click here
I have other health issues
I have other health issues
We are skilled at providing dentistry to people who are dealing with health issues. Considering the potential interaction between dental procedures and other health issues is always important. Many things including, but not limited to, rheumatic fever, heart murmurs, past hospitalisation, cancer, immuno compromised conditions, medications you take, and even allergies, can have important impact on how we will handle your dental treatment.
If you have health issues, we can still meet your oral health needs effectively. But it is important that you raise them with us, so that we will be able to take the right steps to do so safely.
What Will it Cost?
Our policy on fees is simple. We base our rates on the current version of the Ontario Dental Association fee guide. You will find that these are the prices charged by the majority of dentists in the province.
We don’t discount our work. We don’t cut corners in the work we do or the supplies we use, so we don’t cut corners in the fees we charge either.
Fees vary based upon the type of work you are having done. We will review the cost of work with you before we do it. We will help you consult with your insurance company, if you have one, to determine how much of your work will be covered by insurance.
We take payment on the day of your appointment. Payment can be made with cash, credit card, debit card or by cheque. For patients with insurance, we have the advantage of doing electronic claims filing, so you should have the money returned from your insurance company within a matter of days – usually before a VISA bill is due.
We do not take payment directly from insurance companies.
I only want what the insurance company will pay for
Dental insurance is perhaps the single most important reason why Ontarians have some of the best dental health in the world! It has allowed many people to get the dentistry they need and appreciate the benefits of a healthy mouth.
However, coverage varies significantly from one insurance plan to another. Some cover all of the cost of most work. Others only pay a portion. Patients are often confused about dental insurance believing that the insurance covers what they need. Unfortunately that is sometimes not the case, and as professionals, it is our responsibility to recommend what is right for you, not what is right for your insurance company.
We will always recommend the treatment that is best for you, but we will also work with you, and your insurance company, to determine what they will cover. That allows us to discuss a range of options with you so you can make a fully informed decision about how to proceed. The final decision will always be yours.
Financial Considerations for Complex Dentistry
Financial Considerations for Complex Dentistry
From a financial point of view, dental care can be divided into simple and complex categories. Simple dentistry includes professional cleanings, some fillings, root canal treatment, a few extractions, a denture or perhaps a few crowns. Simple dentistry can often be completed for under $3000. Simple dentistry is often covered, at least partially, by dental insurance and can often be spread out over time to take full advantage of benefits. With or without dental insurance, cash flow can often be managed to accommodate simple dentistry.
Complex dentistry, on the other hand, involves multiple teeth that require more complex reconstructive efforts. Complex dentistry is often required to restore deteriorated dentitions when many teeth are broken down or missing, need to be removed, or need multiple root canal treatments, when gums are sick, when dentures are unsatisfactory or when teeth all look bad. Complex treatment can involve the need for dental implants.
Complex dentistry can be more difficult to fit into your cash flow because it can often cost more than $3000.
We hope this information will give you some ideas that will allow you to fit the dentistry you need into your life and enable you to get the attractive, functional and healthy smile you have always wanted.
The issues discussed in the following pages include; 1) Spreading Out Treatment over Time, 2) Financing Treatment, 3) Dental Insurance, 4) Health Spending Account, and 5) Medical Expense Deduction.
Spreading Out Treatment over Time
Sometimes it is easy to spread out treatment over time when treatment is simple and there is no rapidly advancing or potentially dangerous infection present. At Humber valley Dental we always help the patients plan treatment over time to spread out the financial impact of their treatment on their cash flow and take full advantage of dental insurance.
When treatment needed is not simple, spreading treatment over time can increase risk, treatment needed and cost. We will identify what treatment can be postponed so as to not affect the overall prognosis or treatability of your teeth. We discourage spreading treatment over time if in doing so exposes you to multiple recovery times or multiple treatments with antibiotics and other medications used to control infection or pain.
You may wish to consider using appropriate financing to help fit the dental treatment you need and want into your life. This can allow you to enjoy your new smile earlier, probably with a lot less disruption to your life and probably less overall cost.
Financing allows more of us to get what we want, because it helps us fit things we want into our existing cash flow and into our lives. Financing is frequently a more effective approach to paying for complex dental treatment rather than “spreading out treatment over time” (mentioned above) – especially when combined with other methods described below.
Fortunately, prime interest rates currently are low. Secured Credit Lines are often the most cost effective way to borrow money. Many major banking institutions offer secured and unsecured credit line loans and other types of consumer loans. These loans are often “open” and can be paid down at any time as funds become available to you.
Secured Credit Line loans can be especially cost effective when they are combined with the cost reduction benefits related to i) Health Spending Account, ii)Medical Expense Deduction and/or iii) Dental Insurance
Some of the costs associated with the dental examination, x-rays, fillings, root canals, some reconstructive gum treatment, crowns, bridges or dentures may be covered by dental insurance plans. Some companies offer Health Spending Accounts of various amounts to their employees as a benefit. These funds may be directed towards any dental treatment including implant related treatment.
To date, many insurance plans have limits on the coverage they will allow for dental implants. Some insurance companies offer some limited help towards the cost of teeth (crowns, bridges or dentures) attached to dental implants.
After an examination with our doctors, our office staff will provide you with a detailed estimate of the cost of your proposed treatment. This estimate can be sent to your insurance company so that you can be aware of your benefit coverage before the treatment begins. This is important if you depend on these benefits to defray your treatment cost. Our staff will work with you and provide the necessary claim information to help you get reimbursed for any eligible dental treatment.