Our Durham Dentist Answers Your Common Questions
Here at Dr. Thomas Clifton’s Durham dentistry office, we know how intimidating a trip to the dentist can be, no matter the patient’s age. Between treatments, financing, hygiene and more, many questions can come up. Our Durham dentist, along with his skilled team, wants you to feel as comfortable as possible when you’re with us. When you have a question about your treatment, appointment, billing or any other facet of dental care, we are always available during business hours to answer them. If we are not in the office, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below to see if we have already provided your answer. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact our Durham dental office today!
Thomas S. Clifton, DDS serves all of Durham, NC and the surrounding communities with general family dentistry, children’s dentistry, TMJ/TMD treatment and endodontics. Our services include, but are not limited to, cleanings and prevention, crowns and bridges, dentures and partials, and more. Please contact us for more information on our services and to schedule an appointment with us.
Q. How often should I see a dentist?
A. The American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines recommend visiting a dentist at least twice a year for a check-up and professional cleaning. Our office also recommends a minimum of two visits per year.
Q. What should I expect during my appointment?
A. One of our staff members will compile your medical and dental history during your first visit. We will then examine your teeth and gums, screen you for oral cancer, make X-rays of your teeth as needed and complete a TMJ (temporomandibular or jaw joint) exam. After we review your dental profile, we will discuss a diagnosis with you. If treatment such as a root canal (endodontics), braces (orthodontics) or oral surgery is needed, we will plan to treat you in our office or refer you to a specialist. We will discuss your options for treatment and fee payment and help you determine the best plan to fit your needs.
During regular follow-up visits, we will examine your teeth and gums, screen you for oral cancer, clean your teeth and make plans for treatment, as needed. We will discuss any pain or problems you may be experiencing and answer any questions you may have.
Q. What does “painless dentistry” mean?
A. Painless dentistry is a means of ensuring your total experience in our office is as stress-free and pain-free as possible. We will discuss treatment options that may require no local anesthetic and whenever possible, alleviate pain by the means most comfortable to you.
Q. What if I have an emergency?
A. Please call our office as soon as you determine that you have a dental emergency. We will be glad to work you in to our schedule if you have a dental emergency during regular business hours. After hours, over the weekend and during holidays, please call our office for the doctor’s emergency contact number.
Q. Are payment plans available for my dental treatment?
A. Yes. We accept many types of dental insurance and will process your claim for you upon receipt of your co-payment. We offer a low-interest rate payment plan and also accept most major credit cards, including MasterCard and Visa.
Q. Can the dentist whiten my teeth?
A. There are several methods available for bleaching the teeth: in-office, overnight, or daily. Brite Smile bleaching is done in our office. One session generally lasts one and a half to two hours, and you can read or relax during the treatment. For overnight bleaching, we make an impression of your teeth and create a mouthguard that fits your bite. Each day you fill the mouthguard with a small amount of bleaching gel and wear it overnight or for a few hours during the day. The overnight bleaching process takes approximately two weeks.
Other over-the-counter daily bleaching products are available, but it is important to use any bleaching product only under the supervision of a dentist. To achieve the whitening results you desire, the ADA recommends that you seek the professional advice of a dentist, including examination and diagnosis of the cause of tooth discoloration, before you begin any bleaching program.
Q. What if I have a gap in my teeth, a chipped tooth, or teeth that do not respond to normal bleaching methods?
A. Porcelain veneers are designed to look like your natural teeth and are individually and permanently attached to the fronts of your existing teeth. Bonding utilizes a composite material made of plastic to fill in areas of your teeth and correct chipping and shape problems. Both porcelain veneers and bonding are color-matched to the rest of your teeth.