Clinical FAQ


? I am a new patient and would like to get started. What will my first appointment be like?

Congratulations on your decision to get started with us! We welcome new patients for a consultation visit or you can skip ahead to the new patient exam. During a consultation visit, we will take photos of your smile/teeth. Our doctors will review these photos with you and discuss treatment options. During the new patient exam our doctors will do a very thorough exam. Also, we will take photos and any necessary radiographs, and you and your doctor will review these together. Afterwards, our doctors will customize a treatment plan for you.


? I am a new patient with your office and only want my teeth cleaned. Why is a New Patient Exam necessary just to get my teeth cleaned?

We hope you have chosen our practice because you want to receive excellent dental care. Our goal is to provide excellent treatment for our patients. That includes thorough exams for the purpose of understanding your overall oral health. What if you had a small cavity that did not hurt, and your doctor did not do a thorough exam? So, your doctor did not 'find' your cavity. Later your tooth abscessed (which can be very painful) and you needed to have a root canal and possibly a crown. You would probably be upset that your doctor did not find this problem sooner. What if you had oral cancer, and by finding it in the early stages, your condition was treatable? Our doctors want to provide excellent treatment for you and, in order to do so, must do a thorough exam in order to know and understand your overall oral health.


? What exactly are veneers?

Porcelain veneers are used to create brilliant smiles. Veneers are very thin pieces of porcelain that actually bond to your teeth and improve their shape and color. The porcelain bond is nearly as strong as the natural enamel bond in teeth. One of the most successful procedures in dentistry today, porcelain veneers may be the best way for you to achieve the gorgeous smile you want and deserve.


? What are Lumineers? How are they different from other veneers?

Lumineers are a brand of porcelain veneers made by Den-Mat Corporation. They are a little thinner than other porcelain veneers. They can be pasted or bonded over the top of your teeth with no drilling or contouring, because they add very little bulk to the teeth. That makes them seem very easy to place. However, there are complexities in all cosmetic cases that must be considered before deciding what type of treatment you want or need.

For instance, if your dentist is not going to contour your teeth beforehand, the smile-design process becomes more complicated. Your dentist has very little room to work to make things look good. And no matter how great the ceramist, the lab cannot make up for a dentist's lack of knowledge or expertise in a situation like this.

If your concerns are crooked teeth or dark-colored teeth, your goals may not be entirely met by Lumineers. Together we can determine a customized treatment plan that is right for you. This plan may include Lumineers, porcelain veneersInvisalignwhitening or a combination of these.


? How long do Lumineers and veneers last?

When cared for properly, porcelain veneers and Lumineers can last for a very long time (10 or even 20 years). On average, they probably last eight to 15 years. Failures are typically caused by poor oral hygiene or failure to wear a night guard when one is recommended. In most cases the word "failure" only represents that a new veneer must be made to replace the old one. The tooth is usually fine though.


? I have a gap between my front teeth. What are my options for correcting this?

Gaps between teeth (especially gaps that show in your smile) can take away from the beauty of your smile. Depending on the size of the gap, there are several options. For extremely large gaps, orthodontics (Invisalign) is usually recommended. For small to moderate gaps, bonding or porcelain veneers may be the best solution for you. Our doctors will discuss your options with you and together we will customize an ideal treatment plan to give you the gorgeous smile you deserve.


? I have a lot of old fillings (silver) in my mouth that have been there for a while. One is sensitive and the others are just ugly. What are my options?

Old silver fillings leak, causing decay to re-enter the tooth (which may or may not cause sensitivity). Not to mention they are unsightly. Options for silver filling replacement include direct composites (tooth-colored fillings) or porcelain inlays and onlays, all of which provide an optimal aesthetic and healthy result.


? Porcelain inlays and onlays are mentioned a lot. What are they exactly?

Porcelain inlays and onlays are state-of-the-art, conservative dental restorations. Essentially they take the place of silver fillings, but they provide more strength to the damaged tooth and have the added benefit of looking just like the natural tooth. In comparison to crowns or 'caps', inlays and onlays require less removal of tooth structure and replace only what is needed (i.e. old fillings and decay). The porcelain inlay/onlay is a conservative, aesthetic, and long lasting treatment for replacement of silver fillings. They can last 15-20 years or longer.


? What is that black line I see around the gumline of my crowns (or other people’s crowns)?

The black coloring likely indicates that there is metal underneath the white porcelain part of the crown. The black or gray line you see around the crown was probably not there when the crown was placed. Over time, chronic inflammation of the gum tissue causes it to bleed easily and perhaps recede from the metal, exposing it. No longer is it necessary to have metal in crowns or that unattractive dark line. Atlanta Dental Spa uses all-porcelain restorations.


? I want to whiten my smile but I am also thinking about getting bonding or veneers on my front teeth. What should I do first?

Our doctors recommend whitening first to their patients. Once your teeth are as white as you like, then our doctors will match the bonding or veneers to that whiter shade. Our whitening procedures work quickly, so in no time you will have the beautiful smile you want and deserve.


? I have some bonding and a crown on my front teeth and I would like to whiten my teeth. What are my options for whitening my smile?

Teeth-whitening procedures are just as they sound. They whiten teeth. The bonding and crown will not whiten and will appear darker after your teeth become whiter. However, this should not keep you from having the white smile you desire. It may be very simple to upgrade your bonding and crown after your whitening procedure. Chances are the new bonding and crown will be better looking as well. When you visit our office, our doctors will work with you to customize a treatment plan to achieve a gorgeous white smile!


? I am missing a tooth and am considering an implant. What is the process for an implant? Are implants more feasible than dentures?

Oftentimes, dental implants are the best restoration for a missing tooth. Our doctors will discuss all of the options (and the pros and cons of each option) with you in order to customize an ideal treatment plan for you. The implant process is relatively simple and requires two steps. First, the implant is placed into the tooth-socket where your tooth root used to be. Second, a restoration is created and placed on the implant to restore the crown of your tooth. Our esteemed specialist places your implant and our doctors make the restorations.

For patients who are missing many or all of their teeth, implants may be the solution for restoring all of the missing teeth – offering a great life-improvement for these patients. Sometimes, a few implants may be placed in order to stabilize floppy dentures – another terrific improvement in the lives of so many denture-wearers.


? Dentures, Partial Dentures, Implants: Which one is right for me?

At your New Patient Exam, our doctors will do a thorough exam and we will take photos and necessary x-rays of your teeth, gums and jaws. You will review these digital images with our doctors and together you will develop a treatment plan that is best for you.

Oftentimes, implants are the best restoration for a missing tooth. Our doctors will discuss all of the dental implant options (and the pros and cons of each option) with you in order to customize an ideal treatment plan for you. The implant process is relatively simple and requires two steps. First, the implant is placed into the tooth-socket where your tooth root used to be. Second, a restoration is created and placed on the implant to restore the crown of your tooth. Our esteemed specialist places your implant and our doctors make the restorations.

For patients who are missing many or all of their teeth, implants may be the solution for restoring all of the missing teeth – offering a great life improvement for these patients. Sometimes a few implants may be placed in order to stabilize floppy dentures or partials – another terrific improvement in the lives of so many denture wearers.


? I would like to get gold caps placed on my front teeth. What does this involve? Does our office offer this?

Beautiful smiles come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. While many people prefer porcelain veneers for a typical smile makeover, others would like to have gold placed on their front teeth. The processes (porcelain veneers and gold onlays) are very much the same, starting with a New Patient Exam. From here our doctors will customize a treatment plan to fit your goals for your mouth, teeth and smile.


? What does the blue light do?