We realize it’s an important decision to find a dental office that fits you, and potentially your entire family. We practice under the philosophy that there is no such thing as TMI (too much information) when it comes to choosing a dental home.
In order to help you determine whether we will be a good match for you, let’s play a little ‘Twenty Questions’ ( or less).
Q: “Well, what do you think?”
Yes, we definitely offer second opinions. However, we do not want to see any existing treatment plans that you may have from another provider. Each practice and doctor may ascribe to a different dental philosophy, aka the old ‘apples and oranges’ comparison.
We would ask, however, that if you have any existing x-rays you make arrangements to either bring them with you or have them emailed to us. Why? It will save your pocketbook, because duplicating current x-rays is not a covered benefit by most insurances, and definitely not a preferred way our non-insured patients want to re-spend their money.
So yes, we’ll be more than happy to take a look at you and your x-rays and give you a second opinion.
Q: “Can we come and see you?”
Absolutely! We love getting to know new patients, and we can always make room for more. Call our office at 207-782-5308 to schedule a comprehensive new patient exam and x-rays. If you have any recent x-rays, then please make arrangements to have them forwarded to us so that we are not duplicating any services (see above note on not having to pay out of pocket for another set of x-rays).
Q: “Do you take my insurance?”
We probably do, we accept most dental insurance plans. We are also specifically contracted with some. Whether ‘in network’ or ‘out of network’, some patients are surprised to learn that there is still typically some kind of co-payment for non-preventive dental treatment. Each insurance plan is very different (there are multiple versions for Cigna, Delta and Aetna, for example) and the specifics of your benefits largely depend on what your Human Resources department has negotiated with the insurance company.
It is always a good rule of thumb to check directly with your insurance provider (or H.R. department, as they tend to be a little easier to get hold of), as dental insurance can be confusing. And even if your insurance renews with the same company every year, some of the benefits may have been renegotiated, so may not be identical to the previous coverage.
On a related note, “Is my insurance company/policy good?” is a question we get asked a lot. To be perfectly honest, it’s actually difficult for us to answer that question. Read why!.
Q: “I don’t like my teeth, or my smile – what can I really do about that?”
We love to laugh, so it’s tough to imagine how it would feel to be self conscious about smiling. If you are concerned or embarrassed about how your teeth look, please believe there is hope. And, more importantly, there are options! The marvels of modern dentistry mean that we have multiple ways to straighten, whiten, repair and rebuild your teeth, so that you are never hesitant to flash anyone your smile or LOL in person.
Q: “I’m afraid of the dentist, I had a bad experience growing up, how will you help me?”
Actually, we can completely relate to this. A number of our team grew up being very fearful of the dentist, including Dr. Lake! We understand that coming to the dental office is most people’s least favorite thing to do, which is why we do our very best to make your visit as pleasant and comfortable as possible from the moment you walk in the front door, to the part where you have to check out and pay your bill.
We believe that many things can be accomplished in life when you are in a relationship that involves a high level of trust and comfort, and this is no different chairside. For many people, it’s not just about the pain of a needle or the sound of a drill, but the feeling of an utter lack of control that can make a dental visit very harrowing. We believe that information, education, empathy and patience are the most effective ways to help our anxious patients navigate their way through a dental appointment. Our practice has also invested in technology to make certain procedures more comfortable and efficient, thereby limiting your time in the chair.
Finally, a little humor and lively conversation can go a long way to distracting you from what’s going on. Dr. Drews is a history, politics and 80’s wrestling buff and is looking for any opportunity to talk about his love of Rowdy Roddy Piper. Dr. Lake is our resident computer gaming geek and loves all things sci-fi, so prepare for her to ‘nerd out’ during your appointment if you bring up Dr. Who or The X-Files.
Q: “What about X-rays, are you going to make me take them every year?”
Radiographs are an important and essential component of ensuring that your mouth is healthy and disease free. We do not have Superman’s x-ray vision, although being able to get changed in a phone booth might come in handy, and so any decay or growths that are happening below the gum line, or inside the tooth could go undetected for quite some time, resulting in bigger, more painful (and expensive) procedures.
Our goal is to take the utmost care of our patients, and we are not willing to neglect any aspect of that. We follow an x-ray protocol that follows the guidelines set forth by the American Dental Association. We are also a digital office, which means the radiation exposure to you is as little as 10% of traditional x-rays.Learn more about why we rely on routine x-rays.
Q: “So, what happens when I first come in – do I get my teeth cleaned?”
For all of our patients over eighteen, we appoint you with the doctor first, for one full hour. We understand that to some patients with a busy schedule, this might seem like an unnecessary waste of time; however, as we get older there are a number of factors that can negatively impact our oral condition, so we want to ensure that we have a thorough and complete record of your teeth, gums and other soft tissue. This is why a comprehensive exam includes periodontal probing (measuring gum level), an oral cancer screening, TMJ evaluation (jaw and bite alignment), documenting existing work, reviewing x-rays and diagnosing anything that needs to be done.
We divide our treatment plans into three separate phases. The first is ‘disease control’, this means any active decay that is going on in your mouth currently is the number priority to address. The second phase of our treatment plan is ‘restorative’, which means anything broken. Our goal is to get your mouth disease free and functionally stable for what we all need to be able to do to remain healthy and happy- eat! The final phase is purely elective and not for everyone. Because some of our patients are interested in improving the look of their smile, we can review cosmetic options which could include adult orthodontics using clear aligners and teeth whitening. Learn more about how we treat new patients.
Q: “When should I bring in Little Johnnie or Suzie to see you?”
We strongly believe in teaching children that coming to the dentist is not a scary chore that must be endured, but rather an opportunity to meet new, friendly people who are going to help them take care of their health. We like to see a child by three years of age for their first cleaning and exam.
This initial appointment may look to an outsider like a lot of social time, but our hygienists are orienting your child to the dental treatment room, and naming and labeling the various instruments that they will be using, so that your child can interact with them and feel comfortable with all aspects of an appointment. Children tend to be very sensory oriented, and as there are assorted noises, vibrations and water that may be going in their mouths, we feel it is important that they are given the opportunity to feel in control of their environment – note that this does not mean they are in control of the appointment. Learn more about how we treat our pediatric patients.
Q: “What if I fall over and break my face over the weekend?”
If there is a trauma based emergency that takes place over the weekend or on a holiday, we strongly encourage our patients to follow up at the nearest emergency room.
Otherwise, there is an option when you call our office number that will allow you to leave a message that the doctor on call accesses through the emergency line, and will call you back. Depending on the type of emergency, a prescription may be called in over the weekend and an appointment given for the following day to be seen.
We do reserve spots in our schedule to accommodate dental emergencies for our patients, and if we do not have a physical opening, then rest assured that our business team are doing their due diligence to find a spot so that you can be seen promptly.
Q: “Can you see me tomorrow?”
Anything is possible. Our schedule can change every time the phone rings. However, if you are looking for an 8am or 4pm time slot on the eve of a New Moon, then you may have to be a little patient with us. Our schedule tends to fill up from the book ends of the day inward, meaning we can usually accommodate a New Patient within a couple of weeks, mid morning or early afternoon, as we have specially reserved time blocks set aside. This allows us time to get paperwork completed, insurance benefits verified, if needed, and any records transferred to our office. Spots are also saved for emergencies of our current patients on record.
Q: “Do you pull teeth?”
Yes, our office can extract teeth and we use local anesthetic. If you require sedation, or the extractions are more complex (impacted below the gumline), then we may refer you to one of the specialist oral surgeon’s offices that we work with. Learn more about tooth extractions.
Q: “Can I pay you Tuesday, for a Root Canal today?”
Unfortunately, we are not like Popeye’s Wimpy character – if our patients do not pay their bills, then we cannot pay ours. It’s simple economics.
We collect your co-payment at the time of service. We accept the majority of dental insurance plans, with deductibles and co-payments due the day of treatment. We do understand that dental treatment can feel overwhelming, and our goal is always to ensure that our patients get the dentistry that they need in order to be healthy and disease free, that they are able to afford.
We also offer our patients an alternative payment option through Care Credit which has a 0% interest option, and is a great resource for more extensive dental work. It is also accepted at many medical, optical and veterinary offices. In fact, a number of our dog lover employees use it to pay for their furry friend’s vet visits.
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