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Frequently Asked Dental Questions

Below, you will find several of the most popular questions our dentists and team members receive on a regular basis. If you are looking for information that isn’t addressed below, you can either use our online form or contact us directly here in New York City. We always enjoy being able to instill confidence in our patients, both new and reoccurring.

What is a cosmetic dentist?

The truth is…there is no such thing as a cosmetic dental specialist. The American Dental Association does not recognize cosmetic dentistry as a specialty. However, all of the Drs. Boyd have been trained extensively in esthetic dentistry and utilize the most advanced techniques and materials to provide the best smile.

What is a prosthodontist?

Prosthodontists, the only dentists recognized by the ADA as true specialists in esthetic/cosmetic dentistry, can restore optimal function and appearance to your teeth. Specialty certification is obtained with an additional three years of residency beyond dental school at an ADA accredited university or hospital program. Prosthodontists also receive advanced training in implant dentistry, TMD/TMJ problems, traumatic injuries to the mouth’s structures, and snoring/sleep apnea disorders.

What should I do if I have an emergency?

If you have a dental emergency during our dental office hours, please call our dental office at (212) 433-2425, and we will accommodate your needs. We have an emergency service after-hours that will get you in contact with Dr. Boyd. The emergency service number is (212) 774-1485. If you have a severe injury, bleeding, or infection, please visit an emergency room or dial 911.

Do you have evening hours?

Yes! On Mondays and Thursdays, we are available in the early evening to accommodate your busy schedule.

Do you take dental insurance?

We work with many insurance companies to get you the highest reimbursement. If your insurance carrier permits you to choose your own dentist, we can file most claims electronically to speed up the reimbursement process as well. Your insurance company will reimburse you directly.

How much can I expect them to reimburse?

Dental carriers usually reimburse percentages of predetermined fees for certain types of procedures. Insurance companies could have a maximum fee for a certain procedure that may not be consistent with our own. For more information, you can call your provider and request a fee schedule for our zip code (10022), or we can submit a predetermination to your insurance company prior to treatment. Please understand that dental benefits are unlike medical benefits. When you have greater medical needs, your benefit plan usually covers more of the cost. It is usually the reverse with dental treatment; a proportion of your dental needs may be covered until it reaches an annual maximum.

Why should I have my teeth cleaned at least twice a year?

Regular professional dental cleanings keep your smile bright, your breath fresh, and gums healthy. As plaque builds up in your mouth, it can solidify and turn into calculus or tartar, that you cannot remove it at home. It tends to irritate the surrounding gum tissue, leading to gingivitis or periodontal disease. This barnacle-like substance is removed by your hygienist at your regular cleaning visits. A six-month interval not only serves to keep your mouth healthy and clean, but also it allows for potential problems to be found and diagnosed earlier.

I just need my teeth cleaned. Why does the doctor need to see me?

It is very important to have your teeth and gums examined by one of the Drs. Boyd. Oftentimes, teeth can have underlying decay or gum disease that otherwise may exhibit no pain at all. We also screen for oral pharyngeal cancer at every checkup. If these problems can be diagnosed sooner, treatment can often be shorter, less costly, and potentially lifesaving.

Why do you ask so many questions about my medical history?

A detailed medical history is important for your doctor to understand if any underlying medical conditions impact your dental treatment. Many medical conditions and medications can negatively impact the condition of one’s oral health, such as heart disease and diabetes. Also, medical conditions can be made worse by poor oral health.

Why are the appointments long?

The Drs. Boyd reserve enough time with each patient to treat their individual needs. Unlike other doctors who have short, set-time appointments, we make certain that each patient receives the care they deserve.

Can you make my teeth whiter?

Of course we can! We can make teeth whiter using in-office ZOOM!™ or at-home teeth whitening kits. Additionally, we can use porcelain veneers or crowns.

How can I change the shape of my teeth?

Often, people are not happy with the shape of their teeth. They’re too round, too short, too chipped, etc. We can correct misshapen teeth with veneers, crowns, or esthetic composite bonding to create the best smile possible.

What is a porcelain veneer?

A porcelain veneer is a very thin restoration that is bonded on top of the natural tooth. It is approximately a half a millimeter thick. The natural tooth requires minimal preparation or occasionally none at all. Veneers are indicated for a variety of situations, such as misshapen or misaligned teeth, discolored teeth, or teeth that are chipped and fractured.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a highly biocompatible screw that is placed into the jaw bone. They can be used to replace single or multiple teeth. The need for drilling healthy neighboring teeth is gone. Even if you are missing all of your teeth, we can replace them using dental implants.

What is a root canal? Does it hurt?

A root canal is the process of removing the nerve tissue from the inside of the tooth. The actual procedure of a root canal is typically painless. Generally, people have bad memories of needing a root canal because of the severe pain due to infection of the tooth. A root canal procedure will relieve pain if an infection is present!

Is fluoride bad for you?

Fluoride is not bad for us unless ingested in extremely high doses (like anything else). In fact, our teeth greatly benefit from topical fluoride, fluoride toothpaste, and fluoridated drinking water. Fluoride in drinking water is actually one of the greatest public health achievements in modern day medicine. Studies have shown that fluoride makes teeth stronger and more resistant to decay, which means fewer cavities!

Do you still do amalgam (silver) fillings, and are they bad for you?

“Silver” or amalgam fillings have had bad press in recent years for using mercury as a component. The Drs. Boyd often will use composite (tooth colored) fillings because of comparable success and esthetic improvement compared to amalgam fillings. There is no reason to remove amalgam fillings due to mercury. Doing so may actually expose your body to more mercury than if the fillings are left alone in solid state.

Why do I need dental X-rays and how do you keep me safe?

Dental x-rays are used to examine your teeth and supporting bone to diagnose any problems, including cavities that exist between the teeth. The dose of radiation you are exposed to during the capturing of X-rays is extremely small, especially when compared to common sources such as the sun, airplane travel, skiing in the mountains, minerals in the soil, and appliances in your home. Also, with digital X-rays and lead-lined aprons, we decrease the exposure of radiation even more!