Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.

What if I have an emergency when the office is closed?

Call Dr. Decker’s cell number at 206-714-6284.  Sometimes Dr. Decker  takes vacation and has another dentist covering for him.  The covering dentist’s information will be left on our voicemail at the office phone number 360-825-3191.

What can I expect at my first appointment?

We like to have a very thorough exam and series of radiographs taken.  Very rarely will your teeth cleaning happen the same day, because we would not know how to have diagnosed what type of cleaning you need and what length of time required to schedule you properly.

Can I get my new patient exam, radiographs, and cleaning the same day?

This is one of the most asked questions.  It is rare that we can do this all in same day, generally because we don’t know exactly how much time your cleaning will take, until we have done a thorough exam.  Sometimes we are able to do this, but it is rare.

Are radiographs necessary?

To do complete ideal dentistry yes.  Without the radiographs, decay, pathologic conditions, and other diseases may go undiagnosed, and therefor mistreated.  That being said, we try and honor different religous and cultural beliefs on this.

Do you offer nitrous?

We do.  We find nitrous sedation very uselful in the fearful patient and also with pediatric patients.

Do you offer sedation?

Yes, we offer oral conscious sedation (with a pill), and also nitrous sedation, which can augment eachother.

Do you see kids?

We do, we have patients of all ages, and cater well in our opinion, to children.

When should my child first come to see the dentist?

As early as age 1.  The child will have teeth by then, and these visits, usually end up being get to know you appointments, and get used to some of our stuff like the chair and suction.  For more serious situations obviously the visit can be more involved.  That being said, we like to get to know our pediatric patients at as early an age as possible.

Why did my tooth break?

Teeth break for many reasons.  Tooth decay (a cavity) sometimes undermines enamel and causes a break.  Other times, just time and chewing can cause a cusp to break.  Sometimes the break is severe and the tooth can be lost or need a lot of work to be fixed.  Sometimes the break can be minor, and be fixed with simple composite bonding.

How often should I get my teeth cleaned?

The answer to this varies.  Patients extent of gingivitis and/or periodontal disease varies.  We used to look at getting your teeth cleaned as, “if you get your teeth cleaned you won’t get cavities or periodontal disease.”  Now in dentistry we tend to look at teeth cleanings as hedging your bets, doing all you can do minimize what YOU are susceptible to.  I have patients who get their teeth cleaned every 3 months, and still have severe periodontal disease even though they floss every day and we clean them 3 times a year.  The opposite is true as well, I have patients that only let me see them once a year, they are not great brushers or flossers, and yet they have no tooth decay or major periodontal disease.  The point of all of this is that we tailor every cleaning regimen to each individual patient, based on what we thing is needed for us to feel like we are doing everything we can to minimize what YOU are susceptible to, nothing more, nothing less.

I have no dental insurance, what can you do for me?

We accept all patients, whatever the situation.  We will work hard to figure out a payment arrangement that can work for you and us.  We do offer 3rd party financing from companies that in general offer no interest for different periods of time.

What are the different ways I can whiten my teeth?

We like to separate whitening into two broad categories: IN OFFICE and TAKE HOME bleaching.  In-office systems generally whiten faster, than take home systems.  The benefit of take home systems is that you get a custom or semi-custom tray that you bleach at home again, when you feel the color is fading.  We use an in-office/take home system that offesr the benefit of a quick boost in whiteness at the office, and you also get a semi-custom tray and take home bleach, so you get the best of both systems.  Some patients require more intensive in-office bleaching to get the desired results (in other words some teeth are harder to bleach than others).

What is the difference between a silver and white fillings?

Besides the obvious colors differences there are many differences.  Alloy/metal/silver fillings have been around in dentistry for hundreds of years, and have proven record of safety and biocompatibility in human and animal teeth.  Although we in this dental practice primarily use white/composite fillings, at times we have the need to use alloy/metal fillings.  In general silver fillings last longer than white fillings.  There are also differences in fees, white fillings take make much care, skill, and time to place, and therefore cost more than silver fillings to place.

Is an electric toothbrush really better than a manual one?

In general the studies show that an electric toothbrush is better than brushing alone.

How long will my dental restoration last?

We get this question every day.  It’s impossible to answer correctly.  Home care/brushing comes into play here.  If home care is not ideal, dental restorations are not going to last as long as we would like them to.  I do warranty most of my work for up to 5 years, on a sliding scale.  Meaning at year 5 I might only cover 20% of the replacement cost, unless there is an obvious issue with the dentistry.  We try very hard to explain to patient’s, when the restoration may not be expected to last as long as normal, before we perform the restoration.