Frequently Asked QuestionsValley Family Dentistry
Are you accepting new patients and do you accept referrals?
Yes! The best compliment we receive is a patient having the confidence in our office to recommend a friend or a family member to us.
How much does a cleaning cost?
It depends on the health of your gums and how much actual “cleaning” needs to be done (i.e., how long has it been since your last cleaning?) but in general, the first visit (including the comprehensive examination, oral cancer screening, x-rays, scaling or root planing as needed, polishing, and fluoride treatment as needed) ranges from $150 – $300. Check-up (recall) or hygiene visits after the initial visit are shorter and therefore the fee is less (usually about half the cost of the first visit, on average). If you need a more accurate estimate of the cost of cleaning your teeth, we can provide one once we have examined your mouth.
How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year. Depending on your personal oral health condition, our staff may recommend more frequent visits.
Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?
Over the years there has been some concern as to the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. An amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc, bound by elemental mercury. Dentists have used this blended metal to fill teeth for more than 100 years.
Although studies indicate that there are no measurable health risks to patients who have silver fillings, we do know that mercury is a toxic material when we are exposed at high, unsafe levels. For instance, we have been warned to limit the consumption of certain types of fish that carry high levels of mercury in them. However, with respect to amalgam fillings, the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) maintains that when the mercury combines with the other components of the filling, it becomes an inactive substance that is safe.
In our office, we do composite fillings (tooth-coloured), porcelain, and gold fillings. We encourage you to discuss these options with our staff so you can determine which is the best option for you.
What is the suggested fee guide?
The British Columbia Dental Association (BCDA) produces an annual suggested fee guide for dentists in BC. This document outlines over 1,400 dental codes and code descriptors related to specific elements of dental treatment. It also provides suggested fees that serve as a guide only.
Many dental plan carriers will base plan coverage on fees and codes within this guide. In some cases the coverage is based on previous year’s guides.
What is a pre-determination?
A pre-determination is an estimate of what treatment your dental plan will cover and what you will be responsible for. Our office will submit an outline of the proposed treatment to your dental plan provider prior to proceeding with treatment. It is an estimate only and does not guarantee the final costs you will be responsible for paying.
It is important for you to be well informed on your plan coverage. Check with your dental plan provider to clarify when a pre-determination is required. Some plans may only reimburse some services if a pre-determination is received in advance of treatment. Also be aware that pre-determinations may be valid for a limited time; what is covered can change if you reach the financial limits of your plan; and/or other changes can occur to your plan before treatment is completed.
The final treatment coverage is determined by your dental plan carrier. Any costs not covered are your responsibility.
At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months old and no later than one year old. During this time, your child’s baby teeth will be coming in, and we can examine the health of your child’s first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.