Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most common inquiries we get. If we haven't addressed your question here, please feel free to call or text us at 713-436-7143, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for visiting!
Do you take my insurance?
We are not a contracted provider for any insurance plans but we will file your dental PPO claims for you. About 70 % of our patients use dental insurance because most PPO type insurance works well in our office. We do not accept any DMO type insurance plans.
Dental plans are a business arrangement between your particular employer and an insurance company. Most plans are designed to pay only a portion of your dental expenses. Also, dental plans may exclude or discourage certain treatments, such as dental sealants, which can prevent tooth decay and save you money later on. Carefully read a plan but don't be surprised by its limitations. If a plan doesn't cover a procedure that is recommended by your dentist, this does not mean that the treatment isn't appropriate or needed.
Even when you and Dr. Watkins agree on the appropriate treatment, the dental plan may only pay a portion, or pay only for the least expensive alternative treatment as determined by the insurance company. Some plans do not cover pre-existing conditions such as missing teeth. Others may not cover dental implants, specialist referrals and other dental needs.
What is the cost of a cleaning? A filling? A crown?
It really is hard to give a quote for dental work without having looked in the patient's mouth. However, Dr. Watkins fees aren't the highest in Pearland, but they aren't the lowest. We want to provide you with strong, quality dental work that is going to look good, feel great, and last a long time.
The best suggestion is to schedule a free consultation. Come in, meet the staff and see the office. Tell Dr. Watkins what you have in mind, and together you can hash out a plan to get all your dental work done.
Do you offer payment plans?
We do. We use a financial partner called CareCredit to help you get the dental services that you want, and help our staff concentrate on performing quality dentistry. CareCredit offers a revolving credit account that is specifically for medical and dental expenses. It allows you to charge only what you want to use. When you pay it back to CareCredit within 12 months, it is interest free. You can apply for CareCredit on-line from home or we can help you with that in our office. We like CareCredit because it is accepted at other doctors, specialists, and even veterinarian offices.
Can I just get my teeth cleaned without an exam or X-Rays?
Dental radiographs (the proper term for pictures taken with X-Rays) provide you with valuable information. If you are a new patient, Dr. Watkins will recommend radiographs to determine the present status of hidden areas of your mouth and to help analyze changes that occur later. If you have had radiographs at your previous dentist within the last year, Dr. Watkins may ask you to have those forwarded or emailed to us.
Dr. Watkins is checking your gums, tongue, and tissue for many things when he does the exam. Oral cancer screening is a routine part of the dental examination. Regular check-ups are essential in the early detection of cancerous and precancerous conditions. Many patients are simply accustomed to chewing on one side of their mouth, or have sensitivity to hot or cold, but these may be symptoms of other problems. By performing a comprehensive exam, Dr. Watkins can give you his informed opinion.
My gums bleed when I brush. Is that normal?
Bleeding gums are common, but definitely not good. Poor oral health has been proven to adversely affect other areas of the body. Gingivitis is a mild and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums. Gingivitis may lead to a more serious, destructive form of periodontal disease called periodontitis. Dr. Watkins will recommend a treatment regimen that will return you to good oral health, and we will document your recovery at every subsequent check-up. Watch for signs of gum disease:
Gums that bleed easily
Red, swollen, tender gums
Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
Persistent bad breath or bad taste
Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Any change in the fit of partial dentures
At what age should I bring my child in for a visit?
The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the first birthday. Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, Dr. Watkins can demonstrate how to clean the child's teeth properly and how to evaluate any habits like thumb sucking or tongue thrust.
Of course, your child should be ready to "open big" for Dr. Watkins, but we may just "count teeth", try on gloves, or ride up and down in the chair. Let's take it slow and see how your child likes us. Please don't over-explain the dental visit - we just want to make friends with your child and answer any questions that you have. Of course, we have a treasure chest filled with rewards for after the visit.
Can I visit the dentist while I am pregnant?
Your baby wants you to have a healthy mouth! Let us know how far along you are and we will let you know what we can safely do. We may have to wait on some things until after the baby comes, but then someone can watch the baby for you while you put your feet up in our chair and listen to your choice of satellite music on our headphones. Sound good?
Is there a link between diabetes and periodontal (gum) disease?
Periodontal diseases, infections of the gum and bone that hold your teeth in place, often appear to be more frequent and more severe among persons with diabetes. Because diabetes reduces the body's resistance to infection, the gums are among the tissues likely to be affected.
Periodontal disease is often linked to the control of diabetes. For example, patients with inadequate blood sugar control appear to develop periodontal disease more often and more severely, and then lose more teeth than people who have good control of their diabetes. It is possible to have periodontal disease and not have all the warning signs. If you notice any of the signs of gum disease, see you dentist immediately.
I clench my jaws at night. Can you help with that?
Yes we can. We live in a stress-filled world, and one result could be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaws. You could have teeth that are painful or loose from severe grinding. This can lead to painful and expensive fractures in your teeth.
It's called bruxism and often it happens as we sleep, caused not just by stress, but also by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, or teeth that are crooked or missing. Symptoms can include a dull headache or sore jaws at night and upon waking. Dr. Watkins can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
I wear dentures. Must I do anything extra to care for my mouth?
Even with full dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Brush your gums, tongue, and palate every morning with a soft-bristled toothbrush before you put in your dentures. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important for maintaining a healthy mouth.
Regular dental check-ups are important. Dr. Watkins will examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit properly. The dentist also examines your mouth for signs of oral disease, including cancer.