Answers to Your Dental Questions

Below we address common inquiries and provide valuable information to help you make informed decisions about your dental health. Whether you’re a new patient or have been with us for years, we understand that you may have questions, and we’re here to assist you every step of the way. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If you don’t see your question here, feel free to reach out to our friendly team for personalized assistance.
Does Dr. Stenvall perform root canals, wisdom teeth removal, or dental implants?YES! Dr. Stenvall does root canals, extracts wisdom teeth (3rd molars), and even surgically places implants. As with any other specialty, there are certain situations that a specialist is needed. Once Dr. Stenvall completes your exam, she will let you know if your treatment can be completed in our office or if it would be better suited for a specialty practice. We work closely with many great specialists in the Charlotte area and would be happy to refer you to them as needed.
What are your different whitening options?We offer 3 different whitening options for you to choose from:
  • ZOOM! Whitening (In-office): This involves a consultation, consent form review, impressions for at-home touch-up trays, and a two-hour appointment for the whitening process at our office. You will leave with a noticeable difference in your smile!
  • OPALESCENCE Custom Trays (Take-home): This option requires one quick appointment for tray impressions. Within a few days, you’ll receive your trays and whitening material, and you are to wear the trays for 2-3 hours a day. Results are noticeable within 2-3 days, with an average usage of 7-10 days.
  • OPAL GO: The quickest and easiest option. Use the preloaded trays daily for 10 days, 15 minutes each day.
Any whitening processes should be limited to no more than every 6 months. Contact the office for pricing or specials!
What’s the difference between a routine cleaning and periodontal cleanings?A “routine” cleaning involves removing plaque and tartar from above the gumline and indicates healthy gums and bone. A periodontal maintenance cleaning addresses plaque and tartar above and below the gumline. This is needed for patients with a history of periodontal treatments, signifying gum recession and bone loss due to periodontal disease.
What should I expect at my new patient appointment?Your new patient appointment is a time for us to get to know each other. There is always paperwork, which can be done online prior to your appointment to save time. Once here, if you don’t have any current x-rays from your previous dentist, we will begin with updating any x-rays. Then a hygienist will perform dental and periodontal charting to ensure our records match your mouth’s condition.If our hygienist determines your cleaning to be routine, she will begin cleaning your teeth. Our goal is to complete this process in one appointment, though it may not always be possible. If your mouth isn’t routine and may have periodontal or gum issues, the hygienist will assess and call the dentist for an exam.Your new patient exam is comprehensive, addressing all dental aspects. Dr. Stenvall will perform an enhanced oral cancer screening, examine your existing dental work, and diagnose any necessary treatment. There will be time for your questions and concerns. Follow-up appointments for cleanings or dental treatment will be scheduled before you leave. We strive to treat all our patients like family!
What insurances do you take?This question is asked a lot! We will actually take and file almost all insurance plans. However, we are only in-network with a few. In-network means we are contracted with the particular insurance plan, and we must accept the fees that plan dictates. Most plans will allow you to see an out of network dentist with little to no difference in coverage. We are in-network with Cigna DPPO, Cigna Medicare HMO, Delta Dental (Premier), Grid+, Guardian Dentalguard Preferred, Liberty Dental through Blue Medicare Advantage, and Tricare (military).
Medicare and dental coverage?Medicare is a very different entity in and of itself. We can make recommendations only about specific plans we are familiar with in this office. Due to our contract with Guardian Dentalguard Preferred, we are considered in-network with Medicare Advantage’s Liberty Dental Plan. They offer a comprehensive plan or a preventive only plan. Cigna Medicare Dental and Aetna Medicare Dental also have plans that pay 100% of our fees up to a certain amount each year. These plans are not dependent upon the dentist being in-network. It is, however, always best to have a list of questions handy prior to calling an insurance company about coverage. Below is a list to get you started:
  • Are there waiting periods? If so, for what?
  • Do they pay according to Usual & Customary or Reasonable & Customary fees?
  • Are you required to choose from a list? If so, is Dr. Meghan Stenvall on the list?
What questions should I ask if I am shopping around for insurance plans?When you are looking for new insurance coverage on your own or through your employer, do not hesitate to call the office for assistance. Our insurance specialist has been working with dental insurance companies for over 30 years. There are several things you need to know before signing up for a new plan. Does the plan have:
  • Waiting periods? If so, for what?
  • Do they pay according to Usual & Customary or Reasonable & Customary?
  • Are you required to choose from a list? If so, is Dr. Meghan Stenvall on the list?
  • If you need dental insurance for a particular treatment, ask if that is covered? Ex: Implants or Orthodontics?
  • You can also ask us about our In House Benefit Plan
Do root canals hurt?We’ve all heard the stories about the horrible root canal experiences, but generally, root canals do not hurt. If Dr. Stenvall tells you that one of your teeth needs a root canal, she will typically put you on antibiotics for a few days before having you come in for the root canal. This helps with any infection that might be present so that when the root canal is performed, the local anesthetic used will be effective enough for the procedure to be comfortable for you. We have even had patients sleep through root canals!
Why do I need a crown after a root canal?The reason a tooth my need a root canal is often because the tooth had a large cavity. Once all of the decay is removed from the tooth, there most likely will be more filling present than actual tooth. With such an extensive filling, most teeth cannot withstand the pressure of eating and chewing, therefore, are at a much higher rate of breaking. We recommend a crown after a root canal to prevent the tooth from fracturing. Root canaled teeth tend to discolor over time as well. If a root canal is in the front of your mouth, a crown will not only protect the tooth from breaking, but it will also prevent you from having cosmetic concerns moving forward.
Do you have discounts for people without dental insurance?Our office offers an In House Benefit Plan designed specifically for those patients who don’t have dental insurance. It is an annual membership which includes 2 routine cleanings, exams, all the x-rays you need in a year, emergency exams and offers a 15% discount on any dental treatments completed in this office. This discount may also be used on any products you purchase from our office. Ex: Sonicare toothbrush, Prevident toothpaste, etc. For more information or to find out how to join, click here.
I’m missing a tooth. What are my options for replacing it?As difficult as it may be to be told that you need a tooth taken out, it can be somewhat comforting to know that there are ways to replace it. One option might be a removable partial denture or a complete denture, depending on how many teeth you are missing. With this option, you would be able to take your prosthesis in and out of your mouth yourself. Another option might be a bridge, which is a non-surgical replacement that is permanently cemented into your mouth using other teeth to hold it in. A third option might be an implant, which is a surgically placed prosthesis that acts just like a lone-standing tooth. If you would like to speak to Dr. Stenvall about these options or to see if you are a candidate, we would love to discuss these options with you at your next visit to Queen City Dental Arts.
I was told I need a crown. What should I expect?When a tooth has more filling than tooth structure in it or has had a root canal, Dr. Stenvall will most likely recommend that you get a crown on that tooth. A crown is made out of either porcelain or metal, depending on where in your mouth it is going, and it prevents a compromised tooth from breaking. A crown fits over a tooth like a thimble fits over your finger and is cemented in place. When you come into our office for a crown, it takes two visits. The first visit takes about two hours, and Dr. Stenvall will prepare your tooth for the crown and will fabricate a temporary crown that you will wear for a few weeks. Once we receive your permanent crown from our lab, you will come in to cement the final crown. This visit is much quicker and often does not require you to be numb. Once your crown is cemented with permanent cement, you can use it and clean it just like any other tooth without having to worry about it breaking!
I’d like my teeth straightened. Do I have to go to the Orthodontist?There are two main types of orthodontics that people use to straighten teeth. One way would be to cement brackets to your teeth and to use wires and rubber bands to help with the movements. We utilize a system called Six Month Smiles(r) so your brackets would be clear, ceramic brackets, with tooth colored wires and clear rubber bands. The other option would be a series of clear aligners that you would wear for 22 hours a day that would progressively move your teeth. Six Month Smiles is more affordable and typically costs less than traditional braces or other clear aligner therapies. Dr. Stenvall does select orthodontic cases at our practice and would love to discuss which option might be best for you.
Do I need a night guard?You may not feel like you clench or grind, but Dr. Stenvall can look at the wear patterns on your teeth and determine if you are putting excessive pressure on your teeth. If she sees that you are clenching or grinding, but you don’t notice yourself doing it, you are probably doing it in your sleep. If this is the case, Dr. Stenvall will recommend a lab-made night guard for you. Other people have TMJ pain from clenching their teeth and wake up with their jaw feeling sore or tired. A night guard will also help with this discomfort. Let the team at QCDA know if you are experiencing these symptoms, and we can help you decide if a night guard is right for you.
What should I expect when I get a filling?If Dr. Stenvall diagnoses that you have a tooth with a small or moderate sized cavity or an old filling that needs to be replaced, she will tell you that you need a filling. When you come in for the appointment, Dr. Stenvall will numb your tooth using a local anesthetic. You should expect this numbing to last for about 4 hours, although this may be slower and faster dependent upon your individual sensitivity to numbing medications. Dr. Stenvall will remove the decayed part of your tooth and/or old filling material and replace it with a white, composite material that matches the shade of your tooth. Composite fillings are very esthetic and are virtually invisible to the naked eye. Once you leave the office, even though you will be numb for a few hours, you can use the new filling right away for eating and drinking!

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