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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Appointments

Appointments are exclusively scheduled over the phone, although they may be requested via info@drelstonwong.com. Please call 705.721.1143 for the exact available appointment times. At no time is an appointment definitively set until we speak with you. The reason for this is to ensure that our scheduling is done properly; we don’t want you to wait too long if you have an emergency, nor do we want to have open time in our schedule if people need to come in.

If you need to change an appointment time:

Please notify us at least two business days in advance of your appointment if you need to change your appointment time. Operating time is valuable, and short-notice cancellations may or may not be subject to a cancellation fee proportional to the appointment length. (However, we are human too, and we understand that emergencies can arise.) Changing appointment times with little notice hurts everyone – the open time left from your appointment is a time that perhaps another person would have liked to use if enough notice was given.

If we need to change an appointment time:

This can happen if we are running late or early. If we know that we are running late, we will attempt to contact you as soon as we know. If time opens up in our schedule, we may also ask if you can come at that time. These fine-tuning adjustments are needed in order to optimize time management.

We love this question, because it carries the inference that we are goofing off somewhere in the back of the office. The simple answer is this: we run late because someone before you needed more time than they had scheduled. This may be because a procedure required more time, a patient arrived late, or we had to see an extra patient or two for emergencies, but most often it is because someone before you had extra questions. When this happens, we are faced with the choice of not answering the questions for the sake of staying on schedule (and thereby rushing the patient out), or we can stay an extra few minutes to answer them.

We choose to answer the questions, and hope that people waiting for their appointments will understand. Dentistry would run on time if it were an assembly line and people had no need for discussion, but dentistry is managing biology – and unfortunately biology does not run on a clock.

Fees and Payments

In general, our fees are similar or slightly higher than the current year’s Suggested Fee Guide as set out by the Ontario Dental Association. However, there are several procedures where we differ significantly in order to reflect the extra time we put in to the treatment in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for you. For those procedures where there is no suggested fee, we feel
that our fees are more than reasonable.

We will accept payment by cash, Interac/debit, credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express), or personal cheque.

In general, payment is due immediately after the service is rendered. However, larger treatment plans or lengthier treatments (such as orthodontics) are spread out over the course of treatment. Please see below for financial arrangements.

Please note that we operate on a non-assignment basis, which means that with the exception of certain social services programmes, we collect payment from you directly. If you have dental insurance benefits, you will be reimbursed directly from your insurance provider.

Accounts left unpaid for over 30 days will be subject to further collection efforts. Accounts with cheques returned due to insufficient funds (NSF cheques) will be subject to an additional $25 charge.

As you will probably have read on this site, your dental insurance coverage has no knowledge of your dental needs. Determining treatment based on insurance coverage is a poor decision. We don’t do it when making recommendations for you, nor should you do it for yourself. If a recommended procedure is covered by your insurance plan, great! If not, the urgency of the procedure is the same. A better way to think about it is to compare it to service on your vehicle – if you need the service, and someone offers to pay for a portion of it, you would be more than happy.

As mentioned above, please note that we operate on a non-assignment basis, which means that with the exception of certain social services programmes, we collect payment from you directly. If you have dental insurance benefits, you will then be reimbursed directly from your insurance provider. In most cases, we can submit the claim for you electronically.

You are responsible for knowing the extent of your coverage, including yearly maximums. The reason is that we are not privy to that information; it is an agreement between you (or your employer) and the insurance company. We are not involved in that relationship. Any fees for treatment not covered by insurance remain the responsibility of the patient.

If you are unsure about the extent of your coverage, the best way to know is to ask! We’ve read some dental benefits pamphlets that are extremely vague; we do not regard these as helpful. Instead, we can find out about your coverage by helping you submit an estimate (also known as a predetermination). You will receive a reply that pertains to the exact treatment proposed. Insurance companies are not in business to lose money, so we may at times need to submit further letters if they decline the first time.

Another great way to find out about the details of your dental benefits coverage is to access your own account online! Please contact your insurance company directly for this. You will find out your yearly maximums, the claims that have been put through already, and amount of remaining coverage as well! This is an extremely handy tool that will answer many of the questions that we cannot.

A final word, because we can’t stress it enough –it’s your body, and you need to be sure that you are doing the best possible to maintain long-term health (regardless of insurance).

Please let us know if you have financial concerns regarding your proposed treatment –we may be able to make arrangements. These arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, we are not permitted to automatically offer discounts due to lack of insurance coverage.

A seldom-discussed option is patient financing! There are several companies that will provide financing for any dental treatment. Here are some Canadian options:

www.dentalcard.ca

www.creditmedical.com

These options will not require a detailed explanation of treatment needed nor a justification for it, and enrollment is easy. The repayment terms and rates will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Treatments

We are a general Barrie dental office, and the list of procedures that we offer tends to evolve over time. Most routine procedures are performed in-office, including preventive (hygiene, sealants, Prevora), restorative (fillings, crowns, onlays, veneers), endodontic (root canals), surgical (extractions mainly), and prosthetic (replacement of missing teeth) procedures. We will also provide
orthodontic services if suitable. Sedation options are also available, and are great for those with mild to moderate anxiety or gagging problems.

For best results, please maintain good oral hygiene and visit us routinely for examinations – we will often spot problems before they become painful.

There are dentists, dental specialists, denturists, and dental hygienists working in a wide variety of settings, and it may not be clear to the public where to turn for their Barrie dental care. In Ontario, each of the above professions are self-regulating by a college under the RHPA (Regulated Health Professions Act). The college that governs each profession is the body that “licenses” the practitioner. Each of these colleges are set up for the protection of the public, and it should be noted that they are different from the provincial dental associations. Dentists and dental specialists are regulated by the RCDSO (Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario). Denturists are regulated by the College of Denturists of Ontario, and Hygienists are regulated by the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario. If you are seeking dental services in Barrie, the individuals providing the services must belong to one of the above colleges. If not, and that person is providing oral care (not just cosmetic whitening), then that person is operating illegally. Furthermore, each of the above mentioned professions have limits on what types of work their members can perform.
But here is the meat of the confusion: given so many providers, who will best meet the needs of any given patient? Let’s start with dentists. In Barrie, we have dentists with DDS degrees and DMD degrees. In fact, these are the same thing. Dental surgeons and dentists are the exact same. The only difference lies in the three letters given to them by their university. Starting with a dentist is
always a good decision when deciding on your oral care, whether you have teeth or not. The role of the dentist can be likened to that of the family physician. Dentists can legally provide the whole spectrum of dental care, and will serve as a quarterback for your dental care. Why is this important? Dentistry is not an easy thing to understand, and the general public cannot be expected to fully know its dental needs. Dentists will look at everything in the mouth, and not just the problem at hand. They are trained to evaluate the mouth and spot not just the run-of-the-mill dental and periodontal (gum) issues, but also sort out TMJ (jaw joint) and oral pathology concerns such as hidden chronic infections or even oral cancer. If there is no thorough screening of your mouth, there may be all sorts of oral problems brewing painlessly that are not discovered until too late. Think of the patient who has sky-high blood pressure but doesn’t get checked regularly and therefore has no idea until the heart attack. When you seek the full services of a dentist in Barrie, you should experience a complete oral exam first, which will culminate in a treatment plan based on your needs. (Notably, this complete exam should also include the appropriate x-rays and/or other tests). This treatment plan may be as simple as a regular dental cleaning (hygiene dental services), to as complex as a whole mouth reconstruction (see our Gallery and Services Offered pages to get an idea of what kind of dental treatment we are talking about). More importantly, the dentist will then provide the best sequence for management of your dental needs so things are not done out of order. For example, most people will want front-teeth concerns addressed before back teeth. However, since it is the back teeth that hold up the bite, we need to take those into account as well. And what about the gums? Fortunately we live in a part of the world where the quality of dentistry is high, and extensive dental needs can be addressed in a structured, organized manner. In Barrie, we are lucky to have all of the dental care services at our disposal either in-town or nearby. Sometimes a dental patient’s needs cannot be managed by a dentist alone. This is why dental specialists are needed. Barrie has a great complement of dental specialists who can deal with specific problems and play a vital role in the community dental team. When a dentist encounters situations that are beyond the scope of his or her practice or comfort level, a specialist needs to be enlisted. Dental specialists are dentists who have undergone additional postgraduate training and licensing in order to provide specialty-level care. This is not to say that certain procedures can only be done by specialists, but the time and complexity of a procedure often makes more sense when done by a specialist. Dentistry in Ontario has many recognized specialties, the best-known of which may be orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, endodontics, pediatric dentistry, and periodontics. The dental care options in Barrie include all of these specialists, and it is up to the family dentist to determine where referrals are to be sent. Quick primer: Orthodontists – these are individuals who will straighten teeth and potentially correct growth pattern problems, usually through braces and other appliances. Barrie has several quality orthodontists. Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons – these are specialists trained to handle the more extensive surgical problems in the oral / facial region. While most commonly familiar through dental implant placement and wisdom tooth extractions, these practitioners are also involved with more severe problems such as trauma / jaw fractures, tumour removals, major infections, and systemic pathology. Dentists in Barrie have great help in the oral surgeons available (note: oral surgeons are the specialists, dental surgeons are the family dentists).Endodontists – these are the specialists in problems involving the root canals of teeth. Typically this would mean conventional root canal treatment or re-treatment, but can include things like determining difficult-to-diagnose sources of mouth pain. Barrie dental care providers have very qualified endodontists to carry out their root canal needs if necessary.

Paediatric dentists – these specialists are trained to handle the dental needs of the very smallest of patients. For dentists, Barrie offers several offices that focus on children’s needs. Since many children are too young to offer any sort of cooperation, paediatric dentists can also use sedation to complete dental work on children while they sleep.

Periodontists – these specialists focus on the health of the gums and their underlying bone. For those with gum problems in particular sites or perhaps have had the fortune of generalized gum disease that is severe, periodontists can offer solutions that will allow patients to maintain their teeth for longer. Increasingly, people can also have their gums reshaped if they do not like the look of their smiles.

Dental Hygienists

Most commonly seen in general dental practices, dental hygienists are individuals trained to maintain the cleanliness of the teeth and roots in an effort to prevent gum disease. In Barrie, dental hygienists can also be found in orthodontic offices and some other dental specialty offices performing tasks specific to the specialty.

Although it is possible that a hygienist may operate independently at a facility without a dentist, it is Dr. Elston Wong’s view that the best care arises from a multidisciplinary setting. Having a dentist present while a patient is being seen enables clearer communication and organization to manage complex problems. Not having one present necessarily means added complexity and confusion.

Finally, denturists are those who can provide removable replacements for teeth if some or all teeth are missing from a mouth. Denturist offices cannot take x-rays and cannot legally provide a comprehensive evaluation of a mouth. For that, a patient in Barrie would still need to go to a dentist. Also, since only the removable appliances can be offered, a separate visit to a dental office would be required in order to receive information about fixed (i.e.: non-removable) tooth replacement options. Obviously, there would again be added time and expense to receive the same services.

The bottom line: we always recommend that a dentist be consulted first about oral health. Once complete, then visits to a dental specialist, dental hygienist, or denturist can be carried out with a measure of confidence that things are well coordinated.

If dental pain does develop, or you have complications following a procedure such as infection, bleeding, or persistent pain, please contact us as soon as possible. We will see you as soon as the emergency warrants. If you develop an emergency outside of normal business hours, please leave a message at 705.733.0880 or info@drelstonwong.com, and Dr. Wong will contact you as soon as possible.

Some procedures are beyond our scope of practice, and are then best handled by specialists. When this occurs, we are still involved in your care. It is a quarterback-like arrangement – we make the appropriate referrals, but still retain overall supervision of your dental needs.

Certainly! Just ask us! If we know of a particular dentist that we can recommend, we will be happy to do so as well as transfer your records. You may be surprised at how far our personal dental networks reach.

Canada

Ontario:

Newmarket: Dr. Ian Gray 905.853.9355 www.driangray.com

Oakville: Dr. Rafia Piracha 905.842.5051 www.dentalworksoakville.com

Oshawa: Dr. Helen Dewar and Dr. Rita Sachdeva 905.448.3424 www.coldstreamdental.ca

Ottawa: Dr. Eugene Liu and Dr. Dean Liu (3 locations) www.liudental.com

Stouffville: Dr. Kenneth Wong 905.640.6988 www.stouffvillesmiles.com

Toronto – Beach: Dr. Sydney Reyes 416.694.8177 www.northshoresdental.com

Windsor: Dr. Carlita Macchiavello at Dental Health Centre 519.258.5192 www.dentalhealthcentre.net

Woodbridge: Dr. Vernon Koo 905.265.1515 www.smilecaredentistry.ca

British Columbia:

Squamish: Dr. Nancy Clayton 604.567.1155 www.atwelldental.com

United States:

California:

Sacramento: Dr. Charles Smurthwaite 916.797.8511 www.smilequestdental.com

New York:

New York City: Dr. Marc Beshar 212.753.2240 www.drbeshar.com

Rochester: Dr. Sam Guarnieri 585.248.2575 www.pittsforddentalexcellence.com

Massachusetts:

Boston: Dr. Gina Terenzi 617.722.0035 www.bcentraldental.com

North Carolina:

Charlotte: Dr. Bryan Persinger 704.795.1055 www.branchviewdentalcare.com

Worldwide:

Denmark:

Vordingborg: Dr. Delia Holmberg 011.45.55.37.12.25 www.klinikholmberg.dk

France:

Corsica: Dr. Francois Le Bigot 04.95.21.08.94 www.francoislebigot.com

Dental Links

Here is a list of links that can provide more general dental information.

The Canadian Dental Association is the Federal Voice of organized dentistry in Canada. You will find many articles of dental relevance, including proper home hygiene and care as well as on specific procedures.

Canadian Dental Association

The Ontario Dental Association has a very patient-friendly site loaded with good information as well. These will answer your questions about dental procedures, but also give you a better sense that dentistry is not just a “mouth” issue, it is a whole-body issue. The links between oral and overall health are becoming more and more appreciated. Learn about them here!

Ontario Dental Association

Similarly, the American Dental Association has a very comprehensive site to further your dental knowledge. Dentistry changes all the time, and the ADA Journal is an excellent resource for dentists wishing to keep up with current thinking.

American Dental Association

The Academy of General Dentistry is a North American organization for general dentists with a focus on continuing education. There is also an extensive list of articles covering dental issues on their site in addition to an AGD-member dentist finder.

Academy of General Dentistry public site

Academy of General Dentistry

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