Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Stephen L. Chan and his entire team at Smilehaven Dental Center believe in the benefits of bio-compatible dentistry – a discipline of dentistry dedicated to the health and wellbeing of the entire body. We have been providing exceptional bio-compatible dentistry care to residents of La Mesa, CA for over 30 years. Below is a list of questions we hear often from our La Mesa patients.

Bio-Compatible Dentistry Frequently Asked Questions

 How often should I visit my dentist?

Dr. Chan, as well as the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends seeing your dentist twice per year for cleanings and regular checkups.

What does “painless dentistry” mean?

At Smilehaven Dental Center, we go out of our way to ensure your experience in our office is as stress-free and pain-free as possible. Many of our dental treatment options require no local anesthetic. We have many methods to alleviate pain and will choose the one that you are most comfortable with.

What is Bio-compatible dentistry?

Bio-compatible dentists practice dentistry that benefits more than just your mouth. In fact, bio-compatible dentists place special emphasis on dental treatments that are designed to keep your entire body in balance. With our Bio-compatibility tests and safe dental materials, we are confident that bio-compatible dental work is the best choice you can make for your overall health.

What if I have an emergency?

If you happen to have a dental emergency, please call our office as soon as possible. Should your emergency take place during normal business hours, we will be glad to work you in to our schedule. If your emergency takes place outside of office hours, during the weekend or during holidays, please call our office for the doctor’s emergency contact number.

Are payment plans available for my dental treatment?

Yes, payment plans are available at our La Mesa dental office. We accept the majority of dental insurances and will be happy to process your claim on your behalf upon receipt of your co-payment. Our interest rate is amongst the best in the industry and we accept most forms of payment including cash, Care credit, checks, and Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards.

Can the dentist whiten my teeth?

Yes, there are several methods Dr. Chan uses to whiten teeth in our La Mesa, CA. The most common methods of teeth whitening are in-office, overnight, and daily treatments. In-office treatments typically last 1-2 hours, and you can read or relax during the treatment. Overnight whitening involves creating an impression of your teeth and making a mouth guard that is tailor made to your bite. Every day you will fill the mouth guard with special whitening gel and wear it overnight or for a few hours during the day. This process generally takes about two weeks. Be wary of over the counter teeth whiteners as many of them contain toxins. To achieve the whitening results you desire, the ADA recommends that you seek the professional advice of a dentist, including examination and diagnosis of the cause of tooth discoloration, before you begin any bleaching program.

What if I have a gap in my teeth, a chipped tooth or teeth that do not respond to normal bleaching methods?

No problem. Dr. Chan is trained in a variety of procedures that can help these problems. One of these methods includes porcelain veneers, which are designed to look and perform like natural teeth. Veneers are individually attached to the fronts of existing teeth and can be positioned to close gaps. Composite bonding uses a composite material made from plastics to fill gaps of your teeth and to correct chipping and shape problems. Both porcelain veneers and composite bonding are always color-matched so they blend in perfectly with the rest of your teeth.

What kind of toothbrush should I use?

The ideal toothbrush varies with different age groups. Adults should use a small to mid-sized sized toothbrush containing soft or medium bristles. Oversized toothbrushes make it difficult to reach all areas of the mouth thoroughly, predominantly the back of the mouth. Children should only use small toothbrushes with soft bristles. Soft-bristled toothbrushes are especially effective for individuals with sensitive teeth. There are an abundance of toothbrush styles available. Dr. Chan can help you decide which type of brush is perfect for your smile.

 What kind of toothpaste should I use?

Toothpaste preferences are more of a personal choice, but it is always important to note what ingredients are in the toothpaste you buy. Avoid any artificial ingredients – especially artificial sweeteners, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), aluminum, and silica or zirconium. Also try to avoid toothpastes that contain fluoride and triclosan, as avoiding these chemicals guides you toward a healthier, more bio-compatible toothpaste.

How often should I floss?

Flossing is just as, if not more important than brushing. Floss once or twice daily to prevent cavities from forming in between the teeth. Flossing also helps promotes the health of your gums.

Should I brush or floss first?

The order does not matter as long as both are done properly.

Should I use fluoridated products?

The EPA has approved the addition of fluoride to US drinking water, despite the fact that the benefits of ingested fluoride is inconclusive at best, and at worst, ingested fluoride can be very harmful for humans. Considering the amount of fluoride Americans receive just from their food and water, we definitely recommend that you not ingest any more fluoride, so we discourage patients from using any oral hygiene products containing fluoride, including toothpastes, mouthwashes, etc.

What’s the difference between a cap and a crown?

Crowns and caps are one in the same, and both can be used interchangeably. Caps and crowns are made to restore a tooth that is broken, fractured or decayed by literally covering or capping the tooth. Dentists will usually use the term “crowns” while most people call them “caps”.

What’s the difference between a partial denture and a bridge?

Both dentures and bridges are designed to replace missing teeth. A bridge is sometimes called a fixed partial denture and fills a void previously occupied by a tooth. Fixed bridges are the most popular, and consist of a filler tooth attached to two crowns, which fit over existing teeth and hold the bridge in place.

A partial denture is different from a fixed bridge because they are removable. Partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth that are attached to gum-colored bases. These bases are connected using a thin, metal framework. The denture is attached to natural, healthy teeth using metal clasps or precision attachments, both of which are virtually invisible to anyone other than the user.

Should I get a root canal?

At Smilehaven Dental Clinic, we cannot in good conscience recommend root canal therapy. Root canals often result in infections, and have been linked in some studies to more serious health concerns such as cancer. This is because root canals involve stopping blood flow (which fights bacteria) to the root of the tooth and filling the canal with an artificial material, making the operated root canal a possible haven for bacteria. If you have a root infection, make an appointment with our office for potential alternative treatments that are safer and more bio-compatible.

What is LANAP?

LANAP, or the Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure, is a procedure that treats periodontal (gum) disease with the use of a highly specialized laser. Our LANAP laser is known as Periolase. This laser is used to remove the infected and dead tissue of the gums around the roots of the teeth, while not only leaving the healthy, live tissue safe, but also stimulating it to regenerate. Visit Our La Mesa, CA Bio-Compatible Dentistry Office Today!

If you have any questions about our bio-compatible dentistry dentist practice that were not addressed in the FAQ section above, please do not hesitate to call our La Mesa, CA office. Dr. Chan or a team member will gladly answer your questions and help you schedule an appointment. We’re open Monday-Thursday from 8:00am-5:00pm and on Fridays from 8:00am-12:00pm. Contact us online or give us a call at (619) 464-2801. We look forward to treating you soon!