This is a collection of questions that are often asked about us and/or our dental services.

You may find the question you are looking for in this list. If not, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

What is the benefit to seeing a family dental practice?

Dentistry 2000 is a family practice. We welcome people of all ages to our practice, from 2 to 102.

We have continuous care programs to help maintain the health of teeth and supporting structures for people of all age groups, or programs to help restore your teeth and smile back to a more healthy and youthful appearance including a full range of preventative care options and other in house services e.g. braces, Invisalign and implants.

Where are you located?

We are conveniently located a couple blocks west of I-26 at 816 West Mills Street in Columbus, NC – on the right side of the road when you are heading towards Tryon from the interstate. It is a two story brick building and it’s a couple blocks before you reach St. Luke’s Hospital.

How do I become a regular patient in your office?

If you are transferring your records from another office, all you need do is give us the name and address or phone number of your previous dentist’s office. We can get copies of your records sent to our office.

If you have had x-rays taken that are current enough, then we will not need to take more at your initial comprehensive exam.

If you have not seen a dentist for some time, or do not have a regular dentist, we will take the x-rays needed when you come for your initial comprehensive exam.

In any event, this will give us the information we need to get you started on the right track for any treatment that might be needed to clear up current dental problems, as well as set you up on the proper continuous care program to maintain a high level of dental health in the future.

If you are interested in making an appointment in the near future, you may submit your request for an appointment and we will contact you to arrange it. Or call our office during regular business hours (828.894.2000).

How long will it take to get an appointment if I need to be seen quickly?

Even though we may have appointments reserved for patients several weeks in advance, we do try to build some “flex time” into each day’s schedule to handle the emergencies that often occur.

It is rare that someone who wants to be seen right away can not get in the day they call or the next day. However, please understand that since we are usually working you into an already full schedule, we may only have time to diagnose the problem and get you out of pain during that first visit. Then we will set up a second appointment to do the definitive treatment after we know what treatment option you have chosen and how much time we need to schedule for it.

How can I afford my dental treatment?

Here at Dentistry 2000, we feel that financial considerations should not be an obstacle in obtaining quality dental care. We are sensitive to the fact that each person has different needs in fulfilling their individual financial obligations. Therefore, we provide the following payment options to fit each individual’s financial needs:

Payment in Full

A 5% discount is given for payment in full of $1000 or more out-of-pocket expense, when paid at the time of scheduling the dental appointment by cash, check or major credit card. (This does not apply in combination with insurance benefit assignment.)

12 – 18 Months Same-as-Cash

($1000 minimum treatment plan. Subject to third party credit approval.)

  • Interest free financing for 12 – 18 months
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Fast confidential service
  • Affordable financing with low monthly payments
  • Fast credit decisions in as little as 5 minutes

Flexible Payment Plan

($1000 minimum treatment plan. Subject to third party credit approval.)

  • No initial down payment
  • Payment plans ranging from 6 to 60 months with low monthly payments
  • Fixed interest rate
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Fast credit decisions in as little as 5 minutes

Can I take your smile questionnaire to analyze my own smile?

Walk up to a mirror where you can have some privacy and that is in a well-lighted room. Stand one to two feet in front of the mirror so you can see what people would see of your teeth and smile if they were standing right in front of you.

Now think of a very funny occurrence in your life and watch how big you can smile.

Notice what teeth and what parts of your gums are visible in the area within your lips when you smile very big.

Now ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you like the color of your teeth? Are they dark, dull or stained?
  • Are there spaces between your teeth?
  • Do you show a lot of gum tissue when you smile?
  • Are the teeth crooked, out of line?
  • Are the teeth disproportionate in shape, too large or too small?
  • Are your gums irregularly shaped? Is the scalloped margin of your gums around the teeth too high or too low on some teeth?
  • Are the teeth too long or too short, and do they follow a nice regular arch form from one side to the other?
  • Are your teeth as a group slanted to one side or the other?
  • Is the midline between your two upper front teeth centered with the midline of your nose and face in general?
  • Is the midline of your two upper and two lower front teeth the same when your teeth are closed together?
  • Are the biting edges of your two canines (or eye teeth) too pointed or too flat?
  • Do you see crack lines running through teeth or are the edges of any of the teeth worn down or chipped?
  • Do you see missing teeth when you smile or do you notice your cheeks sunken in because of missing back teeth?
  • Do you see any receding gums in your smile?
  • Do you see any dark or unsightly fillings, or dark lines showing under crown margins in your smile?
  • Do you see a wide range of shades between teeth or are crowned teeth not matching the natural teeth in shade as well as they used to?
  • Are some of your old silver fillings starting to turn the teeth darker?
  • If you think of your lips and cheeks as curtains of a stage and the space where your teeth and gums are as the area of the stage, are your teeth and gums in the center of the stage? Are they too high, too low or off to one side? Are they balanced horizontally and vertically?

If you look at your teeth and have concerns in any of these areas in the questions above, you are a candidate for cosmetic dentistry. Call us and we will be glad to analyze your smile with you in a FREE, no obligation consultation to see how dentistry can give you the winning smile you have always wanted. Or if more information is what you need, submit a request for our FREE report to be sent to you entitled, “How to Have the Million Dollar Smile You Have Always Wanted”.

How often should I return for a cleaning and check-up?

In most normal, healthy situations, you should be seen every six months for your preventive cleaning and check-up. This is usually a close enough interval between check-ups that will catch any new dental problems, which may be developing, at an early enough stage that it can be taken care of with minimal treatment and minimal cost.

If you have a history of, or suspect you now have gum problems (periodontal disease), it may be recommended that you be seen more regularly for your maintenance visits. This is usually in 3 – 4 month intervals, or even sooner.

I brush everyday and I still have bad breath. What can I do?

Mouth odor can be caused by several things. If it has been sometime since your last cleaning, another visit to our hygienist may take care of the problem.

If you are not flossing as well or as often as you should, you may be building up certain odor-producing bacteria in some of the harder-to-reach areas between your teeth. Your tongue also harbors these bacteria and should be brushed along with your teeth each time.

Or you may have some old leaking restorations in some teeth that need to be replaced. Other possible causes may include retained tonsils, sinus problems, allergies, esophageal reflux, diabetes, alcohol use, coffee intake, some foods, fasting, or even dehydration.

What kind of toothbrush should I be using?

We recommend a soft-bristle toothbrush, and it should be replaced about every 3 months. We will supply you with a new manual toothbrush at your regular continuous care visit.

However, it has been shown, and is well-documented, that the electric toothbrushes are far more effective in removing plaque from the teeth. It is well worth the investment to get one for all your family members that have the hand dexterity to use it.

What kind of toothpaste should I be using?

Most commercially available brands nowadays are safe and effective. The main thing to look for is that it contains fluoride and is not too abrasive.

Another way to be sure you are buying the right one is to look and see if there is the seal of the ADA (American Dental Association) on the outer box. This seal shows that the toothpaste has been through many tests to prove its effectiveness and safety.

However, keep in mind that none of the toothpastes will be effective unless they are used as recommended – after each meal or snack, and at bedtime.

Why are crowns often needed to restore teeth rather than another larger filling?

As more and more tooth structure is replaced by filling (whether it is silver amalgam or composite resin), the tooth structure which is supporting that filling becomes less and less. The tooth becomes weaker and weaker, and there comes a point when there is not enough tooth structure left to support a larger filling that might be desired. This is when a crown becomes the recommended treatment for the restoration of the tooth.

In order to create a new tooth that is strong enough to withstand the amount of constant forces that the muscles of the jaw exert between the teeth during normal chewing, the tooth needs something to help hold itself together and build the strength back. The crown does this nicely and is a very good long-term restoration. It can also improve the occlusal (chewing surface) relationship as well as any cosmetic concerns.

What do I do if I have a dental emergency and the office is closed?

If this should happen, first call the office and the voice mail system’s greeting will give you a number to reach Dr. Cotty.

If Dr. Cotty is not immediately available, leave a message stating your name, phone number where you can be reached, and a brief description of your dental emergency. Dr. Cotty will return your call as soon as possible.

If you need more immediate care and Dr. Cotty is not readily available, go to St. Luke’s Hospital’s emergency room. The physician in charge there can help you until Dr. Cotty or another dentist on call can see you.

What do I do if a tooth is accidentally knocked out?

Actually, this is one of the only true dental emergencies where we are working against time. For the best chances of saving the tooth, it must be reimplanted by you or the dentist within the first half hour. The chance of reimplantation being successful goes down significantly from there. After one hour, the success rate drops off dramatically. Some more important things to keep in mind are that you need to avoid any damage to the tiny fibers attached to the root of the tooth, and you need to keep the tooth moist.

If it is not being kept in the person’s mouth, then the next best place to keep the tooth moist is in a glass of milk, or water. The main thing to keep in mind is to get to a dentist as soon as possible.

What can I anticipate happening during my first visit?

During your first visit, our goal is to get to know you, clearly understand your dental health condition, and determine the best plan for any required treatment. So we will spend time asking you questions and listening carefully to your answers.

We will also do a detailed charting of the health status of your teeth, gums, and related structures, and take any necessary x-rays.

What do you do to ensure patient safety?

We employ rigorous sterilization and patient protection procedures.

We comply with all the government and professional agencies and organizations who regulate this area of healthcare.

We not only meet these recommendations and requirements, but we take extra steps.

We always use disposable supplies whenever possible, we wear gloves, and we steam/heat sterilize (autoclave) all instruments and handpieces (drills).

We take advantage of continuing education courses and professional publications to stay up-to-date in this ever-changing field. This is consistent with our goal of maintaining a state-of-the-art dental practice in all regards.

Our primary concern will always be the health and safety of our patients and staff.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to discuss them with any member of our staff.

Am I a Good Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?

There are many reasons for using oral (sedative pills) or inhalation (nitrous oxide) sedation.

If we are treating a child, we may use some nitrous oxide and oxygen inhalation sedation to accomplish our treatment goals. Most children respond quite well to this form of sedation.

For adults, there are many reasons you may have for the use of sedation.

Some include:

  • You have a high fear of visiting the dentist.
  • You have had traumatic dental experiences in your past.
  • You have difficulty getting numb.
  • You have a bad gag reflex.
  • You have very sensitive teeth.
  • You have a limited time to complete your dental care.
  • You have complex dental problems that require extensive treatment.
  • You hate needles and shots.
  • You hate noises, smells and/or tastes associated with dental care.
  • You are afraid and embarrassed about your teeth.

With sedation dentistry, years of dental neglect can be reversed in just a few hours. By using these very safe, non-judgmental, state-of-the-art methods, we can complete a lot of your dental care at one time. We can often complete extensive treatment plans in a couple of appointments.

This is how it is done. On the day of your appointment, you’ll take medication (a pill), then a companion will bring you to our office. An experienced clinical team member will make certain that you’re relaxed and completely comfortable and they monitor you very closely while you’re sedated. Many patients feel NO DISCOMFORT whatsoever during and after treatment, and have little or no memory of the visit.

We take special care of our youngest patients…

What should parents do to reduce the anxiety and the fear in their kids when it’s time for a dentist visit?

My best advice is very simple: “Don’t wait until it hurts!” in other words, bring children for preventative care, let them experience a visit to the dentist as something positive, non-threatening and even humorous or entertaining. Try, under all circumstances, to be positive about it. Under no circumstances relate to your own experiences as painful, hurting or even nightmarish.

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