Stanford Dental
Providing you with an exceptional experience at every visit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

Do you have questions about your oral health or your treatment recommendations? That is excellent, because you should ask questions about your health!

At Stanford Dental, we consider ourselves your partners, and we’re here to help you make the right decisions for your dental needs. We welcome any questions you have, and we’re happy to answer them.

We’ve gathered a list of some of the questions that we hear the most and provided the answers for you here. If you don’t see your question, we encourage you to call our office and talk with one of our knowledgeable staff members.

Other

Dr. Stanford prides himself on using the highest quality materials and preserving as much natural tooth structure as he can. His goal is to produce dentistry that can last for many years as long as your investment is maintained through regular check-ups and other protection such as a night guard if necessary.

Replacing Dental Work

Dr. Stanford is also happy to replace old restorations that may be breaking down. During your new patient visit, he takes photos and does a thorough examination to assess the health of any restorations you currently have. He will let you know if it would benefit your oral health to replace some of your old restorations.

Unfortunately, the metal amalgam fillings that were used in the past have a tendency to break down over time. This is due to metal's natural response to temperature change, which is to expand and contract. This causes the metal to pull away from the tooth, which can lead to to the tooth or restoration breaking or bacteria reentering your tooth to cause decay.

Composite Resin Fillings

The composite resin material we use to fill cavities today is bonded directly to your tooth, which helps avoid the breakdown you might experience with your metal restorations.

At Stanford Dental, we accept and submit claims to all types of dental insurance with the exception of HMO, Medicaid, and Medicare plans where your doctors are selected for you from a limited list.

It is important to understand that ultimately insurance plans are a contract between you, your employer, and the insurance company.

Because each plan is different, coverage varies greatly from plan to plan. While it is difficult to predict exactly what your insurance company will pay, we do our very best to give our patients an accurate estimate of what their coverage is and what their out-of-pocket expenses will be before their recommended treatment.

Out-of-Network Dentist

We have purposely decided to remain an out-of-network dentist for all plans, except Delta Dental Premier. By doing this, we can use the highest quality dental materials, give our patients individualized and customized appointments, use state-of-the-art labs, and not jeopardize any of the quality we provide that we would have to if we had to accept the minimized payments that are so common with many dental insurance plans. We feel our patients deserve and expect our best materials and options for their long term health.

You will probably notice that going to a dentist that is out of network may end up costing only a few additional dollars, but you will benefit so much more in the long term.

When it comes to pricing, Dr. Stanford stays very competitive in Manchester, MO so he can give his patients high quality dental care at a reasonable cost. Our patients agree that while he isn't the highest priced dentist or the lowest, he is absolutely one of the best and they receive great value for the money spent because they receive an esthetic and durable restoration!

Every patient’s treatment needs are unique, and some procedures are more complex than others. Dr. Stanford wants to make sure that high quality dentistry is accessible for everyone, so if you find yourself facing a treatment plan that is harder to fit into your budget, we are happy to work with you to make it possible. Sometimes treatment can be broken into phases so it fits more comfortably into your schedule and budget.

Financing Options

We also have excellent financing options such as CareCredit. With this service, we can offer 6 or 12 months of no-interest financing to most patients. It is easy to apply for online at home, or we are happy to help you with your application here at Stanford Dental. You will receive a quick decision so you can proceed with your dental treatment in a timely manner.

Please call us if you have questions about the cost of your treatment or your payment options.

Crowns and Bridges

Dr. Stanford practices with the philosophy of microdentistry in mind. This means that he is looking for any signs of decay or damage to your tooth early on, which typically allows us to repair your tooth with a small filling rather than more extensive treatment.

With that said, there are some circumstances that require a dental crown if your tooth is decayed or damaged beyond what a filling can repair. Some of these situations are:

  • A tooth that has deep decay or is fractured
  • A tooth that has been treated with root canal therapy
  • A tooth with a large old restoration to replace

Crowns are also used when we replace missing teeth, often as either the anchor to a bridge or attached to a dental implant. Because a crown is designed to protect your entire tooth from breaking and it restores your proper bite, it can restore your tooth more effectively than a filling in some circumstances.

State-of-the-Art Dental Technology

Dr. Stanford uses the highest quality dental materials and works with only the best dental laboratories in the area to make sure that your crown is durable, functional, and an esthetically pleasing complement to your smile.

If your tooth needs a crown, it’s important not to ignore or delay your treatment as it could result in an infection or further damage to your tooth.

Emergency Services

At Stanford Dental, we strive to see our patients at their earliest convenience. In the case of dental emergencies, we promise to get our patients in either same-day or next-day if you are able to work around our schedule. We know that a tooth emergency is never convenient for anyone and always comes at the worst time. That is why we always make sure to have emergency slots available on the schedule, because we want to be there for you when you need us the most.

The last thing we would want is for an existing or new patient to have to wait days without being seen by a dentist. That is why we always make ourselves available to you.

Dr. Stanford’s philosophy has always been to not over-schedule his day with patients on top of each other, which would jeopardize your quality of care. Instead, we carefully protect our schedule to always reserve individual time and care for each of our patients, which helps ensure an excellent interaction every single time. We also consistently run on time, so that is why we are able to accommodate our emergency situations. If you’re willing to work within our schedule, then we are available to see you today!

Dr. Stanford is also always available to be reached by phone by all of his patients. Even during off hours he is able to provide advice and reassurance during emergency situations until you are able to be seen the next working day. We don’t want you to have to deal with that toothache, cracked tooth, or swollen jaw alone.

Treatment Plans Available

We can’t guarantee full treatment on the same day in every case, but we can guarantee peace of mind and a plan in place to treat you as soon as possible. After you have been treated by Dr. James Stanford, we would love to bring you back for a comprehensive dental exam to make sure that no more dental emergencies happen in your future. No matter what, we will always be there for you!

 

If you lose a filling, don't panic. At Stanford Dental, we see this type of emergency all the time and can see you typically same-day or next-day if needed. Our main recommendation is to call as soon as you're able to schedule an appointment.

There can be different reasons you lose a filling:

  • There could be decay underneath it
  • You could be grinding and clenching your teeth
  • You may have been chewing on something that loosened the bonding


The last thing we would want is for our patients to be in any sort of pain. If the broken filling is sharp or has a rough edge we recommend calling Dr. Stanford right away, so we can get you scheduled to relieve your discomfort. 

Even if it does not hurt, doesn't mean you should wait to call. There could be a bigger underlying issue hiding under the surface of your tooth, like decay. Decay that is not treated only grows bigger, every single time.

 

The biggest misconception in dentistry is that pain is the main indicator of an emergency. To the contrary, in most cases there is usually no pain until it is too late and the decay has entered the nerve. Remember, decay doesn't usually hurt. 

 

Our goal at Stanford Dental is to stop decay at its earliest stages of development. Doing this helps prevent our patients from potential future root canals or tooth loss. This is why Dr. Stanford practices Microdentistry at his office.

The philosophy of Microdentistry is to remove as little amount of natural tooth as possible for a patient. Dr. Stanford uses technology like loupes, dyes, air abrasion, the diagnodent, and tooth colored fillings to minimize the amount of natural tooth structure he has to remove to treat our patient's decay. This type of dentistry helps our patients keep their teeth for a lifetime. 

 

Learn more about Microdentistry here.

We Are Here to Help

If you lose a filling, Dr. James Stanford and the Stanford Dental team is here for you. Whether you live in Manchester, Ballwin, Ellisville, or the greater St. Louis area, we are available for your emergency care. Don't delay; call us today!

General Dentistry

There are many different toothpaste selection in the market, so it can be confusing on which one is right for you. For the most part, toothpaste is all about marketing and it is usually best to stick with the idea that less is more. It is fairly common to have whitening toothpaste cause sloughing of the gum tissues. This is where is feels like the inside of your cheeks or gum tissues are peeling away. I will always suggest my patients switch toothpaste if this is indeed occurring. Occasionally, a patient just does not react to a certain toothpaste and the sloughing can occur when there is not even a whitening agent added to the paste. Again, I simply tell a patient to discontinue the use of the current toothpaste and try to switch to a toothpaste with fewer ingredients. Aim is often a toothpaste that contains fewer ingredients and could be a good one to try if any sloughing is occurring. 

I do have patients that definitely need to buy a special type of toothpaste that delivers more fluoride into their mouth. We suggest the prescription Prevident that helps patients with sensitivity and when they need the extra amount of fluoride to help protect weakened areas of enamel. This toothpaste has a unique liquid gel formula that contains 5% potassium nitrate and helps with remineralizing weakened areas. 

I explain to my patients that do not need the extra amount of fluoride that when it comes to toothpaste there is not a magic toothpaste that can help fix dental problems. It is more important to mechanically remove the plaque and disturb the bacteria with the use of your brush and floss. Your goal is to remove the plaque and get oxygen into the collection of bacteria with your floss so that you can try to prevent infection from forming. 

Periodontal Care

In most cases, if detected early, periodontal disease can be prevented. There are different stages of periodontal disease, but the first stage is the only stage in which it can be reversed. This stage is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that happens when plaque, a naturally-occurring sticky film containing bacteria, builds up on teeth and causes the inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue. Plaque produces toxins that irritate the gums. These toxins cause an infection in your mouth. Proper oral hygiene is one thing patients can do to try to control any infection that occurs in their mouth. The best hygiene tips include using an electric toothbrush twice a day for two minutes and using floss/waterpik once a day. The key to proper flossing is using a c-shape technique to disrupt and disturb the bacteria so it doesn’t have the chance to release the harmful toxins. Many patients have a hard time getting in the habit of flossing or waterpiking every day. Having a visual on your bathroom mirror to remind you or even changing up the time of the day are some tricks that can help prevent gingivitis from turning into periodontal disease. 

Seeing your hygienist on the intervals that she recommends is another way a patient can prevent periodontal disease. When there is destructive bacteria present in the mouth it takes about 90 days for that bacteria to destroy bone. Once a patient is diagnosed with periodontal disease and that bone has been lost, we cannot get that bone back. This may be a reason your hygienist needs to see you more frequently until you can get to a healthier state. 

Diet is another way patients can try to prevent periodontal disease. A diet rich in leafy greens (vitamins A and C) and avoiding a diet full of starch and sugar can help reduce the amount of plaque build up. Patients will also want to avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco as that raises your risk of periodontal disease. 

Diet is another way patients can try to prevent periodontal disease. A diet rich in leafy greens (vitamins A and C) and avoiding a diet full of starch and sugar can help reduce the amount of plaque build up. Patients will also want to avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco as that raises your risk of periodontal disease. 

 

Healthy gums do not bleed when you brush and floss, but did you know that roughly 80% of Americans have gingivitis. The early sign of gingivitis is your teeth bleeding when you floss or brush. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. The good news is that gingivitis is reversible! The not so good news is that once gingivitis turns into periodontal disease, it is no longer reversible. This is why we educate our patients every time they come into our office, especially if we see bleeding during our cleanings. 

 

Here is an example we use with most of our patients. Put your two thumbs together and make a goal post with your thumbs and index fingers. That is the size of your mouth. If you had a wound on your leg the size of that bleeding, you would go to a doctor as quickly as possible to get it checked out. We know that bleeding that like would not be normal. The same principle applies to your mouth. Just because most Americans bleed when they floss, does not make it normal and it can cause serious implications. The number one reason Americans loose their teeth is due to periodontal disease and we want you to keep your teeth for your whole lifetime. Not to mention, that the bleeding is also a sign of bacteria that is flowing through your bloodstream from your mouth. This bacteria can lead to diabetes, stroke, and heart attack. So, if you bleed when you floss, please let us us know at your next appointment and we can help walk you through the steps to help you be able to keep your teeth for your lifetime.

Preventative Care

I have been asked how often do I need to see the dentist? The short answer is it depends on the person and the health of the mouth and body. For a long time, the correlation between a healthy body and a healthy mouth has been determined. Most dental diseases are associated with bacterial infections that occur in the mouth. If a person has no decay present and the gums are healthy and don’t bleed, then seeing the dentist two times a year can help ensure the mouth stays healthy. Normally, this occurs when a patient uses floss or a water pick and brushes in the morning and before bed. A healthy diet is also important as good nutrients influence the condition of the mouth. 
 
If a person has multiple fillings, crowns, or has decay, then seeing the dentist more regularly is advised until all decay is removed; especially if gum and or bone disease is present. Bleeding gums are a sign of active dental infection. The presence of periodontal disease or bone loss around teeth is an indication that more frequent, usually quarterly visits to the dentist are advised. Periodontal disease is not a curable condition; however, the disease can usually be successfully maintained with more frequent therapy as well as a great home care regiment by a patient on a daily basis. In a nutshell, patient care intervals are best individualized to suit each patient in order to keep them in a state of optimal  health. 
 
Another consideration should be made, a yearly oral cancer examination should be performed on all patients, especially those over 18 years of age. Many don’t know oral cancer is the 6th leading cancer in the US and the dentist is the first line of defense to detect oral cancer in the most early stages. Finally, tooth habits like clenching of teeth and grinding can cause significant damage and are best monitored and treated to prevent tooth and enamel break down. 

Root Canal Therapy

 

Dr. James Stanford prides himself on giving his patients the most comfortable experience he can when they come into his office. This is no different whether you are coming in for a routine cleaning or scheduled for a root canal therapy appointment. Dr. Stanford typically performs his root canals in two appointments. A root canal is needed when either decay enters into the tooth's nerve and/or there is trauma to the tooth.

First Root Canal Appointment

At the first appointment, Dr. Stanford will use his special technique to numb his patients to minimize pain. This technique has been frequently raved about by his patients and on his reviews. After his patients are completely numb and comfortable, he will enter the tooth and remove the nerve of the tooth. Dr. Stanford usually explains this to patients by comparing removing the nerve like removing the lead from a pencil. This will prevent any future pain or worst case scenario, the loss of the tooth.

Typically, Dr. Stanford will wait 3-7 days to have his patient return for their follow-up visit. This will give the tooth time to calm down after the first appointment, so the patient is as comfortable as possible to finish their procedure. At the next appointment, Dr. Stanford will either fill or crown the tooth. If your tooth already has a cap on it and the crown is in good condition, then Dr. Stanford likes to preserve that crown, while saving you money, and just fill in the portion that was removed to complete the root canal.

Placing a Build-up Crown

If your tooth does not currently have a crown or if the crown is not savable, then Dr. Stanford will place a build-up and crown on the root canaled tooth. After a root canal is performed,  the tooth becomes very brittle since there is no longer a blood supply or nerve. This is why it is very important to finish a tooth canal with a build-up and crown because the tooth needs extra support so it does not break. This will give your tooth the extra strength it needs to preserve your smile. Our goal is to help our patients keep as many as their natural teeth as possible throughout their lifetime. 

If you are experiencing pain or have been told you need a root canal, Dr. Stanford would love the opportunity to restore you back to health!

After you have completed a root canal procedure, it then becomes important to protect your new investment. It is also important to start restoring your teeth back to health within two to four weeks after a root canal is completed and is feeling comfortable again. Following the root canal procedure, your tooth will become less resilient to withstand the force that occurs during chewing and especially if you are prone to clenching and grinding of the teeth. That is why for the back teeth and often the front teeth,  a crown will be recommended. Depending on the amount of remaining tooth structure a proper filling will be placed in order to provide a solid foundation for your beautiful new crown or cap. The filling which is often referred to as a build up or a post and build up will be determined by how much tooth structure remains after all decays is removed. If there is sufficient tooth structure to support your new crown, a buildup is needed. However, if there is not enough remaining tooth structure, a post can be placed into one of your root canal spaces to gain more support from within your tooth. Then a build up is placed around your post and the tooth is prepared and shaped for you new crown. 


If your tooth has no present cavities and the crown fits your tooth well or if the root canal was performed on a front tooth that has no large previous fillings, a simple filling may be all that is needed to properly seal up your tooth and protect your new root canal from bacteria and re-contamination. Our goal at Stanford Dental is to provide you with a beautiful long lasting smile. As a final note, if you have a tendency to clench or grind your teeth, remember a properly restored root canaled tooth is still not as strong as its natural predecessor. That is why we will recommend a protective mouth guard for night time wear. 

 

Six Month Smiles

Six Month Smiles is one method grouped into the category of short term orthodontic treatments. Although complete full orthodontic treatment is the preferred recommendation for adolescents who are still experiencing face and bone growth. After the growth of and individual has ceased, the outcome from orthodontic treatment is more limited. 
 
If the candidate is seeking to have perfectly aligned roots and teeth, then full orthodontic treatment is the best consideration. Six Month Smiles and other forms of short term orthodontics to include some Invisalign treatments were developed to provide more of cosmetic alignment of a patients teeth with less emphasis on perfectly straight roots of teeth. The concept was developed after a number of full orthodontic adult patients were asking to stop treatment and have their braces removed after about six to nine months of treatment because they had achieved the desired look they had imagined prior to beginning orthodontic treatment. 
 
Also, for any adult orthodontic care, a lifetime commitment to wearing some type of a retainer is a must if you desire to keep your teeth straight. This is due to the natural tendency of teeth to shift as we age. People ask “How long do I have to wear my retainer?”, and the answer should be as long as you want to keep your teeth straight. 
 
Some tricks are used for patients who are no longer experience growth but have crowded teeth. Your teeth can be conservatively straightened using a method called IPR (Inner Proximal Reduction) where  diamond scaling straps can re shape teeth and provide room for teeth to fit straight within a patients jaw. Another trick to allow teeth to move more openly are bite bumps which can be placed on selective teeth.
 
Please call us so we can evaluate if you are a candidate for Six Month Smiles!


Six Month Smiles is an amazing and quick way to straighten your teeth without the hassle and time it takes as with traditional braces. There are four major differences between Six Month Smiles and traditional braces:

1. Six Month Smiles braces are CLEAR. We provide you with white brackets and clear rubber bands so they blend in with your natural smile. While Christmas, Halloween, and neon colors may be cool for kids; it is not what our professional adult patients want when changing their smile.

2. Six Month Smiles is orthodontics recommended for ADULTS ONLY. This is usually a great solution for adults who have already had braces and their teeth have shifted with age. It is also a solution for adults who were never able to get traditional braces as a child.

3. Six Month Smiles is drastically FASTER treatment than traditional braces. This method focuses in on a cosmetic change over a bite change, which the main reason why we don't recommend this method for children. This is also why most our patients can have straight teeth in as little as only six months.

4. Six Month Smiles is typically astronomically LESS EXPENSIVE than traditional braces. While traditional braces can cost up to $10,000, Six Month Smiles is HALF that cost for our patients. This makes it easily obtainable for everyone! We also have special financing options for our Six Month Smiles patients.

Now is the time to get the straight, white smile you have always dreamed of! With Six Month Smiles that dream can become a reality by your next cleaning appointment! As a cherry on top, every Six Month Smile patient receives FREE teeth whitening after their completed with treatment. Don't delay; call our Manchester dental office today!

Learn more at https://www.ballwinmodentist.com/Services/Manchester-Six-Month-Smiles/15268

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