Here are some frequently asked questions patients have about our dental practice and oral health issues. For any other questions, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.
What if I have an emergency after office hours?
Dr. Montgomery is available for 24 hour dental emergency care. If calling on the weekend or after normal office hours, please dial the office at (310) 821-0992 and press 2 to page the Doctor.
Do you have Weekend hours?
Our office is closed on the weekend but Dr. Montgomery is available for emergencies during this period and after office hours during the week. Should you have a dental emergency and need immediate attention, please page Dr. Montgomery by calling (310) 821-0992 and press 2.
What insurance do you accept?
We are a Preferred Provider for many insurance companies (listed below) and provide care for patients as “out of network” provider. However, we do not participate in HMO plans. We bill private medical insurance for dental services and Sleep Apnea Appliances.
- AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds
- Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Anthem Blue Cross of California
- Assurant Dental Employee Benefits
- Blue Cross of California
- Blue Shield of California
- Delta Dental
- Dental Benefit Provider
- First Dental Health
- Principal Financial Group
- United Concordia
What Payment Options do you accept?
Do you offer any discounts?
- 5%-10% Senior Discount (Amount Varies)
- Cash Discount for Full Payment at Time of Service
What is your cancellation policy?
To cancel or reschedule an appointment, please call us at (310) 819-0992 and give at least 24 hours notice. Please note our office hours should you need immediate assistance with rescheduling your appointment.
May I email appointment requests?
Yes, for new appointment requests, please feel free to email us, or call us during office hours for immediate assistance. For cancellations or to reschedule an appointment, please call us during office hours at (310) 819-0992.
As a courtesy reminder, we will call you to confirm an appointment, the day before your appointment. For Monday appointments, we call on Thursday or Friday prior to confirm.
What languages do you speak?
English and Spanish
What does MAGD stand for?
Master of Academy of General Dentistry, which is earned by completing 1000 hours of continuing education (at least 600 hours of this being hands-on courses) after earning a Fellow status via testing and 500 hours of continuing education.
Oral Health Issues:
What causes bad breath?
In most cases (85–90%), bad breath originates in the mouth itself. The intensity of bad breath differs during the day, due to eating certain foods (such as garlic, onions, meat, fish, andcheese), obesity, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Since the mouth is exposed to less oxygen and is inactive during the night, the odor is usually worse upon awakening (“morning breath”). Bad breath may be transient, often disappearing following eating, brushing one’s teeth, flossing, or rinsing with specialized mouthwash.
Bad breath may also be persistent (chronic bad breath), which is a more serious condition, affecting some 25% of the population in varying degrees.
Talk to your dentist about your condition. If your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.
Brushing and Flossing
Brushing and flossing are essential daily in controlling plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease.Plaque formation and growth can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids. Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?
Amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc, bound by elemental mercury. Millions of people have amalgam fillings. Concern has been raised over the mercury in amalgam, and the issue has been studied extensively. Yet researchers have not found evidence of significant health problems related to the use of amalgam in fillings.The general consensus is that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe. Along with the ADA’s position, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the FDA, and others support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost effective. The U.S. Public Health Service says that the only reason not to use silver fillings is when a patient has an allergy to any component of this type of filling. The ADA has had fewer than 100 reported incidents of an allergy to components of silver fillings, and this is out of countless millions of silver fillings over the decades.
Although studies indicate that there are no measurable health risks to patients who have silver fillings, we do know that mercury is a toxic material when we are exposed at high, unsafe levels. For instance, we have been warned to limit the consumption of certain types of fish that carry high levels of mercury in them. However, with respect to amalgam fillings, the ADA maintains that when the mercury combines with the other components of the filling, it becomes an inactive substance that is safe.
There are numerous options to silver fillings, including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings. We encourage you to discuss these options with your dentist so you can determine which is the best option for you.
How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits. Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.
What is gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?
Gingivitis (“inflammation of the gum tissue“) is a term used to describe non-destructive periodontal disease. The most common form of gingivitis is in response to bacterial biofilms (also called plaque) adherent to tooth surfaces, termed plaque-induced gingivitis, and is the most common form of periodontal disease. In the absence of treatment, gingivitis may progress to periodontitis, which is a destructive form of periodontal disease.
While in some sites or individuals, gingivitis never progresses to periodontitis, data indicates that periodontitis is always preceded by gingivitis.
Poor oral hygiene, and other factors may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease.
Why is it important to use dental floss?
Flossing in combination with toothbrushing can prevent gum disease, halitosis, and cavities. Regular flossing is also linked to reduced incidence of heart disease. Flossing is correlated with greater longevity, potentially as a result of the prevention of gum inflammation. Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
How can cosmetic dentistry improve my smile?
Cosmetic dentistry may involve: 1. the addition of a dental material to teeth or gums – examples: bonding, porcelain veneers (laminates), crowns (caps), gum grafts 2. the removal of tooth structure or gums – examples: enameloplasty etc., gingivectomy 3. neither adding nor removing dental materials, tooth structure or gums – examples: teeth whitening (bleaching). 4. straightening of teeth accompanied by improvement in appearance of face Orthodontics
- Whitening, or “tooth bleaching”, is the most common cosmetic dental procedure. While many whitening options are now available, including over the counter products, dentist-supervised treatments remain the recommended procedures for lightening discolored teeth
- Tooth reshaping removes parts of the enamel to improve the appearance of the tooth. It may be used to correct a small chip, or to alter the length, shape or position of teeth; it can be used to correct crooked or excessively long teeth. The removed enamel is irreplaceable, and may sometimes expose dentin. It is also known as enameloplasty, odontoplasty, contouring, recontouring, slenderizing, stripping or sculpting. This procedure offers fast results and can even be a substitute for braces under certain circumstances.
- Bonding is a process in which an enamel-like dental composite material is applied to a tooth’s surface, sculpted into shape, hardened and then polished.
- Dental bridges are false teeth, known as a pontics, which are fused between two porcelain crowns to fill in the area left by a missing tooth. The two crowns holding it in place that are attached onto your teeth on each side of the false tooth. This is known as a fixed bridge. This procedure is used to replace one or more missing teeth. Fixed bridges cannot be taken out of your mouth as you might do with removable partial dentures. In areas of your mouth that are under less stress, such as your front teeth, a cantilever bridge may be used. Cantilever bridges are used when there are teeth on only one side of the open space. Bridges can reduce your risk of gum disease, help correct some bite issues and even improve your speech. Bridges require your commitment to serious oral hygiene, but will last as many as ten years or more.
- Veneers are ultra-thin, custom-made porcelain laminates that are bonded directly to the teeth. They are an option for closing gaps or disguising discolored teeth that do not respond well to whitening procedures. Depending on the procedure, tooth reduction may be necessary.
- Gum lift is a cosmetic dental procedure that raises and sculpts the gum line. The procedure involves reshaping the tissue and/or underlying bones to create the appearance of longer or more symmetrical teeth.
- Bite Reclamation Patients who have had years of excessive wear to their teeth due to grinding or acid reflux can alter their vertical dimension. This gives them a closed or shorter look to their face and smile. By opening up their bite, we can reclaim their vertical dimension and sometimes even remove unwanted wrinkles as well. This gives a more youthful appearance and can often eliminate the need of plastic surgery.
Cosmetic benefits of porcelain veneers
Porcelain veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted to cover the fronts of teeth. They are very durable and will not stain, making them a very popular solution for those seeking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile. Veneers may be used to restore or correct the following dental conditions:
- Severely discolored or stained teeth
- Unwanted or uneven spaces
- Worn or chipped teeth
- Slight tooth crowding
- Misshapen teeth
- Teeth that are too small or large
Getting veneers usually requires two visits. Veneers are created from an impression (mold) of your teeth that is then sent to a professional dental laboratory where each veneer is custom-made (for shape and color) for your individual smile.
With little or no anesthesia, teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the front surface of the teeth to allow for the small thickness of veneers. The veneers are carefully fitted and bonded onto the tooth surface with special bonding cements and occasionally a specialized light may be used to harden and set the bond.
Veneers are an excellent dental treatment that can dramatically improve your teeth and give you a natural, beautiful smile.
Since teeth whitening has now become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile.Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional treatments and may not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away, eventually revealing a darker or yellow shade. The color of our teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which may become darker over time. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea, and wine may also contribute to tooth discoloration, making our teeth yellow and dull. Sometimes, teeth can become discolored from taking certain medications as a child, such as tetracycline. Excessive fluoridation (fluorosis) during tooth development can also cause teeth to become discolored.
It’s important to have your teeth evaluated by your dentist to determine if you’re a good candidate for bleaching. Occasionally, tetracycline and fluorosis stains are difficult to bleach and your dentist may offer other options, such as veneers or crowns to cover up such stains. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is also important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. before bleaching begins. Once the bleaching is done, your dentist can match the new restorations to the shade of the newly whitened teeth.
Since teeth whitening is not permanent, a touch-up may be needed every several years to keep your smile looking bright.
The most widely used professional teeth whitening systems: Home teeth whitening systems: At-home products usually come in a gel form that is placed in a custom-fitted mouthguard (tray), created from a mold of your teeth. The trays are worn either twice a day for approximately 30 minutes, or overnight while you sleep. It usually takes several weeks to achieve the desired results depending on the degree of staining and the desired level of whitening. In office teeth whitening: This treatment is done in the dental office and you will see results immediately. It may require more than one visit, with each visit lasting 30 to 60 minutes. While your gums are protected, a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth. A special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent while the teeth are whitened.
Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity after having their teeth whitened. This sensation is temporary and subsides shortly after you complete the bleaching process, usually within a few days to one week. Teeth whitening can be very effective and can give you a brighter, whiter, more confident smile!