Frequently Asked Dental Questions – Temple, TX

Learn More About Your Essential Dental Care

There’s no question too simple or complicated for our team at Richard Fossum, DDS. Our goal is to help you get informed and feel comfortable no matter what your dental concerns may be. Over the years, we have spoken with hundreds of patients with many unique questions, so feel free to look over some of the most common ones we’ve heard. We’ve answered them below for your convenience.


How do I know when it’s time to come in for a checkup?

We recommend that patients with good oral health schedule a checkup and hygiene visit twice each year. If you need more frequent visits, we'll let you know. Checkups are important because, even if you don't notice any pain or problems with your teeth, we may find signs of potential issues. For instance, demineralization is a precursor to decay, oral cancer often goes undetected until the later stages, and gum disease can be very stealthy. At your hygiene appointment, we'll clean plaque, tartar, and hardened food particles from your teeth. We'll also make sure your gums are healthy and strong.

What precautions do you take to ensure patient safety?

We follow strict guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and OSHA. Our dental offices include sterilizing reusable instruments in an autoclave, then sealing them for the next use; disinfecting treatment rooms between patient visits; and using disposable products when possible. We always wear disposable gloves during exams and treatment for your safety.

My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?

Bleeding is usually a sign of a problem. When gums bleed, the cause usually stems from brushing too hard or from early-stage gum periodontal disease called gingivitis. We can consult with you on the proper toothbrush and pressure for safe, effective daily oral care. If your gums show signs of periodontal disease, we may recommend a deep hygiene treatment to halt the progression of the disease and return your gums to good health. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for American adults and has been linked to many overall health conditions, including stroke, heart attack, and respiratory problems. Untreated, gum disease can significantly damage your health, so call for an assessment now. We’ll help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for life!

I haven’t been to the dentist in years, and I’m ashamed to let a professional see the condition of my mouth. Is your team judgmental?

First, congratulations on your wise decision to prioritize your dental healthcare. Your mouth is a big part of your overall health, quality of life, and self-esteem. We’ll never judge you; instead, we’ll help you by addressing your oral problems, explaining treatment options, then scheduling a plan of action that suits your schedule and your budget.

What can you do to improve the appearance of my smile?

We'll start by evaluating your oral health and existing smile, then discussing your cosmetic goals. We may suggest porcelain veneers or Lumineers, teeth whitening, dental implants, and/or replacing metal dental work with esthetic restorations. Your smile may benefit from some artistic bonding and contouring or Zoom! Whitening. Maybe Invisalign clear braces will give you the straight smile you've always wanted. Call to schedule an esthetic consultation, and together, we'll determine the best road to your ideal smile.

Does my insurance cover that?

Dental insurance is diverse. Some policies cover only a small percentage of fees, while others cover 50% or greater. The more you or your employer pays for premiums, the better the coverage, in most cases. Generally, dental insurance covers some restorative and preventive procedures. Cosmetic treatment is not usually covered. We accept CareCredit and offer 90-day in-office financing to make esthetic dentistry affordable for all of our patients. If you have questions, give us a call. We’re happy to help.

What payment methods do you accept?

To help you pay for your dental care, we accept cash, checks, and all major credit cards. Third party financing, often with low or no interest for qualified applicants, is available through CareCredit. We also offer 90-day in-office financing. Call for more information.

I avoid dental visits because of this normal? Can you help?

Many people fear dental visits. We understand dental anxiety and offer a solution to help you overcome your stress. With our sedation options, we can help you gain full peace of mind and body so that you can receive the dental work you need – and deserve.

Will my dental treatments hurt?

Dr. Fossum and Dr. Grosskopf are caring and compassionate dentists who go out of their way to eliminate discomfort and make patients feel safe. They offer sedation options to promote total relaxation and deliver an anxiety-free experience and the use of The Wand to deliver comfortable numbing. We care about your comfort and will strive to make your time with us soothing and successful.

Does your dental office use lasers?

Yes, we use lasers for precise, comfortable dentistry. Our soft-tissue laser allows us to treat gum disease, prepare mouths for restorative therapies, and more. You won’t need stitches after laser surgery, and bleeding is minimal. Most patients recover more quickly after laser surgery than they do following traditional surgery